"A set of homoerotic Finnish stamps featuring images by gay icon and artist Tom of Finland have become a worldwide success, Finland's postal service company said.
During the six months that preceded the launch, buyers placed pre-orders from 178 countries, Posti said in a statement.
Tom of Finland, whose real name was Touko Laaksonen (1920-1991), is venerated internationally in gay circles for his explicit sexual drawings, created at a time when homosexuality was still taboo in the West.
The stamps feature partial nudity and muscular moustachioed men in uniforms.
"It's great that these images, which in the past had to be sold under the table, can now be openly stuck on an envelope or a postcard," Timo Berry, the graphic artist who designed the stamps, told Finnish public broadcaster YLE.
Posti said the stamp set got "the largest global media attention" ever.
"Our aim is to keep printing stamps which are in line with our time," Posti spokesman Markku Penttinen said in a statement. After Finland, the highest number of orders came from Sweden, Britain, the United States and France."
ABC 9 September. AFP
LEHTIKUVA / Jari Lam