1894 - Modern Games Founded
1896 - I Olympiad - Athens
1900 - II Olympiad - Paris
      - Vignettes of the 1900 Paris Expo
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
1952 - XV Olympiad - Helsinki
1956 - XVI Olympiad - Melbourne
      - XVI Olympiad - Stockholm
1960 - XVII Olympiad - Rome

1956 - XVI Olympiad - Melbourne
Nov. 22-Dec. 8

Official Poster and Emblem for 1956 Games in Melbourne

Australia was a controversial choice for the Games. "Many members of the IOC were sceptical about Melbourne as an appropriate site. Its location in the Southern Hemisphere was a major concern, since the reversal of seasons would mean the Games were held during the northern winter. (The Games were held Nov 22 thru Dec 8) This was thought likely to inconvenience athletes from the Northern Hemisphere, who were accustomed to resting during their winter." Furthermore ..."Australian equine quarantine would prevent the country from hosting the equestrian events. Stockholm was selected as the alternative site, so equestrian competition began on 10 June, five and a half months before the rest of the Olympic games were to open, half the world away."

There were other problems as well, but in the end Melbourne did a fine job, and these Olympic Games were considered a success. (See Wikipedia article for full story.)

Invitation - 134mm x 84mm
(light card stock, reverse side blank)

The following poster stamps and labels were issued for the 1956 Games in Melbourne:

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.





1964 - XVIII Olympiad - Tokyo
1968 - XIX Olympiad - Mexico City
1972 - XX Olympiad - Munich

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
1968 - X Winter Games - Grenoble
1972 - XI Winter Games - Sapporo

      - Workers' Olympics


1. 1955 Issue, Olympic Organizing Committee): "OLYMPIC GAMES" at top; "MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA 22 NOV 8 DEC 1956" at bottom; Vignette: 01ympic rings below upper text, behind torch's flame; a torch over the Australian Continent, inserted into Melbourne's location. 24.5x37mm, rouletted 7, deep blue, on a creamy chalk-surfaced paper ... $1.00

Sheet format: Sheet of 32 (8x4), with vertical gutter in center of sheet, PM4S.

1a.(l956 Issue): Same as No.1 but on white unsurfaced paper; same sheet format but without vertical gutter ... $1.00

(9/23/16 - According to Noel Almeida, Australian expert on the 1956 Olympics labels, 1956-01 and 1956-01a are indistinguishable as singles, i.e., there is no visible difference in the papers, except under UV light, where xxxxx. I asked Noel if there was any difference in the gum, and he replied "I can't see any difference in the gum, both have shiny gum." He sent the scan below, showing upper margin blocks of both printings, and said "Kindly also note the difference in the size of the top and bottom selvedge of the first and second print." Finally, he noted that the only other way to tell them apart is in multiples - any multiple five or more wide with NO GUTTER is from the second printing.)

1956-01 and 01a


2. "XVIth OLYMPIAD MELBOURNE, 1956" in a decorative oval; in the middle, under the Olympic rings, a torch over the Australian Continent. (Logo of 1956-Melbourne Games) 17x28mm, imperforate, deep blue ... Rare

I question whether 1956-02 exists as a label.

I think what DuBois had was a cutout from an official envelope like the one above.

02/15/2022 - BUT THEN AGAIN - I found these two images somewhere (?) the size is right, and it's clearly gummed!

Accommodation Appeal Labels:
The two following over-sized labels of 1955 were included with telephone bills.

#1956-03 & 03a

3. "30,000 OLYMPIC VISITORS Want Accommodation - Be an Olympic Host to a Paying Guest RING CENTRAL 5050 (Fifty Fifty) or WRITE ORGANISING SECRETARY, OLYMPIC CIVIC COMMITTEE, TOWN HALL, MELBOURNE" - Red Olympic rings under last four lines of text. 49x54mm (63x65.5mm overall), imperforate, gummed; color: blue text on yellow paper ... Rare

3a. "30,000 OLYMPIC VISITORS WANT BEDS CAN YOU HELP BY TAKING A PAYING GUEST - IF YOU CAN BE A HOST RING CENTRAL 5050 or write to ORGANISING SECRETARY OLYMPIC CIVIC COMMITTEE, TOWN HALL, MELBOURNE"; Olympic rings at top above text (double-lined rings, identical in size and format to those of No.3). 50x82mm (77x102mm overall), imperforate, ungummed; text & rings are red, paper is pale blue ... Rare

DuBois listing:

4. A Souvenir Sheet: Australia's four Olympic postage stamps of 1956 are reproduced in reduced size; the following blue text was added to the block of four:


50x70mm, imperforate, multicolored (like original postage stamps, but not postally valid) ... $4.50

The story behind these sheelets is interesting, but lengthy, so I have put it in a separate text doc - click here - in short, they were produced a year AFTER the Games concluded, in a misguided effort to sell a huge stock of this Olympic-themed postcards that had not sold.


#1956-05-06 a thru e

Click on images for scans of full sheets

Postcard advertising the event and Invitation to the event


Philatelic Exhibition & Advertising Labels(Nos. 5 & 6):

5. OLYMPEX VPA PHILATELIC EXHIBITION at top; AT PRESTON MOTORS SHOWROOM, 104 RUSSELL ST. MELBOURNE NOV. 12-24 1956 at bottom; vignette,in center: a sprinting athlete. 27x34mm, roulette 7 or imperforate ... $1.50

6. Text like No.5; vignette, in center: a hurdler,going over a hurdle. 28x34mm,roulette 7 or imperf. Design is oval-like in that corners are rounded and edges arc curved ... $1.50

Colors of Nos. 5 & 6: background color is that of the paper; athletes are outline-drawn,in dark or black; "text-designs" plus the track under the sprinter and the hurdle under the hurdler are colored as follows(2nd color is that of the paper):

a) green on pink,
b) green on flesh,
c) red on pale green,
d) red on pale blue,
e) green on pale yellow

Sheet Format: Nos. 5&6 come together on sheets of 12(4x3), with the sprinter label on positions 1,3,6,8,9,11 and the hurdler on position 2,4,5,7,10,12. There are thus six pairs depicting both athletes on each sheet. The rouletted sheet is SMS, thus only one fully-rouletted pair is available per sheet.

