January 2021 – Wooden stamp from Spain

wooden stamp from spainLast year, the Spanish Post joined the ranks of postal administrations issuing a wooden stamp. The first wooden stamps appeared in Djibouti in 1983, Switzerland in 2004, and Austria in 2017, among others.

The Spanish stamp, however, has a very special history – it is dedicated to the seven elm trees in the municipality of Cabeza del Buey that are over 150 years old. These are believed to be the last examples of urban elms in Extremadura, a province of Spain bordering Portugal. The elm population in Spain suffered extremely from graphiosis, a serious fungal disease that affects elms and has greatly reduced the population of this tree species in Spain and the rest of the world. The old elms stand in the village near the chapel of the Holy Lady of Belèn – a historic pilgrimage site – and provide(ed) shade for pilgrims. The most imposing tree in this group is over 15 m tall, the trunk is 5 m in diameter and hollow inside.

elms in spain

Elms in Cabeza del Buey

This Spanish wooden stamp is made of real wood with a beautiful double cut-out – on the outside in the shape of a tree trunk and on the inside very filigree the silhouette of an elm tree. The cut of the trunk also shows the annual rings, which not only provide information about the age of each tree but also about whether the tree has just lived through a fat or a lean year.

The stamp is probably as rare as the elm. The edition is only 160,000 copies.