Most of us have heard of Venice’s Grand Canal, seen below. But perhaps fewer people are aware of the longest canal in the world, the Grand Canal in China, also known as the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal.
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Three times heavyweights world champion boxing Muhammad Ali died last week at age 74. With 56 winnings out of 61 matches, he is considered to be the greatest boxer of all time by many people. Ali was also famous for his quotes that were everything but modest.
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As a silverback gorilla was recently the subject of great controversy after an incident in an American zoo, my mind went back to 1986 and the English Channel island of Jersey. In August of that year at the island’s Durrell Wildlife Park (formerly Jersey Zoo), a five-year-old boy fell into a concrete ditch in the enclosure housing silverback gorillas – including the then 25-year-old Jambo.
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It is an accepted fact that the more desirable and valuable collectible items become, the temptation for counterfeiting increases. And in the world of philately, the master forger was surely Jean de Sperati. Born in Pisa, Italy, in 1884, Giovanni de Sperati (later adopting the forename Jean) was part of a wealthy family thrown into poverty by the failure of their business. This forced his brothers, Massimo and Mariano, to take up a trade – one becoming a photographer, the other a stamp dealer. As a result, Giovanni developed a passion for both philately and photographic processes and techniques. As an impoverished collector of stamps, he once discovered that a particular item he had bought was a fake. In later life he claimed that his desire to avenge the selling dealer led him to create his own philatelic ‘‘works of art’, which would eventually fool stamp experts across Europe.
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New stamps appear regularly with a variety of subjects. Below is a selection of recently-published stamps from around the globe.
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Maybe luck doesn’t come into it, but most of us in the philatelic world are quite envious of the man pictured below. Why? Possibly some of our readers will recognise the man above as being the owner of an item that has been/still is considered to be the holy grail for stamp collectors.
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In the late 1970s a fascinating series of articles written by Mr. K. Kouwenberg about the history of Stamp Collecting, appeared in the Dutch magazine Philatelie. This series has been the source of inspiration for PostBeeld owner Rob Smit to rewrite the history of stamp collecting in instalments. This is Part 12 – The First Stamp Magazine.
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The “Smilers” sheet was first introduced in Great Britain in May 2000 at the International Stamp Show 2000. The design of a set of Royal Mail Greetings stamps, first issued in 1990, was made available in sheet format (A4 paper size) with a label attached to each stamp.
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