Tokyo 2020

A Catalogue of Stamps

 

 

On 6 April 1896, the first modern Olympic games opened in Athens, Greece, accompanied by the release of 12 commemorative stamps. These were the first in the ever-expanding field of Olympic philately. The International Olympic Committee’s official catalogue lists some 26,300 stamps in five volumes.  There exist a wide variety of postal products including postage stamps and stamped postal stationery (postal cards, aerograms, etc.), circular date stamps, commemorative cancellations, postage meters and other postal service matter all of which either paid postage or helped in some way to carry the mails. Some philatelists also like to include non-postal ephemera such as vignettes or labels, privately-produced cachets, postcards, artwork, essays and proofs in their collections.

 

 

This listing illustrates the stamps issued to commemorate the 2020 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the XXXII Olympiad (第32回オリンピック競技大会, Dai Sanjūni-kai Orinpikku Kyōgi Taikai) and also known as Tokyo 2020 (東京2020), scheduled to be held from 23 July to 8 August 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Originally scheduled to take place from 24 July to 9 August 2020, the event was postponed in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and will not allow international spectators. Despite being rescheduled for 2021, the event retains the Tokyo 2020 name for marketing and branding purposes. This is the first time that the Olympic Games have been postponed and rescheduled, rather than cancelled. The Summer Paralympics will be held between 24 August and 5 September 2021 after the Olympics. The first stamps to mark Tokyo 2020 were released by Japan in March 2019.

There are a few Olympic-themed stamps that were issued between 2019 and 2021 that I included in this listing despite the fact that they do not pertain specifically to the XXXII Olympiad. These include issues by Hungary (anniversary of their Olympic Committee), Cyprus (past Olympic heroes), Isle of Man (British Olympians), and Spain (Women gold medalists). I have not included several that depicted general sports themes (i.e., the circular sheets “Sport Color Passion” from France and the athletics issue from San Marino are not considered to be Olympics stamps) nor have I included any personalized stamp sheets, whether “official” or private.

04

June 2021

Armenia 


1 stamp in sheet of 10

 

06

July 2021

Australia — Ticket To Tokyo


1 stamp in sheet of 10

   

TBA

July-August 2021

Australia — Gold Medalist Instant Sheetlets


1 stamp in sheets of 10: Each Australian gold medal performance in Tokyo will be celebrated with a gold medalist sheetlet. Australia Post will produce a sheetlet of gold medalist stamps within 72 hours of the medal ceremony taking place.

 

29

July 2021

Bahamas


6 stamps

 

15

June 2020

Belgium — Team Belgium: Faster Higher Stronger 


1 stamp in sheet of 5

 

 

14

June 2021

Belgium — Team Belgium


1 stamp in sheet of 5

22

July 2021

British Virgin Islands


4 stamps

 

19

March 2020

Cyprus — Marathon Runner Stelios Kyriakides 


4 stamps in sheets of 8 for each design 


19

March 2020

Cyprus


4 stamps in sheets of 8 for each design

 

26

May 2021

Estonia


1 stamp in sheet of 25

 

06

May 2021

GermanyNew Olympic Sports


3 stamps in sheets of 10 for each design

 

12

March 2020

Greece — Lighting of the Olympic Torch


1 commemorative cover

03

June 2021

Greece


2 souvenir sheets

25

February 2021

Guinea — Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Sport


1 souvenir sheet

23

July 2021

Hong Kong


4 stamps in sheets of 25 for each design; 1 miniature sheet of 4. Originally scheduled to be released on 24 July 2020, these were postponed until 2021 with some minor design changes.

