'Carnevale' stamp – what happened to it, why ?

Was just discussing this with a collector friend

A nice stamp from Italy, the 'Carnevale' one now is no longer available.

I feel this is due to Slowly team's sensitivity to the pandemic situation – they probably took it off the stamp store around March 2020, when Italy's Northern region was suffering badly with the first wave of the pandemic.

A lot of older residents died, and it's possible an Italian user wrote and suggest removing it. Or that Slowly staff themselves felt it was better to remove it.

The stamp's current status

The Slowly API entry for it, stamp ID 501, shows 'expired', along with a 'price' and 'rarity' value of -1.

These indicate it was a commemorative, free, time limited release. But no longer available. As we will see later in this post, this stamp was released and quickly removed. I think this happened in March, 2020.

The Italian Carnevale in 2020 was cancelled midway thru

Carnival in Italy is a huge winter festival made up of typical masks, costumes, parades, music, sweets and local traditions.

The origins of the Carnevale in Italy are in part related to religion and Easter, which generally falls at the start of Spring. Before Easter Sunday there are 5 weeks of Lent. This year Carnival will officially start on February 8th and Mardi Gras will be February 25th 2020 (this date that marks the end of this celebration);

Italy cancels Venice carnival amid coronavirus outbreak – a news report dated February 23, 2020, states Venice was cancelling their events.

Italian authorities scrambling to control the coronavirus imposed a lock-down on “hot spot’’ stricken tourist cities in the north Sunday — including Venice, where its famed carnival events got the kibosh.

The festival on the City of Water, which draws tens of thousands of visitors a year, was cut short by two days as the country’s number of cases hit 133, more than any other nation outside of Asia, according to the BBC and other reports.

Sensitivities apart, the image has historical roots.

The clothing worn by plague doctors was intended to protect them from airborne diseases during outbreaks of the Bubonic Plague in Europe.[2] It is often seen as a symbol of death and disease.[3] However, the costume was worn by a comparatively small number of medieval and early modern physicians studying and treating plague patients.

source : wikipedia page

source, larger size : wikimedia file

A quick search found lots of relevant pages.

The beaked mask

Was intended to protect the practitioner, aka plague doctor.

But the forbidding ensemble was not just a deathly fashion statement: It was intended to protect the doctor from miasma. In the times before the germ theory of disease, physicians believed that the plague spread through poisoned air that could create an imbalance in a person’s humors, or bodily fluids. Sweet and pungent perfumes were thought to be able to fumigate plague-stricken areas and protect the smeller; nosegays, incense, and other perfumes were common in the era.

Plague doctors filled their masks with theriac, a compound of more than 55 herbs and other components like viper flesh powder, cinnamon, myrrh, and honey. De Lorme thought the beak shape of the mask would give the air sufficient time to be suffused by the protective herbs before it hit plague doctors’ nostrils and lungs.

source : National Geographic

We have a nice page for this stamp at our Slowly WIKI as well.

Would this stamp return in the future?

I think it's unlikely. The pandemic has affected most people all over the world, in different ways, and will be long remembered. So I imagine this will not be restored to the active Slowly stamps catalogue.

What do you think? Will it ever be re-issued?

How to get this stamp?

As it is no longer available, this will become increasingly rarer – you could only obtain a copy via receiving a letter from a pen pal who actually owns it.

Given the churn and loss of users in Slowly, and the dismal state of new users experiences, I feel this will only increase in rarity as time passes.

Wrote to Slowly team to ask:

“Hello J.!

I posted a new topic on Reddit, about the Italian 'Carnevale' stamp. A nice one, which now shows as discontinued.

I imagine this was due to the stamp's design showing the medieval Plague Doctors, and the fact we have the global pandemic, similar to the ones in the mediaeval times.

Northern Italy also suffered a lot during the first wave of the pandemic in March, 2020. Many older residents died, and there was no vaccine or much treatment possible.

Could I ask you for any comments regarding this stamp and the reason for removal? if you prefer not to do it, it's not a problem.

Thank you, have a great week!”

And received a prompt and professional reply

Hi Yann, you are right.

The Plague Doctor stamp was initially designed 1-2 months before its release when the global pandemic was not yet started. Unfortunately, Covid hit Italy quickly and created lots of suffers and losses just around the scheduled release period, so we decided to remove the stamp to avoid any disturbance. On the first date of its release, I remember receiving feedback from a few Italian users who also said the stamp made them very upset.

Best regards, J.

Which confirms my impressions. Thank you, J. 🙂

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