Camillo Golgi and his Nobel Prize in philately

1Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Therapy, University of Pavia, Italy.  plinio.richelmi AT
3Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Pavia, Italy

In 1906 Camillo Golgi, together with Santiago Ramón y Cajal, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for the recognition of the work concerning the structure of the nervous system. It is only in 1962, however, that the first stamp commemorating the achievements of Golgi was issued by Cuba (Scott #757). The red Cuban stamp depicts the intra-erythrocytic forms of Plasmodium, showing that malarial paroxysms coincide with the release of parasites from red cells. It is to stress out, however, that it was not Italy, i.e. Golgi’s country, to issue the first Camillo Golgi stamp. In fact stamps featuring the 1906 Nobel Laureate were issued by Sweden in 40 řre value in 1966 (Scott #711) and Comore Islands in 1977 (Scott #A52). It is only in 1994 that Italy issued the stamp “Portrait of Camillo Golgi and cerebral cells” (Scott #1976). This stamp is interesting, since it represents one of the major scientific achievements of Camillo Golgi, the black reaction, i.e. the histological technique that allowed Golgi to describe the structure of cells in the nervous system. This is, however the only Italian stamp dedicated to Camillo Golgi. More recently, Togo issued “100° Nobel Prize Laureates” in 1995 (Scott #A361), Dominica issued “Nobel Prize Laureates” in 1997 (Scott #2003), and finally Buthan issued “100 Years of Modern Medical Discoveries” in 2000 (Scott #A171). The other major finding by Camillo Golgi, the discovery of the Golgi apparatus in mammalian cells was never featured in any stamp. This is going to be represented this year in a First Day Cancel issued at Pavia for the commemorations of the Golgi Nobel prize centennial.

Acknowledgements: We thank Mr. Maurizio Misinato for the First Day Cancel and Filateliaefrancobolli Forum for bibliographic and iconographic support.

Poster Session
Saturday, 24 June 2006, 11.00 am - 12.30 pm

11th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN)

Pavia, Italy, 2006