Silo Art tops 2018 Stamp Poll
The Silo Art stamp issue has been voted Australia’s favourite stamp design for 2018 by collectors and stamp enthusiasts. There were 461 respondents who completed the online poll, ranking either their “top 5” stamp issues and least favourite issue, or selecting to rank each Australian and territories issue in order of preference.
While more than 92 per cent of the respondents were from Australia, the remaining respondents came from around 20 countries, including USA, UK, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, India and Thailand. Almost half of the respondents were in the 60+ age bracket, though around 35 per cent of respondents were aged 44 to 59. There was also some participation in the 30 to 44 age group, by those aged 18 to 29 and by under 18s.
The top 10 stamp issues are outlined below. This year, art, nature and landscapes ranked highly, including a combination of these themes. Historical, vintage and wartime themes resonated too.
The stamp issue voted most popular in this year’s poll is Silo Art, designed by Janet Boschen Design. The issue taps into the recent phenomenon of painting extraordinary artworks onto the towering grain silos dotted around Australia’s rural wheat-growing towns. The epic artworks featured on the stamps were created by renowned street artists. Guido van Helten created four towering figures at Brim in Victoria’s Wimmera district, each figure sheltering from the heat and dust. Drapl and The Zookeeper painted aspects of the south-west Queensland town of Thallon across a massive silo, including the region’s spectacular sunsets. The silo mural at Ravensthorpe, Western Australia, Six Stages of Banksia baxteri by Amok Island, depicts this endemic floral species as well as some of its main pollinators. For the Weethalle silo, in New South Wales, Mongolian-born Heesco Khosnaran chose to represent the district’s main agricultural activities: shearing and wheat growing, inspired by local photographs.
Australian finches may be small, but they made a big impact on poll respondents. These beautiful birds, only around 10 to 14 centimetres in length, are separate from the Ploceidae, or true finches, of the Americas, Eurasia and Africa. This stamp issue, the first of two on the subject illustrated by renowned wildlife artist Kevin Stead, features four of the 19 species of finch endemic to Australia: Blue-faced Parrot-Finch (Erythrura trichroa), Double-barred Finch (Taeniopygia bichenovii), Star Finch (Neochmia ruficauda) and Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata). The stamp designs focus closely on the birds, presenting them on a largely white background to highlight their distinctiveness and beauty. The habitat of each species is indicated through just a hint of vegetation.
Who would have thought that tiny water droplets or ice crystals, suspended in the atmosphere, could make for such stunning viewing? The Cloudscapes stamp issue, designed by Lisa Christensen of Three Branches Design, depicts types of clouds and their features. The designs showcase striking cloudscapes photographed in Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland. There are the dramatic saucer-like lenticularis clouds above Lachlan, Tasmania; mammatus (udder-shaped) clouds near Booborowie, South Australia; cumulonimbus clouds in a lightning storm between Auburn and Balaklava, South Australia; and a low, horizontal formation of arcus clouds, near Boonah, Queensland.
It seems that one issue of finches was not enough, as part 2 of these intricately illustrated designs also resonated with poll participants, ranking fourth. In this second part, another three of Australia’s 19 finch species take flight, specifically the Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae), Black-throated Finch (Poephila cincta) and Beautiful Firetail (Stagonopleura bella). These social and primarily grass-eating birds usually appear in small groups or larger flocks.
Of the 173 species in the Banksia genus, all but one are endemic to Australia. Each Banksia flower spike can comprise hundreds or even thousands of individual flowers. The Banksias stamp issue features the artwork of celebrated Australian botanical artist Celia Rosser, owner and artist-in-residence at Celia Rosser Gallery in Gippsland. Celia was Monash University’s botanical artist from 1974 to 1999, where she undertook a 25-year project to illustrate Australia’s banksia species, working closely with botanist and banksia specialist Alex George. All illustrations are from the Monash University Collection, provided courtesy of Monash University Museum of Art.
Poll respondents were clearly engaged by the striking photographs in the Lighthouses of Sydney stamp issue. Timed to coincide with 200 years since the construction of the original Macquarie Lighthouse at South Head in 1818, this eye-catching issue, designed by Jo Muré of the Australia Post Design Studio, presents three historic lighthouses: the distinctively striped Hornby Lighthouse (1858), one of the oldest surviving lighthouses in Australia; Roberstons Point Lighthouse (1910), located in the shores of Sydney Harbour; and Macquarie Lighthouse (1883), which was built to replace the original tower which had disintegrated beyond repair.
The War Memorials stamp issue is the fifth and final stamp issue in the Century of Service stamp series, which focuses on themes related to the Australian experience of war across the last century. The five stamps, designed by Gary Domoney of Visua, span different types of memorials, located in Australia and overseas, together with silhouettes of Australian military service personnel, namely soldiers (including a Light Horseman and a bugler), an airman and a sailor. Depicted are the Legacy War Memorial in Melbourne; Avenue of Honour in Ballarat; Cobbers Statue in Fromelles, France; the Darwin Cenotaph; and the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Stamp poll participants enjoyed the bright and cheerful paper labels featured in the Vintage Jam Labels stamp issue. Colourful paper labels were pasted onto Australian jam tins from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century. The issue, designed by Jo Muré of the Australia Post Design Studio, includes labels that represent some of the major stages and players during the peak of Australian jam-manufacturing, including Peacock’s Jam, which was part of the first factory-scale jam manufacturing operation in Australia, set up in Hobart in 1861.
Stamp Collecting Month 2018 focused on one of the world’s most remarkable natural wonders, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – the largest coral reef system in the world and the largest living structure on the planet, stretching for over 2,300 kilometres from the northern tip of Queensland and south to Fraser Island. The Reef Safari stamp issue, designed by Sonia Young of the Australia Post Design Studio, showcases five of the many different creatures that live on the reef: Nautilus (Nautilus pompilius), Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas), Olive Sea Snake (Aipysurus laevis), Emperor Angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator) and Grey Reef Shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos).
Completing the top 10 in the 2018 stamp poll is the Centenary of WWI: 1918 stamp issue. Focusing on the year 1918, the final year of the Great War, these stamps represent the last months of hostilities on the Western Front; Australia’s most highly regarded commander, Lieutenant-General Sir John Monash, who played a critical role in leading the Australian troops during their most successful campaign of the war; the response in Australia to the Armistice; the return of the troops from their service abroad; and remembrance of the lives lost on foreign soil. Designed by Lisa Christensen of Three Branches Design, this issue is the final in our Centenary of WWI: 1914–18 stamp series.
Visit our stamp poll webpage for a full run-down of this year’s results as well as those of previous polls.
This content was produced in February 2019 and will not be updated.