Saturday, March 8, 2008

Norway's Post Horn Stamp

In the late nineteenth century, Norway issued its first stamp with the depiction of a post horn. With just a few minor variations, the design of that stamp is still being used today, making it the longest-running stamp issue ever.

Post horns are valveless horns, with a cupped mouthpiece similar to a modern day trumpet. Because the horns did not have valves, the sound of the horn could only be varied by changing the formation of the user's mouth on the mouthpiece.

Physically, most post horns were coiled, so that the long tube would be of a manageable size. This permitted a long channel for the sound, but allowed it to be stored in a reasonably small area. A few were straight or had very tight coil.

Post horns were vital links to the outside world. When a post rider or mail coach arrived in a town or village , the driver would signal his arrival by blowing his post horn. This would indicate to residents that the mail had arrived. He also signaled his departure as he journeyed toward his next town.

Over time, the post horn became a symbol of mail service and remains so to this day. Many postal administrations use a post horn or a symbolic representation of one as part of their company logo.

Between 1872 and 1875, Norway issued a set of definitive stamps featuring a post horn design. The stamps were designed by architect Andreas Friedrich Wilhelm von Hanno and issued with a variety of denominations.

The stamp shows the country as Norge, the Norwegian name for Norway, the Royal Crown of Norway, and a coiled post horn. The denomination of the stamp is printed inside the coil of the horn. The corners of the stamp are embellished with small wheels with attached wings, symbolizing speedy delivery of the mail. The early issues were in a single color; 1991 saw the advent of using multiple colors for the stamps.

There have been numerous issues of the Norway Post Horn stamp, all with the same basic design, making it the "grand-daddy" of definitive issues.

Related Topic:

No comments: