1956 Melbourne Olympics: The Polish Postmark

On the 2 November 1956 Poland produced a set of six stamps representing boxing, fencing, hurdling, javelin, gymnastics and rowing. These are shown in the stamp pack. This was their seventh Olympiad but the first 0lympic stamps issue.

Associated with the issue was a postmark that bears a striking resemblance to the MCG, in particular the elevated roof of the old Southern Stand. The postmark heading is “XVI Olimpiada Melbourne” and ” Warszawa 1″ “2-11-1956.”

Four covers were also issued. The use of stamps on each cover appears to be consistent. The cover with the brown map of Australia has the fencing and hurdling stamps, the cover with the gray map of Australia has the boxing and rowing stamps, the cover with the Globe has the boxing and rowing stamps and the cover with the column has the javelin and gymnastics stamps. Occassional covers with a single stamp have been seen.

The boxing stamp had 14 stamps issued where the central boxers were inverted. In 2009 one was sold for $21,000 US. This makes it a crown jewel of Olympic philately.

On the 27 November, Elzbieta Krzezinska-Dunska, won the Gold Medal in the Long Jump. She also equalled her world record of 6.35 metres. The Post Office released a stamp on the 12 December 1956 showing a long jumper with a similar postmark. This stamp was seen singularly on any of the above covers. It shows her without her very characteristic ponytail.

“In 2000, Australia Post produced instant gold medallist stamps for the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games. This was not only a first for Australia, but also globally.” The Polish issue considering the technology available was an incredible production.