The annual vote for Åland's most beautiful stamp has ended. Most even was the competition between second and third place in which the Europa stamp featuring endangered moor frogs by Bo Lundwall managed to beat the series of songbirds, four franking labels designed by stamp debutant Anna Handell. The stamp issue The Tall Ships´ Races received most votes, thus taking first place. Åland Juha Pykäläinen is the artist behind the stamp and miniature sheet that paid homage to Åland sailing ship traditions.
The stamp issue The Tall Ships' Races was released on July 23, 2021, and it has been popular, although the international event in Mariehamn was changed to a smaller national sailing festival due to Covid restrictions. The stamp focused on the adventure, community, and friendship onboard a sailing ship, while the miniature sheet illustrated a bustling harbour area with the museum ship Pommern reminiscent of Åland's proud maritime heritage.
Åland artist Juha Pykäläinen has created the two pieces of stamp art: “On the stamp, I wished to create a sense of fellowship. On the miniature sheet, I concentrated more on obtaining a feeling of each vessel than on details. That’s why I made a traditional oil painting. In my experience, it’s a good technique to create that genuine and vivid impression”.
Juha will be a familiar artist to all collectors of Åland stamps, having created a multitude of stamps for Åland Post. His stamp designs have been chosen as the most beautiful stamp issue of the year on several occasions, most recently in 2017 when his stamp ‘Finland 100 years’ was chosen.
The moor frogs featured on the 2021 Europa stamp on the theme Endangered wildlife succeeded in securing second place. Swedish Bo Lundwall is the artist behind this piece of stamp art, which was issued on 7 May 2021. In the autumn of 2021, it also won silver in the competition for the most beautiful 2021 Europa stamp.
Defeated by only a few votes, the series of Songbirds took third place. Issued on 2 February 2021, the franking labels feature four types of songbirds: willow warbler , common chaffinch , European robin, and Eurasian blackcap. With this series, illustrator Anna Handell from Sweden made her debut as a stamp artist for Åland Post.
We thank everyone who took part in the vote. We have drawn lots for a secret box and a number of collector’s prizes that have been posted to winners in Finland, Sweden, Greece and Spain.