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Finnish Castles on stamps - one backwards

The Finnish postal service Itella has published a booklet of stamps with pictures of ancient Finnish castles. The Ancient Castles stamp booklet includes six first class stamps with pictures of Suomenlinna, Häme, Raseborg, Kastelholm, Olavinlinna and Turku castles. One turned out to be a mirror image of the real thing.

Vanhat linnat -postimerkkisarja
Image: Itella

The booklet of stamps includes brief summaries of each castle’s history in Finnish, Swedish, English and Russian.

The Ancient Castles stamp booklet is designed by one of Finland's most respected graphic designers, Erik Bruun. He is known to the general public for his designs for several past Finnish stamps, the final series of Finnish Markka banknotes, and popular nature and advertising posters.

Mirror of the past

Castles are an important part of Finnish cultural heritage and remain popular tourist destinations.


Kuvassa Hämeen linna -postimerkki joka on peiikuva sekä valokuva oikeinpäin olevasta linnasta.
On the right, Häme Castle. On the left, the castle in mirror image on the new stamp. Image: Itella, Timo Leponiemi / Yle ja Hannu Harhama / Yle

Because of an error during the planning stage for the booklet, Häme Castle is depicted in mirror image. An old photograph supplied by the National Board of Antiquities for use in Bruun's work was backwards and so the final form of the stamp is also a mirror image of the castle as it stands in the city of Hämeenlinna.

"We believe that the stamp will be of interest to many buyers despite - or perhaps because of - the mistake and sell well," said Itella's product chief Tommi Kantola in a press release.

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