Summer 2021: Olympics, Sports & Music

What do Olympics, Sports and Music have in common?

Each requires practice, patience and striving for perfection and ….

They are all depicted on the stamps of Eastern Europe!

Dear Friends & Philatelic collectors,

As we launch into the beginning of summer, we here at Hungaria Stamp Exchange hope you are enjoying your continuing philatelic journey. We extend our appreciation for your support of the many magnificent topical and country stamps of Eastern Europe as part of your stamp collection process. With that in mind we are pleased to offer this newsletter on the Olympics, Sports and Music stamps of Eastern Europe.

Modern Era Olympics are well celebrated on the stamps of Eastern Europe and what could be more fitting than a review of these offerings in light of the most unusual circumstances for the 2020 Summer Olympics. First being scheduled during a global pandemic and now finally being played in 2021. We wish for success for each and every athlete at the Summer Games this year.

Philately and the modern day Olympics have a symbiotic relationship starting with the first modern day Games held in Athens in 1896 when Greece issued a series of stamps to mark the occasion. These stamps actually contributed to the financial success of the event which had been impacted by the financial and political crisis of the times.

Demetrios Sakorafos, the founder of the Greek philatelic association, had the idea of issuing a set of commemorative stamps with a nominal value higher than that of common postage stamps, with the proceeds going toward the fund for holding the Olympic Games. The stamps, with designs featuring ancient Greek athletic competitions, earned a considerable sum of money and the Greek Post became the first sponsor of the Modern Day Olympic Games. Initially only the Olympic host countries issued stamps to commemorate the Olympics. This tradition later ended when other countries alongside France issued stamps for the 1924 Paris Olympics. As the Olympic movement gained in popularity, interest in commemorative stamps grew among philatelic collectors. More stamps were published featuring specific athletes and sports. For more philatelic information on the Modern Day Olympics please refer to an earlier HSE Newsletter on Philately and The Modern Era Olympics.

Soviet stamps issued for the 1980 Moscow Olympics featured various sports and Olympic venues: the Krylatskoye Rowing Canal, the cycling track, and the sailing center, as well as Red Square and the 1980 Olympics mascot, Mishka the Bear. When more than 50 countries boycotted the games, these countries also cancelled their planned postage stamp issues or destroyed the issues printed. (As a trivia question, who can remember why countries including the United States boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics is Moscow?)

Russia began issuing commemorative philately materials dedicated to the Sochi Games in 2011.  A special souvenir sheet was devoted to the Olympic Torch Relay. It was put into circulation on October 7, 2013, on the day the Russian stage of the relay kicked off. The stamp features the relay’s emblem, and on the margins one can see the map of Russia, the Olympic Torch, the Moscow Kremlin, and the Sochi Seaport Terminal building. 

Hungary and the 1956 Olympics

The “Blood in the Water” match was a water polo match between Hungary and the USSR at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. The match took place on December 6, 1956 against the background of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and an attempt to overthrow Soviet oppression in Hungary. The matched concluded when Hungarian Olympians defeated the USSR Olympians in the Water Polo match 4–0. Historically, the Revolution of 1956 was less successful.

1956 Olympics Water Polo 4007 Hungary – 1956 Melbourne Olympics 50th Anniversary S/S

Eastern European stamps also celebrate the anniversary of the country Olympic Committee as well as the athletes.

And now, heading into Summer 2021 HSE is pleased to offer the stamp issuances of Eastern Europe depicting the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Sports and Sporting Competitions

Eastern Europe continue to provide exciting philatelic offerings whether it is depicting FIFA World Cup Soccer, FINA Aquatics (such as Swimming, Diving, Water Polo) Basketball, Tennis, Fencing, Kayaking and Rugby. And of course, not to forget the exciting stamps of Bridge Diving.


While Musicians, Composers and Singers may represent a unique type of “athlete”, our view at HSE is that the precision, decisiveness, and passion is the same commitment and is well represented in the stamps of Eastern Europe.

Music Stamp Issuances of Eastern Europe are far ranging and varied: to include classical and contemporary composers, rock musicians, opera and jazz performers and even musical instruments.

Each of us at Hungaria Stamp Exchange wish you a pleasant and peaceful summer holiday and look forward to offering our continued support in your philatelic adventures in the fall.


The Bauer Family

Hungaria Stamp Exchange

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