Finland has issued three daring stamps of images by Tom of Finland, the legendary artist whose portraits of vast-shouldered men in leather, denim and knee-high boot is said to have influenced figures including Robert Mapplethorpe and Freddie Mercury.
The images aren't the most explicit of the artist's work, but even so they push philatelic boundaries. While it's not unusual for stamps to depict gay heros, Dean Shepherd, editor of Gibbons Stamp Monthly says he has never seen homoerotic art on stamps. “There was a bit of a storm in the early 1930's when the Spanish Postal Authority approved some stamps featuring Goya's The Nude Maja – a woman reclining naked. The US government apparently barred and returned any mail that bore it.”
Matt Hill, editor of Stamp and Coin Mart also says it's a bold move. “Stamps represent a country, and are the most public of media, so they rarely feature strongly sexual subjects.”
Image: Finnish stamps using imagery by Tom of Finland