PCP: Imperf progressive color proofs exist. The green & yellow variety has the following stages:
1) black, athlete only
2) green, text & background only
3) black & green, complete design ... Set of 3 pairs, $15.00

(Overall size of each label approx. 38x44mm)

#1956-07 and 08d thru 08v

#1956-08b, 08w, 08x

7. At top: "NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ROUND TABLES IN EAST AFRICA" - below: a round, spoked coat-of-arms with the words "ADOPT, ADAPT & IMPROVE"; below that: Olympic rings and "XVI OLYMPIAD MELBOURNE 1956" - an empty panel across bottom; a lined border. 23x36mm, rouletted 7.5, multicolored ... Rare

Advertising Labels:
8. Like #7 but with the following text in the panel:
a) A Baumann & Co. Ltd ... Rare
b) Messageries Maritimes ... Rare
c) G. North & Sons (Pty) Ltd ... Rare
d) Citroen ... Rare

New finds (e thru w): Arpic for Air; E.A.R.&H.; Travel the Caltex Way; Dalgety & Co., Ltd; Dominion Potato Crisps; Fiat ; There's a Ford in your Future; "G & R"; Harrtz & Bell Ltd.; Hillman Cars; Humber Cars; Metal Box Know-How Counts; OLD EAST; SHELL; Unga Ltd.; Rely on Renault; Commer Trucks; The Cooper Motor Corporation Ltd.; FIRESTONE

Most images courtesy of Noel Almeida, Olympics poster stamp collector of Melbourne, Australia. The last two are from Brian Sullman of the UK (4/3/18). Most of the items shown are not in DuBois.
Still missing 8c!
There could be others.

7/17/18 - added The Cooper Motor Corporation Ltd.
10/30/18 - added A Baumann & Co. Ltd (08a!)
08/18/19 - added FIRESTONE (08w)
12/27/19 - added image for 08b!
06/16/2020 - added U.A.C. (08x)


9. Norwegian Fund: Above: Classic statue of a discus thrower; below: Olympic rings and "1956" 21x27mm perf 11.5, white design on

a)red or
b)blue ... $3.00


10. Norwegian Fund: Above: Nordic gymnasts greeting each other (boy & girl in native garb); below: O1ympic rings & "1956" - 21x27mm, perf 11.5, white design on brown ... $3.00


Olympic rings / "Olympiaflug 1956" - The latter text is on an Austrian flight-label. 45x18mm, perfed, black

That DuBois description is vague, but I think he means the airmail etiquette shown above.



12. At top: "VIA WIEN 101" - Beneath, in a lined frame: Airplane silhouette, "OSTERREICHISCHER OLYMPIA SONDERFLUG" (Austrian Special Olympic Flight); Olympic flame, Olympic rings, Olympic flame; then below: "XVI. OLYMPIADE WIEN-NORDPOL-MELBOURNE: At bottom: a reproduction of the official flight label. 41x49mm, imperf, blue ... $10.00


#1956-13 thru 16
NOTE that 1956-14 is engraved, while 13, 15 & 16 are offset.

SEE NOTE on right.


11/10/17 - #1956-15 and 16 with partial overprint "POLSKI KOMITET OLIMPIJSKI" = Polish Olympic Committee

NOTE: 3/13/16 - I just found an article about Polish philately HERE which states that the 2zl cyclist stamp is olive, so either that was an error, or there is one more stamp to this set. Excerpt below.

1/12/18 - I consulted Dr. Roman Babut, Polish philately expert, about the existence of an olive variety of the cyclist stamp, and he too has seen only the blue, so I am concluding that the article above is in error. Either the author had not seen the stamps first-hand, and went from an erroneous report, or he simply got mixed up.

More about 17 and 17a in this article by Dr Roman Babut.
Excerpt below.


POLISH FUND LABELS: In the course of preparations for the 1952 and 1956 Games, the Polish Olympic Committee launched an extensive fund-collecting campaign. The following "Olympic Fund" labels were issued jointly with a Sports Lottery:

13. "FUNDUSZ" up left side; "OLIMPIJSKI" down right side; "2 zl" at bottom. Vignette: three soccer players below Olympic rings (interlaced as on original Olympic flag) 21x26mm, perf 12.5, olive green ... $4.00

14. Same as 13 but with artist's imprint below design ... $6.00

15. Like 13 but two cyclists in vignette, blue ... $4.00

16. Like 13 but boxer in vignette, brown-violet ... $4.00

17. "FUNDUSZ" at top, center; "OLIMPIJSKI" at bottom, center; "10 zl" on left & right sides, on an olive branch; Olympic rings, in vertical format, on left (interlaced as on official Olympic flag). Vignette: two boxers in a boxing ring. 49x29mm, perf 11, vignette is brown, other parts of design are white on green background ... $10.00

17a. Same as 17 but with violet, handstamp-overprint, "100zl" in rectangular frame, impressed over the figures of the original value ... Rare

This provisional label served as a receipt for the sum paid for Olympic purposes in connection with the excursion to Rome (1960 Games), organized by the "Sport-Tourist" Travel Bureau. See pages 236 & 237 of '1960 - Rome' section for other fund labels of Poland.

