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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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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The man depicted on the stamp to the left, from the U.S.A., issued in 1985, is J.J. Audubon. You would never imagine the rather bland image of the man on the stamp could be linked to the wonderfully coloured works of art produced by him during his lifetime. John James Audubon was born in what was then the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) on April 26, 1785. When he was six-years-old he was sent to France, where he lived until 1803 – when he left for America. There he eventually became an ornithologist, naturalist, and painter.

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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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Among the hundreds of stamps added daily to PostBeeld’s stock are those shown below in this article.

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It seems incredible to think that there are people born during the First World War still alive today. That means they have lived for one hundred years or more. In 2015 it was estimated that there were more than half a million known centenarians worldwide. One country celebrated the longevity of some of its citizens by way of a special limited edition stamp issue in 2016.

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