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 27.

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The man depicted on the stamp to the left, from the U.S.A., issued in 1985, is J.J. Audubon. You would never imagine the rather bland image of the man on the stamp could be linked to the wonderfully coloured works of art produced by him during his lifetime. John James Audubon was born in what was then the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) on April 26, 1785. When he was six-years-old he was sent to France, where he lived until 1803 – when he left for America. There he eventually became an ornithologist, naturalist, and painter.

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Stamps from Montenegro 2008.

Naturally, the ease with which one can communicate with people worldwide via email and other modern instant messaging systems has its advantages, but these methods have caused a great decline in the act of physically writing a letter and sending the item to another person via a postal delivery service. The big question is if, and when, will the postage stamp as we know it cease to exist? And what, if any, effect will this have on the value of stamp collections in the future?

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Try saying that after a couple of alcoholic beverages!The stamps above from Greece, the “Ancient Greek Coins” set, were issued in 1963. The 50 Leptas stamp has a coin from Syracuse 5th century B.C. featuring the nymph Arethusa surrounded by dolphins and on the reverse side a chariot). The 80L has a posthumously-issued Alexander the Great coin with the god Zeus on the back. Some of the same coins were also on stamps released by Greece in 1959.

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Among the hundreds of stamps added daily to PostBeeld’s stock are those shown below in this article.

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It seems incredible to think that there are people born during the First World War still alive today. That means they have lived for one hundred years or more. In 2015 it was estimated that there were more than half a million known centenarians worldwide. One country celebrated the longevity of some of its citizens by way of a special limited edition stamp issue in 2016.

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In the December 1863 edition of ‘Das Magazin für Briefmarken-Sammler’ (The Magazine for Stamp Collectors) is an ad from Jeanne Wed.(Widow) Elb in Dresden offering albums, stamps and catalogues for sale. This stamp trade was driven by her but was owned by her son Ferdinand Elb.

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The man in the photograph above features in the Guinness Book of Records more than once! He was responsible for producing the artwork for more than 1,000 stamps for many countries, an incredible amount considering the time and precision demanded for every single engraving.

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Now and then we focus on the incredible variety of subjects that can be found on postage stamps, some being very unusual. And today I came across some such stamps. Those in question feature a sport whose participants must not only have a considerable amount of stamina but also excellent navigational skills. The sport, orienteering, began in Sweden in the late 19th Century and involved the crossing of unknown land with the aid of a map and a compass.

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The Round Towers of Ireland are remarkable among the world’s ancient monuments in that whilst they make a bold historical and cultural statement, they were built with a very practical use in mind. The Irish Round Towers were used between the 10th and 12th Centuries as bell towers and hiding places in the time of the Viking invasions.

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