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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