Each summer a small island in the Irish Sea becomes the focus of motorcycling enthusiasts from around the world.

The Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown Dependency between Great Britain and Ireland. The island is about 32 miles long and, at its widest, 14 miles wide. It has been inhabited for more than eight thousand years. English is the main language spoken but the island has its own Celtic origin language (Manx). The Isle of Man’s Tynwald (parliament), is believed to be the oldest continuous parliamentary body in the world.

The island used British stamps until 1958 when Great Britain’s regional issues began. The Isle of Man Post Office was founded in 1973 to secure postal independence and, since then, the island has issued its own stamps.

 

The first issue was a fifteen pence commemorative which depicted the Vikings landing on the island in 938.

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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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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 30 – William P. Brown.

So far, we have mainly focused on Europe, but stamp collecting had also begun, albeit a bit later, over the Atlantic Ocean in North America. But it is not entirely certain who can be seen as the first American stamp dealer.

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I’ve long been fascinated by the incredible feats of the brave and extremely tough men who set off from Europe and Scandinavia in search of fabled lands. It’s possible that those featured in this article were preceded by unknown explorers but here we mention those whose exploits are confirmed in history.

Ferdinand Magellan (born circa 1480 – died 1521) was a Portuguese explorer who organised the Spanish expedition to the East Indies from 1519 to 1522, resulting in the first circumnavigation of the Earth, completed by the Spaniard Juan Sebastian Elcano after Magellan was killed on the island of Mactan (now part of the Philippines). He was also discoverer of what was named the Strait of Magellan, a navigable sea route in southern Chile separating mainland South America to the north and Tierra del Fuego to the south. The Strait is the most important natural passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

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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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It’s that time of year again and history tells us that the often-repeated message churned out during the Christmas holiday period, wishing for ‘Peace on Earth’, will never happen. My negativity was aroused when searching for appropriate stamps for this article, whereby I thought I’d take a look back at some of the earlier Christmas stamps. I came across the two Spanish stamp sheets seen above which were issued in 1941 to commemorate the second anniversary of the liberation of Barcelona by General Franco’s forces during the Spanish Civil War.

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October the second was the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of the most influential men of the 20th Century, Mahatma Gandhi (born 1869 – assassinated 1948). In commemoration India Post have issued the fine stamp sheet containing seven circular stamps shown below.

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This stamp is part of a  sheet issued by Australia in 2005 was spookily entitled “Creatures of the Slime” and focussed on the world’s first animals – multicellular organisms, some probably related to worms, jellyfish, and snails, dating back some 560 million years. Known as Ediacaran fossils – predating dinosaurs by millions of years – these creatures have a particular connection to Australia. They are named after the Ediacaran Hills of the Flinders Ranges World Heritage site in South Australia.

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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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