Each summer a small island in the Irish Sea becomes the focus of motorcycling enthusiasts from around the world.
The Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown Dependency between Great Britain and Ireland. The island is about 32 miles long and, at its widest, 14 miles wide. It has been inhabited for more than eight thousand years. English is the main language spoken but the island has its own Celtic origin language (Manx). The Isle of Man’s Tynwald (parliament), is believed to be the oldest continuous parliamentary body in the world.
The island used British stamps until 1958 when Great Britain’s regional issues began. The Isle of Man Post Office was founded in 1973 to secure postal independence and, since then, the island has issued its own stamps.
The first issue was a fifteen pence commemorative which depicted the Vikings landing on the island in 938.
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The 1970s was a prominent period of large scale socio-political change and counterculture during which people felt increasingly at-ease to express themselves through music, fashion and leisure pursuits and this was no different in the Channel Island, Jersey.
The six-stamp souvenir sheet above, recently issued by the island, explore aspects of 1970s popular culture, including language, music, fashion, events, food and leisure. In addition the sheet has a timeline, showing significant events of the 1970s including the year the first email was sent, the year of the first test tube baby and, perhaps controversially, the year Margaret Thatcher became UK Prime Minister.
The miniature sheet (above) accompanying the stamps was created by fashion illustrator, Caroline Smith – who also illustrated the flared trousers for the 76p fashion stamp on the souvenir sheet. It features a colourful and vibrant representation of Jersey’s main shopping street using colours, styles and typical shop-fronts of the 1970s high street.
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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 30 – William P. Brown.
So far, we have mainly focused on Europe, but stamp collecting had also begun, albeit a bit later, over the Atlantic Ocean in North America. But it is not entirely certain who can be seen as the first American stamp dealer.
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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.
Ferdinand Magellan (born circa 1480 – died 1521) was a Portuguese explorer who organised the Spanish expedition to the East Indies from 1519 to 1522, resulting in the first circumnavigation of the Earth, completed by the Spaniard Juan Sebastian Elcano after Magellan was killed on the island of Mactan (now part of the Philippines). He was also discoverer of what was named the Strait of Magellan, a navigable sea route in southern Chile separating mainland South America to the north and Tierra del Fuego to the south. The Strait is the most important natural passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
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The Spanish Civil War had a dramatic effect on the artist Pablo Picasso’s outlook on life. Not having previously been a man interested in politics, the 1936 Franco uprising in Spain was an event that dragged him out of this disinterest and made him a defender of peace and liberty. After he painted his famous response to the German bombing of the Basque village of Guernica in the north of Spain in 1937, Picasso became a symbol not only of anti-fascism but specifically a symbol of the opposition to fascism by artists and intellectuals.
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An extremely popular event is held each year in the period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day in The Netherlands. A radio station, NPO Radio 2, hosts a week-long programme playing what listeners vote to be the best 2,000 songs of all time. The following article was written by one of the contributors to our Dutch-language ‘Postzegelblog’ website, Randy Koo:
The polling stations are closed. And for the 16th year the six-minute and six-second mini rock opera song Bohemian Rhapsody (1975) by the band Queen is number 1 in the TOP2000. Meanwhile, a film (biopic) with the same title has recently appeared in the cinema. How did Queen come into being and why is Freddie Mercury so important to the music world?
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The stamp depicted on the left was issued by Ascension Island in 1979 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the death of the great British explorer, cartographer, navigator and Royal Navy Captain, James Cook. In both of the stamp sets below, James Cook’s chronometer appears. It is, specifically, a marine chronometer made by the man who invented the marine chronometer in 1730. He was Englishman John Harrison (1693-1776). This was the first of a series of chronometers that enabled accurate marine navigation.
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It’s that time of year again and history tells us that the often-repeated message churned out during the Christmas holiday period, wishing for ‘Peace on Earth’, will never happen. My negativity was aroused when searching for appropriate stamps for this article, whereby I thought I’d take a look back at some of the earlier Christmas stamps. I came across the two Spanish stamp sheets seen above which were issued in 1941 to commemorate the second anniversary of the liberation of Barcelona by General Franco’s forces during the Spanish Civil War.
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Among the thousands of stamps recently added to PostBeeld’s ever-increasing stock are some nice stamps for the thematic collector interested in railway stamps and, in particular, stamps featuring railway stations.
This stamp is the station at Maryborough, Victoria – built in 1890 of red brick with stucco edging and an attractive clock tower. This magnificent station boasts one of the longest platforms in the southern hemisphere and still provides freight and passenger services. American author Mark Twain visited Maryborough in 1895 and was most impressed by the town’s grand railway station.
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