Estonian Post celebrates the 100th anniversary of Estonia’s first Olympic victory with a silver stamp

To celebrate 100th anniversary of Estonia’s first victory at the Olympics, Estonian Post is issuing a stamp made of pure silver depicting the country’s first Olympic winner, Alfred Neuland, who secured a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Antwerp. This is also the year of the 125th anniversary of the athlete’s birth.

The President of the Estonian Olympic Committee, Urmas Sõõrumaa, expressed gratitude for the silver stamp, which is a fitting token of commemoration of the victory important for the history of Estonia and Estonian sport. “The Estonian Olympic Committee would like to thank Estonian Post, our long-term partner, which has been celebrating important events in the history of Estonian sport and Olympic movement and is honouring this occasion with a sophisticated silver stamp. Remembering one’s history is of great significance because we all know how important one’s first steps in life are as the foundation of our common future. Our strength lies in our roots, both in the context of the family tree and the community. The best way to draw upon this strength is to remember it,” Sõõrumaa said.

Ansi Arumeel, chairman of the board at Estonian post, says that 19 stamps commemorating the Olympic Games have been issued in Estonia to this day, and six more have been dedicated to present-day Olympic heroes. “The 100th anniversary of Estonia’s first Olympic victory this year will be commemorated with a post stamp made of pure silver. One could, of course, ask why not gold to celebrate an Olympic victory, but replicating the colour of the medal it is not what we aimed for; it is the soul of the Estonian Olympic movement, and silver, with its purity, clarity and dignity, is much more fitting for the embodiment of Estonians’ spirit,” Arumeel said.

The author of the design is artist Indrek Ilves, who has created a number of sports-relates post stamps in Estonia, including those issued to commemorate the London, Rio and PyeongChang Olympic Games.

Ilves pointed out that creating the silver stamp is a unique process. “The stamp with Alfred Neuland’s image is made of pure silver, which means, unlike regular post stamps, it is rather minted than printed. So, from the printing technology perspective producing it was more similar to making coins than printing stamps on paper. Another aspect to keep in mind when designing the stamp was that no colours could be used; everything is monochrome, in black and white, although the stamp would be made of silver in the end,” Ilves explained.

Ilves says the greatest challenge was the restoration of the photograph used as the basis for the design. “As it was taken more than a hundred years ago, it suffered some damage over time, and I had to put in a lot of work to restore it. The stamp shows Neuland in historically accurate clothes and pose, and there are also elements marking the anniversary,” Ilves described.

The silver post stamp, which is mainly being issued as a souvenir product, will be sold at 13 euros, and is bound to become a valuable addition to a philatelist’s or sports enthusiast’s collection. The issue is limited and will constitute 10,000 pieces, of which 500 will be sold in special gift boxes. The stamp with the gift box costs 20 euros.

The post stamp made of pure silver was issued on Friday, 28 August, which is also when the first day of issue cover and postmark can be obtained. The following day, 29 August, marked the 100th anniversary of weightlifter Alfred Neuland’s victory at the 1920 Antwerp Olympic games. This is also the year of the 125th anniversary of the athlete’s birth. Neuland won the gold medal in weightlifting in the class below 67.5 kg, with the overall result of 257.5 kg.