International Year of Chemistry, 2011

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International Year of Chemistry 2011

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IYC Postage Stamp Central

Activity by Daniel Rabinovich   |   added on Jan 14, 2011   |   United States Official_iyc_logo

Sponsor(s): IUPAC

A collection of IYC-related stamps issued during 2011.

Many countries and postal authorities will join in the celebrations of IYC by issuing postage stamps related to chemistry.  Topics may include famous scientists and Nobel Laureates (e.g., Marie Curie) and their accomplishments, indutrial chemistry, molecules, glassware and, in general, the many ways in which the value and importance of chemistry to society can be recognized and promoted.  This activity will strive to provide a platform for keeping the general public informed of all new IYC stamps issued in 2011 and a resource for educators and postage stamp enthusiasts alike.

Topic: celebrating chemistry, conferences, chemistry education, seminars, educational materials, chemistry, art, philately, stamp collecting, physics, hobbies, stamp Audience: students, professional chemists, professors, educators, general public, industrial chemists, post graduate students, universities, teachers, research scientists, women chemists, decision makers, educational institutions, tertiary education, secondary school students, secondary schools, school children, high schools, graduate students, secondary schools students


Daniel Rabinovich | Feb 07, 2011 06:13AM

Well, here's a first update on reliable information I have at hand:

The first IYC stamps, a nice pair from Israel that feature the molecular structures of ubiquitin and the ribosome and honor the Israeli scientists that contributed to the elucidation of  their structures and function (and received Nobel Prizes in Chemistry for their achievements), were issued on January 4th, 2011.

Daniel Rabinovich | Feb 07, 2011 06:24AM

Both Belgium and Slovakia issued IYC-themed stamps on January 17, 2011 (see attached photos).  Both stamps show the formulas of water and carbon dioxide, and the selvage of the one from Slovakia includes the IYC logo.

Daniel Rabinovich | Feb 07, 2011 06:31AM

Next is a stamp from France that features a "classic" portrait of Marie Curie in her laboratory, issued on January 17, 2011.

I believe Sri Lanka has also issued a chemistry-related stamp on January 30th, but I have not seen it yet.  Months ago I read somewhere that the plan was for five (!) different stamps, but I don't know how many were actually issued.  Any information to share with everyone at this site would be appreciated.

Daniel Rabinovich | Feb 08, 2011 07:36AM

I got today a jpg of the stamp from Sri Lanka (thanks to Linda Wang from C&E News...).

Daniel Rabinovich | Feb 27, 2011 03:57PM

I've added to the site high-resolution scans of the stamps from Belgium, Slovakia, Sri Lanka and Spain.  Enjoy.-

Daniel Rabinovich | Feb 27, 2011 06:23PM

Here's also a pretty good image of the Swiss stamp to be issued on March 3rd, and which is already available for purchase at the Swiss Post online philatelic store.

Daniel Rabinovich | Mar 06, 2011 04:24AM

Looks like the next country to issue IYC stamps will be Indonesia, with a pair of stamps due out on March 23rd. Thanks to Linda Wang, Associate Editor of C&E News, for the tip.-

Daniel Rabinovich | Mar 08, 2011 07:22AM

Well, it turns out the the "next" stamp is actually one from Jersey, a British Crown Dependency off the coast of Normandy in France.  The stamp features Marie Curie and is one of four in the "Women of Achievement" set issued TODAY (March 8, 2011).  The other three women on the set are Dame Margot Fonteyn (a notable English ballerina), Florence Nightingale (a celebrated nurse) and Mother Teresa (founder of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta).




Eric Scerri | Mar 14, 2011 03:44PM

Thanks for putting this collection together Dan. 

I share your love for postage stamps.  I found the Swiss stamp especially striking. 

Eric Scerri


Daniel Rabinovich | Mar 14, 2011 04:00PM

The two stamps from Indonesia were apparently issued ahead of schedule, on March 1.  I'll be posting the corresponding images soon.-

Daniel Rabinovich | Mar 14, 2011 04:09PM

Bosnia and Herzegovina has recently isued a stamp to celebrate the centennial of Marie Curie's Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1911).  However, the stamp makes no mention of the International Year of Chemistry....!  I will also be posting an image shortly.

Fabienne Meyers | Mar 15, 2011 12:42PM

Take a look at this review publised by C&EN on March 14, 2011:

Daniel Rabinovich | Mar 18, 2011 06:06AM

I've uploaded better (i.e., higher resolution) scans of the stamps from France, Switzerland and Jersey.  Still waiting for those from Indonesia & Bosnia and Herzegovina...

