2:00 p.m. Sunday, September 17, 2017

image of program invitation card

‘Engraver Czeslaw Slania: 1,070 stamps, 32 countries, 54 years’

Polish engraver Czeslaw Slania, who created 1,070 stamps for 32 countries, including the United States, will be the subject of a program by Bob Ferguson at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17 at the Betty Strong Encounter Center. Admission will be free; a reception will follow.

Ferguson’s program will present a decade-by-decade retrospective of Slania’s life and creative output, including stunning images of: Danish porcelain; Chinese pheasants; Monacan antique puppets; Swedish kings and glass blowers; British mail coaches; Greenland fauna; Marshall Islands sailboats; Icelandic scenery; and fisherman of the Faroe Islands, about half-way between Norway and Iceland.

 “Slania’s work has broad audience appeal for the general public and for stamp collectors. Each intricately detailed stamp offers a feast for the eyes,” says Ferguson, a Lincoln, Neb., scholar.

 “Born in southern Poland, Slania (1921-2005) is regarded as the most prolific stamp engraver of all time. He joined the Nazi resistance after Germany invaded Poland in 1939. After World War II ended, Slania studied graphic arts and for five years engraved stamps for Poland’s Security Printing Works. In 1956 he escaped Poland’s oppressive Communist regime, traveling to Sweden where he was granted political asylum. He called Stockholm his home for the rest of his life.  

The Encounter Center audience will encounter milestones in Slania’s life that are depicted on some of his stamps: his first stamp as an apprentice; his appointment as royal court engraver after completing a series of stamps of the Swedish King; his self-portrait on a 1986 United Nations stamp confirming his world-wide reputation; his 1,000th stamp issued by Sweden in 2000 - the largest stamp in size produced by any country; and a memorial postcard from Slania’s native Poland after his death in 2005.

Ferguson will tell the audience how Slania was at the center of a controversy over two stamps honoring U.S. veterans, and what happened during his visit to China for a 1998 stamp exhibition.

Ferguson has a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Master’s degree in Education from University of Rochester, N.Y. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia; taught high school social studies; and recently retired as the Program Assistant for Humanities Nebraska. He has been a stamp collector for many years.