Bicentenary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen.
A set of four stamps marking the bicentenary of the birth of the Danish writer of fairy tales Hans Christian Andersen is being issued by the Philatelic Bureau of Maltapost plc on Thursday 3 March. What is particularly interresting about this set of stamps is that they bear a common design with another set of stamps being issued simultaneously by the Danish postal administration, thus making this set a joint issue.
The four values are 7c, 22c, 60c and 75c. The stamps have been designed by Mette & Eric Mourier del., and have been offset printed by Printex Ltd on sheets of ten on watermarked paper with Maltese Crosses. The size of the 7c stamp is 40.0mm X 38.0mm, and the size of the other stamps is 20.0mm X 38.0mm. The perforation is 13.6 X 14.0 (comb).
The 7c stamp carries Andersen's portrait, whilst the other stamps recount aspects of his life. The 22c stamp depicts his hobby of paper-cutting, the 60c stamp commemorates Anderson as a writer with a design of one of his most famous characters, the Ugly Duckling, and the 75c stamp shows a pair of boots against a scenic background, to recall that he was a dedicated traveller.
Andersen, who was born on 2 April, 1805, was the son of a shoemaker from Odense, Denmark who conquered the world with his magical fairy tales. The author made his first and only visit to Malta on 17 March 1841, arriving on board the French steamer Leonidas.
During his one day in Malta, the author and his companion Christoforoff hired a calesse in Valletta for a sightseeing expedition, and visited St John's Co-cathedral, the Grandmaster's Palace, and Rabat and Mdina. The author was apparently impressed by the total lack of vegetation in the countryside, although it was only mid-March. On his way back to Valletta Andersen visited the Msida Bastion Cemetery and saw the Lazzaretto hospital right opposite the bastions.
With his arrival in Malta, Andersen felt he was entering those Eastern countries which he had dreamt about when he was a child, inspired by his father's reading aloud to him from the Arabian Nights.