Sports Events and Athletes Featured in Israeli and Topical

Judaica Philately

(5/1/2008)

 

Evan Kassimir

 

Introduction

 

During this spring semester I enrolled in a class where our professor, Dr. Blumenthal, instructed my classmates and me to extensively research a topic within The Sol Singer Collection of Philatelic Judaic. The Sol Singer Collection is a Judaic philatelic collection that was donated to Emory University. The Collection has been separated into three series and has been extensively categorized due to the efforts of the staff of Emory Library, Dr. David Blumenthal, and Levi Stewart. The goal of our class was to further classify the collection. I chose to study the category of Jewish sporting events and athletes. I focused mainly on the stamps within the collection, as well as outside recourses. Through my research and the efforts of my outside sources, I was able to compile a comprehensive list of Judaic sports stamps that were found in the Emory Collection, as well as a list on stamps that could not be found in the Collection. After compiling my stampcharts, I noticed several puzzling anomalies that I felt sufficient research would be able to explain.

 

“The Emory Stampchart of Israeli and Topical Judaica Postage Stamps”

 

            This stampchart was composed in a format designed by Dr. David Blumenthal and Geoffrey Horowitz, classifying the collection of stamps both within and outside of the Sol Singer Collection. The following eighteen rubrics were observed, all of which were contained on an Excel spreadsheet:

 

Basic

Country of Issue

Date of Issue

Scott Catalogue number (or other catalogue number)

IPS (Israeli Philatelic Service) number (for Israeli stamps only)

Content

Title  (usually from one of the catalogues)

Description (usually from one of the catalogues)

Additional Information (usually provided by us)

Internet Links (provided by us)

Categories (the purpose of this is to provide searchable categories)

Category A

Category B

Category C

MARBL Categories (provided by the Library cataloguers)

Philatelic

Format

Denomination

Color

Locators

Volume (in the Singer Collection)

Sequence (within each volume of the Singer Collection)

Non-Emory Source (for stamps added to the stamp chart not in the Singer Collection)

 

“The Emory Stampchart of Israeli and Topical Judaica Postage Stamps” is available online.

 

Additionally, Professor Blumenthal created a subsequent stampchart designed to eliminate repeated entries. This compilation contains only one format per catalogue entry. It is called “A General Stampchart of Israeli and Judaica Topical Postage Stamps” and is also available for online viewing in various forms.

 

After choosing my topic, “Judaic Events and Athletes,” I was instructed by Dr. Blumenthal to sort my collection according the guidelines of these categories. I began to sort through this collection and the entries composed by the MARBL staff (Emory University Librarians). After many hours of research, I had successfully separated the stamps relevant to my category. I discovered that The Sol Singer Collection held 110 stamps based on Jewish events and athletes. While sorting through these stamps was an accomplishment, I was far from finished with my task. I began to seek outside sources that could lead me to stamps that could not be found in the Sol Singer Collection. The Library Staff and Emory University introduced me to a book by Isaac Borodinsky called Judaica In Philately[1]. This book combined with the efforts of Claude Wainstain, a keen reader of Gary Goodman’s monthly newsletter, The Judaic Newsletter[2], allowed me to compile a comprehensive list of 166 stamps, of sporting events and athletes, which could not be found in the Sol Singer Collection. This generated "The Stampchart for Jewish Events and Athletes on Israeli and Topical Judaica Postage Stamps," arranged by country and date.

From this point, I attempted to organize my collection into three categories (A, B and C). Category A was labeled as “Sports,” Category B as “Type of Sport/Event,” and males and females separated Category C. The goal of this was to help viewers to locate relevant information regarding Jewish events and athletes featured within my collection. This generated "The Stampchart for Jewish Events and Athletes on Israeli and Topical Judaica Postage Stamps," arranged by category B and then "The Stampchart for Jewish Events and Athletes on Israeli and Topical Judaica Postage Stamps," arranged by category C.

 

“The Stampchart for Jewish Events and Athletes on

Israeli and Jewish Topical Postage Stamps”

 

            I have compiled, what I believe to be, a nearly completed spreadsheet on all Judaic sports stamps. I have split my spreadsheet into two different sheets: stamps owned by Emory University and stamps that are missing from the University collection. In the Emory University collection there are 110-recorded stamps that depict sports activities or athletes and 166 stamps not found in the Emory Collection.

 

According to the data I have compiled, the following conclusions seem reasonable:

• Israel has issued the most stamps based on Judaic sports and events. There are roughly, 73 issued Israeli sports stamps compared to roughly 191 issued sports stamps from around the world.[3]

• Many of the stamps that are issued by Israel do not depict certain athletes, but rather events such as the Munich Olympics and the Maccabiah Games.

• While there were several famous Jewish female athletes, either men or certain events were mostly depicted on the stamps issued by all the countries.

• Judaica topical sports stamps issued by nations other than Israel tend to depict sports heroes such as Mark Spitz rather than events such as the death of the 11 athletes in Munich.

• October 1st 1950, was the earliest date of issue for any Judaic sports stamp; it was an Israeli stamp that depicted the 3rd Maccabiah games. Through my research I have discovered that Israel issues one stamp a year based on the Maccabiah games, the Munich Olympics and other sporting events. This is the reason why Israel has the most stamps dedicated to the topic of sports athletes, events, and heroes.

• Several countries also issued stamps on Judaic sporting events such as the Maccabiah Games (i.e. Brazil, France, Romania and Uruguay). The Maccabiah Games are an international Jewish athletic competition similar to the Olympics, which are held in Israel every four years. The Maccabiah Games are one of the five largest sporting events in the entire world. I was extremely puzzled why a country such a Brazil would issue a stamp based on the Maccabiah Games. After much research, I discovered that because the games have been so widely known for the past several decades, several countries have developed Maccabiah “spin-off” games. France, the United States, Great Britain and Brazil all have their own separate Maccabiah Games. These events are open to all Jewish people.

• Several nations such as Guyana and Sierra Leone published stamps that were based upon the 1972 Munich Olympics during which 11 Israeli men were taken captive and killed because of the ongoing political situation between the Palestinians and the Israelis at that time. Why would a nation that was not affected by the situation publish a stamp that was based on Judaic sentiment? I discovered that small nations such as Guyana develop a good amount of their income on the creation and issuing of stamps. These nations have problems with unskilled workers and large amounts of national debt. Because of these facts, these nations issue stamps to develop some income, not because they are sympathetic to the Israelis.

           

We welcome comments on our stampcharts. We welcome articles written on philatelic Judaica that utilize our stampcharts. Correspondence should be directed to Professor David R. Blumenthal, Tam Institute of Jewish Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA, or at his email address.



[1] Borodinsky, Isaac. Judaica in Philately. 3rd ed. 3 vols. 2003.

[2] To subscribe, please contact Gary Goodman.

[3] All are included in the Stampchart, including those in the Emory Collection and those outside it.