Ferrari Formula One on Stamps
Stamp collecting is one of the most popular hobbies in the world; chasing automotive-related issues requires some diligent research, let alone collecting Ferrari topical issues. In turn, there are many rewarding sub-topics to collect within the Ferrari world such as drivers, GT cars, sports & prototypes cars and Formula One. In Prancing Horse #132, my article focused on an introduction to collecting Ferrari philatelic items. This article focuses on Formula One Ferrari postal material.
Stamps are produced in many forms such as single stamps, strips of three/four or more, souvenir sheets, plate blocks (entire sheets) and a series. A souvenir sheet can be described as a sheet of one or more stamps specifically printed by a government for a specific event or purpose with extra-wide margins and inscriptions describing the purpose of the issue. Most of the time with these Ferrari-related souvenir sheets, the stamps themselves are integrated into the entire design or graphic, hence the reason for the sheet. These souvenir sheets also tend to be more recent issues.
Just like Ferrari automobiles and factory literature, stamps carry identifying numbers for their type. There are two authorities that track all the different types and variations of most all stamps, Scott and Krause-Minkus. Typically a stamp would be identified with both a Scott and Kraus-Minkus (Minkus) number, but the Scott number is much more widely used and is most often quoted when describing a stamp. There are other cataloging companies such as Michel from Germany, Stanley Gibbons from Great Britain and Yvert & Tellier from France. Scott, an American company is the largest and most widely used reference system. However, the only problem with this Scott number is that most of what is available are newer stamps, and these numbers are assigned only once a year, so many described within this article don't have numbers yet associated with them. Where the Scott numbers are known, they are noted after the description of the item.
As we discussed in the previous article, all Ferrari stamps and materials have been produced only by companies outside the United States and in many cases, from exotic locations such as Kirgistan, Chad, Ajman, Tanzania, Lesotho, Mongolia, Cambodia, Somalia and Eritrea. While you might not consider these countries garden spots, they are prolific producers of stamps destined for collectibility. While Eritrea is today an Independent and recognized nation, it was colonized by Italy from 1880 - 1941. With an estimated 75 percent of the population dependant on food aid and most roads unpaved, you might ask, what purpose does this little South African country have in publishing stamps featuring Ferraris? The answer is simple - revenue generation.
Ferrari's recent championships have been reason to celebrate, giving may countries reason to produce commemorative single stamps and sets. Many countries have produced commemorative stamps in celebration of Ferrari's championship season in 2000 including the Republic of San Marino, which introduced two single stamps and a souvenir sheet marked as "Campione Del Mondo" in 2000. The beautiful souvenir sheet depicts the enormous Scuderia Ferrari shield flag unfurled among the masses in Italy. The two stamps in this sheet feature Barichello and Schumacher and are also some of the first stamps to also denote their price in Euros as well as Lira. #1
As you can imagine, Italy pulled out all the stops to create postal history for this 2000 Championship event. They produced a single stamp, souvenir sheet, official cover (envelope) and postcard for the event. In addition, they created an official postmark that echoes the stamp with an outline of the F1 car with a checkered flag flowing behind it. The official cover (envelope) carries the city of Maranello on its postmark with the postcard listed as Milan. For the collectors, a prestige folder was produced that lists the placings at the various races and the final points for Schumacher as well as the team. There is also a cutout of the car on one flap with minimum specifications and on the inside, one Souvenir sheet, a cover and postcard. The Poste Italiane under license from Ferrari Idea S.A produced the folder. It is stunning and worth searching out, and though its original price was 15.49 Euros, you'll pay in excess of $75 when you locate one.
#2 (SS) & #3 (large folder)
San Marino produced a particularly interesting issue in 1996 (Scott 1368). This stamp looks like the front page of the La Gazzetta dello Sport Italian newspaper. It's a little deceiving, in that the headlines scream "Campioni del mondo!" and "Vai Ferrari", with an image of a Ferrari F1 car on the bottom. Don't forget, this is 1996 and the headlines are actually describing the images of Italian cyclist Fausto Coppi and an Italian rugby star! That withstanding, the stamp is nifty and pictures a F310.
