Posteurop, the Association of Europe Public Postal Operators arranged two separate competitions where stamps from Turkey and Finland were voted as the favourite Europa Stamps of the year. The Turkish stamp won the popularity contest open to the public through the Posteurop website, and the Finnish stamp won the juried competition.
Both stamps have designs of castles, the Europa theme for 2017. Each of the 58 postal administrations participating in the competitions entered one stamp.
The 3.70-lira stamp from Turkey pictures Kars Castle in northeastern Turkey. The fortification dates back to 1153, although the castle has been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries. Turkey also issued a 1.60-lira Europa stamp showing Bayburt Castle.
Just like many postal administrations, Turkey issued its Europa stamps on 9th May. The day commemorates the Schuman declaration of May 9, 1950, when Robert Schuman, the French foreign minister, proposed the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community.
Issued on 20th January, Finland’s non-denominated domestic-rate Europa stamp depicts a snow castle rather than an actual castle. Finland’s post office, Posti, decided on this design because it had issued a booklet of Castle stamps in 2014 (Scott 1454).
Never has this happened before, that the juried competition had a tie for the second place, with stamps from Aland and Italy receiving an equal number of votes. Both stamps were issued on 9th May.
The stamp from Aland shows the archipelago’s only medieval castle, Kastelholm, as photographed by Niclas Nordlund.
The Italian stamp features Scaligero Castle of Malcesine as viewed from Garda Lake.
Also in the juried competition, Liechtenstein placed third with its 1.50-franc stamp depicting Vaduz Castle.
Botond Szebeny, secretary general of Posteurop, and philatelist Guy Coutant were the co-chairs of the jury. Also serving on the jury were Arie Piet, former CEO of stamp printer Joh Enschede; Andree Trommer, secretary-general of the International Federation of Philately (FIP); philatelist Eric Contesse; and stamp designers Olaf Neumann and Stefan Klein.
On 16th September, in Brussels, at the Belgian Philatelic Grand Prix, the awards for the juried competition were presented. However, those for the online popularity competition were announced during Posteurop’s plenary assembly held Sept. 27-29 in Bucharest, Romania.
Coming in second place in the popular vote was Poland’s 5-zloty stamp picturing Pieskowa Rock Castle, a renaissance castle built by King Casimir III the Great.
Third place went to Moldova’s 11-leu stamp depicting Mimi Castle, built in the late 19th century and recently restored.