|Norway’s posthorn stamps, the oldest uninterrupted stamp series in the world, are now well into their third century. Since 1872, they have been printed in more than a billion copies, with skilling, øre and krone denominations.
An aging record holder perhaps, but they are still able to offer something new. This year’s posthorn stamp is the fi rst NOK 40 stamp in Norwegian stamp history.
It was a German architect Wilhelm von Hanno (1826 - 82), who designed Norway’s first posthorn stamp, the Three skilling red. He was a versatile man. As an architect, he designed Trinity Church, the Geographic Survey of Norway building (now the National Academy of Fine Arts), the Oslo Commercial Association buildings, Arendal High School and the Grønland Church, School, Fire and Police Station complex in Oslo. As a sculptor, he created several beautiful grave monuments.
He was also a drawing teacher for young pupils, among them Theodor Kittelsen.
In partnership with his countryman Heinrich Ernst Schirmer, he won first prize in the architectural design competition for the new parliament building in 1857, but their design was later dropped in favour of Swedish Victor Langslet’s more pompous building. Schirmer and von Hanno also designed many station buildings for the Norwegian State Railways. In his stamp design, von Hanno did not forget the signifi cance of rail transport for the postal service. In each corner of the stamp he placed a winged wheel symbolizing the railway.
The values of the first posthorn stamps were in skilling. Øre stamps appeared in 1877 and krone stamps in 1991. In 1997, øre stamps with decimals were issued. 2010 saw the first high value posthorn, NOK 30, which was followed in 2011 by the NOK 50 posthorn. This year a new chapter was added to Norway’s posthorn and stamp history with the first NOK 40 stamp!