Postage stamps symbolize Mongolia's cultural identityThe Mongol Messenger
There are about 4050 types of postage stamps on over 1000 topics are available for public display at the Museum of Postage Stamps of the Mongol Post Company. The stamps ranging from the first ever Mongolian stamp named ‘Eldev-Ochir’, which was issued in 1924 to the latest issue are on exhibit in chronological order at the Museum.
Namely, 70 first day covers (an envelope with the date of the stamp’s first day of issue), 35 types of old envelopes, an envelope with a signature of the Dalai Lama, the first day postcards, maximum cards, and several other rare envelopes are on display at the museum.
In particular, 4 postage stamps issued on the occasion of the 800 birth anniversary of Chinggis Khaan created by late Tumur-Ochir in 1962 are among the most interesting stamps. Despite the fact that the series of stamps was sold-out within the 3 days after release, selling them was banned due to ideological reasons during the socialist times. However, the postage stamps had been preserved until today without being destroyed as it keeps security features. The postage stamp was revised in 1990 for the reason that it became available for purchase again in that year.
Interestingly, the Mongol Post Company printed 40 thousand packs of postage stamps showing the twin towers of the World Trade Center giving support to counter-terrorism actions and donating the sales revenue to the US Embassy in Ulaanbaatar for restoration of the World Trade Center site.
Also, the Company issued the first stamp of the XXI century on January 1, 2001 dedicated to the historical moment of humanity transferring to a new century. The 4-colored and gold foil postage stamp is pictured with animal signs in Mongolian astrology yearning for a peaceful life to Mongolians and humanity.
In terms of size, the postage stamp of Mandal, the God of Pease is the largest stamp of Mongolia which is dedicated to the better lives for people in the new century. The appliqué portrait of Mandal God, which is 70mX50m and composed of 81 parts, is depicted in the postage stamp measured at 35mmХ185mm. Mongolia has also produced two holographic issues with one of them featuring the famous Przewalski horse.
You can also find a large number of postage stamps at the museum dedicated to important events of Mongolia and the world such as the 50th anniversary of Mongolia’s UN membership, the 3 millionth citizen of Mongolia and high level state visits. In previous times, postage stamps on the anniversaries of people’s revolutions of Mongolia, Soyombo-the national emblem, friendship of Mongolia and the Soviet and international biggest events had been primarily published. The concepts of postage stamp illustrations were broadened after 1956 to demonstrate loads of themes, including Mongolian railways, history of bikes, animals, birds, plants, mountains and rivers, sports, astronautics, animal husbandry, endangered animal, national holidays, traditional costume, music, literature, portraits of famous people, architecture, cars, kings and queens, Buddhism, children, online technology, and so forth.
In its honorary hall, the museum houses information about Mandalyn Bat-Ochir, the then-government officer who initiated the first ever Mongolian postage stamp, a government resolution to issue the first postage stamp, stamps printed on a hologram and golden and silver foil and silk using high technology as well as some of the postage stamps awarded at international stamp exhibitions and competitions.
M.Bat-Ochir, originator of the Mongolian postage stamp, studied at the secondary school of Irkutsk and Tele information school. He later worked as a telegraph operator before being appointed as Chair of the governmental general committee of the post office and electrical telegraph. B.Minjmaa, Curator of the museum said that he made an immense contribution to the development of the postal system of Mongolia, especially the creation of new postal stamps, providing people with telecommunications services and training new staff. However, he was arrested under false allegations for political reasons and was later sentenced to death in 1938.
She added that “Most postage stamps in Mongolia are square or triangle shaped. There are even postage stamps with a round-shaped seam in a crisscross pattern. Mongolian painters drew the picture of stamps which were then printed abroad. The plan to make such postage stamps was adopted 2 years in advance and sometimes themed stamps were especially designed for bigger and significant events. The Museum of Postage Stamp offers online sales as the number of stamp collectors and lovers increases over the years”. The best-selling postage stamps are the ones issued for the anniversary of the Khalkh River battle and the 2014 visit of Chinese President to Mongolia, both of which were completely sold-out.
The Museum of Postage Stamps of Mongolia brings visitors on a journey of various periods of time such as the history and culture of Mongolia from the Great Mongol Empire to modern Mongolia, the history of Mongolian postage stamps, beautiful natural environment, wildlife, cultural events and sports competitions. Through the stamps, visitors can witness historical events which took place in different parts of the world. In a special stamp-shaped corner of the museum, spectators are able to make their very own stamp with their portraits on it.
In 2010, the Friendship Society of China and the China’s Stamp Collectors’ Association hosted the ninth ceremony of best foreign postage stamps. Out of 33 participating countries, the Mongolian stamps with themes ‘Mongolian Horses’ and ‘History’, which had been issued on the occasion of the 770th anniversary of the ‘Secret History of the Mongols’ won the Best Stamp Award and Best Printing Award respectively.
Apart from functioning as payment for the costs involved with postal services, the postal stamp represents the nations’ essential intellectual values of art, culture, religion, ethnography, symbols, traditions, nature and animals, and becomes their historical facts. Being the valuable property of stamp collectors and showpieces of museum and exhibitions, the postage stamps play an important role in the manufacturing business.
The first postage stamp was issued in the United Kingdom in 1840 as the need to prove the payment of postage arose since mail, packages, documents, letters and other mail items started being transferred to their recipient with a fee using transport vehicles. Throughout its development, the role of postage stamps has been growing.
Dedicated to the 20th anniversary of ASEM, Mongolia issued postmarks which carry the image of ASEM11 Summit logo and Chinggis Khaan. On April 15, an inauguration ceremony was held at the ‘Consensus’ hall of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In his opening speech, Foreign Minister L.Purevsuren said, “The postmarks will mark a historic moment indicating that Mongolia hosted the ASEM11 Summit in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of ASEM”. As D.Gankhuyag, Head of ASEM Office and State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ts.Batsaikhan, Executive Director of ‘Mongol Post’ state-run company stamped and verified the first envelope; the marks were officially added to the repertory of Mongolian museum of postmarks. The result is collaboration of painter Ts.Tsengel, State Honored Cultural Figure D.Erdembileg and designer J.Gankhuyag. The marks are being sold for 1300 Tgs and 1500 Tgs and 20 thousand pieces were printed. Mongolia started printing marks since 1924 and has launched 1007 marks until today. In the history of Mongolian marks, 156 postmarks of 78 contexts in connection with significant anniversaries, international conferences and historic visits have been printed since 1995
Photo by T.Chimgee
The article is featured in the Mongolia Today magazine's issue No. 2 /37/ for April-June 2016