From queen angels to sea jellies, whales to nudibranchs, marine life stamps are a medium for appreciation of life under the sea around the world.
SOMETIMES THE FOCUS OF MARINE LIFE STAMPS is on fishes important to an nation’s economy, like Latvia’s 2004 recognition of the turbot, an important food fish in Baltic Sea waters. Sometimes, it’s on the exotic reef creatures that draw divers and other tourists to their waters, like Australia and Caribbean island of Dominica.
Sometimes, stamps simply draw attention to remote nations’ presence on the planet, like Djibouti, Mali and Niue, a small island-nation near New Zealand. In doing so, they provide revenue sources for their countries and a cornucopia of exotic choices for stamp collectors.
CORAL REEFS AND BIOLUMINESCENCE
DOWN UNDER AND FAR AWAY
WIDELY VARIED IMAGES:
The full web of life under the sea makes for great stamps – and exotic gazetteers:
- A cuckoo wrasse (Norway) and a peacock wrasse (Malta)
- Conchs and other spiral-shelled mollusks (the Grenada Grenadines)
- A dolphin (the Falkland Islands)
- Soft coral (Papua New Guinea. Also, Singapore)
- A chambered nautilus and boxfish set (Malaysia)
- A bait ball and three protected species (Palau)
- Myriad sea turtles (e.g.: Palau, again)
CETACEANS ARE POPULAR:
Whale and dolphin images are abundant, as diverse as:
- “Dolphins of the Caribbean” (Antigua and Barbuda)
- Bowhead whales (Canada)
- Blue whale and calf (Republic of Mali)
- Caribbean dolphins (St. Vincent)
- A dolphin, a killer whale, another seal and a turtle (France)
- Dolphins & whales – sharing stamps with Benjamin Franklin & Norwegian biologist Michael Sars! – Côte d’Ivorie
PLACES AND STAMP SUBJECTS THAT AT FIRST SEEM UNLIKELY TOGETHER:
We’re talking about stamp subjects like:
- Scallops, conchs and other sea creatures (Republic of Burundi)
- Prawns (Kuwait)
- Gastropod mollusks (South Korea)
- Jellyfishes (Taiwan)
- Marine Life Aquarium Tropical Fish (Djibouti)
- Swordfish & other fishes (Poland)
- Scuba diver (& sunken automobile!) (Finland)
- “Mysterious Marine Creatures – Cephalopods” (Niuafoʻou, an island in the Pacific Kingdom of Tonga)
MARINE LIFE STAMPS FROM PLACES I’VE BARELY HEARD OF:
- Mollusks, from conchs to giant clams (Cocos Keeling Islands, off Australia’s west coast)
- Nudibranchs (Niue, a small island-nation near New Zealand)
- Killer Whales (Norfolk Island, off Australia’s eastern coast)
- Pretty much one of everything in the sea, including divers (Vanuatu)
FISHES MORE PRIZED FOR ECONOMIC IMPORTANT THAN TOURISM: The Faroe Islands, located in the North Atlantic far off the Danish coast, have issued a broad series of marine life stamps, many celebrating important food fishes. Faroes artist Astrid Andreasen has done many, if not most, of them.
Curiously, most stamps from nations worldwide identify their poster-stars with their Latinized, scientific names. Sometimes they include the common name, but it’s a recognition that local names can vary widely, and that the scientific naming system provides consistency.
MORE MARINE LIFE STAMPS
There are many marine life stamps and many site on the web focused on them. If you’re interested in seeing an unending variety, visit this page.
PRINCIPAL SOURCES: Images were taken from various countries’ postal service websites or Creative Commons sites like Wikimedia Commons.org. Details like the locations of Niue and the Cocos Keeling Islands were verified with Wikipedia.org.