Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Germany and UN joint stamp issue

On the 7th of May 2009 a stamp has been jointly issued between Germany and United Nations (Vienna office). This joint stamp issue qualifies as a twin issue since the design and the date of issue are the same.

Interestingly the design of both stamps is not exactly similar. If you check the fourth building (starting from left) it is larger on the German stamp than on the UN stamp (it seems truncated on the UN stamp). I guess that this is due to the format of the stamp, the UN stamp being shorter the design had to be adapted.

Kalpana, who sent me those stamps (thank you very much Kalpana) also sent me a very nice First Day Cover of the German issue. Here it is.

The stamp pictures Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg (Saxony-Anhalt) that are all associated with the lives of Martin Luther and his fellow-reformer Melanchthon.
I think there is no need to introduce Martin Luther (1483-1546) the priest and theology professor who was the initiator of the Protestant reformation. He was born in Eisleben (he also died there) but spent most of his life in Wittenberg. Philipp Melanchton (1497-1560) was a German professor and theologian. He was a friend and associate of Martin Luther and was a key leader of the Lutheran reformation.
Here are two German stamps picturing Martin Luther, issued in 1952 and 1961.

And here is one German stamp issued un 1960 picturing his associate Melanchton.

The memorials, pictured on the stamp, include Melanchthon’s house in Wittenberg, the houses in Eisleben where Luther was born in 1483 and died in 1546, his room in Wittenberg, the local church and the castle church where, on the 31st of October 1517, Luther posted his famous “Ninety-five Theses”, which launched the Reformation and a new era in the religious and political history of the Western world. These sites were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1996 by UNESCO.

The FDC is postmarked from Eisleben, the home town of Luther, with a very nice cancel. The postmark pictures two symbols. On the left side, this is the coat of arms of Eisleben.

On the right side this is the Luther rose, a seal designed for Martin Luther and that has become a symbol for the Lutherans.

The stamp issued by United Nations is in fact part of a larger set of six stamps (two per office) and dedicated to World Heritage Sites located in Germany. This is the fourteenth stamp issue illustrating World heritage sites. Here is a picture of the whole set.

The sites that are pictured on the stamps are (from top to bottom):

Office of New York
44c - Town Hall and Statue of Roland on the Marketplace of Bremen
The old town hall was built in the Gothic style in the early fifteenth century, after Bremen joined the Hanseatic League. The building was renovated in the so-called Weser Renaissance style in the early seventeenth century. A new town hall was built next to the old one in the early twentieth century as part of an ensemble that survived bombardment during the Second World War. The statue stands 5.5 m tall and dates back to 1404. This site was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004.

98c – Aachen Cathedral
The Aachen Cathedral was the first German cultural monument to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978. The cathedral was built between 790 and 800 under the Emperor Charlemagne. The Palatine Chapel, with its octagonal basilica and cupola, is the first vaulted building north of the Alps. It is heavily influenced by the building traditions of classical antiquity and by Byzantine architecture.

Office of Vienna
0.65€ - Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin
In 1990, UNESCO officially recognized the palaces and parks of Potsdam and Berlin, built between 1730 and 1916, as part of World Heritage. The protected area of the World Heritage site covers the palace and park of Babelsberg, as well as the “New Garden” situated to the west of the Heiligen See lake, with the Marmorpalais and the Cäcilienhof palace where the Potsdam Agreement was signed in August 1945. The palace and park of Sanssouci, often called the “Prussian Versailles”, are a synthesis of the artistic movements that marked the European cities and courts of the eighteenth century.

1.40€ - Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg

Office of Geneva
1.00f.s. - Wartburg Castle
The Wartburg, near Eisenach (Thuringia), was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1999 as “an outstanding monument to the feudal era in Central Europe”. Legend says that the castle was founded in 1067 by Count Ludwig der Springer. It was here that Martin Luther, during his exile, translated the New Testament into German in 1521 and 1522. The castle is also linked to the legend of the “Minstrel’s Contest”, to Saint Elizabeth and to the festival of the German students associations 300 years after the Reformation. Because of its location on the former border between East and West Germany, the Wartburg remains a symbol of German integration and unity.

1.30f.s. - Monastic Island of Reichenau
The Monastic Island of Reichenau on Lake Constance is an outstanding testament to the religious and cultural role of a great Benedictine monastery in the Middle Ages. In the year 724, the abbot Pirmin founded the monastery on the “rich isle”, and the Benedictine abbey developed between 800 and 1100 into a spiritual and cultural centre of the Holy Roman Empire.
The three Romanesque churches on the island, St Mary and Marcus, St Peter and Paul, and St George, which were built from the ninth to the eleventh centuries, are fine examples of the architecture of the early Middle Ages in Central Europe.
The Monastic Island of Reichenau was inscribed on the World Heritage List in the year 2000.

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