The annual Thorvaldsen Society Christmas seal, a decorative “stamp” with no postage value for a good deed

The 2017 Thorvaldsen Society's stamp, designed by Karólína Lárusdóttir

The 2017 Thorvaldsen Society’s stamp, designed by Karólína Lárusdóttir

 

Every year, Iceland Post helps the Thorvaldsen Society with a good deed by advertising their annual decorative Christmas seal on Iceland Post/Postphil’s website and although this decorative “stamp” has no postage value, many people like to buy it at Christmas time, for a good deed, and to decorate Christmas cards and packets alongside “real” Christmas stamps!

The Thorvaldsen Society was founded in November 1875, deriving its name from the sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen who had inadvertently brought together the society-to-be’s members : the same year, when a statue of the Danish sculptor was unveiled on Austurvöllur Square in Reykjavík, a few young ladies had been given the task of decorating the square. These young women had in turn enlisted friends and relatives to assist, and found that they so enjoyed working together for a common cause that on November 19, 1875, they decided to formally establish a charitable society with the aim of helping children in need.

The statue of Bertel Thorvaldsen on Austurvöllur, 1875. Photography Frederick W.W. Howell

The statue of Bertel Thorvaldsen on Austurvöllur, 1875.
Photography Frederick W.W. Howell

The Thorvaldsen Society divides itself into three committees : the Child-Rearing Fund, the Christmas Card Fund, and the Bazaar Committee. All proceeds are used to benefit children in need and their families, in one way or another. The main committee supervises meetings, social affairs, maintenance of the Thorvaldsen Bazaar building on Austurstræti and the general running of the society.

For years now, the charity has been donating money to the Children’s hospital ward. It has also participated in the building of creches and kindergartens, given financial assistance to the families of sick children, towards youth programs and drug abuse prevention programs, to name but a few. Many changes have taken place since the Thorvaldsen Society was founded in 1875, however, the need for such charities has not abated.

The 2017 Thorvaldsen Society’s stamp sheet, designed by Karólína Lárusdóttir

The 2017 Thorvaldsen Society’s stamp sheet, designed by Karólína Lárusdóttir

The Child-Rearing Fund derives its income from the sale of the decorative Christmas Stamps (please note that these decorative stamps have no face value and have no postage value), which was first issued by the society in 1913. It has been sold in benefit of the fund every year since then, with the exception of 1917 when the ship bringing the stamps from Denmark, where they were printed, was sunk. Many of these decorative stamps were designed by well-known artists and are now prized collectors’ items.

Thorvaldsen’s 2017 Christmas decorative Seal is the 104th, and was designed by Karólína Lárusdóttir. 

It will be issued on November 3rd and is available now for pre-orders here on Postphil’s website. 

 

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