Steven Ardron | Mar 20, 2011 05:33PM

I've done a quick search of the websites of several European Postal Authorities that publish their stamp issue plans.  Romania (one stamp, May) and Poland (two stamps, November, in a block) are all that I could find. 

Norway, Estonia and Latvia, Hungary and Belarus don't seem to be covering the International Year of Chemistry. Sweden and Finalnd don't give any information on their future issues - at least, I couldn't find anything.

The Polish stamps ares also linked - liked the Bosnia & Herzegovina and Jersey issues - to the celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the award of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry to Marie Curie.  

Daniel Rabinovich | Mar 28, 2011 03:45PM

The date of issue of the stamp from Bosnia & Herzegovina appears to have been March 8, but I still need to confirm this.  I'll post a better image as soon as available.-

Daniel Rabinovich | Apr 06, 2011 05:20AM

Yes, the date of issue for the Curie stamps from Bosnia & Herzegovina is March 8, 2011, which was also the centennial of the International Women's Day (1911-2011).

Daniel Rabinovich | Apr 07, 2011 06:31AM

I've posted higher-resolution images of the IYC stamps from Indonesia.

In other news, I've added an image for a souvenir sheet apparently issued by Gabon sometime this year, even though I strongly believe that this is an "ilegal" issue, similar to others from Mali, Burundi and other African countries made only for collectors, without any valid postal use.  I'll only believe it when and if it becomes listed in a standard postage stamp catalogue (Scott, Yvert, etc.).  Any additional reliable information pertaining to this issue that readers of this Activity may have would be appreciated.


Daniel Rabinovich | Apr 18, 2011 04:11AM

Macedonia issued on April 13 a chemistry-related stamp but it is not clear to me if the IYC is mentioned explicitly (see posted scan).

Daniel Rabinovich | Apr 21, 2011 04:34AM

The stamp from Macedonia does mention the IYC:  the three words under the stom symbol literally mean "Year of Chemistry".  Many thanks to Zoran Zdravkovski (Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences and Mathematics, Ss Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje, Macedonia) for providing this information.

N.M. Sanjaya Hettigedara | Apr 21, 2011 09:36AM

Very interesting indeed.  We all are grateful to Dan for the decision to have this collection and providing an opportunity to for every one to see the collection.

Those involved in the implementation of IYC activities would be feeling very happy to see this collection. Students of Chemistry  would be happy to learn so many things related to chemistry as illustrated in the stamps. Very good opportunity for the philatelists.

The picture of the Blue sapphire in the stamp published by Sri Lanka Philatelic Bureau in collaboration with the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon is in fact the National Gem of Sri Lanka. 

I wish more and more countries will produce such stamps for celebration of IYC 2011.

Daniel Rabinovich | May 10, 2011 07:30PM

Paraguay joins the party...!  Yesterday (May 9th) a stamp honoring Marie Curie and the IYC was issued in Paraguay.  The stamp also features the logo for the Bicentennial of Paraguay's Independence, to be officially celebrated on May 15, 2011.  I will post for now a preliminary image of the stamp (and its attached commemorative label).  Stay tuned for a better one in the future....

Many thanks to Prof. Esteban Ferro from the Faculty of Chemical Sciences, Asunción National University, for the information and preliminary scan.

Daniel Rabinovich | May 11, 2011 09:58PM

Thanks to Prof. Luciano Recalde, also from Asunción National University, for providing today a better-resolution scan of the Paraguayan IYC stamp, which I just posted to this site.

Daniel Rabinovich | Jun 08, 2011 03:45PM

I've posted images for a new souvenir sheet and sheet of four stamps issued by Togo, both of which commemorate the centennial of Marie Curie's Nobel Prize in Chemistry but make no explicit reference to the IYC.  I do this for reference only, with the strong belief that these are unauthorized issues of dubious postal validity.  Any official information pertaining to these issues would be of course more than welcomed.

Daniel Rabinovich | Jul 26, 2011 05:53AM

A better scan of the IYC stamp from Paraguay has been uploaded.

Daniel Rabinovich | Aug 08, 2011 10:29PM

I got word today from Mr. Thorsten Sandberg, Press Officer with the Swedish Postal Service ["Posten"], that the IYC will be commemorated with a minisheet of stamps related to Marie Curie, a joint issue with Poland to be released on November 17th.  The exact design(s) of the stamp(s) will not be available until a few days before the official date of issue.

