First footballer on a stamp - Hungary 1925

In a previous post about the football stamps of the Netherlands I wrote about the Dutch Olympiad set of 1928 which includes a stamp showing an image of a footballer. At the time I believed this was the first stamp in the World to be issued that featured an image of someone playing football. This was a view shared by writer Hunter Davies who wrote an article about football stamps for the June 2010 edition of the British Philatelic Bulletin. Incidentally this blog gets a name check as part of that feature on football stamps of the World. Oh yeah baby.

Anyway I digress. A couple of months later in September 2010 the British Philatelic Bulletin published a letter from Bryan Horsnell of the Football Postcard Collectors Club. He points out that there was an earlier stamp featuring a footballer and that it was issued by Hungary in 1925. It was one of eight issued to raise funds for sports clubs in Hungary, a so-called semi-postal or charity stamp.

An additional fee or surcharge was raised against the face value of each stamp in the set and the proceeds donated to various Hungarian sports groups. In this case the surcharge was 100% of the face value making the stamps, at the time the most expensive set ever sold in Hungary. Let's hope they raised plenty of money.

It's worth mentioning that Hungary won nine medals including four golds at the 1928 Summer Olympics. The first time they'd won any Olympic medals since the games of 1912. Whether this has any connection to the sale of these stamps and the money flowing into Hungarian sport courtesy of the surcharge I do not know, but it would be nice to think it did.

The stamp oh yes, here it is along with the other seven in the set. Ladies and gentlemen I present for your philatelic pleasure the World's first stamp to feature a footballer. There it is on the right - a goalkeeper leaping to catch a high ball. Thank you Hungary.

Please note this is not the World's first football stamp. That honour goes to Uruguay. Thanks for reading.

Hungary on Amazon: Books, Film & Travel

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