Finnish stamps released in January focus on anniversaries, the opera and mailboxes


A daring, form-cut format stands out from the rest

For Finnish stamps, the year 2011 begins on January 24 through seven releases consisting of 22 different stamps in total. The visual themes of the stamps are the opera, the Finnish flag, Valentine's Day, mailboxes, the spring, and extra-fee stamps with a nature theme. The stamp designers include both new prominent graphic artists, and professionals who have been in the business for a long time.

Design with an open mind

A miniature sheet entitled "Branches of Friendship" will be released in February to celebrate Valentine's Day - known as Friendship Day in Finland. The stamps, illustrated by Janne Harju, show happy bird-like characters in their colorful nests. The open-minded design of the five form-cut stamps in the miniature sheet stands out from traditional stamps. The width of the largest stamp in the miniature sheet is over 11 cm.

"The spring of life" stamp booklet, depicting nature's awakening from beneath the winter snow cover, is another product of the new generation of designers.
The bird and flower stamps in the five-stamp booklet, designed by graphic artist Pietari Posti, are particularly suitable for different kinds of greetings.

Finnish atmosphere on the stage, pole and by the road

The visual themes of a miniature sheet, published to mark the centenary of the Finnish National Opera, focus on scenes from six popular operas from different points in time. The operas selected in the miniature sheet, designed by Tarja Salonen, include "The Last Temptations" by Joonas Kokkonen, "The Red Line" by Aulis Sallinen, and "The Knight of the Rose" by Richard Strauss.

The Blue Cross Flag, familiar to all Finns, is flown in an impressive 2nd class stamp, designed by Minna Luoma and implemented with letter press.

Mailboxes are an inherent part of the Finnish landscape and everyday life. Five genuine Finnish mailboxes in actual use are the visual theme of roll stamps designed by Päivi Vainionpää. The personal boxes also tell a story of their owners' life.

Two extra-fee stamps with a different value will also be released in January. The stamps are intended for adding to the value of previously purchased stamps according to the needs of the sender. The themes of the stamps illustrated by Teemu Ollikainen and Timo Berry are a birch bud (€0.20) and a birch leaf (€0.30). The stamps are cut in the shape of the plus sign, clearly indicating that they are intended as extra payments.

Faster delivery of 2nd class letters in Finland

Excluding the extra-fee stamps, the Finnish stamps released in January 2011 are in the 2nd class payment category. A new approach, taking effect on February 1, 2011, will give customers a new way of sending 2nd class letter mail. As a result of the new service approach, 2nd class letters will be delivered faster, the minimum amount requirement (20 items) will be lifted, and customers may submit their mail to the yellow letterboxes in addition to Posti outlets. Also 2nd class, more inexpensive than 1st class shipments, is a climate-friendly and carbon neutral Itella Green delivery - the first of its kind in the world.

Technical data (pdf)

For more press information:

On stamps:
Markku Penttinen, Business Director, Philatelic Center,
tel. +358 20 451 5519,,

Technical information:
Petri Pohjolainen, Product Manager,
tel. +358 20 451 5572, and
Tommi Kantola, Product Manager,
tel. +358 20 451 5531,

Contact person for Itella Communications:
Salla Lappalainen, Press Officer,
Tel. +358 20 451 7993,

Stamp images for use in the media are available in Itella's image bank > Image service and logos > Stamps