POSTER STAMPS AND LABELS OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES

      INTRODUCTION

      STATISTICS

      UNSOLVED MYSTERIES

      SOLVED MYSTERIES!

       SUMMER GAMES
1894 - Modern Games Founded
1896 - I Olympiad - Athens
1900 - II Olympiad - Paris
1904 - III Olympiad - St. Louis
1906 - Intercalated Games - Athens
1908 - IV Olympiad - London
1912 - V Olympiad - Stockholm
1913 - Berlin prepares for 1916 games
1914 - 20th Anniversary of Rebirth of Games
1916 - VI Olympiad - Berlin
1920 - VII Olympiad - Antwerp
1924 - VIII Olympiad - Paris
      - Post Cards
1928 - IX Olympiad - Amsterdam
1932 - X Olympiad - Los Angeles
1936 - XI Olympiad - Berlin
1940 - XII Olympiad - Tokyo
      - XII Olympiad - Helsinki
      - New Zealand Centennial Games
1944 - XIII Olympiad - London
      - German POW Games
1948 - XIV Olympiad - London

1912 - V Olympiad - Stockholm

     

Official posters for the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm

For the first time in 1912, there was an official Olympic Games poster. It was printed in 16 languages, and despite its somewhat controversial design, it was very popular. (I was told once that the original design was even more daring.)

There was one official poster stamp created for the 1912 Games, and in this case it was really a poster stamp - it reproduces exactly the official poster for the Games.

Click on image below to open an enlarged version in a separate window/tab
Click on the DuBois number beneath the image to display technical data about that label.

      STILL MISSING

      ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

      UPDATE HISTORY

       SUMMER GAMES
1952 - XV Olympiad - Helsinki
1956 - XVI Olympiad - Melbourne
      - XVI Olympiad - Stockholm
1960 - XVII Olympiad - Rome
1964 - XVIII Olympiad - Tokyo

       WINTER GAMES
1924 - I Winter Games - Chamonix
1928 - II Winter Games - St Moritz
1932 - III Winter Games - Lake Placid
1936 - IV Winter Games - Garmisch-Partenkirchen
1940 - V Winter Games - Sapporo
      - V Winter Games - St Moritz
      - V Winter Games - Garmisch-Partenkirchen
1944 - V Winter Games - Cortina d'Ampezzo
1948 - V Winter Games - St Moritz
1952 - VI Winter Games - Oslo
1956 - VII Winter Games - Cortina d'Ampezzo
1960 - VIII Winter Games - Squaw Valley
1964 - IX Winter Games - Innsbruck

       OTHER TOPICS
      - U.S. OLYMPIC SHIELD DECALS
      - Workers' Olympics


1912-1 to 4

1912-5 to 8

1912-9 to 12

1912-13 to 16

Official poster stamps for the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm
#1912-1 to 16


Imperf German stamp, sold for $40 9/30/2016. Nice big margins.

Above: More Imperfs? But are the margins big enough? Could they be perfed stamps that have been trimmed?

This one is authentic, at least - imperf horizontally.

A major mis-perforation of the Japanese version.

                      DuBois listing:

OFFICIAL POSTER STAMPS:

"OLYMPIC GAMES - STOCKHOLM 1912 - JUNE 29th-JULY 22nd"

Vignette above: in a 44mm, black-bordered square,
nude men waving flags of several nations, Swedish
flag is in foreground. 44x58mm, perf 11.5,
Background color is orange, vignette is multicolored.

At bottom, the following texts (plus "1912" and dates)
in three lines of white print:
1. OLYMPISKA SPELEN STOCKHOLM (Swedish) ......... $9.00
2. HRY OLYMPIJSKE STOCKHOLM (Czechoslovakian) ... $8.00
3. OLYMPISCHE SPIELE STOCKHOLM (German) ......... $3.00
4. OLYMPIC GAMES STOCKHOLM (English) ............ $3.00
5. OLYMPIALAISET KISAT TUKHOLMASSA (Finnish) .... $9.00
6. JEUX OLYMPIQUES STOCKHOLM (French) ........... $3.00
7. Greek text ................................... $9.00
8. GIUOCHI OLIMPICI STOCCOLMA (Italian) ......... $7.00
9. OLYMPISCHE SPELEN STOCKHOLM (Netherlandish) . $10.00
10. JOGOS OLIMPICOS STOCKHOLMO (Portuguese) ..... $9.00
11. JUEGOS OLIMPICOS STOCKHOLMO (Spanish) ....... $9.00
12. OLIMPIAI JATEKOK STOCKHOLMBAN (Hungarian) ... $9.00
13. Russian text ............................... $12.00