Daniel Rabinovich | Aug 25, 2011 12:24AM

Serpost, the privately-owned company the provides postal services in Peru, issued a fascinating stamp chockful of chemical imagery on 1 August 2011 (see attached image).  It features the Peruvian coat of arms and its chemical connections.  For example, the helical structure of keratin, the main polymeric material that makes up the wool of the vicuña and other camelids, is shown to the left of the coat of arms.  The molecular structure of quinine, the classic antimalarial drug extracted from the bark of the cinchona tree, is depicted to the right of the coat of arms.  Also shown are the symbol and electronic configuration of gold since a cornucopia spilling coins of the noble metal is included in the bottom half of the coat of arms.  Then there's the logo for the Colegio de Químicos del Perú, the organization representing all professional chemists in the country (a separate entity from the Peruvian Chemical Society) and a few images showing chemists handling reagents and working in a laboratory.  Enjoy....

Daniel Rabinovich | Aug 25, 2011 12:29AM

Italy may well be the next country to celebrate IYC with a postage stamp, to be released on September 11 (see attached).  Many thanks to Prof. Ennio Zangrando, Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Trieste, for providing the attached preliminary picture.

Daniel Rabinovich | Sep 04, 2011 12:03AM

Apparently The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) has issued an IYC stamp on 29 July 2011.  Other than the attached preliminary image, I don't have any additional information at this point.  Equatorial Guinea has also issued a set of 4 stamps (!) but I don't have any reliable information available, not even the date of issue.  Oh well, just low-resolution images for now...

Daniel Rabinovich | Sep 06, 2011 12:56PM

A slightly better scan of the Equatorial Guinea set has been uploaded.  Thanks to Dr. Symeon Kyriakidis (The General Chemical State Laboratory, Athens, Greece) for providing the image.

Daniel Rabinovich | Sep 14, 2011 12:49PM

A stamp honoring the IYC and Franz Joseph Muller von Reichenstein, the Austrian mineralogist (1740?-1825?) who discovered tellurium in 1782 in Transylvania (Romania), will be issued by Romfilatelia later this month.  Thanks to Marilena Onea, Head of the Issuing Department, for the preliminary information.

Daniel Rabinovich | Sep 19, 2011 04:26PM

Canada Post will issue an IYC stamp on October 3, 2011.  It will feature a portrait of John Polanyi, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1986.  Thanks to Gwen Prout (West Vancouver, British Columbia) for the heads up. 

Daniel Rabinovich | Sep 20, 2011 05:21PM

Without much fanfare, the Republic of Mauritius has also issued (on September 8th) a stamp honoring the IYC, and I've added a preliminary picture to this website.  Thanks to Dr. Ramasami Ponnadurai (Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius) for providing this information and the image.

Daniel Rabinovich | Sep 23, 2011 02:00PM

Improved scans of the IYC stamps from Italy, North Korea and Equatorial Guinea have been posted.

Daniel Rabinovich | Sep 26, 2011 11:40PM

The IYC stamp from Romania was issued TODAY, and it's a nice one...  Attached are preliminary images of the stamp and the beautiful minisheet of 8 stamps plus a central label with the IYC logo.

Daniel Rabinovich | Sep 28, 2011 02:48AM

Uruguay will issue a souvenir sheet for the IYC on November 7th.

Daniel Rabinovich | Sep 28, 2011 09:59PM

Here's a preview of the Canadian IYC stamp (due October 3rd) and a link to the press release made available today by the University of Toronto.  Thanks to Prof. Louis Cuccia (Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Concordia University, Montreal) for bringing these to my attention.

Daniel Rabinovich | Oct 03, 2011 04:49PM


The designer of the Canadian stamp has provided the following description:

“The background image is a cropping of actual bromine atoms photo-imprinted on a silicon surface. This image is part of current research in molecular-scale printing lead by Professor Polanyi at the University of Toronto. The graphic on the lower right shows molecules moving within the three states of a chemical reaction: initial state, transition state and final state. We included this graphic as part of the stamp as Professor Polanyi won a nobel prize in 1987 for his contribution in initiating a new field of chemistry called reaction dynamics that deals with the prediction of the pattern of the motion of molecules in a chemical reaction. The wavy lines behind the molecules emphasize transition within a chemical reaction.”

