List of countries for which
Slania engraved stamps
Czesław Słania was a Polish postage stamp and banknote engraver. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Słania was the most prolific of all stamp engravers, with over 1000 stamps to his credit. His 1000th engraved stamp, the painting ‘Great Deeds by Swedish Kings’ by David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl, is in the Guinness Book as the largest engraved stamp ever issued.
Słania was born on 22nd October 1921 in Czeladź near Katowice, Poland. As a young boy Czeslaw Slania was making sketches all the time, and most of all he liked to make miniatures. He amused friends by sketching banknotes where he replaced old men’s faces with girlfriends’ faces. When Slania was six years old his parents moved to Lublin. After the outbreak of WWII Slania joined the partisans and forged documents for the Polish resistance. After the war in 1945 he came to Kraków and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts which included one of Europe’s most reputed Art Graphic Centres. He studied engraving technique, etching and copper plate engraving. During the studies, in 1950, he was employed at the Polish Security Printing Works (Polska Wytwórnia Papierów Wartoœciowych =PWPW) in Warsaw, where he learned steel engraving. The engraving Slania submitted for graduation depicted the battle at Grunwald (Tannenberg ) after a painting by Jan Matejko. It took Slania two years to engrave this painting, and it almost cost him his eyesight. During the years 1951-56 Slania engraved 23 stamps for Polish Post Office.
In August 1956 Slania left Poland to seek work at the Swedish Post Office. Slania formally joined the Swedish Postal Service as a full time engraver in 1960. Since then, in 1972, he has been appointed Royal Court Engraver in Sweden, and later in Denmark and Monaco. He won numerous awards for the beauty, speed and proliferation of his engravings. Because of the number of items he has engraved and their beauty, Czeslaw Slania was the world’s most famous engraver. Altogether he designed or engraved more than 300 stamps for the Swedish Post Office. He has also engraved stamps for many other countries - altogether more than 1,000 stamps. On many stamps he left secret signs hidden in the backgrounds - names of his friends or family members. In addition to stamps he also engraved bank notes for: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Hong Kong, Canada, Kazachstan, Lithuania, Portugal and Venezuela.
The British Postal Authorities wrote in 1999: “Polish-born Czeslaw Slania has earned himself a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s most prominent and prolific stamp engraver. Now in his late seventies, the eminent master-craftsman has worked most extensively for the Swedish Post Office, but has also produced stamps for postal authorities all over the world. He is the inheritor of a centuries-old skill that has been practiced by some of the greatest artists, including Rubens, Rembrandt and Dürer. His dexterity and attention to detail is quite remarkable; he has the ability to engrave at an astonishing 10 lines per millimeter. Slania’s versatility is evident in the broad range of subject matter he happily tackles, from royal portraits and flora and fauna to film stars. He even finds time (and space) to include the odd personal reference within his minuscule canvas: a caricature of himself or the names of friends. Besides for Sweden, Czeslaw Slania has engraved stamps for numerous other countries, often as joint issues. For the record, he has engraved 1,049 stamps so far"
His last work was a stamp in 2005 to commemorate the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Czeslaw Slania died on 17th March, 2005 after a long period of illness. He was buried in the Rakowicki Cemetery in Kraków, Poland.
Self - portrait