Monaco can always be counted on to produce beautiful stamps. In 1999, the country produced a stamp that celebrates the 70th Monaco Grand Prix and features a single seat Bugatti racecar and Schumacher in a 1998 F300.
Bosnia and Herzegovina released a four stamp set in 2001 featuring four F1 cars labeled as 1954 - 625 F1 (Farini), 1970 - 312 B (Giunti), 1978 - 312 T3 (Reutemann) and the 1983 126 C3 (Arnoux). Following World War I, Bosnia and Herzegovina united Monetegro, Serbia, Croatia, Dalmatia and Slovenia, to form the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
Most F1 races also celebrate by preparing either fresh stamps, FDCs (first day covers), unique postmarks or prestige folders. For Imola 2000, the Poste Italiane again produced a prestige folder that features four stamps denoting the 100-year anniversary of Enzo Ferrari's birth. These Italian stamps were originally released on October 26, 1998, but in this folder, two of the stamps are mounted on separate postal covers. These two stamps (1952 - F1, Scott 2265b & 1998 F300, Scott 2265d) were also canceled with an official San Marino postmark from 8/4/2000 with the 2000 F1 car in the middle. The postmark also includes the phrase "Prove Cronometrate" (essentially qualifying day). The other two stamps (1931 Bobbio-Passo del Penice, Scott 2265a & 1963 GTO, Scott 2265c) are separately presented in the folder. The Poste Italiane presentation is wonderful, and while Imola was not a victory for Ferrari it is well worth seeking out. #7
In 2001, Somalia issued a striking set of 6 Ferrari Formula One stamps. This beautiful set presents not only the 2000 F1 (Schumacher), but also the 1973 312 B3, 1984 126 C4 (Alboreto), 1991 642 (miss-marked as a F1-91), 1995 412 T2 (Alesi) and the F1-2001. These renderings appear to be adaptations from actual photographs.
Another obscure but active stamp producing country, the People's Republic of Benin, offers a new release. France annexed this country, originally a native kingdom on the west coast of Africa, in 1894. It was then proclaimed Dahomey in 1958, and remained so until its name finally changed to the People's Republic of Benin. Like many of the African colonies, they actively produce stamps aimed at the popularity of stamp collecting, depicting every "topical" subject from Princess Diana, birds, trains and ultimately to Ferrari. This beautiful souvenir sheet includes six Franc-denominated stamps of photographs from early F1 races. The cars include the Phil Hill in a Dino 156 F1, Lancia D50m, Dino 246 F1, 375 F1, Surtees in the 158 F1, and what appears to be Nino Farina in the 500 F2 and a 625. This set appears to be ripped-off photos (Klementaski?), but is beautiful.
2002 brought a stellar release of an eight-stamp set of Formula One cars from Antigua & Barbuda. The stamps feature enhanced photos of 1957 - 801, 1959 - 256 F1 (Jean Behra ?), 1960 - 246 P F1 (Richie Ginther - Monaco), 1966 - 246 F1 (Lorenzo Bandini), 1971 - 312 B2 (Jacky Ickx), 1969 - 312 F1 (Chris Amon), 1997 - F310 B (Schumacher) and the 2002 - F2002 (Schumacher). These are official Ferrari stamps and should be fairly easy to locate.
Monaco produced a sheet in 2002 to celebrate the 70th running of the Rallye Monte-Carlo, the third Monaco Grand Prix Historique and the 60th Grand Prix of Monte Carlo. This two-stamp set features Michael Schumacher in a current Ferrari F1 car on the bottom of one stamp with a car depicting the 3rd historic Grand Prix on top and a second stamp highlighting the rally with a current rally car on the bottom and a historic rally car on top. #11
Jamaica recently released 6 stamps with a combo of Sports / prototypes and F1 cars starting with the 1947 - 125 S, 1950 - 375 F1 Alberto Ascari), 1965 - Dino 166 P, 1966 - 312 F1, 1971 - 312 P, and 1990 - F1 641 (Alain Prost). These are all blurred photographs, which are very handsome.