Credit: Information on above fund labels of Poland is from "Polish Olympic Chronicle in Philately" by Fabian Bura. Publisher: Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza, Warszawa 1976, 144pp

3/31/19 - Roman Babut supplied the images below, of these labels on covers, used as postage (!?) and on a scoring sheet.


#1956-18, 19 & 20 and three new varieties

DuBois listing:


18. "TIMBRU OLIMPIC" underneath Olympic rings. Vignette: a discus thrower in a stadium; "50 BANI" on right; a lined border 25x30mm, brown ... $5.00

19. Like 18 but value of 1 leu & blue color ... $5.00

20. Like 18 but value of 1.50 lei, brown on green paper ... $5.00

3/13/16 - I just found the image above on a Romanian site - note that there are two varieties each of the 50 and 1.00, plus a 2.00 not mentioned in DuBois, so 6 stamps in all!

1/19/15 - eBay seller maerkat sent scans of the relevant pages from the 2000 "Catalogul Timbrelor Fiscale Romanesti" by Mihai Cojocar and John Barefoot's 2003 "Bulgaria & Romania Revenues." Both list all six of these stamps, and say they are perf 13.5. Barefoot adds that the stamps were compulsory on some documents as a tax to aid the Romanian Olympic team.


#1956-21 to 28a

Підземна пошта України

Underground Post Office of Ukraine
Ukrainian Sport still in Captivity

At left and below are various sheetlets of this issue. I find it difficult to match them to the DuBois color descriptions, - you try.
DuBois listing:

Cyrillic text across bottom. Vignette: two artistic flame-holders with Olympic rings, "1956" above, between which is a picture of a sporting event and denomination. 33x23mm, perf 10, (see sheet data below for colors) ... $2.50

21. Bob-sled & "10"
22. Ski-jumper & "20"
23. Figure-skaters & "30"
24. Down-hill skier & "40"
25. Ukrainian trident symbol, in a wreath (no denomination)
26. Two boxers & "10"
27. Two sprinters & "20"
28. Two cyclists & "30"
28a. Two lady gymnasts & "40" ... $2.50ea
Nos. 21 to 28a exist imperf ... $2.50ea

Sheet data: The above, nine different, come as a se-tenant sheet of nine(3x3). Text across top of sheet: "1956" at both upper corners with "OLYMPIA" in between, in both Cyrillic & Roman text; Cyrillic text across bottom; a threefold lined-border on each side; exists with & without watermarks. Texts and border-lines are same color as central portions of labels. The colors of the labels are as follows, with the first color being that of the flame-holders, rings, picture-edges & lower background; the second color is that of the outer background; & the third color is that of the picture background. Picture drawings are white.
    a) red-brown, cinnamon & green
    b) black, apple-green & blue
    c) black, blue-gray & yellow-brcwn
    d) brown, apple-green & yellow-brown
    e) black, gray & green
    f) black, cinnamon & red-brown
Perforated sheets are PM4S with perfs passing thru selvage. Perf or imperf ... $25.00/sheet

Note: Color-trial prints are known.
An issue of the Ukrainian Museum in the U.S.A.

NOTE: DuBois attributes these to the Ukrainian Museum, which was not founded until 1976. They were issued by the Ukrainian Sports Federation of U.S.A and Canada, founded on 12/24/55 - see labels 1956-102, below.


29. A large oval-shaped laurel wreath, Olympic rings above, closing the upper end of the wreath; within the wreath, at the upper sides: "OLYMPIC GAMES"; In the center, between 19 & 56, a torch with the U.S.A. Olympic coat of arms adorning the flame. 35x53mm, imperf, black imprinted into gold background ... $5.00

Why is the next entry numbered 29 as well? DuBois does not mention it, so he may have inherited it from a prior catalog.




29a thru d. "ATENI 1896" at top left; six runners directly beneath; then a torch (at Athens, the starting city) and the Athens to Melbourne route, with the localities located between the two terminal cities denoted, "CAIRO, KARAKI, CALCUTTA, SINGAPORE, DJAKARTA, DARWIN, CAIRNS, BRISBARNE (Brisbane misspelled), SYDNEY, CANBERRA"; then, below: "LX ANNIVERSAIRE DES JEUX OLIMPYQUES ENTE PROVINCIALE TURISMO CATANIA LA CITTA DELL'ETNA (ITALY)" - at lower right: a runner with a torch; at bottom right: "MELBOURNE 1956" A line border around whole label. 44x65mm, perf 11.5

a) brown on light green
b) brown on light blue
c) brown on chamois
d) brown on light gray
... $3.00 each
All colors exist imperf ... Rare

Proofs are known.

Sheet format: Block of four (2x2), PM4S, perfs pass through selvage ... $15.00 sh.

Are there five colors?



30. "ATHEN-MELBOURNE" at bottom; vignette, above text: an Olympic ring-adorned torch between two olive branches and "1896" & "1956". Several one-colored designs on 3 colors of paper. 42x35mm (6lx4lmm overall), perf 11.

Ink colors: red, green, dark gray, light brown, light bistre, light green & black, on the following colors of paper: light turquoise-green, rose-pink, & light buff ... $1.OO each

Imperf pairs, 2 design colors on same paper ... $4.00 pr

Note: See label No.45 for a listing similar to No. 30.