The following have the same design but the text is black:
14. Turkish text, enclosed in a frame .......... $15.00
15. Japanese text: Seven vertical columns with three to
    seven characters in each column ............ $20.00 CHANGED - SEE NOTE
16. Chinese text: Six horizontal lines with eight [uniform]
    characters in each line .................... $20.00 CHANGED - SEE NOTE

Design as before but imperforate:
3a. As no.3 (German), yellow frame .... Rare
4a. As no.4 (English), yellow frame ... Rare
6a. As no.6 (French), yellow frame .... Rare
8a. As no.8 (Italian), orange frame ... Rare

Note imperf items at left - these are unperforated versions of the actual stamps, NOT the items described by DuBois above (he says there is a yellow frame), which are something entirely different, and somewhat dubious. No one I know has ever seen them. Trory just says there are imperforates of those four languages. Can anyone provide images?

Click on underlined text above for high-res version of each stamp.

CLICK HERE for more information about these stamps, including statistics on numbers printed per language.

NOTE - 10/3/2016 - Over the years I have seen much confusion about the Japanese and Chinese versions of this stamp. Today I finally asked an expert, someone who reads and speaks BOTH Chinese and Japanese, and he says definitively that DuBois had the stamps swapped, the one he described as Japanese is actually Chinese, and vice-versa. So I have changed the listing, and it is now correct. I swapped the descriptions, as this seemed to me the correct way to handle it. The descriptions now correspond correctly to the images at left.


Of the sixteen languages used to advertise these Games, only Chinese was not represented in the competitions - China did not send a team. Neither did Spain, though Chile had one.

(Section below from Wikipedia)

28 nations competed in Stockholm. Japan appeared for the first time, marking the first appearance of an Asian country at an Olympic Games. Egypt also made their first appearance, as did Iceland, Portugal and Serbia. Chile made its first appearance as a national team with fourteen athletes attending the Games, although it also had one individual entered at the 1896 Games. The first athletes from Armenia also competed, as part of the team from the Ottoman Empire (referred to as Turkey). Serbia's appearance was the only time it appeared at a Games as an independent nation until the 2008 Summer Olympics.

This was the last Olympics where "private entries" were allowed (i.e. not part of a country's officially selected team). Arnold Jackson was one such, winning the 1500 metres by 0.1 second, ahead of an American trio, who were strong favourites, in what was acclaimed at the time as "the greatest race ever run".

PARTICPANT COUNTRIES and numbers of athletes:, Australasia (26), Austria (11), Belgium (36), Bohemia (39), Canada (36), Chile (14), Denmark (152), Egypt (1), Finland (164), France (112), Germany (187), United Kingdom Britain (279), Greece (22), Hungary (119), Iceland (2), Italy (68), Japan (2), Luxembourg (21), Netherlands (33), Norway (191), Portugal (6), Russian Empire (159), Serbia (2), South Africa (21), Sweden (444), Switzerland (7), Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire (2), United States (174), TOTAL ATHLETES: 2330

Note: The late Joseph J. Lohr, a noted dealer in Cinderella material, wrote in Poster-Seal Bulletin* of July 1941: "This seal(referring to No.4, English text) is the colorful poster which gave publicity in 16 different languages to the Olympic Games held in Stockholm in 1912. This poster stamp was, in its first state, the cause of many heated press articles, and I remember when this poster first appeared in the billboards of Munich that certain people could not do enough in protesting and objecting; today the complete set is much sought after!"

* The PSCA Bulletin (Official publication of the Poster Stamp Collectors of America) was co-published with the Christmas Seal and Charity Stamp Society for six months in 1941.


The poster stamp was issued in the same 16 languages as the poster, in varying quantities, all of which DuBois lists. Over 2 million of the English version were printed, while there were only 17,300 of the Chinese version. Like the poster, the stamp's design was controversial, and saw little use on mail.

CLICK HERE to see a 4x9 block of the French version of 1912-6, the French version of this stamp. I am told these were printed in sheets of 81 stamps - 9 by 9.

