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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Now the 21st football World Cup Championship is well under way let’s take a look at some stamps from the past celebrating the event. The winner of the first competition, held in 1930, was Uruguay. In 2005, 75 years after that victory, Uruguay produced the above stamp set. Three of the stamps feature scenes connected with the Final which Uruguay won, defeating Argentina 4-2. The other stamp looks forward to the 2006 World Cup which was held in Germany.

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Below you can see just a small selection of stamps recently added to PostBeeld’s enormous stock of stamps. Please visit the website if you wish to view more. If you are a particular collector of Germany, Thurn and Taxis stamps we have acquired a collection that includes the stamps below from 1859 and many, many more.

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I have on many occasions placed my feet on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London but was not aware until recently that the granite stone used to construct the Cathedral’s steps originated from Guernsey, the British Channel Island. My discovery of this fact came as I was browsing PostBeeld’s freestampcatalogue.com website and I came across the stamps shown above, issued by Guernsey in 2008. We have previously featured articles on strangely textured postage stamps and the stamps depicted here come into that category.

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There have been many postage stamps imprinted with more than one language but the first from Great Britain was issued in 1968. This was the Menai Bridge stamp, part of a set featuring British bridges. The Menai Bridge connects mainland Wales to the island of Anglesey and is entitled in English and Welsh. You might notice the Welsh word for bridge is the same as in French.

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The beautiful pictographic map by the artist William Henry Jackson seen in this article shows the first United States of America Pony Express mail delivery route, a distance of 1,800 miles, from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California. It has an inscription by author Howard Roscoe Driggs which reads:

“Over this historic route daring young Americans on fleet horses sped night and day while other courageous men kept and supplied the stations along the far-flung, dangerous line. This pioneer fast mail service, maintained despite serious loss to its patriotic promoters, made a notable contribution to our national welfare. The Pony Express, following the direct northern route, brought our far west closer to our east, thereby helping to hold our frontier territory with its treasures of gold in our union. It blazed the way for the overland stage to California, hastened the building of the first transcontinental railroad and telegraph and added one of the most stirring chapters to the history of America’s making.”

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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 27.

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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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