Thematics: books on stamps


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22 November 2021
Now that the nights are drawing in and we are spending more time indoors, some of us just love to curl up on the sofa with a good book. And stamps are the perfect way to show off a love of literature, as Katrin Ryanor-Evans reveals in her latest thematics guide…

For thousands of years books have been used to tell stories, record history and to share information about our world.  Books date back to the fourth millennium BCE which include the use of ancient scrolls. Scrolls have appeared on stamps from copper scrolls to constitutional scrolls but perhaps the most well-known of them all are the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Found in the Qumran Caves in the Judean Desert, the scrolls have appeared on stamps mainly issued in the Middle East including a set issued in Yemen in 1969 called Save the Holy Places. 

Books play a huge part in our culture and countries including Honduras and El Salvador celebrated books in their local culture in 1983 and 1995 with Honduras celebrating the 100th anniversary of the local county library and El Salvador commemorating forty years of the Salvadorian Cultural Centre. 

If you are young are heart and still enjoy reading children’s books, then you will enjoy the plethora of stamps available here in the UK celebrating the likes of literary works by Roald Dahl, A.A Milne and Beatrix Potter.


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The simplicity of Roald Dahl’s stories brought to life by Quentin Blake is illustrated perfectly on this 1st class stamp issued in 2006 featuring The Enormous Crocodile. 

Books are objects to be celebrated. Each year we honour them on World Book Day and in 1972, the United Nations declared that year as International Book Year which saw an abundance of global stamps issued for the occasion.

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