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Tom of Finland stamps for sale on September

25.08.2014

Fall stamps also feature watercolors by Urpo Martikainen and signs of the sky

Itella Posti Oy will release the Tom of Finland stamp sheet on Monday, September 8. The stamps have been the talk of the town both in Finland and internationally. The sheet has been available for preorder from Posti's online shop since April. The stamps have raised immense interest and, therefore, stamp buyers should act quickly before the edition is sold out. Additionally, a Tom of Finland gift set will become available in Posti outlets and Posti's online shop, including three postcards as well as the stamp sheet.

This fall's other stamp releases exhibit nostalgic yard and garden scenes based on Urpo Martikainen's watercolors as well as playful and modifiable signs of the sky.

Reforming the icons of gay culture

Tom of Finland's masculine homoerotic drawings have attained iconic status in their genre. The artist renewed the imagery of gay culture by expanding the previous feminine gay imagery with his muscular and masculine men. Tom of Finland's works resort to self-irony, exaggeration and humor.

During his career, Tom of Finland produced more than 3,500 drawings. The two drawings from 1978 and 1979 selected for the stamp sheet represent strong and confident male figures typical of Tom of Finland. "It was interesting to dive into Tom's exceptionally lusty, masculine and black-and-white graphic world," explains Timo Berry, the designer responsible for the design of the stamps.

Sensation in the philatelic world

Tom of Finland stamps have raised global interest in the media, in online publications and in social media like no other stamps in the world. Itella has received mainly positive feedback regarding the stamps, and their release has been generally seen as an open-minded and brave act, but the homoerotic nature of the stamps has also been frowned upon.

Seta - LGBTI Rights in Finland, who promotes sexual equality in Finland, granted Itella the Apple of Good Information honorable mention for the Tom of Finland stamps in June 2014. According to Seta, releasing the stamps is a significant cultural achievement and an example of how a company can positively use the ideas of sexual orientation diversity in its business operations.

Letters collected for the exhibit tell the story of the man behind the pseudonym

Touko Laaksonen (1920-1991) started his artistic journey as Tom of Finland already in the 1950s when his homoerotic drawings were published abroad in genre magazines. Before a full-time career as an artist, the multi-talented Laaksonen was a soldier in the Finnish Continuation War, a restaurant musician, an accompanist, and an advertisement drawer. He became a free artist in 1973 after receiving recognition in exhibitions around the world.

Touko Laaksonen's (1920-1991) profile is extended in the exhibition Sealed with a Secret - Correspondence of Tom of Finland opening in the Postal Museum on September 6. The exhibition will display the busy correspondence of Laaksonen from the early 1940s to his dying year, 1991. The exhibition will be displayed until March 29, 2015, in Tampere's Museum Centre Vapriikki in the new Postal Museum.

Four nostalgic yard and garden scenes from Finland

This year, the traditional fall stamps will depict nostalgic Finnish yards and gardens. The stamps are the work of Urpo Martikainen, who many know as an anchorman and whose watercolors are the basis of the stamps. The handy self-adhesive booklet called Autumnal yards and gardens, only the size of a credit card, contains four 1st class stamps.

Urpo Martikainen painted ten drafts, of which two scenes from Mikkeli, one from Helsinki and one from Kristiinankaupunki were selected for the booklet. Martikainen took into account the small size of the stamps by eliminating small details from the paintings and by sharpening the colors.

Urpo Martikainen has painted watercolors since the 1960s. When he retired in May 2010 from his 28-year-long post as an anchorman, there was suddenly more time left for painting. He has had various exhibitions and organized watercolor courses in Finland and Italy, among other places.

On the cover of the stamp booklet, Martikainen painted a small tractor, a traditional milk platform and mailboxes. "The image contains all the distinctive characteristics of countryside life in the 1950s. Many have nostalgic memories about fetching the mail in the countryside."

Eight signs of the sky and 40 stickers

Stamps do not necessarily need to be boring and official. Nina Rintala's Signs of the sky stamp booklet is proof of this with its eight 1st class stamps each with a different form. Rintala's designs portray, for instance, planets, a shooting star, the sun, clouds and a rainbow.

In addition to the stamps, the booklet includes small stickers. "Everyone can modify the familiar signs of sky and space to their liking with eyes, mouths and other additional parts. You can add a bow on the planet Earth, a beard on a cloud or make a rainbow wink at Saturn wearing cat's ears. You can forget about the laws of astrophysics when modifying these stamps," says Nina Rintala. 

First Day Event at the Postal Museum

The stamps will be released during the First Day Event at the Postal Museum at Tampere's Vapriikki Museum Center on Monday September 8 from 11 am until 5 pm. First Day cancellations will be available during the entire event. The designers of all the stamps are present from 12 noon until 2 pm in order to sign the clients' shipments.

Image material for the media

Technical data for Finnish stamps released on September 8, 2014 (PDF)

Tom of Finland-Briefmarken sind ab dem 8. September an den Schaltern (PDF) 
Technische Daten der am 8.9.2014 erscheinenden finnischen Briefmarken (PDF)

All stamps available for sale are featured in Posti's online shop.


A Tom of Finland gift set will become available in Posti outlets and Posti's online shop,
including three postcards as well as the stamp sheet.