What do we see when we look at the drawing on the stamp from Austria (1981) above? Several artists, notably the Dutch ‘master of optical illusion’ Maurits Escher, have incorporated into their designs certain impossible features that cannot exist in three-dimensional space. These include the ‘impossible cube’ on the stamp above, inspired by his designs and the ‘impossible triangle’ by the Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvärd, shown on the first of the three stamps from Sweden (1982) in the continuation of this article.

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The city of Appeldoorn in Holland has, aside from other interesting attractions, a fine museum which currently has an exhibition called Paper Art. One of the exhibitors whose work is featured is Dutch artist Erik van Maarschalkerwaard. He has on display many creations featuring postage stamps, some of which are shown here.

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The beauty of New Zealand is undisputed by those fortunate enough to have visited the country. Indeed, in 2010 NZ Post issued a lovely 25-value mini-sheet depicting some of the highlights to be seen on the country’s North and South Islands. The sheet is entitled “A Slice of Heaven”.

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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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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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In this second part of the story we provide an analysis of the song Bohemian Rhapsody.

Freddie Mercury never really gave a clear explanation about the meaning of the song’s lyrics. The text contains many philosophical and religious elements. According to one of the many theories Bohemian Rhapsody was inspired by the 18th Century book Faust by the German literary writer Goethe in which the main character makes a pact with the devil.

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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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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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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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