Dürer in Czechoslovakia

I like all things Dürer, as you may have gathered, and I presume word has got around, for the other day one of our club members came up to me and said he had acquired a huge Dürer collection and would I be interested? It was mainly covers but I said I would have a look anyway. Luckily for my bank balance it was indeed mostly covers and postmarks and what have you, but I found three items which I loved and could happily add to my collection.

They were three first day covers from Czechoslovakia. Now as you know, Czechoslovakia made collecting FDCs cool again because the illustrations on the cover are usually hand-engraved as well, and are therefore additional artworks from our beloved stamp engravers! A quick email to my philatelic fountain of knowledge friend in the Czech Republic confirmed what I had already thought: the covers were indeed hand-engraved by the engravers of the stamps on those covers.

And so, first up we have an FDC from 1979, with a stamp from that year's Art series. The engraving of the stamp and on the cover is by Bedrich Housa. The illustration on the cover is that of the Bagpiper, an engraving by Dürer from 1514.

The stamp itself depicts Dürer's 'Dancing peasant couple', also from 1514. They both are stunning engravings.

My next two covers date from 1989, franked with more Dürer stamps from yet another Art series. This time, Milos Ondracek is the master who engraved both stamps and covers.

The illustration on the cover is that of Apollo and Diana, from around 1503. Although both covers are alike, the one is printed in black and the other in deep purple-brown. They each were franked with one of the stamps from the miniature sheetlet.

That sheetlet depicted Dürer's Festival of the Rose Garlands, from 1506. The two stamps show details of the oil painting, but the sheetlet itself has an engraving of the complete painting.

Whilst I haven't seen any FDC with the complete sheetlet on, at least we do have one of those beautiful Mlada Fronta souvenir sheetlets connected to this issue. It is a printing of the complete engraving of the painting, but in monochrome. I'm normally quite a fan of monochrome printings, but I must say in this case I can't really choose between the two. The original being a rather brightly coloured oil painting, I do think the multi-coloured engraving does the original work justice. See for yourself, and remember you can click on all images to see them blown up!

Anyways, all these new items make me rethink my dream of building an engravers collection of Dürer material once again, so maybe I should just give it a go someday...



  1. Adrian,thanks for your Dürer week.

    I have loved Dürer's work ever since I was a small child
    when I first saw his woodcut "Melencolia" , can't remember if in a book or on a post card.
    Later when I saw his other woodcuts such as the
    "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" and paintings
    of his self portraits, I was totally blown away.
    All his work seemed so fresh and relative to
    my time even though he lived 500 years ago.
    Over the years I have enjoyed a variety of painters
    including Hieronymous Bosch, Pieter Bruegel the Elder,
    van Gogh, Henri Matisse (I luv pointillism), Klimt etc
    But Albrecht Dürer has always been my favourite.

    I check in here every Saturday to see what is new for
    this week.
    Thank you Adrian for showcasing these engravers and
    having this database which is unique and valuable
    for now and for the future.

    1. Thanks, lithograving, for your compliments. Really means a lot! Yes, Dürer is really something special, isn't he?! And not just because of the obvious engravers link.
      PS: I'll look into that matter you raised re the comments.


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