The Bull’s Heads (Romanian: capul de bour, lit. aurochs’ head) are the first Romanian postage stamps, sold from July to October 1858. Released in four values, these stamps are renowned for their rarity and value. They are worth between €5,000 and€100,000 by 2010.
NOTE: The Romanian Cyrillic alphabet is the alphabet used to write the Romanian language before the 1860s, when it was officially replaced by a Latin-based Romanian alphabet.
The stories behind the stamp about magical powers, crimes, theft, and forgery inflamed the imagination of poets, novelists, writers, and painters. At the beginning, there was the controversy: is it a bull or a bison? Many still call the stamp “the bison’s head”. Both animals aroused curiosity and interested people in revealing the truth behind the myth.
The aurochs, bigger and more aggressive than the European bison, disappeared in the 15th century, and the bisons, more than 200 years ago. The return of the aurochs is science fiction, but efforts to restore this species to the wild, begun in 1929, paid off. The first two bisons were brought to Romania in 1958 from Poland and now, about 100 are roaming again the forests in three areas: Northern Romania (Vânători Neamţ) and South-West Romania (Ţarcu Mountains and Poiana Ruscă Mountains).
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Due to its mysterious past, the bison, also known as wisent, was surrounded by secrets, superstitions, and myths. Large-headed, massive and carrying a big shoulder hump, and believed to have supernatural powers, the bison seemed to be the perfect symbol of power, courage, and dignity, so it was used on coins, flags, and coats of arms, in literature, TV productions, feature films, and documentaries.
Violent confrontation and acts of bravery, the superiority of man to the beast was a source of inspiration for painters, too. You can also admire these two dramatic scenes by Nicolae Grigorescu (1838 – 1907):
The stamp was also a source of inspiration for writers and film directors.
Vasile Voiculescu‘s 1947 short story Capul de zimbru and Lucian Pintilie‘s 2006 film Tertium non datur both feature the Bull’s Head stamp as one of their themes.
Unfortunately, the short story and the film are not available in English and it’s a pity our foreign members can’t feel the thrill of mystery, unexplained situations, superstitions, traditions and historical facts which accompanies both, but you can find out about the Vasile Voiculescu’s life and work here.
https://youtu.be/EFTL2TuFnco Teatru radiofonic
https://youtu.be/4cu4tH9heSA Film de televiziune