The small independent monarchy of Monaco is renown for many large international events. Celebrated on stamps are its dog and cat shows, car races, art festivals, stamp and coin shows, but even of greater notoriety are its stamps celebrating circuses and circus performers.
The International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo is an annual festival established in 1974 by Prince Rainier III of Monaco to recognize and promote outstanding circus performers .
During the festival, circus acts from around the world are performed for paying audiences and are presented to a jury of circus professionals, specialists and journalists. The jury gives awards for the best circus acts, including the Golden Clown , Silver Clown and Bronze Clown statuettes. Special prizes are also awarded by various companies, organizations, institutions and individuals.
Past recipients of the festival's prestigious Clown d'or award have included Spanish clown Charlie Rivel (1974), American daredevil and trapeze artist Elvin Bale (1976), Russian clown Oleg Popov (1981) and English animal trainer Martin Lacey Jr. (2010 and 2019).
Monaco has issued a number of stamps throughout the years promoting the festival and celebrating championship artists and performances.