OTHER POSTER STAMPS OF THE 1912 GAMES

 
#1912-17, a, b

17. Austrian Fund Label: "ÖSTERREICH IN STOCKHOLM 1912" below, white text in a decorative, black panel; Vignette above, a runner upholding a victory palm, clouds in background; artist's imprint, below runner: VFL SEIDL; decorative margin around label and between vignette & panel. 24x42mm, perf 11.5, black design on white paper .. $4.00

17a. Same as 17 but selvage tab "4 HELLER" on one edge ...$6.00

17b. Same as 17 but selvage tab "4 HELLER" on two edges (from corner of a sheet) ........................... $8.00

 
#1912-18b&c

18. A Swiss Label:

"OLYMP. RIEGE" (Olympic Squad) in panel at top; VTM (Verband Turnen Mannschaft = Gymnastic Team Union) in panel at bottom.

Vignette, in between panels: a shot-putter in knee-length pants; a lined margin around label. 22x44mm, imperforate, design is black & on the following colored papers:

a)white,
b)green,
c)yellow,
d)orange ....... all Rare


#1912-19

19.Swedish Matchbox Label:

Upper part - image: Same vignette as on No. 1912-01 (see above); Lower part - text: OLYMPISKA SPELEN STOCKHOLM 1912 Ensämratt för distribution Carl Westerberg; 35x50mm, imperforate, multicolored

Translation of text:
Olympic Games Stockholm 1912 Sole distribution rights Carl Westerberg

Pardon the useless image, that's what DuBois provided, probably a second or third generation copy from earlier sources.


#1912-20
(Image from DEPS DB)

20. A Large Swedish Label:

"OLYMPISKA SPELEN" across top; "STOCKHOLM 1912" across bottom; imprint, at lower right corner: "A. BORTZELLS TR.A.B., STHLM." Vignette, centrally located between texts: Swedish flag. 158x115mm, imperforate, red, blue & yellow ..... Rare

Note: The above-listed, oversized label is from Dick Green's "Catalog of Poster Stamps of the Olympic Games."


MISASSIGNED IN DUBOIS


#1908-9
DuBois decription:

9. A Swedish Matchbox Label: "OLYMPIAN MATCH" at upper left; "MADE IN SWEDEN" at lower left. Vignette: an athlete about to throw a Javelin, a stadium in the background with the flag of Sweden flying and other flags below. 55.5x32mm, multicolored, texts & athlete's suit are red ..... Rare

5/11/16 - DuBois lists this item with the 1908 labels, but as French collector Philippe Pavard just pointed out, the stadium pictured is clearly the Stockholm Olympic Stadium, built specifically for the 1912 Games, and opened in 1912. Why DuBois listed this as a 1908 label I cannot say - perhaps he was relying on an older catalog, and did not think to question it, though he did identify the flag as Swedish, so that should have tipped him off. Then again, DuBois didn't have the www and Google to help him, did he?

But we do, so first, here's a photo taken at the Opening Ceremonies of the 1908 Games in London, showing the stadium built for those Olympics.

Second, here is a photo of the Opening Ceremonies of the 1912 Games in Stockholm.

Note the distinctive towers, visible both in the photo and on the matchbox label.

And, just for good measure, here is an image (provided by Philippe Pavard) of a 2012 Swedish stamp commemorating the centenary of the 1912 Games.

So I think it is clear that this matchbox label was issued to commemorate the 1912 Games.

NOT IN DUBOIS

Reproduction (FAKE) of French version of official poster stamp:

The French version of the 1912 stamp is not particularly scarce (over 600,000 printed), but someone took the trouble to create this counterfeit version:


1912-x0
Counterfeit French label
35mm x 46mm (vs about 45x60 for the real deal)

This one has been marked as a fake, and was sold to me (on eBay) as such, AND it's much smaller than the real stamp, so only a total idiot would be fooled. What's the story?



ESCH sur ALZETTE 1912 FÊTE OLYMPIQUE

4/11/16 - French collector Philippe Pavard sent these images of 1912 poster stamps from Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg. They are inscribed Fête Olympique - Olympic festival (not Jeux Olympique)


1912-x1
62x46mm overall
ESCH s/ALZETTE - 1-2-3-IX 1912
FÊTE OLYMPIQUE
Vignette: Allegorical female at left,
Athelete with iron ball at right

Esch-sur-Alzette held a festival from September 1 to 3 in 1912, including "Olympic" events, and other celebrations. Below is the stamp with five others of the same series or set, showing other events of the festival.