 

09

October 2020

Hungary — Hungarian Olympic Committee


1 souvenir sheet

04

June 2021

Hungary


1 souvenir sheet

15

July 2021

Isle of Man — Great British Olympians


12 stamps in sheet of 48 and booklet pane of 12

29

June 2021

Israel


3 stamps

 

12

March 2019

Japan — Olympic and Paralympic Games (Series I)


1 miniature sheet of 10

26

August 2019

Japan — Olympic and Paralympic Games (Series II)


8 stamps in sheet of 10 with 1 each of 6 designs, 2 each of 2 designs 

10

March 2020

Japan — Torch Relay


2 stamps in sheet of 10 with 5 of each design

23

June 2021

Japan


75 stamps in 3 sheets of 25 plus 1 limited edition souvenir sheet


02

June 2020

Liechtenstein


2 stamps in sheets of 16 for each design

 

11

May 2021

Luxembourg


1 stamp in sheet of 10

 

03

November 2020

Monaco


1 stamp in sheet of 10

16

June 2021

Montenegro


1 stamp in sheet of 8 and souvenir sheet

07

October 2020

New Zealand — The New Zealand Team


6 stamps in sheets of 25 for each design; 1 miniature sheet of 6

 

13

January 2020

North Macedonia


1 stamp in sheet of 9

01

July 2021

Serbia


2 stamps in sheets of 8 for each design

15

April 2020

Slovak Republic


1 stamp in sheet of 50  

24

August 2020

Slovak Republic — Paralympic Games


1 stamp in sheet of 50 

 

12

July 2021

Slovenia 


2 stamps in sheets of 6 for each design 

 

 

26

June 2020

Spain — Women In Sport: Olympics


1 souvenir sheet

 

28

June 2021

Spain — Women In Sport: Female Olympic Medalists


1 souvenir sheet 

06

May 2021

Switzerland


1 stamp in sheet of 8 

11

July 2021

Ukraine


1 circular stamp in sheet of 10

 

23

July 2021

United Nations — Sports for Peace


miniature sheets of 8 stamps in 2 denominations for each office: New York, Geneva and Vienna; 1 souvenir sheet for each office

DESIGNS NOT YET ANNOUNCED

 

 

 

 

Olympic Philately


The partnership between the Olympic Games and philately is as old as the Games themselves.

In 1895, the Organizing Committee was faced with a lack of funds to complete the construction of the last venues. Two Greek philatelists/numismatists proposed that the Greek government issue a series of commemorative stamps, the proceeds (or part of the proceeds) from which would go to the Organizing Committee of the Games to finance these last venues. Fifty percent of the estimated revenue (200,000 drachmas) was released before the issue date and the remainder was guaranteed with a seven percent bank loan. The series of 12 stamps was issued on the inaugural day of the first Games of the Olympiad, 6 April 1896 (25 March according to the Julian calendar then in use in Greece).

There are numerous resources for the collector of Olympic philatelic and postal history items. The official stamp catalogue approved by the International Olympic Committee comprises five volumes and lists more than 26,000 stamps in its most recent edition. Schwaneberger Verlag GmbH, the publishing house of Michel catalogues, published the second edition of a topical catalogue devoted to Olympic stamps in December 2017.

The International Association of Olympic Collectors or Association International des Collectionneurs Olympique (AICO) promotes Olympic collecting related to the cultural and historic aspects of the Olympic movement. This includes Olympic philately, Olympic numismatics and Olympic memorabilia. 

An excellent source of information about each of the Olympiads, including details about many of the stamps up until the 1964 Tokyo Games, can be found on the pages of the Olympic Games Museum — a private website maintained by Juergen Wagner of Germany. The  Olympic World Library is simultaneously a library catalogue, an information portal and a search engine for Olympic knowledge. Via this portal you can access the unique collections of the Olympic Studies Centre, with all the official Olympic publications, and also find books, articles and selected dissertations produced by academics and professionals from all around the world. 

Another excellent resource is Sports Philatelists International and their quarterly Journal of Sports PhilatelySPI website includes numerous links to additional websites of interest to the Olympic philatelist including a free download of Ernest Trory’s 1960 work, A Philatelic History of the Olympic GamesFinally, there is the German organization Internationale Motivgruppen Olympiaden und Sport and a website dedicated to poster stamps and labels of the Olympic Games from the beginning through 1972.

Mark Joseph Jochim
9 July 2021

 

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