Priskatalog over Norske Julemerker by Finn Aune and Vemund Ljødal. 160 pages, 8 ½ by 12 inches, hardbound, Norwegian language, Skanfil AS, Haugesund, Norway, 2010. ISBN 978-82-92535-12-7, 312 NOK (approx. $85) plus shipping from Skanfil AS, Box 2030, 5504 Haugesund, Norway.
Christmas seals have long been collected the world over but their acceptance by classic philately has been resisted. The American Philatelic Society improved the legitimacy of seal exhibiting when the Cinderella division was introduced. Christmas seals of countries other than the United States have also been sought after by collectors. This book is a priced catalog of Norway’s Christmas seals as well as seals issued for a number of other charitable organizations.
The official national Christmas seals of Norway, with proceeds benefitting the Women’s Nursing Society, comprise the major portion of the catalog. Prices are shown for mint with original gum, used, and tied to cover or postcard by a cancel. Per cent adjustments are made for hinged mint or without gum. The listings are detailed and include varieties, shades, blocks, gutter pairs, full sheets, and more.
The first seal was issued in 1906 and bears the profile of Queen Maud. Prices for used or on cover vary immensely by date of the cancellation (1906 = very rare, 1907 = 200-400 NOK, 1908 and later = 150-300 NOK). Reprints of the Queen Maud issue appeared in 1939 and 1952, and are listed with their many varieties. Together the first issue and its reprints take up three pages of the catalog.
Beginning in 1908 a different design was issued annually. Listings include proofs and essays where known, plate flaws, imperforates, sales placards, year sets, black prints, misperfs, imprinted gift labels, booklets, and other varieties, all illustrated in color and priced. Sprinkled throughout the catalog are examples of wonderful uses on covers where the seals are tied. The nursing society listing ends in 2004.
Separate catalog listings for other types of Christmas time charity seals are treated in similar fashion. These include Red Cross stamps 1911-2005, the Norwegian Seamen’s Mission 1924-2005, the National Heart and Lung Society 1948-2001, Norwegian Peoples’ Aid 1951-1995, and the 1958 National Cancer Society souvenir sheet of 50 different stamps. These are followed by various seals for Advent by two different publishers, the Norwegian Mission Alliance, and other national and regional organizations such as the Society for the Blind, Lions Clubs, young men’s clubs, local boy scouts and similar groups. These issues do not have the great numbers of varieties as the main listing of the nursing society seals, which is the main focus of this well illustrated catalog.
A rate chart concludes the book showing postal rates from 1906 to 2009 for types of mail on which these seals are found including letters, postcards, and printed matter, sent both domestically and outside Norway. The Norwegian language is not a major handicap as the catalog follows the normal format.