Thematics: Mushroom stamps


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07 October 2021
Do you have mush-room in your collection for more stamps? In her latest thematics column, Katrin Raynor-Evans takes a look at fabulous fungi on stamps…

When I was researching the autumn theme, I noticed that fungi kept cropping up on stamps, so I am focussing on fabulous fungi this week.

For those mycologists amongst us, you may be interested to know that there is an abundance of fungi themed stamps available to add to your collection.

There are over five million species of fungi worldwide – yes, five million. I don’t think there are that many stamps to collect with a fungi theme, if there was, you’d be in trouble! 

Stamps with a fungi theme have been issued since the 1950’s but according to Professor Bruce Ing, the first stamp with this theme was actually issued in Japan in 1948 celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Japanese Government’s Alcohol Monopoly and features an illustration of distillery towers.

The Bistre Brown (an orange and yellow colour) stamp also features the chemical symbol for Ethanol, which is produced using yeast – single celled microorganisms classed as members of the fungi kingdom.  

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Fungi come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours and thrive in all ecosystems of the world.  The one that recognise the most is surely the Amanita muscaria or fly agaric, the red and white toadstool synonymous with fairy tales.

It has featured heavily on stamps and was the fungi of choice in Bulgaria for their 1991 fungi stamp issue. 

Fungi have been used for centuries in medicine, food and even pest control. In 1974 Taiwan produced a delicious looking set of stamps celebrating edible mushrooms found across the country as did Greenland in 2005.

Brazil has perhaps the most diverse range of ecosystems in the world including tropical and subtropical grasslands, rainforests, mangroves and deserts. Two years ago in 2019, Brazil celebrated the diversity of fungi found within the country. Each stamp is a photographic image but upon first glance you would think they were something from the imagination of a science fiction writer.

The $1.60 Brazilian Real stamps of Clathrus Chrysomycelinus and Gaestrum Violaceum will surely capture your imagination and inspire you to add these fung-tastic stamps to your collection. 


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