This striking set was issued on occasion of the 2nd Lubrapex (Portuguese-Brazilian Philatelic Exhibition), which took place 17–24 August 1968 in Funchal, Madeira’s capital. Lubrapex is the brainchild of a Brazilian diplomat and philatelist. The first event took place in 1966 in Rio de Janeiro and it has alternated between Portugal and Brazil since. Lubrapex took place every two years until 1996, and occurs every three years since 2000. The exhibition is open to other Portuguese-speaking countries since 1984.
The stamps are printed on the back with information about Madeira in three languages. They illustrate Madeira’s wine, embroidery, and impressive scenery, which includes a 2,000 km long irrigation system (levadas) that can be partially walked along. The New Year’s fireworks in Funchal’s bay are among the largest and most spectacular in the world. João Gonçalves Zarco, was one of the re-discoverers of Madeira and Funchal’s first administrator. Born in Madeira, João Fernandes Vieira was one of the leaders of the mid-17th century revolt against the Dutch ruling of the Brazilian town of Pernambuco. Two of the three species of the endemic Giant Bellflower are endangered.
The stamps were designed by Cândido Costa Pinto, lithographed by the Mint on enamelled paper sheets of 5×10 stamps with perforation 12 on the longer sides and 11½ on the shorter sides, and circulated from 17 August 1968 to 30 April 1975.