International stamp exhibition

  • Issue: March 1974
  • Designer: A. Adler
  • Stamp size: 125 x 74 mm
  • Sheet of 1 stamp
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

Does not every collector of Israel's stamps set his heart on obtaining the three top values of the Doar Ivri set the 250, 500 and 1000 in.? Now, twenty-five years later, the Israel Post Office has decided to help the collector realize his desire by reissuing the three stamps, albeit in the form of special miniature sheets in honour of "Jerusalem 73".

Just as the original Doar Ivri stamps renewed an ancient Jewish tradition and were devoted to ancient Hebrew coins, symbols of the independent Jewish State that existed two thousand years ago, so will these three miniature sheets issued to commemorate the second International Stamp Exhibition to be held in Israel provide the link with Israel's first stamps.

It is interesting to note that the three coins from the second, third, and fourth years of the country's independence bear a common inscription "Jerusalem the Holy". The three silver shekels show on one side a temple goblet (which is also depicted among the temple vessels on the Arch of Titus) and on the other, three pomegranates - the symbol of fertility. The silver shekel is the most famous of all Jewish coins -it gives expression to the concept first put forward by our ancient wise men and which is no less valid today, that economic independence - as symbolised by the minting of a national currency - must march in step with political freedom. A surprising feature of the coins is that the inscription is written in the old Hebrew script in spite of the fact that at the time of their minting this script had already given place to the square letters used to this very day. This fact demonstrates that consciousness of tradition beating in the hearts of our fighting forefathers who sought to "renew our days as of old" as they battled the Roman oppressor.

The history books can tell us nothing about the conditions under which the coins of the Great Jewish Revolt were minted. Fortunately, however, evidence has been preserved of the circumstances surrounding the preparation and printing of Israel's first stamps in 1948 - the haste and secrecy connected with the preparation of the designs by the artist Otte Wallish; the colour trials of the eight stamps produced on the "Haaretz" press in Tel Aviv; the collecting of a sufficient stock of paper obtained from all manner of unconventional sources, the setting- up of the printing press in the Kirya and the conspiratorial beginnings of the printing of the stamps even before the termination of the British Mandate.

A not unimportant factor which delayed the printing of the first stamps was the fact that the Jewish national leadership had not yet decided on a name for the nascent Jewish State - the stamps therefore bear the non-commital inscription "Doar Ivri" (Hebrew Post).

Since those days, millions upon millions of stamps proudly inscribed "Israel" have come off the printing presses but our very first stamps which do not bear this name will always have their special place in philatelic history and in the heart of every collector.

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International stamp exhibition