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  The Stamp Gallery of Czech and Slovak Graphic Art


1921: The First World War is already three years over. In Europe new states have appeared on the map which later will get a great importance in Seizinger's life - Finland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. While Seizinger is leaving Germany to find a better professional perspective, contemporary Adolf Hitler starts to take a career as agitator in Germany.

BANKNOTE 1000 Finnmark
Finnish State Bank 1922
designed by Eliel Saarinen
engraved by Karl Seizinger

Karl Seizinger's first professional station was the Cartographic Institute in Berlin. After the interruption by his military service during the war, he tried to find again an occupation in Germany in 1919. Because, however, the great German security printing offices mainly applied typography, there wasn't any perspectice for an engraver like him. Therefore, he applied on an employment ad of the new founded Finnish State Bank in Helsingfors/Helsinki which employed him as engraver of banknotes from 1921 on. So his great carreer started in Finland and from now on till the end of his life he worked abroad. The 32-year-old Seizinger soon acquired great acknowledgement and became part of the history by engraving Finland's first banknote which is depicted above.

Besides, he immediately received already on this first station of his artistic career the opportunity to cooperate with an outstanding artist from whom he surely took many suggestions for his later work: with the probably most famous Finnish artist of the turn of the century, with the designer and later world-famous architect Gottlieb Eliel Saarinen. Born on August 20, 1873 in Rantasalmi, Saarinen was one of the leading artist of the Arts and Craft as well as the Art Déco movement at this time. In 1917, still during the Russian occupation of Helsinki during WWI, Saarinen designed the first postage stamp of Finland which soon afterwards got its independence in the beginning of 1918. Because of its innumerable variations in design, this issue became part of the philatelic history as the so-called "Saarinen definitives" . As an outstanding artist of his native country he also received orders for banknote designs by the Finnish National Bank or he was asked for help as an adviser. In 1923 he moved to the USA and became a celebrated architect and designer there. He died on July 1, 1950 in Cranbrook, Mich., where he taught at the academy for many years. So Saarinen has a similar importance for Finnish philately like Alfons Mucha for the Czechoslovak one. Of course he also was honored on a Finnish commemorative stamp in 1973 which is depicted at left (MiNr. 729).

In his application letter to the Dutch company Joh. Enschedé en Zonen in Haarlem, Seizinger wrote about his work in Finland and the influence of Saarinen (translated from German): "Besides, the Finnish banknotes are engraved in a special technique, which has nothing to do with the generally used technique for banknotes, because I had to engrave them according to the wish of professor Saarinen in a technique, which had to look like a pencil drawing based on his design."

Karl Seizinger stayed in Finland only for three years. When he read in an ad that the National Bank in Prague is looking for a new member of its engraving department, he applied. Already in 1924, he got an occupation there. Together with Karl Wolf, another German, he became the first engraver of this institute.

Title Page * Introduction * Biography * Personality * Hildburghausen * Helsingfors *
Praha I * Praha II * Praha III * Praha IV * Praha V * Praha VI *
Belgrade * Zagreb * to be continued