The railway has played an incredibly important part in the lives of billions of people over the years. The first public railway which used only steam locomotives all the time, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, designed and built by George Stephenson, was opened in 1830 in the United Kingdom. Great Britain produced a lovely portrayal of the railway over a set of five stamps to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first journey on that line.
The first Italian railway was the Napoli – Portici line. Running for a grand total of 7.25 km, it was inaugurated on the 3rd of October 1839 by the Borbonic king Ferdinando II. At that time Napoli was the capital of the Regno delle Due Sicilie, and the Italian Peninsula was still divided into several different countries. Only twenty two years later, when Italy was finally unified in 1861, there were a total of 2,370 kilometres of railway throughout the country, the majority of which were in the north-western region of Piedmont. These stamps were issued in 1939 to celebrate 100 years of the railway in Italy.
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Rookworst (smoked sausage), wortelen (carrots), hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles)? These and other typically Dutch cuisinal ingredients are almost even more anchored in the culture of the Netherlands than tulips and windmills. A good reason for PostNL to publish a series of stamp sheets about traditional Dutch customs, products and dishes. How could the series’ title be other than “Typically Dutch”?
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A pair of stamps issued by the Republic of Chad in 1969 commemorated the travels of two German explorers of the continent of Africa.
The right-hand stamp has a portrait of 19th century German explorer Heinrich Barth (1821-1865) next to Lake Chad. Barth was one of the first Europeans to recognise the significance and richness of African history and culture. Travelling under the Arabic name Abd el Kerim, he crossed the Sahara desert and over the Air mountains into Central Africa.
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The Deutsche Post (DP) was the state-owned postal and telecommunications monopoly of what was – from 1949 until the reunification of Germany on the 3rd of October 1990 – the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). DP issued the above stamps in 1981. From left to right they show the 1892-built Dabel windmill in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the mill (built 1889) at Pahrenz in Saxony, also in Saxony the Dresden-Gohlis windmill (1828) and the mill at Ballstadt in the state of Thuringia.
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Among the hundreds of items recently added to PostBeeld’s vast stock is a large quantity of WWF stamps, some of which are shown in this article, beginning with this minisheet from Niue featuring spectacularly colourful Nudibranchia (commonly known as sea slugs).
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In 1963 a 6-stamp commemorative set was issued by Swiss Post, two being of 50c. value. The 5c. stamp commemorated 50 years of the Swiss Boy Scout League and the 10c, seen below, the centenary of the Swiss Alpine Club.
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Quite often when browsing stamps I come across items regarding certain people or subjects of which I previously had no knowledge. But that’s part of the fascination of stamp collecting as a hobby – it can be both intriguing and educational at the same time.
For example, the stamp above from United States Postal Service’s Black Heritage series celebrates the achievements of Benjamin Banneker (1731–1826), who was a self-taught mathematician and astronomer.
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For Pope John Paul II’s visit to Austria in 1983, a postcard with a printed 3 schillings stamp, the ‘Bischofsmütze’, was produced as part of the ‘Get to know Austria’ postcard series. The card depicts the wooden image of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus, which is in the Mariazell Basilica, in Mariazell, Austria.
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Pos Malaysia Berhad always looks for something different and unusual to feature on its stamps. In 2008 it produced six ‘glow-in-the-dark’ stamps featuring nocturnal animals native to Malaysia. The miniature stamp sheet shown here has the slow loris on the RM3 value and the tarsier (RM2).
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