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Finland’s erotic Tom stamps raise temperatures worldwide

A recent set of postage stamps commemorating Finland’s master of gay erotica known as Tom of Finland has aroused attention worldwide. The designer of the stamps told Yle that he was drawn by the calm faces depicted in Tom’s art, but one particularly well-formed posterior also caught his eye.

Tom of Finland -postimerkkiarkki.
Finland's Tom of Finland stamps have caused global audiences to stand at attention. Image: Itella Posti Oy

Itella’s postage stamp nod to Finnish artist and gay icon Touko Laaksonen, also known as Tom of Finland appears to have made global audiences hot and sweaty.

The post mark has been highlighted by national broadcaster BBC and the Guardian newspaper in Britain as well as Time magazine and the Washington Post daily in the United States. Enquiries about the stamps have come from as far afield as India.

The man behind the in-your-face collection is graphic designer Timo Berry.

“If I wanted to say something with this stamp, it would be to show the viewer the very calm and composed faces. These are very collected guys with nothing to hide or be ashamed of,” Berry said on Yle’s Aamu-tv breakfast programme.

“And of course I had to add the buttocks,” Berry added.

Unprecedented response

Markku Penttinen, development manager with Finland’s postal services providers Itella had worked with postage stamps for 20 years. He said that the Tom of Finland stamps have generated an unprecedented response – in some cases inspiring stiff resistance and in others a more welcoming attitude. For the most part though, feedback has been positive.

“Touko Laaksonen is one of Finland’s best-known artists internationally. The subject matter is topical and deserves a stamp,” Penttinen added.

Itella plans to produce 200,000 sheets of the provocative stamps, which will be sold online, making them more accessible for overseas buyers.

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