The ink colors DuBois lists do not agree with the examples I have seen, which include nine ink colors, as follows (as seen on the sheetlets at left, starting with top left stamp, across then down): brown-1, red, brown-2, black, green, black, grey, orange, brown-3, blue-gray. Those are imprecise terms, but you get the idea. I think he thought there were two shades of green because of the papers. And it's clear he had not seen a complete sheetlet.

#1956-31 to 34

31. Above: "OLYMPIC GAMES" - at either side: a torch; below: "1956 MELBOURNE 1956"; Vignette: a sprinter. 38x29mm, perf 11.
Frame comes in two colors:
Type 1 - dark gray (gold-like);
Type II- light gray.
Colors of central picture:
a)Red, b)green, c)blue, or d) violet ... $3.00

32. Like design 31 but center vignette depicts three swimmers, at edge of pool, about to dive ... $3.00

33. Like design 31 but center vignette depicts three women hurdlers, above or near a hurdle ... $3.00

34. Like design 31 but center vignette depicts two bicyclists ... $3.00 (The vignettes of Nos. 31 to 34 include background scenes, including spectators, and are well-executed relief drawings.)

3/31/19 - AT LAST! An intact sheet! Sold on eBay (BIN) for $30. (Cheap!)

I don't understand DuBois' claim that the frame is "gray" - to me it's gold, period, and there are some variations, but not enough to make separate types - see Noel Almeida's comment at right.

9/22/16 - Noel Almeida sent me a copy of Vito Milana's Cinderella Corner from the August, 2016 edition of Stamp News Australasia, showing some key items from Noel's collection of 1956 Olympics poster stamps and labels, including this set, about which Vito says

They are the work of famed cinderella enthusiast and former Cinderella Corner writer, Bill Hornadge, who owned Seven Seas Stamps of Dubbo at the time. Monty Wedd of Sydney designed the stamps for Bill, as he did for many products of Seven Seas. ... Printing of the labels was completed at Dubbo, New South Wales and were sold at 6d for a set of four.

I wrote Noel to ask if he had ever seen a full sheet of these, or knew its format (I'm guessing four by four, with all stamps the same colors) and he replied

As far as I know, No one has ever seen a full sheet nor has a photo of the full sheet surfaced.

Bill told me that the bulk of these were put into approval packets and therefore broken up into singles in his factory.

Bill also said that the frames were always meant to be gold making any claims to be other colours erroneous.

Thanks, Noel.

10/29/2018 - the two items below showed up on eBay. Seller calls them COLOUR ERRORS. I have my doubts, but I can't think of any way that light or chemicals could change the gold ink to green and have no effect on the blue. They sold for $28 each.



4/22/2022 - Noel Almeida, Australian collector and abundant contributor to this page, sent the image below, of a card he purchased as a color error, but was informed later by the (honest!) seller that it was caused by exposure to sunlight, which leads me to think the "COLOUR ERROR" stamps in the previous column are likewise the result of too much sun. Apparently gold ink is particuarly sensitive.



45. Design like No. 30., and underneath: "Citius-Altius-Fortius" - also now has a dotted edge, like fake perforations. 63x55mm, imperforate, color: black on tan paper ... $1.00

12/17/16 - I found the image above in an eBay auction, and to me the "perforations" look real, so I emailed the seller, and he confirmed they are printed.

Image from DuBois



#1956-46 to 55 a thru e



AN ESPERANTO ISSUE, Nos. 46 to 55:

"OLIMPIAJ LUDOJ" (Olympic Games) across top; Olympic rings and "1956" under upper text; "ESPERANTO" with a green star below, at lower right; "MELBOURNE AUSTRALIO" across bottom: to left of "M" of Melbourne, the artist's imprint "Blanch" and on the lower right, printer's imprint "E.MORENO-BARCELONA". 30x44.5mm (design), perf 11 & imperf.
Texts, picture and star's outline are white.
There are five different background colors, as follows:
a)rose, b)blue, c)red-brown, d)yellow, e)orange.
..... OR ARE THERE? See below

The centrally located vignettes depict the following:
46. A sprinting athlete
47. A soccer player
48. A hand holding a torch, above an outline drawing of Australia, with Melbourne indicated.
49. A hockey player
50. A gymnast
51. Two sail boats
52. A weight lifter
53. An oarsman rowing a scull
54. Two bicyclists
55. A diver doing a swan dive ... $1.99 ea

Sheet Format: Nos. 46 to 55 are listed in the order in which they occur on a sheet of ten(5x2). There is one background color only on all labels of the same sheet. The background color spills over abut 3mm into the selvage. There is a green border (about 0.8mm wide) around the whole sheet, interrupted at top center by green Olympic rings (inter-laced as on the official Olympic flag). There is a printer's imprint near the bottom of the sheet, below the tenth label: "Presis: E. MORENO Barcelona - Hispanio"

Perforated sheets are PM4S, perforations extending all the way through the selvage ... $20.00 sheet

3/27/18: At left, all five "official" colors - rose, blue, red-brown, orange, and yellow. I questioned whether the fifth one is really yellow, or a faded orange, but today UK collector Brian Sullman sent THIS SCAN, of all five colors together (that is, imaged at the same time and on the same scanner), so I am convinced - it is yellow - or at least a separate color (yellow-orange?).

4/8/18: Dr Ian Spencer, another UK collector of "all things Australian" wrote to say he disagreed, and while there are varieties of all four colors, four is all their creator intended. So I put together THIS VERY CRUDE PAGE, showing all the examples I have assembled, sorted by color, and I am inclined to agree with Ian. Note, by the way, that whenever one finds a set of singles, there are four. And there are color variations in the other colors as well, though perhaps not so dramatic as with the orange. So I think we can say the printer was careless when mixing his inks, and there are four colors, plus varieties. CASE CLOSED.


