The Mystery of Solomon’s Hairline


Sri Lanka’s Solomon West Ridgeway Dias (SWRD for sanity’s sake) Bandaranaike was honoured in several stamps both during and after his rule as Prime Minister. His stamps are relatively common so I never gave them much thought besides, let’s face it, he’s got one helluva boring face. Then I discovered something hilarious.

SWRD Bandaranaike

Uptight nationalist wanker with distinctive hairline – image via

The first version issued in 1961 was a rectangular 10 cent stamp in a purplish blue hue. What is odd though is how they appear to have botched his hair. Compare it with the normal photo above and I’m sure you will see, he has a rather distinctive hairline.

SWRD Bandaranaike stamp

Same wanker on a postage stamp but look at the hairline!? Or is that just grey?

He must have been royally ticked off because a reissue came very quickly. According to the catalogues, on the VERY SAME DAY AS THE FIRST ISSUE. Shocker.

still boring, still a wanker but with less grey in his hair

Still boring, still a wanker but with less grey in his hair

As if this wasn’t enough, the same design was reused for this stamp in 1963, now in a strange pale blue hue and squarer shape. The hair buggery seems to have stopped.

still boring and judging by the colour, seasick

Still boring and judging by the colour, seasick

By 1964, they were REALLY on a roll so the same design was repurposed but now we are back to the purplish shade.

seriously who cares anymore? interesting overprint though

Seriously who cares anymore? Interesting postmark though.

The nonsense appears to have ended here although I am aware of some later SWRD issues using different art.

And that concludes my investigation of Solomon’s curious hairline. What philatelic mysteries have you solved lately?

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