Monday, 23 February 2015

Czeslaw Slania - The First of Many!

The name Czeslaw Slania has become synonymous with engraving brilliance.  But where did the master begin? What was the first stamp he engraved? For a biography of Slania click HERE

The first stamp Slania engraved was as an apprentice under the watchful eye of M.R. Polak in 1950 for Poland. Slania had not yet earned the right to engrave the entire stamp. He was permitted to engrave the metal part of the hammer being wielded by a Polish worker. 

Poland 1950 Sc. #486

A proof of the stamp is also available in a special booklet in a different colour. I personally prefer the colour chosen for the proof.

Okay, so what about the first stamp engraved entirely by Czeslaw Slania? It wasn't long in arriving - the next year in fact! 1951. The stamp was again for Poland, and it was issued to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Paris Commune. If the skill of Slania had not been evident in the first stamp he worked on, this stamp leaves no room for question. It is simply beautiful.

There is an interesting story that goes along with this stamp. The portrait on the stamp is supposed to depict General Jaroslaw Dabrowski, but instead by some mistake somewhere along the line the portrait actually depicts the composer and pianist Henryk Dabrowski. I have been unable to locate another image of the composer Dabrowski for comparison, but I have found images of Gen. Jaroslaw Dabrowski. One such image is on a Polish banknote.

If indeed the portrait on the stamp is the composer Henryk Dabrowski, then the likeness he bears to Gen. Jaroslaw Dabrowski is rather striking. One could be forgiven for mixing the two up. Do these two gentlemen bear a striking resemblance? Are they perhaps brothers? Or is the portrait on the banknote wrong also? Or is the portrait of the correct man after all? If anyone has any information relating to this stamp, I'd love to hear from you.