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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As a young boy collecting stamps I was often more attracted to those with colour and shape rather than rarity. Diamond-shaped stamps from Hungary, Monaco and the Burundi particularly caught my eye.

The stamp on the left is from Hungary 1953, overprinted to celebrate a famous 6 goals to 3 victory by the national team over England at Wembley Stadium.

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Investigating the origin of the English-language term “Gordon Bennett”, once commonly used as an expression of surprise, I came to the conclusion that there does not seem to be a definitive explanation. Various theories abound. What is certain is that a motor car race held in Ireland in 1903, and a hot-air balloon race first held in 1906, was named after a certain Gordon Bennett. In tracing the origins of Gordon Bennett, I discovered that there were two famous Gordon Bennetts who might have been the source.

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Alexander Baillieu was born in 1842. His father was a well-known antiquarian in Paris, also selling reprints of rare books. Alexander had collected stamps from an early age. It was probably in 1861, when collecting became popular, that his father advised him to sell parts of his collection in the store. On the first day, he sold stamps worth 27 Francs.

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In 1955 Hungary became the first country in the world to issue a “metal” stamp. And below you see an example. Aluminium foil glued to paper was used in the production process.

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Before we begin with trickery and deceit I want to refer back to the ‘Stamp Polka’ described in The History of Stamp Collecting Part 22. Alas, up to now I have not been able to find a picture of the “Briefmarken-Polka für das Pianoforte” (The Postage Stamp Polka for the Pianoforte) sheet music front page, but I received the image below from Jan Vellekoop – the Dutch version of the Stamp Polka, published in 1864.

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If you are a regular visitor to the magazine you will know that every now and then we feature what might be considered to be an unusual subject for a postage stamp. This brief article concerns what many people think is a very important British institution – the Public House, more commonly known as the pub.

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Italy has for many years promoted tourism by way of beautifully illustrated postage stamps. In this second article we feature some of the later stamps with the theme of tourism.

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In the first edition of the German magazine ‘Das Magazin für Briefmarken-Sammler’ from May 1863, there was an advertisement which announced the appearance of the “Briefmarken-Polka für das Pianoforte” (The Postage Stamp Polka for the Pianoforte) by J. V. Hamm, with images of 42 colourful stamps, published by C.F.W. Siegel in Leipzig.

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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 22.

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