Poland 1953 – Nicolaus Copernicus

Astronomer Copernicus: Conversation with God is a famous painting by the 19th-century Polish artist Jan Matejko. An engraved version of it is seen on the first of this pair of stamps commemorating the 480th anniversary of Copernicus’s birth. In Matejko’s painting, Copernicus sits between a diagram of his heliocentric system and a simple observing instrument called a triquetrum, invented by Ptolemy and also known as Ptolemy’s rules. He is depicted apparently on the roof of his residence (now known as Copernicus’ tower) in the grounds of Frombork Cathedral where he was a canon at the time he was writing his masterwork De Revolutionibus. (A coloured version of the same painting appears on a Russian stamp from 1955.)

The second stamp of the pair depicts Copernicus holding up a diagram of his heliocentric system; the Earth with the Moon orbiting it can clearly be seen as the third planet from the Sun. The two stamps were by different engravers so there is a noticeable difference in style.

SG number
Face value
20 g
80 g