Thanks to Luke Andersson, Marketing Coordinator, Chemical Institute of Canada, for providing this information.

Daniel Rabinovich | Nov 01, 2011 04:18PM

I've uploaded a better scan of the stamp from Mauritius.  Coming in November:  Uruguay, Sweden and Poland.

Daniel Rabinovich | Dec 01, 2011 05:36PM

IYC stamps have also been issued by Oman and Curaçao, and I hope to provide additional information and images shortly.  Stay tuned....

Daniel Rabinovich | Dec 09, 2011 04:05AM

The joint issue from Poland and Sweden if finally out (November 17th)!  Both are souvenir sheets of two stamps each, with an almost identical design but face value in their our national currencies [neither one uses the euro!].  See the attached preliminary images.-  Although it's perfectly OK to celebrate the 100th anniverary of Marie Curie's Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1911) for the discovery of radium and polonium, I am disappointed that neither of these souvenir sheets explicitly mention the IYC.  How hard was it to include at least a small IYC logo somewhere in the design?  Oh well, a missed opportunity to honor chemistry...

Daniel Rabinovich | Dec 09, 2011 04:09AM

The set of four stamps from Curaçao was issued on 11 October 2011, and high-resolution images of the stamps have been posted here.  I wonder if the "rabbit" scientist featured in each stamp is a cartoon character popular in Curaçao...

Daniel Rabinovich | Dec 09, 2011 04:35AM

I've uploaded better images of the souvenir sheets from Poland and Sweden honoring the centennial of Marie Sklodowska Curie's Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Daniel Rabinovich | Dec 12, 2011 09:49PM

Uruguay issued on December 9th a nice souvenir sheet of one stamp honoring the IYC and featuring pictures of some minerals (agate, amethyst & quartz).  See attached preliminary image.-

Daniel Rabinovich | Jan 02, 2012 09:47PM

Happy New Year to everyone!   Several images have been updated (higher resolution scans have been posted).  And on December 27th, the Sultanate of Oman issued what may well be the last IYC stamp of the year (see attached image).  Most of the dates of issue have been posted, except for the strip of four stamps from Equatorial Guinea and the souvenir sheets from Guinea-Bissau.  I should also mention that the date of issue of the souvenir sheets from Togo and Gabon, which honor Marie Curie but do not mention explicitly the IYC, are unknown.  If any additional (reliable) information becomes available, I'll post it in the future.

Daniel Rabinovich | Jan 08, 2012 03:41PM

Gheorghii Plugari from Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, has designed four beautiful "customized" stamps featuring the IYC logo (one in English, one in Moldovan) and Marie Curie (two different portraits), all of which were printed by Posta Moldovei and are valid for postage (see attached scans).  For more information, visit:

Fabienne Meyers | Feb 09, 2012 08:30PM

An IYC Philatelic Tribute to Marie Curie prepared by Dan Rabinovich was published in Chemistry International Nov-Dec 2011, p. 44

Also, you might like to follow Dan's IYC stamp odyssey at the 2012 ACS meeting in San Diego; his presentation is scheduled Sunday, March 25, 2012 04:55 PM as part of the HIST Tutorial and General Papers session!

Daniel Rabinovich | Mar 10, 2012 01:20AM

A few belated additions to the page (see attached images):  a souvenir sheet from Guinea honoring Marie Curie's Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1911) but not explicitly the IYC, and three stamps, also from Guinea, from a sheet of 6 that also includes Pierre Curie, Robert Oppenheimer and Albert Einstein.

CAVEAT EMPTOR:  these are most probably illegal issues, unlikely to ever see postal use, and have little or no philatelic value.  This posting does not constitute an endorsement of  their validity and is for reference purposes only.

Daniel Rabinovich | Mar 10, 2012 01:21AM

I've also posted a scan of a fascinating customized stamp prepared in Slovenia on the occasion of the closing ceremony of the IYC, which took place in the beautiful city of Maribor (the second largest in Slovenia) on January 26th, 2012.  It features an image of the photochemical reactor used for the synthesis of krypton difluoride in liquid fluorine, and it is based on a photograph taken by Dr. Gasper Tavcar from the Department of Inorganic Chemistry and Technology at the Jozef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana.  What can I say, there must be some very knowledgeable (and brave) scientists at the Institute...!!!  Thanks to Prof. Iztok Turel (Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana) for bringing this stamp to my attention and providing the aforementioned background information.

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