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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While Orville and Wilbur Wright are generally considered to have been the first to complete a powered and controlled aircraft flight it is also generally accepted that the aeroplane was the invention of Sir George Cayley in 1799 at Brompton, near Scarborough in Yorkshire, England.

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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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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 December 1863 edition of ‘Das Magazin für Briefmarken-Sammler’ (The Magazine for Stamp Collectors) is an ad from Jeanne Wed.(Widow) Elb in Dresden offering albums, stamps and catalogues for sale. This stamp trade was driven by her but was owned by her son Ferdinand Elb.

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The man in the photograph above features in the Guinness Book of Records more than once! He was responsible for producing the artwork for more than 1,000 stamps for many countries, an incredible amount considering the time and precision demanded for every single engraving.

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On behalf of the management and staff at postbeeld.com I would like to wish a Happy and Healthy New Year to all readers of the Freestampmagazine and indeed all of PostBeeld’s customers wherever you may be in the world.

February 16 marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year and with it a plethora of related postage stamp issues from countries around the world.

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