China 1953 – Nicolaus Copernicus

China was the first country to break Poland’s monopoly on Copernicus as a philatelic subject. This stamp, issued on the 410th anniversary of his death, was the highest-value member of a set of four commemorating famous historical figures, the others being the French writer François Rabelais, the Cuban revolutionary Jose Marti, and the Chinese poet Qu Yuan. This eclectic mix may have been chosen because all could be considered revolutionaries, in their own way. The only other country to depict Copernicus during the pre-1957 era was the Soviet Union, with a 1955 stamp celebrating Soviet–Polish friendship.

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