Stan Lee, the American comic book writer, editor, producer and publisher died on 12th November aged 95. He was the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, and later its publisher and chairman, and lead its expansion from a small division of a publishing house to a large multimedia corporation.

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There’s no doubt of the attraction of young animals and the ability of many a young mammal to draw an ‘Ooo’ or ‘Aaah’ from the human being. It can also be the subject of interest to the stamp collector as images of young animals are often printed on postage stamps.

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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 29.

Apart from commercially-issued stamps, there have been many postage stamps of various designs that were not approved for official release. They are often prints from designs submitted to postal administrations for future stamp issues. From 1863 there arose a mania to collect trial stamps, or as they were then commonly called; ‘Assays’. In addition, there was a lot of interest in the stamps of private postal services, which were especially common in the USA.

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Though not normally having a great interest in the game of golf I find myself absolutely glued to the television for a certain three-day event which occurs every two years.

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Mary WollstonecroftIn 1792 a book written by the lady whose portrait adorns the above stamp issued by Great Britain in 2009 became the first book to be published in the English language on the subject of what we now might call feminism.

That lady was Mary Wollstonecroft, whose book “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” could possibly have been influenced by Frenchwoman Olympe de Gouges whose pamphlet “Déclaration des droits de la femme et de la citoyenne” (Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the [Female] Citizen), was published in France in 1791. This was written in response to the 1789 document known as the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the (Male) Citizen” (Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen). Gouges’s manifesto asserted that women are equal to men in society and, as such, entitled to the same citizenship rights.

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The 2018 football World Cup held in Russia was a great success and it was wonderful to see countries with relatively tiny populations doing so well in the competition.The host nation also competed well, achieving their best results since finishing fourth in 1966.

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I’ve long been fascinated by the incredible feats of the brave and extremely tough men who set off from Europe and Scandinavia in search of fabled lands. It’s possible that those featured in this article were preceded by unknown explorers but here we mention those whose exploits are confirmed in history.

The man commemorated on the 1968 USA stamp above is Leif Erikson, the first known European to have discovered continental North America before Christopher Columbus. There are many other statues of Erikson in various cities in America and many countries have featured the exploits of the 10th Century Icelander on postage stamps such as those below.

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This stamp is part of a  sheet issued by Australia in 2005 was spookily entitled “Creatures of the Slime” and focussed on the world’s first animals – multicellular organisms, some probably related to worms, jellyfish, and snails, dating back some 560 million years. Known as Ediacaran fossils – predating dinosaurs by millions of years – these creatures have a particular connection to Australia. They are named after the Ediacaran Hills of the Flinders Ranges World Heritage site in South Australia.

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In 2011 there was a great commotion in the United States about a 44c first class stamp with a close-up of the face of the Statue of Liberty. An attentive philatelist discovered some suspicious details on the stamp and on the 15th of April of that year the United States Postal Service issued a press release in which the postal authority admitted that the image on the stamp was taken from a replica of the famous statue situated in the gambling city of Las Vegas.

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If you’re wondering what this photograph has to do with philately keep reading!

Australia has hundreds of abandoned grain silos dotted around the country. Many people think they are a bit of a blot on the landscape but the boring appearance of some of these monuments has been transformed by artists who may have previously practised their skills on city walls.

Consequently another subject for the stamp collector has been created by Australia Post, which has issued a set of stamps to recognise the incredible feats of the artists dedicated to brightening up the often scruffy look of the silos.

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