Title: 200th ANNIVERSARY OF LOUIS BRAILLE’S BIRTH
Date of Issue: 16 June 2009
Country: San Marino
Denominations: € 1,50
It was the year 1812 when a three-year-old French boy, Louis Braille (Coupvray, 4th January 1809 – Paris, 6th January 1852), injured his left eye playing in his father’s workshop. At the age of four he became blind.
At ten, his parents sent him to the Royal Institution for Blind Youths in Paris, one of the first schools in the world for blind children, where he learnt how to read large, raised letters. Very soon he became an able organist and a teacher in the same institute. Through teaching, he came to understand the vast learning difficulties for people who couldn’t rely on sight for reading or writing, leading him to devise a reading system for the blind: an alphabet based on the use of six raised dots in two columns of three dots each, enclosed in small rectangles of about 4×7 mm in size, thus forming 64 combinations, sufficient enough to represent all the letters of the alphabet, punctuation signs, and with some adroitness, numbers and mathematical symbols. The tactile alphabet which Louis Braille invented in 1829, a raised-dot system (later perfected by Foucault), has permitted all blind people to read and write independently and to communicate amongst themselves, helping to break down that social barrier which kept visually handicapped people isolated from society, once and for all. The Republic of San Marino remembers Louis Braille on the 200th anniversary of his birth, with a philatelic issue of € 1,50, where the image turns into a unique chromatic game between the artistically coloured inscription BRAILLE and the raised dots of the same word. In 1952, his remains were laid to rest in the Paris Pantheon, in memory of his work for humanity.