 

7/2/16 - Philippe sent this LINK to Sept. 5, 1912 newspaper article about the festival, including a report on the athletic events. "Unfavorable weather" but a good time was had by all!

A Mystery?

Hungarian Matchbox labels - History of the Olympics 1894 - 1960

And what's going on here? I found this image somewhere on the www, (I should keep better records, I know), and it puzzled me at first.


1912-x2
Mystery label

But then I recognized those letters "MSZ" and remembered seeing them on Hungarian matchbox labels. A helpful website told me HUNGARY - On post-WW2 labels, look for MSZ (Magyar Szabvany = Hungarian Standard) and 30 or 40f (= forint or filler, their currency).
Mystery solved! Further research yielded this image:

showing the label in company with some others of the 120 (!) members of the set. They depict the history of the modern Olympic Games, with posters, athletes, and events from 1894 to 1960, so they must have been issued between 1960 and 1964.

FULL SET HERE:
Page 1  Page 2  Page 3  Page 4 
(partial #111)

Swedish postcard - 50th Anniversary of 1912 Olympics

This one really had me excited - another image from somewhere on the www. A new find! And a great variation on the poster design. Was it a label?


1912-x3
Mystery label? No, a postcard.

7/1/16 - I found the images below on delcampe.net - it's a postcard created in 1962 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1912 Games.

 


PETER OEHLER
ATHLETES CLUB "FRANKFURT"


1912-x4

Found on the www

ATHLETEN-VEREIN "FRANKFURT" PETER OEHLER

According to Wikipedia, Peter Oehler was a German wrestler, who "competed in the light heavyweight event at the 1912 Games."

Translation of text:
ATHLETES CLUB "FRANKFURT"
Member. PETER OEHLER
Olympic fighter Stockholm 1912


Grösste Illustrierte Sport-Zeitung
Tosolini's Sport-Magazin
 
1912-x5

Image above found in a David Feldman auction catalog. The stamps must date from 1913 or earlier, based on the athletes shown. I have images of 14 so far with an Olympic connection, and another 15 that are not Olympic-related, or do not depict named athletes. At right are the Olympic items. CLICK HERE for images of some others. List of the athletes and their accomplishments HERE.

NOTE: All these stamps were published by Tosolini's Sport-Magazin as well - image of some of them HERE.

There could be many more.
Can anyone provide more information, or images of the complete set?


Das Deutsche Auto - Grösste Illustrierte Sport-Zeitung
The German Auto - Largest Illustrated Sports Newspaper


1912-x6
Baggage label
187mm x 125mm
Black text on orange paper

OLYMPIC GAMES OF STOCKHOLM 1912
UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND

Thanks to Philippe Pavard,
veikkos-archiv.com,
probaj-stamps.com,
and poster-stamps.de for images,
and sports-reference.com for data.



1964-05
V 1912 Estocolmo
Estocolmo = Spanish for Stockholm

10/16/16 - Steven Greiczek sent this image, of a stamp owned by Conrad Graham, with this comment: An unlisted Spanish issue. If I remember correctly the consensus was this may have been issued after the fact so we hadn't included it in the catalog. 22x30. (The catalog he refers to is the "General Illustrated Catalogue of Exhibition & Event Poster Stamps to 1914," Gardiner & Greiczek)

The design looked familiar, so I set the image aside for a few days, and when I returned to it, was sure I had run across it before, and that Steve's suspicion was correct, it was part of a later issue, a set commemorating previous Games. I leafed through the post-1960 section of my DuBois catalog (1960 is as far as I have gone with these pages so far), and found what I was looking for on the first page of the 1964-Tokyo Games section. Image at right. Full text description from the DuBois catalog HERE
1964-01-25
Summary from DuBois:

A Spanish sheet of 25 labels lists the 18 Olympiads which occurred from 1896 to 1964. Winter Games of that era are also listed. 18 of the vignettes consist of circular Aztec symbols and Olympic rings.

I plan to add a page for 1964 soon, and will replace this section with a link there, but for now, this will serve to guide anyone else who runs across the item, and perhaps its siblings as well.


There were no postage stamps issued for the 1912 Games.


There were no winter games in 1912.


TOP

I am indebted to Robert J DuBois for allowing me to use images and information from his Catalog of Olympic Labels on these web pages.

All text and images are the property of the author. Any errors are his.
REWARD! If you have better or additional information about anything shown or discussed here, please email the author.
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Created -- 07/27/2013
Revised -- 02/05/2017