In 1998 Czeslaw Slania made a private engraving of Pope John Paul II, his fellow country-man. The engraving is shown here, signed by Slania, and carrying No. 251/500. This engraving was a test work with regard to the release of official Vatican stamps in 2000, celebrating the Pope’s 80th birthday. Slania’s skill in capturing the lights and shades of a portrait with his burin is fully displayed, both in this private portrait of the Pope, and on the stamp. In the same set was issued two stamps, featuring the The Black Madonna from Czestochowa and a Silver Crucifix (the top of the Bishops’ Baton). The stamps are a joint issue with Poland.
According to Slania, he made separate plates for both countries, because they are printed from different printing presses (Vatican City is printed by Swedish Post and Poland by Poland).
The first stamp (800 Lire) the engraving is deeper than in the Polish copy.
The second stamp (1200 Lire) is monochrome, whilst the Polish copy is more contrasted.
The third stamp (2000 Lire) the background is diagonal, whilst the Polish issue is criss-crossed.
09.05.2000. Pope John Paul II´s 80th Birthday:
- Pope Johannes Paulus II. The very dark violet background colour matches the sacral colour of the Church. Scott # 1153. Scott # 1154.
- The Black Madonna from Tschenstochau.
- Silver Crucifix (top of the Bishop´s Baton). Scott # 1155.
12.03.2002. Third Centenary of Papal Accademia Ecclesiastica.
In an unusual arrangement, the name of Sweden Post Stamps occupies the lower right margin of each stamp, which is usually the domain of the engraver’s name. This pushes the engraver’s name, «CZ. SLANIA» to the lower left margin of each stamp, which is usually reserved for the name of the designer. Between the two names is the year «2002».
06.05.2003. St. George slaying the Dragon. The stamp was issued to honour the 17th century of his death, and presented in sheets of 10 stamps. Printed by Post Sweden. The emblem in the lower left corner of the stamp is that of the 25th anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope John Paul II. Image by courtesy of Alberto Aletto (Italy). Scott # 1238.