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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As I write the euro is the official currency of 19 of the current 28 member states of the European Union and also some of the territories of the Union. This group of states is known as the eurozone or euro area. The euro is the second largest and second most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States dollar. The gradual introduction of the currency began at midnight on the 1st of January 1999, when the national currencies of participating countries in the eurozone ceased to exist independently.

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For thematic stamp collectors the horse has always been a very popular subject. If you are interested in horse sports or a particular breed there is bound to be a stamp to satisfy your interest. The stamps shown below were issued by the German state of Saarland which, following the Second World War, from 1947 to 1956 was a French-occupied territory (the “Saar Protectorate”) separate from the rest of Germany. You may notice two values shown on each stamp. The reason being the postal tariffs were adapted to French postage rates – mail to France was to be franked at the domestic postage, mail to Allied-occupied Germany at the foreign tariff.

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kopjeFollowing the recently published Freddie Mercury article and having just heard the Queen song ‘Bicycle Race’ on the radio, I sought out some Bicycle-themed stamps. And there are hundreds!

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Philately factsOnce, long ago, I purchased a book: The Guinness Book of Stamps, Facts & Feats. It stood a little lost in a corner of a bookcase. I noticed it again when I was looking for another book, that’s how it often goes. Needless to say, the book contains many fascinating facts regarding stamps and everything related to them.

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Bram Stoker stamp BulgariaIrish author Bram (Abraham) Stoker, who was born in a coastal suburb of Dublin in 1847, was the man responsible for creating one of the most famous characters in literature – Count Dracula. The book Dracula was first published in 1897 and since then many film and theatre versions have been made. The first was made in 1925 and was titled Nosferatu and featured the character Count Orlock.

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