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 Home  >  Resources  >  Articles  >  Greenland: FGB Mindeark -- Society for Greenlandic Children Souvenir Cards
FGB Souvenir Cards
First (left) and reproduction of #2 (right).
Greenland: FGB Mindeark -- Society for Greenlandic Children Souvenir Cards
by Jay Smith

This article provides background information and illustrations of collateral material which includes important issue data for the Greenlandic FGB souvenir cards.

The actual souvenir cards are offered for sale on the Greenland Souvenir Card web page.

The "FGB", Foreningen Grønlandske Børn or Society for Greenlandic Children, in conjunction with Danske Filatelisters Fællesfond, issued mindeark (souvenir cards) starting with #1 in 1973 and ending with #20 in 1993. In January 1974, a second version of #1 was issued, #1A, making a total of 21 cards. The cards were a fund-raising device for the FGB's charity work in Greenland.

The cards were very popular, and very well marketed. The entire issue of 12,500 of the first card (#1) sold out in just 12 days! The subsequent #1A, with an issue of 15,000 sold out prior to the issuance of #2. This pattern of sell-outs continued for the first several issues, but as sales moderated, the quantity printed was reduced to fit the demand.

Some of this success must be credited to fact that the serial numbers printed on the backsides of the cards also served as a drawing number for prizes! The earlier cards awarded as many as 100 prizes, with 1st prize being quite valuable. For example, the first card had as it's 1st prize a collection of Greenlandic Pakke-Porto stamps with a catalog value of 5,000 Danish kroner (which in 1973 was a lot more actual value than it is today).

Though I have yet to see anything in writing, and I regret failing to ask him about it when he was alive, another significant portion of this success must be attributed to the marketing acumen of Eric v. Wowern, a successful stamp dealer, philatelic catalog publisher, and energetic promoter of Greenlandic and Faroese philately. Wowern had also had a successful "real world" career in advertising and was perhaps uniquely qualified to promote "GF" philately. He was a master promoter as much as he was a true gentleman.

For unexplained reasons, the Daka GF 7 "Cinderella" catalog numbers them #1-24 but entirely skips listings for Daka #4, #9, and #20! (After the death of Eric v. Wowern, the GF catalogs were taken over by the publisher of the Daka catalogs, Erik Paaskesen.) I use the numbering actually printed on the cards. Cards #1, 1A, and 2 are numbered on the reverse of the cards; the others are numbered on the front of the cards. Neither the GF Catalogs under the editorship of Eric v. Wowern nor the Daka/GF catalogs under the editorship of Erik Paaskesen even mentioned the existence of the reproductions.

For each card, a Greenlandic stamp is affixed and bears a first day cancellation for that stamp. (Except #1A bears a special "Greenlandic Children" official cancellation that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the FGB organization.) It is important to note that the first day of the cancellation is before, and does NOT coincide with, the issue date of the souvenir card. For example, #1 has a 20 April 1972 first day cancellation, but the card was not actually released until December 1973.

Cards #1 and #1A are quite scarce and fairly costly even though they had issue quantities of 12,000 and 15,000 respectively. The quantities issued for subsequent numbers were increased as high as 25,000, but then fell to 17,000 and then stepped down over the years to 8,000 and then only 5,200 to 5,500 of each of #17-20 were issued! (The Daka/GF catalog is completely incorrect with a 1,000 issue quantity for those last four. The correct issue quantities have been taken from the FGB's documents.) Those last four deserve to have much, much higher prices; in my opinion, their low prices are due to lack of knowledge of collectors that they exist and is probably related to the retirement of publisher Eric v. Wowern and then there being no catalog listing them or promotion of them until the 1999 Daka GF 7 "Cinderella" catalog. Those last four cards are definitely "sleepers".

Cards #1, #1A, and #2-6 also exist as reproductions. (Others may exist as well, but I have not seen them.) The appearance of the reproductions is the same as the original cards, but in the upper left margin there is text "Reproduktion" and the stamp and cancellation have been PRINTED rather than being a real stamp and real postmark. I believe that in later years the FGB continued to offer complete sets of cards for sale, but since the original early cards were long sold out, the reproductions were supplied. This pattern is observed in collections I have purchased from collectors who bought their cards from the FGB. By the time that #2 was issued in April 1975, cards #1 and #1A were already sold out. Based on my observations in collections, the reproductions are much, much scarcer than the originals.

