Sunday, February 12, 2012

All You Need is Love

This is my first time joining in with Sunday Stamps though I have often wanted to. The theme this week is love (or New Years Dragons but I have decided to stick with love).

In 2009 the South African Post Office released this lovely rose sheetlet entitled 'All You Need is Love' on the 13th of February, just in time for Valentines. The following information about the sheetlet appears on the SAPO website.

Artwork: Jeanlé Casarin
Stamp size: 35 x 35 mm round stamp
Stamp sheet size: 168 x 187 mm heart shaped
Paper: Self adhesive
Gum: PS1 adhesive
Quantity printed: 400,000 Sheet-lets
Colour: CMYK
Phosphor: 4 mm circular around outer edge of stamp.
Printing process: Offset Lithography, Southern Colour Print, New Zealand

The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart.” As reflected in this quote from an unknown source, love and roses are often mentioned in the same breath. On Valentine's Day and on many other special occasions, love and appreciation are often conveyed through the language of roses. To celebrate the beauty of love and roses this Valentine's day and throughout the year, the South African Post Office will issue a set of self-adhesive stamps on 13 February depicting roses to convey the message, “All you need is love.”

For many people, the words “All you need is Love” bring back memories from the sixties when this Beatles' song was a number one hit. The song, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, was meant to be a message to the world that love is everything. Given the importance of the message, it is arguably one of the world's greatest songs.

Like the song, the message that this stamp issue conveys is simple, yet powerful. And what better way to convey the message than with roses. Roses are among the world's most beautiful flowers and have been used to convey messages of love, gratitude and friendship throughout history. Roses as symbols of love, passion and appreciation are not only reflected in history books, but also across many cultures.

Fossil remains indicate that roses have been around since prehistoric times. It is believed that the first cultivated roses appeared in Asian gardens about 5 000 years ago. Introduced in Europe during the time of the Roman Empire, roses were mainly used decoratively. Cleopatra is said to have scattered rose petals before Mark Anthony's feet, and Nero ostensibly released roses from the ceiling during extravagant feasts and banquets.

In the Victorian era, people took the language of flowers quite seriously. Flowers became a way for lovers to communicate with each other, because they often conveyed messages and demonstrated feelings which people were hesitant to proclaim openly. Although the Victorian language of flowers has faded, a gift of roses in modern times still says more than words.

Through the ages and across cultures, different coloured roses have attained different symbolic meanings. Red roses, for example, are said to symbolise love, passion, desire, respect and courage; white roses symbolise innocence, reverence, humility and truth; and orange roses symbolise fascination and enthusiasm. In the Victorian era, pink roses, symbolised romantic love and were among the most popular flowers of the time.

Pink roses are found in paintings, on ornaments, jewellery, heirlooms, textiles and other objects from that period. They come in different shades, from pale pink, peach and blushing pink, to deep pink and crimson. However, literature on the symbolic meaning of roses indicates that pink roses also have various other meanings. Blushing pink roses, for example, are often associated with grace, innocence and happiness, while pale pink roses convey grace, admiration and sympathy. Peach roses symbolise modesty and deep pink roses are said to convey gratitude and appreciation.

Also depicted on our stamps are yellow roses. Among other things, yellow roses is said to symbolise friendship, caring, happiness, joy and freedom. They also mark a new beginning. Giving a yellow rose to somebody would mean that you want him or her to be your friend. When grouped together, pale pink and yellow roses traditionally signified sociability and friendship. A combination of red and yellow roses conveyed a message of fun and happiness, while yellow and white roses conveyed the message of harmony.

However, it was not only the colours of roses that expressed feelings. Fresh roses in a bouquet is said to have expressed deep gratitude, while a single rose said, “I still love you”. A bouquet of rosebuds is said to represent innocent love, saying, “You are forever young and beautiful.”

While this set of stamps are, therefore, aptly issued for messages conveyed on Valentine's Day, they are also most suitable for other special messages of love, gratitude or appreciation to a friend or loved one. Such occasions include Mother's Day (the 2nd Sunday in May), Children's Day (20 November), Grand Mom and Grand Dad Day (1 October), and Father's Day (2nd Sunday in June).

The roses depicted on the stamps are Beauty from Within (ORAmaucoq), Cotlands Rose (MICautumn), Rinahugo (DORfuri), Johannesburg Sun (KORdoubt), and Bewitched (1967 - No international code). Clearly, there is both a touch of our country and the magical aura of roses built into this stamp issue, rendering them “proudly South African.”

Jeanlé Casarin created the artwork for these stamps. She is a 3rd year Graphic Design student at The Open Window in Pretoria. These stamps are one of the practical projects that form part of the Graphic Design curriculum.

The captions on each stamp include the international variety names of the roses portrayed. These variety names are always written with the first three letters in capital indicating the breeder, i.e. KOR for Kordes, ORA for Orard, DOR for Dorieux, etc.

Regarding Love stamps Beyond the Perf has a slideshow of all 34 of the Love stamps released by USPS since 1973 and as you can see 8 of them feature roses.

Beyond the Perf

Sunday Stamps


  1. They would look pretty on an envelope. How nice that a Graphic Design student sees her designs on the stamps of her country.

  2. Thank you for joining us today!!!!
    These stamps are lovely and fit the theme perfectly. One can also interpret the theme broadly :-)

  3. The stamp design is interesting and so is all the information about roses.

  4. The round shape complements the roses perfectly.
    And so much information! that is wonderful. so often the info we get is very edited.

  5. Wonderful stamps. Thank you for sharing the story behind the stamps. That's always so interesting!

  6. These are so, so, pretty. I was going to say it's a shame they didn't make the stamps themselves heart shaped but I suppose that would limit their use a bit. You couldn't send a letter with a heart stamp to everyone.

  7. Hi everyone,
    Its been years since I designed these stamps. But I am still very proud of the work I did when I was a student, and even today! It was wonderful seeing everyone's comments!
    Kind Regards, Jeanle Casarin