An extremely popular event is held each year in the period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day in The Netherlands. A radio station, NPO Radio 2, hosts a week-long programme playing what listeners vote to be the best 2,000 songs of all time. The following article was written by one of the contributors to our Dutch-language ‘Postzegelblog’ website, Randy Koo:
The polling stations are closed. And for the 16th year the six-minute and six-second mini rock opera song Bohemian Rhapsody (1975) by the band Queen is number 1 in the TOP2000. Meanwhile, a film (biopic) with the same title has recently appeared in the cinema. How did Queen come into being and why is Freddie Mercury so important to the music world?
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The stamp depicted on the left was issued by Ascension Island in 1979 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the death of the great British explorer, cartographer, navigator and Royal Navy Captain, James Cook. In both of the stamp sets below, James Cook’s chronometer appears. It is, specifically, a marine chronometer made by the man who invented the marine chronometer in 1730. He was Englishman John Harrison (1693-1776). This was the first of a series of chronometers that enabled accurate marine navigation.
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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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Though not normally having a great interest in the game of golf I find myself absolutely glued to the television for a certain three-day event which occurs every two years.
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In 1792 a book written by the lady whose portrait adorns the above stamp issued by Great Britain in 2009 became the first book to be published in the English language on the subject of what we now might call feminism.
That lady was Mary Wollstonecroft, whose book “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” could possibly have been influenced by Frenchwoman Olympe de Gouges whose pamphlet “Déclaration des droits de la femme et de la citoyenne” (Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the [Female] Citizen), was published in France in 1791. This was written in response to the 1789 document known as the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the (Male) Citizen” (Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen). Gouges’s manifesto asserted that women are equal to men in society and, as such, entitled to the same citizenship rights.
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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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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 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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As a young boy collecting stamps I was often more attracted to those with colour and shape rather than rarity. Diamond-shaped stamps from Hungary, Monaco and the Burundi particularly caught my eye.
The stamp on the left is from Hungary 1953, overprinted to celebrate a famous 6 goals to 3 victory by the national team over England at Wembley Stadium.
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