Many of the cards bear stamps engraved by Slania (and some others by Kuhlmann). Slania collectors do include them in their collections.

Remaining research opportunities: I have yet to determine release dates or issue quantities for the reproductions. I have yet to find "official" documentation of the reproductions and/or to determine if they were sold or if they were given away as part of a set. Issue quantities of FGB #13-20 need to be confirmed from FGB documents. The "behind the scenes" story of the cards needs to be researched: Who came up with the idea?; why did the marketing (and thus the quantities) drop off so precipitously with the 1990 issue?; etc. [2010 correspondence with the current FGB office was not able to turn up anybody that knows anything about the cards; apparently only one remaining volunteer staffer was aware there ever had been such cards!] Need images of folders #13-20, if they exist.

The actual souvenir cards are offered for sale on the Greenland Souvenir Card web page. Folders and insert pages are also available; please inquire.
FGB Souvenir Card Data
printed on
Daka #

Engraver  Quantity
1 1 1973-12 1972-04-20 Slania 12,500
1 "Reproduktion" - ? (1972-04-20) Slania ?
1A 2 1974-01 1974-01-14 Slania 15,000
1A "Reproduktion" - ? (1974-01-14) Slania ?
2 3 1975-04 1973-04-16 Slania 23,400
(originally stated
2 "Reproduktion" - ? (1973-04-16) Slania ?
3 5 1976-10 1973-10-18 Slania 24,000
3 "Reproduktion" - ? (1973-10-18) Slania ?
#3 portrays Icelandic subject matter (Heimaey Volcano); the stamp is a joint issue with Denmark.
4 6 1977-09 1976-04-08 Slania 17,000
4 "Reproduktion" - ? (1976-04-08) Slania ?
5 7 1978-09 1977-05-26 Slania 17,000
5 "Reproduktion" - ? (1977-05-26) Slania ?
6 8 1979-09 1977-10-20 Slania 17,000
6 "Reproduktion" - ? (1977-10-20) Slania ?
7 10 1980-09 1979-05-01 Kuhlmann 17,000
8 11 1981-09 1980-10-16 Kuhlmann 17,000
9 12 1982-09 1981-09-03 Slania 17,000
10 13 1983-09 1982-08-02 Kuhlmann 15,000
11 14 1984-09 1984-06-06 Kuhlmann 13,000
12 15 1985-09 1985-05-21 Kuhlmann 11,000
13 16 1986-09 1983-05-19 Kuhlmann 8,000
14 17 1987-09 1986-03-06 Kuhlmann 8,000
15 18 1988-09 1987-04-09 (lithographed) 8,000
16 19 1989-09 1988-06-16 (lithographed) 8,000
17 21 1990-09 1989-05-01 (lithographed) 5,500
18 22 1991-09 1990-06-06 Kuhlmann 5,500
19 23 1992-09 1991-05-15 (lithographed) 5,200
20 24 1993-09 1992-06-10 (lithographed) 5,500

Notes: The issue quantities are taken from official FGB documents. Some of the issue quantities stated in Daka GF 7 "Cinderella" 1999 are incorrect.
Insert Pages Accompanying Each Issue
Click any images to see larger image in a new window/tab.

This September 1981 insert discusses the success of the program.

 Cardboard Folders Containing Each Issue
Among other things, these folders provide the print quantity information and can be used to determine when the various issues sold out. For each folder, the inside is pictured first, then the front and back. In many cases, the fronts and/or backs did not change.
Click any images to see larger image in a new window/tab.
FGB #1
FGB #2 Inside

FGB #2-5 Front Covers

FGB #2-4 Back Covers

FGB #3, 4, 5 Inside
FGB #5 Back Cover

FGB #6
FGB #7
FGB #8
FGB #9
FGB #7, 8, 9 Back Covers

FGB #10
FGB #11
FGB #12
FGB #10, 11, 12 Back Covers

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