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Elegant sailing ships decorate first 2017 stamp issues from Åland

On 2 February 2017, the third stamp issue of Åland Post’s Sailing ship series documenting the Åland sailing ship era appears. Artist and captain Allan Palmer has painted the magnificent motifs depicting the barque Mariehamn and the full-rigged clipper Mermerus.   

These vessels both represent a time when the development of sailing ships had more or less reached perfection. Originally named Lieutenant, the barque Mariehamn was purchased in 1880 by Åland shipowner Nikolaj Sittkoff, and she became the first Åland owned vessel with a local crew to circumnavigate the world. The long voyage set off in 1881 and, in July 1882, the vessel rounded the Cape Horn, an event captured on the stamp by Allan Palmer.

Built in Glasgow, the lovely Mermerus was a full-rigged ironclad clipper and, also, one of the most rapid sailing vessels ever built. Shipowner Robert Mattson from Vårdö purchased the vessel in 1900. Allan Palmer has painted the ship just off the Chilean coast on one of her many voyages. Mermerus met her destiny in 1909 when she ran aground just off Kristiansand on the Norwegian coast.

Also available in February are two maximum cards featuring traditional ships portraits as well as collector’s sheets illustrated with photos and holding the stamps in first day cancelled condition. The interesting back-ground information about each vessel is authored by staff at Åland Maritime Museum. The limited edition of only 1500 collector’s sheets is only available on standing order subscription from Åland Post Stamps.