Saturday, April 25, 2015

Wallis and Futuna: Schweitzer

Wallis and Futuna issued this stamp (Scott #330) in 1985 honoring Albert Schweitzer. While the doctor's relationship with Africa is well-established and -known, I am curious about his appearance on the stamp of a Polynesian country. The stamp appears to have been issued to mark the 20th anniversary of his death. Perhaps it is Schweitzer's relationship with France itself which prompts his appearance on the stamp of a French territory stamp.

In any case, the doctor's image is shown on the stamp, along with that of an unidentified boy. The boy's features are imprecise such that he may be intended to represent youth of Wallis and Futuna, or perhaps youth of Africa. The boy is wearing a necklace which to those knowledgeable in such areas may provide clues as to his ethnicity. Some plant life is shown in the background, as well as a (church?) stained glass window and some organ pipes arranged in a round facade feature. We cannot know the site of the window nor organ, or if they are simply non-specific artistic representations.

I have a document that lists all the pipe organ stamps that I am aware of. It includes information that was in an old list developed by a member of the American Topical Society many years ago. The notes for this stamp include "Strasbourg Cathedral organ." A quick look at various images of the organ in the Strasbourg Cathedral reveals that the pipes on the stamp _could_ be from the cathedral organ. But the correlation is tenuous at best. There simply is not enough context provided with the stamp image to know for certain. I'm going to maintain my designation as "unidentified."

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