2018 50¢ Dragons – Purple Dragon with Orange Wings
Value: 50¢ 1-ounce First-Class Letter Rate (Forever)
Issue Date: August 9, 2018
First Day City: Columbus, Ohio
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset, Hot Foil Stamping
Format: Pane of 16
Quantity Printed: 30,000,000
A major feature in European folklore, dragons often represent a lesson, while sometimes they provide an explanation for a natural phenomena.
The epic Beowulf was the first piece of English literature about a dragon slayer. The dragon tale takes place in the final act, after Beowulf has ruled peacefully for 50 years. However, one day, a slave steals a cup from a dragon’s horde, sending the beast on a reign of terror. Beowulf and his warriors set out to fight the dragon, but upon entering its lair, all but one flee in fear.
Beowulf is mortally wounded during the ensuing battle, but his soldier Wiglaf is able to slay the dragon. The fight represents Beowulf’s stand against evil and his determination to protect his people at all costs.
Dragons in Eastern European tales share some qualities with those of Western Europe, but often have up to twelve heads. One well-known dragon is Zmey Gorynych from Russian and Ukrainian folklore. It is a three-headed dragon so large it blocked out the sun, providing an explanation for eclipses. In most tales, Gorynych battles a hero named Dobrynya until he promises to never harm another village. However, Gorynych breaks his promise and is killed by Dobrynya.
Dramatic tales of fire-breathing dragons have captivated people for centuries. Whether they provide lessons or entertainment, they remain popular today.