From Mount Ararat to Olympic champions: First stamps of Armenia’s Independence -
From Mount Ararat to Olympic champions: First stamps of Armenia’s Independence
Armenians around the globe are celebrating today the 29th anniversary of Armenia’s Independence. 29 years ago the Armenian people said their decisive “yes” through a referendum to declare independence. The declaration of the newly independent Armenia gave the start of the Third Republic of Armenia’s history. From the very first days the theme Armenia’s independence was reflected in numerous initiatives and works. Armenia’s first stamp over independence was issued in 1992.
Shushan Alexanyan, Head of the Philately Department at HayPost CJSC, told Armenpress that initially a competition for making a stamp has been announced, and nearly 100 people participated in it presenting more than 400 works.
“Quite a strong competition was held. The topic was the declaration of independence of the First Republic of Armenia. The stamp must have depicted the Armenian flag and Mount Ararat. The stamp made by painter, designer Harutyun Samuelyan won the competition. The stamps were printed in a total of 300,000 copies by the UK-based House of Questa publishing house”, she said.
In an interview to Armenpress, Harutyun Samuelyan remembered those times and stated that public-political figure, Artsakh war participant Samvel Shahmuradyan is perhaps the godfather of that stamp.
“That story started nearly 9 months before the stamp was put into circulation. We were sitting in one of parks in Yerevan and were discussing numerous issues. He was sure that our state needs to have its own stamp. Many didn’t believe, but thanks to the efforts of Samvel a state commission has been formed for announcing a competition”, he said.
Harutyun Samuelyan firstly was included in the commission, but then he left it for participation in the competition. The topic was clear, the commission has set the criteria. The works should have been presented within a month.
“I was working in my apartment on the 9th floor, and Mount Ararat was visible from its windows. It was a cold winter, there was no light, I have worked day and night in order to meet the deadline”, he said.
After receiving all works, the commission came to an agreement that Harutyun Samuelyan should be named the winner.
“Of course, it was a moment of joy and pride for me. After that I created many stamps, but that one remains the best for many people. I would not like to talk about some shortcomings, but if that competition takes place now, the stamp would be better”, he added.
In 1992 a souvenir sheet on the same topic was issued, which was depicting the colors of the Armenian flag and the Mount Ararat. The author is again Harutyun Samuelyan. Among the first stamps of Independent Armenia is also the four chain stamp dedicated to the 25th Summer Olympic Games which was issued in 1992. The stamps were about wrestling, boxing, weightlifting, gymnastics. Armenian athletes in these sport tipes were declared Olympic champions at different times.
“Postal circulation is very important for each state, and in this sense stamps play a great role. The topic of independence always has an important place in the Armenian philately, stamps were issued on the 10th, 15th, 20th and 25th anniversary of Armenia’s Independence. These stamps depict Armenia’s state symbols – the flag and the coat of arms”, Shushanik Alexanyan said.
In 2010 two more stamps were issued dedicated to the Independence theme. The author is again Harutyun Samuelyan.
Reporting by Anna Gziyan; Editing and Translating by Aneta Harutyunyan
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