The Phare de Ténès (1997 Algerian stamp above left) is the oldest lighthouse in Algeria. Built in 1861 on a rocky Mediterranean coastal site, the lighthouse rises to 57 meters above the sea. This lighthouse has withstood the two earthquakes that shook the region in 1954 and 1980. The other stamp shows the Phare du Cap Caxine, built 1868.

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The subject for 2019’s Europa stamps is National Birds. Spain has a bearded vulture on its 2019 six-stamp Premium Sheet.

The bird is adapted to live in the harsh high landscape of the Pyrenean mountain range from Navarre to Catalonia.

Its anatomy is unmistakable. This huge bird can reach wingspans of up to 2.80 metres. Its Spanish name, “quebrantahuesos” (bone-breaker) comes from its way of feeding. Among other things it feeds on bones which it drops from a height onto rocks to crack them into smaller pieces. It does this in areas known in Spanish as “rompederos”.

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The Hanseatic League, or Hanse, was formed as a northern European trading organisation, founded in the middle of the twelfth century in the north German city of Lubeck and continued as a powerful force for around 500 years. It grew to comprise a network of around 200 trading cities as far apart as London, England, in the west and Viliky Novgorod, Russia, in the east and during its lifetime had to protect its interests from interfering rulers, pirates and rival traders. The type of ship on the stamp above issued in 1977 is a Cog and it was the ship of choice for most Hanseatic League traders.

The Hanseatic League influenced the economic, political and cultural life in Europe for nearly four centuries.

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There’s no doubt of the attraction of young animals and the ability of many a young mammal to draw an ‘Ooo’ or ‘Aaah’ from the human being. It can also be the subject of interest to the stamp collector as images of young animals are often printed on postage stamps.

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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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In June a modern German rarity that was not supposed to exist was auctioned by the firm Christoph Gaertner in Berlin. Incredibly, the stamp was sold for 150,060 euros! Only four single examples are known to exist. The 5-stamp set shown top featuring film stars Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe and Jean Gabin was issued the German Bundespost in 2001. But the set originally printed included a stamp with a publicity shot of Audrey Hepburn, taken to advertise the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

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1In 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 17 – Germany in 1862.

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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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Stamp goofsWherever people work, mistakes will be made. The business of postage stamp design is no exception. Many stamps have been issued with design flaws or flaws of a different nature. And these are of great interest to many collectors. Below we illustrate where some stamp designers have used what might be called ‘artistic licence’.

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Ich bin ein BerlinerOn June 26, 1963, President John F. Kennedy of the United States made a speech in Berlin. One that became notable partly because of the few German words that Kennedy used during the speech: “Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner). Kennedy’s speech was made from the Rathaus Schöneberg, located at the Rudolph-Wilde-Platz. He visited the city to emphasise the United States’ support for the Federal Republic of Germany.

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