Jacky Ickx scored his first victory for Ferrari at the 1968 French Grand Prix held at the rainy circuit at Rouen Les Essarts where he dominated all other competitors. In another interesting notes in 1968 Ferrari was the first F1 team to mount a wing on an F1 car (Belgian GP 1968). The 312 Ferrari is depicted on this stamp with Ickx driving. The Democratic Republic of Malagasy (another French island off the coast of Southeastern Africa), released the stamp in 1993 even though it is dated 1990. This stamp was produced in both perforate and non-perforate (no perferations) forms.
The Republique of Chad produced sheets in 1996 featuring winning races for the Scuderia Ferrari, Monza 1996 and Spa 1996. These colorful sheets each have one stamp with Schumacher on these 2000f stamps with the F310. The Monza stamp also has images of Schumacher on the stand with Alesi in 2nd and Hakkinen in 3rd. This third and final victory of 1996 culminated at Tifosi central and fully solidified that Ferrari was "back", beginning its four year quest for both the driver's and manufacturer's championships with Schumacher now as the Number One Ferrari pilot. This was an emotional win for the entire team and I vividly remember Michael leaping up in the air to the roar of the lathered up crowd. Spa was the second win for the year for the team and it was a phenomenal race for Michael, sparring with Villeneuve throughout the race with Jacque eventually giving up his position. Spa is Michael's self-proclaimed favorite track and this was an amazing display. The stamp features an image of Michael with a running Michael Johnson, where Johnson visited the race and traded a pair of his infamous gold running shoes for one of Schumacher's helmets.
#14 & #15
Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique banded together in 1996 to create a lovely 6 stamp souvenir sheet showing the 10 year evolution of Ferrari F1 cars starting in 1986 with the F1/86 (Stefan Johansson), F1 640 (Nigel Mansell, miss-marked as a F1 89), F92A (Jean Alesi), F1 93 (Gerhard Berger), 412 T1 (Gerhard Berger), and completing the journey in 1996 with the F310 (Michael Schumacher). All of this is set on a background shot of the F310.
Other collection-worthy postal items besides stamps are covers. Covers were produced to celebrate the first day release of a stamp, and commonly will feature cover art to match the stamp. There are many races that featured special covers and postmarks, autographs.
The Monaco cover depicted is a first day cover from April 28, 1967, when 15 stamps were issued featuring previous winners of the Monaco Grand Prix. The Ferrari depicted on the 18 cent stamp was that of Maurice Trintignant in the Tipo 625 A. The other two covers are limited editions celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Italian Air Force and the Centeniary of Enzo Ferrari's birth. These bear a special Belgian postmark dated 3/3/98 and are autographed by John Surtees and Mario Andretti. These were produced to raise funds for the F1 Drivers Injury Fund and the Royal Air Forces Association. #17-19. Finally, these covers are from Kazakhstan and depict Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello with two country produced stamps and facsimile driver autographs. #20-21
So how do you find these historic and highly collectible gems? First, refine your search. Is there a specific car, race circuit or driver you like? Maybe a country, or a particular type of stamp would be appealing. Once you set some parameters (otherwise this gets overwhelming in a hurry) locating stamps can be done by searching the Internet such as eBay, visiting local stamp shops or contacting other stamp dealers through email or snail mail. It requires diligent sleuthing and the development of credible sources. Initiating a relationship with a stamp dealer who knows what you look for is also helpful. Stamp collecting is fun, rewarding and pretty educational if you think about it.
Most everything depicted in this article are brand new, mint stamps, but you can also collect used or cancelled stamps which can also tell a very interesting story. Be on the look out for these types of postal Ferrari history as they are tougher to find and very collectible. There are wonderful cancellations running around on used envelopes from Modena, Maranello and the factory and can be real treasures.
So get out there and support your local small republic by buying and collecting these wonderful pieces of art. And just think, if you ever run short of postage for the mortgage…. well, you can guess the punch line.