Note the pink one - the stars are cut out!
Images courtesy of Brian Sullman


48a. Same design as No. 48 but larger size; has green frame line, rings and star. Background is darker green. 73.5x98mm (overall design portion), 100x122 (overall card)


48B. A non-label, but Olympic-related card: "SWIMMING STADIUM" in panel at bottom. Logo of the Melbourne Games, as at label No. 2, at upper right.

Vignette: external view with people walking on a frontal walkway. 89.5x58.5mm (overall). Vignette is multicolored, card is of playing-card size and thickness, with rounded corners ... Rare

7/13/16 - I just found out that this item is a "Coles Swap Card" (Coles is an Aussie grocery chain, still in business) and part of a set of 140, five groups of 28, as follows: one group showing Olympic sports events (24 seen), one showing Melbourne Olympics venues (the set to which the item above belongs, four seen), one showing scenes in foreign countries with small flags at top (28 seen), one showing flowers of foreign countries and large flags (26 seen), and one showing industries & products (none seen) The backs usually have the text "Exclusive Coles Production," as shown in the second scan above. More HERE and HERE. They are plentiful on eBay.

I consider these peripheral items in the DuBois catalog - they are not poster stamps or labels - so their place here is a bit dubious, as DuBois admits. If we include this one, we must include all 139 of the rest of its set! AND there are many other swap cards with an Olympic theme. It's up to you.

#1956-56 and 57

56. "SUOMI OLYMPIALAISIIN FINLAND till OLYMPIADEN" at top; a torch is centrally located, with Olympic rings superimposed at the top of the flame; the bottom of the torch touches down on Melbourne's location on the continent of Australia; across bottom of design: "MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA 22 NOV - 8 DEC 1956" - below design: "PAULIG" to left of design: "TUKKUKAU-PPOJEN OY" - to right of design: "KESKIM 50 I MEDELT" An imperforate match box label, 3lx48mm, multicolored ... Rare

57. Design like that of No.56 except for the two upper lines: "SUOMI OLYMPIALAISIIN lahjoituksin ja olympiamerkein" and on the right side: "KEJKISISAL TO 50 KPL" An imperforate match box label, 31x48, multicolored ... Rare

See similar label 1956-W-13 on the 1956 Cortina d'Ampezzo page.


58. "OFFICIAL TIMING 1956 OLYMPIC GAMES" above; vignette depicts a bowl, adorned with Olympic rings, containing the Olympic fire, flaming upward and to the right; at lower right: "CORTINA D'AMPEZZO MELBOURNE STOCKHOLM" - to left, above bowl: "OMEGA" 49x3lmm, perf 11.5. Colors: bowl & texts are black (except for "OMEGA" which is yellow); flame is yellow; bowl,flame and label have white edges ... $3.00

#1956-59 to 98
The BRYMAY Series of Matchbox Labels Label Nos. 59 to 98 were used on the matchboxes of Bryant and May, one of the world's oldest match companies, with factories in Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

The following texts are on all 40 labels of this series: "BRYMAY" in deep blue; "Redheads" in red; "SAFETY MATCHES" in deep blue - all above vignette. "OLYMPIC GAMES MELBOURNE" in red; "22nd NOV. - 8th DEC. 1956" in deep blue - all below vignette; "AVERAGE CONTENTS 60" in deep blue down left side; "MADE IN AUSTRALIA" in deep blue up right side; below the "d" of "Redheads" is a "1" over a "3" in a small circle, in deep blue; a thin, deep blue, border-line goes around label where there is no text. 30x47mm(design), 33.5x51mm(overall), imperf. All vignettes are colored red and deep blue except No.59 which is deep blue only. Body details of athletes are red (eyes are often deep blue), clothing and other items are mostly deep blue with some occasional red highlights... $2.00each

The vignettes on this series of 40 labels are as follows: 59. The "logo" of the 1956 - Melbourne Games that is depicted and described as Label No.2 of that Olympiad. 60. An Olympic stadium (at Melbourne, capacity 104,000). 61. The entrance to the stadium. 62. A female sprinter, at starting point, with stadium in the background. 63. Two relay-runners, passing a baton. 64. A running athlete. 65. A long-jumper, with stadium in background. 66. A shot-putter, with stadium in background. 67. A female athlete about to throw a javelin....

NOTE: The listing ends here, though DuBois implies he will describe all. All are pictured, so the descriptions are not really needed, but...?

US Olympic Shield Decals

The US decals are a confusing area.
DuBois admits most of them cannot be dated with certainty, and close examination reveals many variations, both on the image sides and on the backing papers.
So the placement of these with the 1956 material is only approximate - they could be as early as 1952 or as late as 1960.

I have also created a separate page that lists ONLY these US Olympic Shield decals - CLICK HERE.




DuBois listing:

99. A Shield-Shaped Window Label:

"CONTRIBUTOR UNITED STATES OLYMPIC FUND" in blue, across red & white, vertical stripes; in a 48x20mm panel, in dark blue upper portion: Olympic rings in their usual multicolors (interlaced as on original Olympic flag). 78x100mm shield.

Green text on back: "INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPLYING ON INSIDE OF WINDOWS" followed by five numbered instructions, in fine print. The following text, in larger print: "The United States Olympic Committee has issued these decalcomania transfers to help raise the fund to send the United States teams to the Pan-American Games and to the Olympic Games. United States Olympic Committee Biltmore Hotel New York, N.Y. or LaSalle Hotel Chicago, Ill. MINIMUM PRICE 50 cents." (Texts on back are vertical, top to bottom)

99a. Same as No.99 but back texts are different, as follows: 1. New York address only; 2. Final line is "Price $1.00"; 3. Reads sideways, facing side; 4. Color is gray blue.

