Thursday, May 7, 2009

A lovely cover from Finland!

Many thanks to Keijo for sending this lovely cover from Sumiainen, Finland! The 2 beautiful butterflies stamps franked on this cover belong to the semi-postal Red Cross "Butterflies" series, issued in 1990.

Semipostal stamp is a postage stamp issued to raise money for some purpose (such as a charitable cause) and thus sold over and above the cost of postage. Typically the stamp shows two denominations separated by a plus sign, but in many cases the only denomination shown is for the postage rate, and the postal customer simply pays the higher price when purchasing the stamps

Next, is a stamp from the "Flora" series. It was issued on 1st Jan 2002.
The first 5 stamps depict "Forget me not" and the next 5 stamps festure " Lily of the Valley". Lastly, we have a lovely stamp from the semi-postal Anti-tuberculosis " Flowers" series, issued in 1983. It was the final anti-tuberculosis stamp that Finland Post issued. The first anti-tuberculosis stamps were released in 1946.

Finland Post ended a 78-year tradition of issuing semi-postal stamps in 2000 with the two-stamp Red Cross issue featuring farm animals. The reasons given for suspending these issues related to changes in the general stamp market and changes in the management and operation of the Post Office itself.

Over the years, Finland issued semi-postals to raise money for the Red Cross; the anti-tuberculosis program; Pro Filatelia for international philatelic exhibitions; major sporting events; and aid for war casualties, reconstruction, the National Relief Fund, Brothers-in-Arms Federation, and hospitals for war invalids.

From 1922 to 2000, the Post issued 275 semi-postal stamps in 99 issues. More than one-half of these stamps (53 percent) were issued for the Red Cross, 29 percent for the anti-tuberculosis campaign, 8 percent for philately, 5 percent for sports events, and 4 percent for various war relief and reconstruction programs.
In addition to having both the first and the last semi-postals, Red Cross stamps were issued each year from 1930-1946 and thereafter almost every year until the 1960s. Then, the Finnish Red Cross (SPR) and Anti-Tuberculosis (TUB) alternated issues every other year.

This cover took 8 days to travel an estimated distance of 9,254kms. A cover is coming your way, Keijo! :)

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