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Brazil releases first 2016 Olympic stamps!
After nearly 3 years of sitting in storage collecting dust, the Brazilian postal administration has finally released the first host country stamps commemorating the upcoming Olympic Games (5-21 August 2016) and Paralympic Games (7-18 September 2016) to be held in Rio de Janeiro.
The Journal of Sports Philately first reported on this issue – which is comprised of two souvenir sheets of two stamps, plus two panes consisting of 6 strips of 3 se-tenant stamps – in its Spring 2013 issue. At that time philatelic author Jean-Louis Emmenegger revealed that the stamps, which had presumably been printed in June 2012 in time to celebrate the handover of the Olympic Games from London to Rio, were being withheld from release by Brazil Post because of a licensing dispute with the Olympic Games organizing committee.
Without the customary fanfare surrounding the issue of host country Olympic stamps, these first issues began to appear in the philatelic marketplace in early 2015. Both Delcampe and eBay show the stamps being offered at least as early as the first week of February.
The horizontal pane of 18 stamps consists of six strips of 3 se-tenant stamps (shown above) which together create a ribbon connecting landmarks in London, where the 2012 Olympic Games were conducted, with a silhouette of the mountainous terrain surrounding Rio. Two nearly identical versions of these sheets were printed, one bearing the 2016 Olympic Games logo in the selvedge, and the other with the 2016 Paralympic Games logo. Each of the two panes was printed in a quantity of 10,000 (180,000 stamps of each). The three se-tenant stamps in the two panes are non-denominated, paying the first tier rate for domestic letters.
The two souvenir sheets – one for the 2016 Olympic Games (shown above) and the other for the 2016 Paralympic Games (at right)– show the same scene in the background: Rio’s Sugarloaf Mountain and city below. The two stamps on the Olympic sheet bear the 2016 Olympic Games logo. One of the se-tenant stamps depicts Big Ben and Tower Bridge, while the other is an artistic representation of Sugarloaf Mountain. The Paralympic Games logo appears on each of the two stamps on the second sheet. In this case London’s Olympic Eye Ferris wheel is displayed on the first stamp while the second shows the famous Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado mountain. The two souvenir sheets were issued in quantities of 15,000 sheets of each. The stamps in the two souvenir sheets are each denominated at R$2.60.
Brazil Post’s schedule of stamp issues for 2015 includes two more series. On 24 March there will be a set of ten stamps commemorating the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Another set of ten stamps as well as six postcards will be released on 5 August.