99b. Same as No.99a with "Sheet 419A R-6" added to the top of the back text

All 3 above labels evaluated at @$20 each.

Note: The Pan-American Games were held at Mexico City in March of 1955 so it is likely the above labels were issued in 1954 or 1955.


DuBois listing:

100. A Self Adhesive Shield:

"SUPPORTER U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM" in black, across stripes. Olympic rings in red, blue & black (no yellow or green), in a 44x19mm panel, in upper portion of shield. All on a creamy, luminous paper gummed with rubber cement protected by manila backing paper on which is printed, at top, application instructions. Below: "SCOTCH-LITE REFLECTIVE SHEETING" on an oval decoration. At bottom: "a product of Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co. St. Paul 6, Minn." in black & brown.

68x86mm shield ... $20.00


CLICK HERE to view a page that lists all the Olympic decals that depict a US Olympic shield.


(101a shown above, variation below)

DuBois listing:

101. Same as No.99 but text across stripes has "U.S." instead of "UNITED STATES" and text on back states 10 N. LaSalle St. instead of LaSalle Hotel.

101a. Same as No. 101 but text on back is identical to that of No.99a.

101b. Same as No. 101 but text on back is different below the application instructions. Right below the instructions: "MASTERCRAFT DECALCOMANIA CO., Chicago, Ill." Larger text, below, is as follows: "Your Contribution to the United States Olympic Fund is most gratefully acknowledged. The costs of sending United States teams to the Olympic Games at Melbourne, Australia, and to the Winter Olympic Games at Cortina, Italy, must be financed completely by voluntary contributions. Your interest and your help are both sincerely appreciated. UNITED STATES OLYMPIC COMMITTEE BILTMORE HOTEL, NEW YORK, N.Y." (Text reads sideways, facing side)

... all 3 above labels are evaluated @ $l2.00ea


See new finds 1956-x21 thru x24 below - variations on 1956-101!

#1956-101 varieties

The images above are from a recent eBay auction, I think. The two decals shown overlapped are clearly of the same type as 1956-101: same text, colors, etc. But the placement of the text is lower on the one in front. Is that significant? And look at the other items in the auction - all are from the 1960 Winter and Summer Games. Is that significant? The US decals that DuBois lists with the 1960 items all have two-colored rings, not multicolored, like these.

1-17-17 - Note the tag with a string on it at top right of the image above. It is not in DuBois, so I listed it with the 1936 material when I created theses pages, but this image and a few others like it persuade me the item belongs on this page, so I have added it below as 1956-x25. It might belong on the 1960 page as well or instead.


украінска спортова централя
америки і канади
Ukrainian Sports Federation
of U.S.A and Canada

All color images courtesy of eBay seller migrace.

DuBois listing:

102. Cyrillic text down left and across bottom; "24 XII 1955" at upper right; vignette: three sprinters at start of a race. 34x24mm, perf 11.5, colors,as follows:
a)green, b)red, c)brown-red, d)blue ... rare (Each label is one color only)

Perforated pairs seen, imperf between (illustrated at left).

Format of the full sheet (imperf) at left is as follows:

Four copies of No.102a (green) in upper left corner,
Four copies of No.102b (red) in upper right corner,
Four copies of No.102c (brown-red) in lower left corner,
Four copies of No.102d (blue) in lower right corner.

Note: Text letters are similar to those of Nos.21 to 28. Text down left and across bottom translates "Ukrainian Sports Federation of U.S.A and Canada"

The upper right text indicates a 24th of December, 1955 date so these labels may be commemorating an Olympic trial or the Pan-American Games of 1955 (see below)

The Pan American Games are modelled after the Olympic Games and, in general, Olympic rules and regulations apply. The technical rules of competition in all sports are those of the respective International Sports Federations as in the Olympic Games. 25 countries in the Western Hemisphere are represented in the Pan American Sports Organization by their respective national Olympic committees. During the 1948 Olympic Games in London, the Pan American Congress laid definite plans for instituting the Pan American Games. The first games were held in Buenos Aires in 1951 and the second in Mexico City in 1955.

Reference: Pan-Am data quoted from "Quick Facts about the Olympic Games," published by U.S. Olympic Committee

5/15/16 - I can understand DuBois' assumption that this was related to the Olympics,
since the organization that issued it has created many Olympic labels (e.g. 1956-21 to 28 above).
But in fact this was simply to commemorate the founding of the group on 12/24/55, and had no connection with any sporting event.

I have confirmed this with the USCAK, which is still going strong. Visit their website HERE.

Tickets and related ephemera

DuBois includes two pages showing sample tickets, and a ticket envelope, plus the "Invitation" shown at the top of this page. Below are color images of such material. These are not labels, of course, and are peripheral to the subject of this catalog, but would make attractive supplements to such a collection.

Not listed in DuBois

(Images for x2 thru x6 - and many others above - courtesy of Noel Almeida of Melbourne, Australia)

Registration Label
OLYMPEX Melbourne Olympic Philatelic Exhibition

50mm x 35 mm.
Paper: normal weight but coated.

35mm x 40mm
PHILIPS "Living Sound" as installed at the OLYMPIC GAMES Melbourne 1956

35mm x 28mm

Central vignette is upside-down - a Greek head in profile, and olive wreath

The design is a clever pun on "The land Down Under."

