The first-ever postage stamp featuring Warner Sallman's Head of Christ painting will be released March 24 by the Åland Islands, an autonomous province of Finland located between Finland and Sweden. The stamps will be available for purchase worldwide through Åland Post Stamps, while U.S. collectors may purchase stamps through Nordica, Åland's distributor in New York.
The stamp features the Head of Christ painting surrounded by a gold border. The full press sheet includes 30 stamps — 15 on the left and 15 on the right. The middle of the sheet features the name of Warner Sallman set in stylized script, flanked by two of Sallman’s other well-known works: Christ at Heart’s Door and The Lord is My Shepherd. The first-day cover also features Christ at Heart’s Door, and a cancellation mark that features a stylized “WS” for Warner Sallman.
According to Anita Häggblom, director of Åland Post Stamps, the stamps will be available for purchase in a variety of formats, including full sheets; singles; blocks of two, four, or six; gutter pairs; and first-day covers. Stamps may be purchased directly through Åland Post Stamps on the Web at www.posten.ax, or through Åland's U.S. distributor, David Bein, at Nordica, P.O. Box 284, Old Bethpage NY 11804 (Web: www.nordicastamps.com; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: (516) 931-3485).
Åland Post Stamps has been issuing stamps since only 1984. Yet today, more than 35,000 customers have standing orders for new issues, according to Häggblom. Aland issues about 15 new stamps each year.
One of the most important criteria in selecting artwork for Åland stamps is that the subject have some connection to the Åland Islands. The Head of Christ stamp is no exception as Sallman's father, Elias, emigrated to the United States from Åland in 1886.
Head of Christ is arguably one of the most recognized religious works of art around the world. The original painting is housed within the Warner Sallman Collection in the Jessie C. Wilson Galleries at Anderson University.
[PHOTO: Anita Häggblom, director of Åland Post Stamps, visited the Anderson University campus last fall to finalize details for the production of the Sallman stamps. Pictured with Häggblom is Jason Knapp, professor of art and director of the Jessie C. Wilson Galleries.]
Since May 1987, Anderson University and Warner Press have jointly shared ownership of the Warner Sallman Collection. Warner Press holds the copyright and distribution rights, while the university maintains the physical collection. The collection may be viewed on the Web at www.warnersallman.com. Warner Sallman prints and products are available on the Warner Press Web site at www.warnerpress.org.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the sixth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.