By Shelley Shan
Images of Taipei 101, Yushan and the National Palace Museum’s Jade Cabbage have been minted on 24-karat gold-layered silver ingots in the “Dazzling Taiwan” collection, launched by Chunghwa Post and Hallmark Group.Anne Chen (陳麗瓊), director of Chunghwa Post’s department of philately, said yesterday the company recommended 15 stamp images to Hallmark for use in the collection.“They [the stamps] must be able to represent Taiwan and be very clear-cut images,” Chen said when asked to explain the decision making process behind the selection.In addition to the stamps mentioned above, Chen said others in the collection include memorials for Taiwan Retrocession Day, the 30th anniversary of the 823 Battle in Kinmen in 1958 and late president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), as well as those bearing the image of Taiwanese puppet hero Shih Yan-wun (史艷文), a traditional Lion Dance performance and Sun Yat-sen Freeway (National Freeway No. 1).
According to Chen, the company first began working with Hallmark in 2004 when the two introduced gold-layered ingots engraved with the images of the Chinese Zodiac, published by the US Postal Service. The collection has proved to be popular among its customers, Chen said.Hallmark Group chief executive Jonathan Turner said the collection was being issued to celebrate the Republic of China’s centennial and beautifully commemorates Taiwan’s accomplishments, culture and heritage. He also described how the gold ingots were produced.“The most difficult part was sculpting, which was recreating the stamp design onto a plaster sculpture,” Turner said, adding that each design has been sculpted by the most experienced and skilled craftsmen in Switzerland.“After each ingot is struck and diamond-cut on the edges to make sure the perforations are perfect, it is layered with a nickel alloy, before the gold is layered onto it. Each ingot is then lacquered so that it will never tarnish,” he saidTurner said the collections are generally produced when a nation is having a special anniversary or an event, adding that the group has worked with government agencies in Singapore, Malaysia, India and other countries around the world.The group occasionally issues collections on a smaller theme, such as the Chinese Zodiac collection, he added.
The collection is a limited edition that has only 6,800 sets available worldwide, he said.He presented the first set collection to Chunghwa Post for an open exhibit at the Taiwan’s Postal Museum in a ceremony yesterday.The molds and dies used to produce the collections will later be dismantled and put on display at the Postal Museum after the 6,800 sets are made.The price is NT$87,000 per collection. Collectors can place orders at post offices nationwide or via www.hallmarkgroup.com.tw (Source-Taipei Times)