Via Blue Mountains and YOUNG
64mm x 38mm

COME to BALLART Olympic Rowing 23rd Nov. - 1st Dec.
50mm x 25mm

28mm x 47mm
Nude Greek athlete, upside down
Another visual pun on "The land down under"
1956-x8 a thru o (complete)
Registration labels from Olympic venues:
- 8a - Main Stadium (Press)
- x8b - Richmond Park Kiosk 2
- x8c - Olympic Village
- x8d - Richmond Park Kiosk 1
- x8e - Richmond Park Kiosk 3
- x8f - Exhibition Bldg. Melb.
- x8i - Mobile Post Office 1
- x8k - Mobile Post Office 2
- x8l - Olympic Park (Press)
- x8m - Melbourne Airport
- x8n - Town Hall, St. Kilda
- x8o - Station Pier, Port Melb.

According to this card there were 52 (!) special post offices at these Games - was there a Registration label for each?!!

1/26/17 - Actually, there were 16 special post offices for these Games (including OLYMPEX), according to Noel Almeida. The "52" quoted above was the number of special postmarks (54, including OLYMPEX), all of which is detailed HERE. Thanks, Noel.

2/5/17 - Noel supplied images of the last three of these labels, which I was missing.

Olympic torch in background, rings in foreground, "1956"

Seen on eBay, described as a label, but I have my doubts - the skewed design and irregular shape imply to me it was cut from something larger. Can you tell me what it is?

Brian Sullman, UK collector of Australian philately, sent the image below, which proves to me that this item is not a label, but a cutout from a Hungarian cover. Thanks, Brian.

and related postage stamp
IRAN - lion with sword, Olympic rings
Found on the www, described as a label related to the 1956 Olympic stamp of 1956 (on right).

4" x 6"

Airline souvenir label.


each stamp: 41x66 / 37x63
UK Olympic Athletes

All twelve stamps from a sheetlet of twelve UK athletes who competed in the 1956 Games. Issued to raise funds for the London Schools Athletic Association, which is still going strong.



FAMOUS BRITISH ATHLETES (name and event) Schools Athletic Championships sponsored by the NEWS CHRONICLE Plymouth July 20-21 1956 Price 1d. for funds of PLYMOUTH SCHOOLS ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
66x41/ 62x37
UK Olympic Athletes

UK athletes who competed in the 1956 Games.
Note different color of background in twelfth stamp - there could be other colors!

4/27/18 - Ian Spencer supplied the image below, of a full sheet, intact, which answers two questions - there are only 12 stamps, there is no marginal text. 12 makes sense - a full sheetlet would have cost one shilling.


Water bottle labels

Top label:

Bottom label:
These are somewhat peripheral, since the labels were never available independent of the bottle, and that violates my sense of the intent of these listings. Still...

#1956-x21-24 & 42

#1956-x21-24 and 42
US Olympic Shield Decals/window labels
Same design as 1956-101 with name of sponsoring civic club in yellow ribbon at top: CIVITAN, SERTOMA, OPTIMIST, ROTARY

Images courtesy of Teresa Hedgpeth, Archivist & Historical Steward, United States Olympic Committee

9/26/16 - Ms. Hedgpeth sent me these images of items in the USOC collection, and added the following information about them:

I know of several campaigns throughout the history of the U.S. Olympic Committee designed to fund Teams for both the Pan American Games and the Olympic Games. The Jaycees were prominent in the 1950s in these campaigns and other entities were also involved, such as the Optimist, Rotary, Sertoma and Civitan Clubs [see attached decals from 1956]. All of these have similar backs to them.

6/16/2020 - Philippe sent x42, above.

#1956-x25 and x26

Neither of the tags above is in DuBois, and I assumed the one on the left dated from 1936, because that's where it was filed in my collection when I started these pages in 2013. But since then I have seen it identifed as dating from 1956 through 1964, so I am adding it here.

The similar tag on the right is identified as dating from 1968 by its eBay seller americasstampstop, but I think it is earlier, so am adding it here.

size: 84x55mm (3.3 x 2.2")
Large matchbox(?) label with Japanese text in four quadrants, plus English text - "Morinaga Candy Store - 1956" with Olympic rings

3/18/17 - this was a recent eBay lot - The seller calls it a matchbox label, but it is quite large for that, and it might be a candy label. Can anyone translate the Japanese text? Morinaga is a popular western-style candy of Japan. FULL STORY HERE.

size: 104mm (4.1 in)
Large circular label


9/14/17 - The eBay seller of this item described it as
"A GENUINE- Member Of Australian Olympic Team Stick On badge From The 1956 Games - measures approx 6x5-1/4 inches"

It sold for a whopping $255!
Seller added:

This is one of many items I shall be listing that come from the deceased estate of the Australian Fencer 'John N Simpson' who was an Arena Official of the 1956 Summer Olympics held in Melbourne, Australia. John Simpson (born 16 May 1927) is an Australian fencer. He competed in the individual and team épée events at the 1960 Summer Olympics.

That all seems to confirm the date and usage of the label.



3/27/18 - Image courtesy of UK collector Brian Sullman, who wonders whether this was issued in connection with the Torch Relay of 1956. Anyone?


Horizontal rectangle with Green, White, and Red of Italian flag as background, tiny star over Olympic rings in Gold at top, CONI (Italian Olympic Committee) beneath; "SQUADRA ITALIANA PER I GIOCHI OLIMPICI DI MELBOURNE" (ITALIAN TEAM FOR MELBOURNE'S OLYMPIC GAMES) in large gold lettering, "1956" beneath;
Sig. ____________________;
Sport ___________________;
Tiny, Illegible printer's name bottom left corner

15cm x 9.2cm = 6" x 3.6"
Described in current Caphila auction as:
"Italie (1956) petit feuillet gommé"

So, a gummed label with space for a name and sport.

