Questionable or inappropriate stamp designs

This is the set I wrote above:

Now, when I know how this could be seen, I wouldn’t send these to just anyone.
But again, I believe, for example a child won’t understand it same way as an adult might.


Quite a lot of subjectivity about what we find inappropriate. It’s all dependent on our individual values, political views, religious/cultural upbringing.


I recently received a postcard with an interesting Finnish stamp.

It turned out that the Finnish Air Force had used a swastika till 2020! The thing is they started to use that symbol back in 1918 before the Germans. So after the war they decided not to get rid of their old logo just because someone else had defiled it.
For those who aren’t familiar with that explanation receiving this stamp can be quite an unpleasant surprise. Especially in a country like Israel. Also I know that in Germany displaying a swastika can be punished by three years in jail. Even in the German versions of computer games the publishers have to replace swastikas with something inoffensive.


The “use of symbols of unconstitutional organizations” outside the contexts of “art or science, research or teaching” are punished with imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine (Strafgesetzbuch section 86 and 86a).
Displaying this Finnish stamp would be exempt from punishment.


That’s vague wording. For example I think it’s quite strange that movies are treated as art while computer games aren’t.

“There are a lot of gray areas when it comes to the ban on anti-constitutional symbols in Germany: Rulings by various judges and courts can often even seem contradictory.
One of the most prominent court decisions regarding the use of the swastika is a 2007 decision from the Federal Court of Justice. The judges ruled that the use of crossed-out swastikas was legal, overturning a previous decision from a local court that had ordered an activist to pay 3,600 euros because he had sold anti-Nazi merchandise featuring the swastika online.”
© Deutsche Welle

And this discussion has definitely come to an end with this decision as the Federal Court of Justice is the highest court in the system of ordinary jurisdiction (ordentliche Gerichtsbarkeit) in Germany. It is the supreme court (court of last resort) in all matters of criminal and private law.

And there is an open debate going on to treat computer games just as movies.

In summary one can say that if the Swastika is used to glorify the Nazi era or to exhibit ones ideology it will be punished and if its use/display “serves to further civil enlightenment, to avert unconstitutional aims, to promote art or science, research or teaching, reporting about current historical events or similar purposes” it won’t be punished.


This stamp depicts the first aircraft of Finnish Air Force. It was donated in 1918 by Swedish count Eric von Rosen whose personal lucky symbol was a swastika. So Finns started to use it too - it colors changed a bit later. (Only a couple of months later Finland got its official flag. We became independent in December 1917.) Interestingly, count von Rosen was very active in Swedish Nazi circles in 1930s - 1940s. He was also Hermann Göring’s brother-in-law. However, the love for swastikas was just a coincidence.


I try to be sensitive with my choices and send certain stamps to countries where I know they will be appreciated. Even if the postcrosser on the receiving end shares the same values as me, sometimes I worry about the mailman or someone else getting offended and not treating the mail kindly. Perhaps I overthink it.

I have these in addition to some of the other US stamps someone posted earlier.

The Don’t tread on me is controversial for some people who are more liberal the 2nd amendment is a hot topic so this stamp I’m sure would not be able to be made in 2021

The hunger stamp I dont think I have ever used I feel bad putting them on anything. So they stay in my album

The alcohol stamp is also something I don’t feel comfortable sending to anyone it just seems inappropriate


The Dutch design dedicated to sustainable development: only shows Europe, Africa and Near East…

Because the Netherlands are in Europe perhaps and they can only show one side of the globe at the same time?..


As a Canadian, I have wondered about putting stamps referencing previous wars onto postcards, especially if they’re destined for countries that were not allies during that war. You see, I tend to mix and match 3 “Permanent” (domestic) stamps on each international postcard, since they offer much more variety and visual interest than the single international stamps do. But as it happens, we’ve had several stamps recently that reference war. For example, one of them commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance, in the wake of W.W. 1. Another commemorates three men who all won the Victoria Cross for bravery – they all happened to live on the same street in Winnipeg (the odds against that are remarkably high).

Anyway, I am not sure if I would be causing agitation by using these stamps, or if a recipient might feel that I was making some political “point” by including them (which wouldn’t be my intent, of course). Therefore, I tend to reserve these for domestic mail.

(From my side, I like seeing all sorts of stamps, even if they’re a bit peculiar or not to my taste! Although any stamp that clearly glorifies cruelty or inequality could be a different matter, I suppose.)

Edited to add: I was just reading the “Avoiding cross-cultural faux pas” thread and discovered that – of course, now I think about it – the remembrance poppy can be a painful trigger for Chinese recipients. So I think perhaps it is indeed good to be cautious.


Haha, you know what, when I firstly saw it, I wonder whether the second line showed the other side of the globe, but only to find that all the three were identical. Well, since sustainable development is a global issue, not showing the other side is slightly tricky, as if there’s no problem or no effort is needed (on the other side).

To be fair, it’s the combination between poppy and the UK that causes ‘the problem’, because the British was the invaders in the 1840s. I think this period of history will be less likely to be invoked when a poppy is sent from countries/regions other than the UK.

I agree on that. But seeing that it’s a Dutch stamp (and as far as I see a national one, but correct me if I’m wrong), it could’ve come off as patronizing if they would’ve shown only the other side on the globe on another stamp, without context. Like they wanted to say “other continents, it’s your task!” without addressing their own responsibilty. I think they probably went for the diplomatic way by emphasizing what they want to do for this issue.


Then I would mock the designer as Africa is too eye-catchy but the Netherlands is too difficult to be found :rofl:

Well yeah, it is as it is, the Netherlands are tiny. :woman_shrugging:t2:


I think poppies would be no problem…UK associated nations would know them as an important commemorative symbol (I see First Nations beadwork with them often) but most people in other countries would just see them as a nice flower.


Oh, that is good to hear! Thank you very much for clarifying this for me.

Sometimes I wonder if postage stamps with old folklore or fairy tales (which sometimes contain elements considered as “dark” or “inappropriate” today) would be questioned or misunderstood even if they looked beautiful as an art. Maybe I’m just overthinking?