Serbia unveils Chinese New Year postal stamp

Over the next 12 years, the Serbian postal service will issue stamps celebrating the Chinese New Year. Every year, a new stamp will be issued illustrating a different animal of the zodiac.

On February 9, the first in a series was presented to the public in a limited edition of 25,000. The image on this year's stamp is a dragon or loong, the symbol of this Chinese year.

The stamps are printed in Novi Sad, the second-largest city in Serbia. Situated on the banks of the River Danube, it has a population of just under 370,000. It is widely recognised as the capital of Serbian culture, but it is also one of only two places in the country that prints postal stamps.

The Serbian postal service has issued a new stamp to mark the Chinese New Year. It's the start of a run of stamps celebrating the festival that will go on for the next 12 years. /CGTN

Machines in one of the city's oldest printing houses are responsible for printing the final sheets of the new issue.

"Historically, we had far fewer postal stamp editions, with a far larger circulation," says Miglinci Magdolina, head of the postal stamps section at Forum Printing. "These days, we have far more editions, but with far lower circulation.

"Most likely because there are not so many philatelists (people who collect or study postal stamps), people don't write letters as before, and the stamps are used less than in the old days.”

After every sheet of paper is printed, individual postal stamps are perforated and cut into smaller pieces. Every sheet is carefully counted and numbered, giving stamps the same level of security as money.

But this postal stamp has even bigger value for the Serbian postal service and the Serbian people.

"This is a means of sending a message to the citizens of the People's Republic of China, a message of friendship that exists regardless of geographic distance," says Magdolina. "As friends, we are very close, and we wanted to thank the People's Republic of China for what it does as a friend of our country.”

This postal stamp is now in circulation – and considering its rarity, it is expected to be a very sought-after item among collectors.

Copyright © 2013, Secretariat for Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries
Address: No. 2, Chaoyangmen Nandajie, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100701 FAX:86-10-65962554