11/13/18 - NEW FIND


This image is reproduced from Phila-Sport, the Italian magazine of Sports Philately, in an article by Italian collector Alvaro Trucchi about Olympic "vignettes." No data was provided about it, so all we can say is what one can see in the picture - a German sheet of 25 labels, 5x5, each showing an Olympic sport, twenty of them summer sports, and five winter.

The text running up the left side reads "LEIPZIGER SCHIEBEBILDER - VII Olympiade 1956 - CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, ITALIEN - MELBOURNE AUSTRALIEN" which tramslates "Leipzig decal transfers," ETC.

03/05/19 - NEW FIND

Australia Scott 291 with overprint

From a recent eBay auction, it sold for AU $42 = USD $30.

This is a mystery. Why put a private overprint on a fairly pricey postage stamp, converting it to a Cinderella? This was the high value of the set of 4 stamps issued by Australia Post for the 1956 Melbourne Games. Was the overprint applied to all four values of the set?

And the text - "OLYMPIC TEAM 1956 GREECE" - in both Greek and English - so this was produced to promote the Greek Olympic team.


04/09/19 - Wrong date - 1976 not 1956

03/31/19 - NEW FIND

Shell stickers


03/31/19 - NEW FIND!

Shell stickers Stickers given out free at Shell gas stations in Australia. 8 different sheets, each with 3 sports labels plus one with text instruction. Labels to be put into the Shell Olympic Games Passport.
The eBay seller says 1956.
How has this remained a secret so long?

4/9/19 - I tracked down the story, finally - the Passport and labels were a Shell promotion in 1976. One of the members of the Shell Australia Board of Directors was on the Australian Olympic Committee, and I presume he sponsored the deal.

You can see the complete passport HERE
and all of the stamps HERE.

Pretty cool, huh? But it's not a 1956 label.

6/19/19 - NEW FIND - sort of.

Stripe Exercise Book "Olympic" sticker


SIZE: 9.5 cm diam.

This showed up on eBay recently, from an Australian seller who said Vintage Olympic striped exercise books sticker. Still unused on backing paper.

It has no rings, and anyone can use the term "Olympic" - but I suspect it was issued around the time of the Melbourne Olympics, so I am adding it as a peripheral item.

07/05/2019 - NEW FIND

Decal with Olympic Torch


SIZE: 5in x 3.5in

This showed up on eBay recently, from a US seller who described it "Collectable 1956 Melbourne Olympic Car Self-Adhesive Window Decal. Unused but package opened with decal stuck to the inside. It is easily removable because it is stuck to the packaging with the self-Adhesive plastic which is still working extremely well." It sold for $10

12/29/2019 - bicycle decals - OLYMPIC.

According to the eBay seller:

"New Old Stock" Olympic Torch Decal Set 1960's - 1970's.
These decal sets were available in bike shops as a replacement set of decals for putting on bikes after they were repainted.
As a kid I can remember these in my local bike shop around the end of the 1960's early 1970's
Decals were made for the Melbourne Olympics Or shortly after.

I CONSIDER THESE PERIPHERAL ITEMS, since they are not souvenirs of the Games. The choice is yours.

08/10/2023 - NEW FIND

Matchbox label?
"1956" and silhouetted torch runner on blue background, Olympic rings, Chinese text


SIZE: 1in x 2in

This showed up on eBay recently, from a seller who described it "1956 MELBOURNE SUMMER OLYMPICS REPUBLIC OF CHINA (TAIWAN) LABEL"

Google translates the (Simplified Chinese) text as "Mianda Sports Association." A different translator says "Cotton Playing Sports Associtation." There is a Mianda Sports Association in Sri Lanka, but they would not use Chinese text. Can anyone explain?



Circular label (size unk), dark blue background, in center Olympic flag; around top edge "N.Z. OLYMPIC APPEAL"; around bottom edge "CONTRIBUTOR 1956"; text is orange

4/11/19 - new decal
SIMPLEX transfer / Window label


7cm x 10cm

Oval label, wide outer border in gold, XVIth OLYMPIAD around top of border; MELBOURNE 1956 around bottom of border; Olympic rings, Olympic torch, map of Australia in center, multicolored.

Produced by DeNEEFE SIGNS
under license from
Melbourne Olympic Games

#1956-x17a & b
- overall: 189x114 mm
- design: 181x104 mm

wide horizontal oval, AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC FEDERATION at top; Olympic rings in standard colors and interlacing; MISS AUSTRALIAN OLYMPICS in center ribbon; CONTESTS 1ST APRIL TO 30TH JUNE 1959 - SUPPORT YOUR MUNICIPAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE - beneath center; SHELL oil symbol in lower middle; THIS TRANSFER HAS BEEN DONATED BY THE SHELL CO. OF AUSTRALIA LTD. - TO RAISE FUNDS FOR THE AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC TEAM TO ROME 1960 at bottom


A German label
(Olympics 1956 AUSTRALIA - The aim of the Olympic Games is not victory - but participation. The goal is not combat, but chivalry)


Another German label

8.5 cm by 5.5 cm

Torch runner in profile, "Going to the Games ON CALTEX, XVI OLYMPIC GAMES MELBOURNE 1956"; generic text on reverse

4/11/19 - new decal
Car sticker
OLYMPIC GAMES, rings, torch


Other philatelic material - covers, cards, etc.

Australia issued 6 postage stamps for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

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.
Email address at bottom of page. Full credit gladly given - your name, ebay ID, web site...


All text Copyright © 2013, William M. Senkus

Send feedback to the author: CLICK HERE

Created -- 07/27/2013
Revised -- 08/10/2023