Finland has had a growth spurt of tourists in recent years thanks to positive publicity and awareness. Its enviable landscape is blanketed with forests and rolling hills, all complemented beautifully by its thousand lakes. Local tourism is further promoted by cruise lines between major port cities along the Baltic region and Helsinki. Skiing, golf, fishing, hiking, sailing, kayaking, yatching, and hunting are some of the popular outdoor activities. December is the peak season to visit Finland for Christmas is celebrated in a big way and Northern Lights puts on their show around then. May through July are considered tourist friendly and June is the time to witness the Midnight Sun. Finnish cuisine is famously bland – potatoes and bread accompanied with fish and meat dishes. Milk or cream is also an important part of their diet.
|Resource||ISBN or ASIN||Best Price||Description|
|Lonely Planet Finland||978-1741047714||$17||Extended Helsinki and Lapland Coverage along with 81 easy-to-use maps. Light on pictures.|
|Finland: Cultural Lone Wolf||978-1931930185||$22||The author Richard Lewis expertly explores Finnish culture and explains how this small nation became the most competitive, and least corrupt people in the world. His presentation is immensely readable and hilarious.|
|Finland Travel Map||978-1553412113||$12||1:650,000 scale. Includes inset map of the city centre of Helsinki.|
|Finland Grounded Adapter Plug – GUB||B001FD5DQM||$8|
The first stamps of Finland were released in 1856 with Coat of Arms theme. The stamps (Scott #1 to #2) are extremely rare and catalogs for over $6000 MNH and over $350 for used. Tete beche pairs exist and they go for over ten times this figure. Coat of Arms was the primary stamp issue theme of Finland issues until the turn of the century. Many of these early issues fetch into the hundreds while some go for a few tens of dollars. Finland released a set of thirteen stamps between 1891 and 1892 in the Imperial Arms of Russia theme. The set (Scott #46 to #58) catalogs for around $700 MNH and $900 used. Russia issued similar stamps in the same timeframe – Finnish stamps are easily identified as there is a ‘MAPKA’ inscription on them. Alexander I of Russia took over the area in the Finnish war of 1809 and Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy in the Russian empire until 1917.
Finland released a long set of twenty seven stamps between 1917 and 1929 showing the Arms of the Republic. The set (Scott #83 to #108, #110) catalogs for around $100 MNH and $35 used. The right-wing Finnish government declared independence following the October revolution in Russia. The nation went on to become consumed in civil war for the next year. Finland released a set of three stamps on February 28, 1935 to mark the centenary of the publication of Kalevala. The set (Scott #207 to #209) catalogs for around $12 MNH and $4 used. The designs show Bards Reciting the Kalevala, Goddess Louhi as Eagle Seizing Magic Mill, and Kullervo. Kalevala is Finland’s national epic and is credited with developing a sense of nationality that ultimately led to Finland’s independence from Russia.
Other issues of Finland enjoying good philatelic interest include:
- A stamp released on October 15, 1948 for the Helsinki Philatelic Exhibition. The stamp (Scott #278) is remarkably inexpensive at a dollar for MNH or used, considering it was sold only at exhibition. The stamp is denominated 12m, but it was priced at 62m, the difference accounting for the entrance fee.
- A stamp released on January 26, 1956 to mark the return of the Porkkala Region to Finland by Russia. The stamp (Scott #335) is inexpensive and catalogs for less than a dollar. The design shows the Lighthouse at the Porkkala Peninsula. After Second War, the Soviet Union secured the rights of lease to a naval base at Porkkala for fifty years. It was returned to Finland much earlier following negotiations that were helped by the fact that Finland remained neutral in the cold war and continued to remain out of NATO.
- A set of twenty two stamps released between 1963 and 1967 showing Local Scenes. The set (Scott #398 to #415) catalogs for around $70 MNH and $5 used. The designs show House of Parliament, Church at Lammi, Fortress of Olavinlinna, log floating, Parainen Bridge, farm on Lake Shore, aerial view of Punkaharju, and Ristikallio in Kuusamo. Tourism is a fast developing area in Finland with visits regularly approaching the country’s population in recent years. Visitors come to experience its pristine and virgin landscape, bird watching, etc. Olavinlinna in Savonlinna represented in this set hosts the annual Savonlinna Opera Festival. Also, an earlier set (Scott #177 to #179) released in 1930 features the fortress of Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Finland’s most popular tourist attractions.
- A set of fifteen stamps released in 1979 showing local scenes. The set (Scott #627 to #640) catalogs for $20 MNH and $4 used. The designs show Kauhaneva Swamp, Hame Castle at Hameenlinna, Windmill at Harrstrom, Multiharju Forest at Seitseminen National Park, Shuttle Raanu Designs, Kaspaikka Towel Design, Bridal Rug of Teisko, Iron-forged door at Hollola Church, Iron Fish Spear, and Eastern Gulf National Park.
- A set of eleven stamps released on January 1, 2002 showing National Symbols. The set (Scott #1162 to #1172) catalogs for around $40 MNH and around $30 used. The designs show flowers, national symbols, Heraldic Lion, forget-me-not (myosotis scorpioides), lily-of-the-valley (convallaria majallis), swan, flag and bird, Kymintehtaalta by Victor Westerholm, granite cliff, spruce, and pine. The most common type of rock in Finland is granite. It is part of the scenery and is visible wherever there is no soil cover.
The first coins of Finland were Copper coins denominated in Penni (100 Pennia = 1 Markkaa) released in 1864. The issue is very valuable and catalogs for around $4500 UNC. Later dates with high mintage of the same issue can be had for less than $100 UNC. Republic Era Decimal Coinage debut in 1919 with the introduction of Copper Penni. That issue is inexpensive and catalogs for a few dollars UNC. The design shows denomination flanked by rosettes in Reverse. Gold coins were issued in 1926 and since then there was a long gap after which commemorative gold coins debut in 1992.
Numismatic items of Finland include:
|Coins||$2 and up||UNCs from the 1970s onward starts around $2. Recent Euro Year Sets starts around $15. Silver Proofs from the 2000s, 19th century Silver Pennias in VF, etc starts around $50. Russian era Silver Markkaas in VF, Silver Proof Year sets etc start around $100. Gold coins go well into the 100s and 1000s.|
|Paper Money||$3 and up||Markkas from the 1960s onward in UNC starts around $3. Markkas from the 1930s and 1940s in VF starts around $20. Early 20th century banknotes in VF starts around $50 and go well into the 100s for rare varieties.|
Puukko knives, ryijy rugs, bits and pieces of reindeer, jewelry from lappish stones, unique woodwork are the popular but pricey takeaways.
|Pottery and Glass||$10 and up||Arabia Finland plates and bowls start around $10. Pitchers teapots and themed mugs start around $25. Presentation and annual plates and vases start around $50. Iittala glass birds go well into the 100s for Oiva Toikka designs.|
|Militaria||$10 and up||WWII photos and other illustrations start around $10. Finnish insignia (Airforce, Coastal Artillery, etc) start around $15. WWII tunics, helmets, medals and other equipment start around $50. Order of the White Rose, Cross of Liberty etc medals fetch into the 100s.|
|Art||$10 an up||Tom of Finland gay prints start around $10. Original works from W. Hollander, David Tipling, Heinrich Iffland, etc go into the 100s.|
Last Updated: 12/2015.