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Podlepka : what is it ?

Lubor Kunc

published in the Czechoslovak Specialist no. 4 / 2003


One of SCP members asked me, what is the slip of paper affixed under the stamp bearing the text. Because the matter is not widely known, I am answering his question by the ”open article”, so other collectors can check their material, if they don’t have similar items there.

First, I have to say, that the slip of paper with commemorative text is in Czech called ”podlepka”. It has been invented in time of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy by Czech patriots unsatisfied with the absence of Czech language on Austrian stamps (if you look at them, you will find that no stamp from 1850 to 1918 bears a Czech word!), but the Austrian Postal Administration refused to use other than German language on postage stamps.

An ingenious man than discovered, that when the Czech language can not be placed direct on stamps, it is possible to affix the stamp on piece of paper with Czech text. Extremely popular was the way about 1908, when beautiful set commemorative 60th anniversary of governance by Emperor Franz Joseph I. was issued. It has been done by best Austrian artists. The ”podlepka” for the stamps were produced in the same style, so sometimes it was not easy to realize, what is the real stamp and what is the ”podlepka” (podlepka means literally something to be stuck or glued under something else).

By creating the independent Czechoslovakia in 1918 the above reason for using ”podlepka” was no more valid, but they still existed. They were issued by organization committees of various exhibitions or social events as cheap way how to attract attention of public to the event and to enable ”personalize” the postage stamps.

It would be interesting to mention in the article by statement, when the ”podlepka” finished their existence, but unfortunately I don’t know it. I can only add, I have not seen any of them coming from time of WWII or after 1945, so we can expect their ”death” about begin of WWII.

I have an ask to the readers: do you know, what is correct English expression for the Czech word ”podlepka” ? When me and my friend owning the item studied Czech – English vocabularies, we have not found any word useful for the thing. Do you know about it ? When yes, let us know !



P.S. : Editors of famous U.S. philatelic journal ”Linns Stamp News” ( published in their issue of August 11, 2003 an article on the theme calling the ”podlepka” as ”porte timbre label” . Many thanks to you ! Does anybody have another name for it ?



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