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1920 National Tax Stamps

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(Page created December 3, 2014)

According to existing catalogs, in about 1920 the re-organized Czech National League issued four sets of stamps. All four were on normal paper with no watermark and perforated 12.

St. Wenzel on Horseback

The first set consisted of four stamps which featured an image of St. Wenzel on horseback. St. Wenzel, or Wenceslaus I (c. 907-935) was duke of Bohemia from 921 until he was assassinated in 935 allegedly in a plot by his brother, Boleslav the Cruel. Wenceslaus I had a reputation for goodness, hence his elevation to sainthood. He was also posthumously declared king and is considered the patron saint of the Czech state. He is better known to Westerners as “Good King Wenceslas” in the Christmas carol of that name. According to one write up on eBay, Slovakia’s Devin castle is in the background but I am unable to confirm that though there are some similarities between Devin castle and the tower shown on the Allegorical stamps (see the next set.)

View of Hradčany

The second set featured an allegorical image of a woman. With her are three young warriors, each bearing a weapon and a shield. The three shields each display one of the regional emblems, the Bohemian lion, the checkered Moravian Eagle, and the Silesian eagle. In the background is the tower of a castle on a hill outlined against the sun.

View of Hradčany

The third set features a view of Hradčany (in German, “Hradschin”). Hradčany is the castle district of the city of Prague and surrounds the Prague castle (Pražský hrad) which is the official residence and office of the President of the Czech Republic and the largest ancient castle in the world.

View of Karlštejn

The fourth and final set of stamps features a view of Karlštejn Castle (in German, “Karlstein”) in the city once known as Budňany. The castle was founded in 1348 and served as a safe storage location for the Czech national jewels and other treasures. It is located about 30 km (18.6 mi.) southwest of Prague and is one of the most famous and most frequently visited castles in the Czech Republic.

The above information is what you will find in the existing stamp catalogs. It leaves me with a lot of questions. Were these stamps really put out by an organization called the "Czech National League" or who did issue them? They are apparently "labels" as opposed to "stamps". That is, they were not issued by the government for postal or tax use but by some private organization, probably to raise money. For what purpose were they issued? Where did the money go? When were the stamps issued? How were they used - on letters? postcards? invoices? tickets? or something else? Is that really Devin castle on the Allegory stamps and was it also on the St. Wenzel stamps?

If you know anything about these stamps or can point me to further information about them, I hope you will email me at the address below. Thanks!

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Valerie Kramer
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