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The Lion Icon

... has been carrying Finnish mail since 1845, when it appeared on a postal stationery envelope. It was first printed on a stamp in 1856 and has remained virtually unchanged in the intervening one and a half centuries.

The motif will remain in use when a stamp by Mika Launis with a revamped lion on it takes Finland into the euro era at the beginning of 2002.

See also:
WTF-O Thumbnail pictures from Finland