Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Wednesday Post


Magyar Posta
The purely symbolic bleeds into the real.


When I got home from work yesterday, my mailbox was packed with postcards from Hungary.  That wasn't as surprising as it might have been, as I had had advance notice from longtime IAT reader and voter Elizabeth that she might be treating me to some esoteric paper ephemera.  The postcards were mostly short, safe Christmas and Easter greetings sent across the Iron Curtain to relatives in the United States.  What I really liked about them, though -- probably more than Elizabeth would have expected -- were the stamps.


So here's the thing: if you were a geeky kid of the late 20th Century, you probably recognize that these stamps are common as dirt.  I'm sure dozens of them passed through my hands during the brief time I was a collector of stamps in sixth and seventh grade.  For me, and for a lot of people, these are the very stamps that introduced the idea that people in other countries might have different names for their countries than the ones I was used to.  They may also have ushered in the concept of "Hungary."  They pack a nostalgic punch now, but they were potent advertisements for the existence of their nation-state, and I suppose of the nation-state in general, back in the day.

But, for all the many times I have seen exact replicas of these little pieces of paper in isolation, in albums and in bags of "1000 World Stamps" or wherever, I have never seen them on postal material.  Believe it or not, I have wondered from time to time what they would actually look like on a piece of mail.  After all, probably at least as many of these stamps were printed precanceled for sale to collectors as were ever printed for actual distribution and postal use.  But not these ones!  These ones were actually sold in some Hungarian post office and then, when affixed to a rectangle of cardstock, convinced a long, long chain of postal employees that they should relay it from Pest through dozens of intermediaries to a specific street address in South Bend, Indiana.  I am probably more dazzled by all this than I ought to be.  Nevertheless, these stamps are much more interesting on the postcards than they would be tidily soaked off of them.

Same deal with these other dirt-common European issues:


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Meanwhile, it is Independence Day in the Infinite Art Tournament's home county, the United States of America, so perhaps some patriotic imagery is in order.


Enjoy the day!

3 comments:

Elizabeth said...

You're welcome! I didn't even consider the stamps, but am glad there's a value-added (pun intended) element to the gifting. Kedves egészségére!

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