I’ve long been fascinated by the incredible feats of the brave and extremely tough men who set off from Europe and Scandinavia in search of fabled lands. It’s possible that those featured in this article were preceded by unknown explorers but here we mention those whose exploits are confirmed in history.

The man commemorated on the 1968 USA stamp above is Leif Erikson, the first known European to have discovered continental North America before Christopher Columbus. There are many other statues of Erikson in various cities in America and many countries have featured the exploits of the 10th Century Icelander on postage stamps such as those below.

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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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The above stamp was issued by Hungary in 2010 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Hungarian Grand Prix for Formula 1 racing cars. As with so many stamps, there is a historical significance attached to that particular issue.

In 1986, after a failed attempt to host a race in the former Soviet Union, then Formula 1 franchise owner Bernie Ecclestone signed a contract in London for the first five years of the Hungarian Grand Prix. A track was quickly built and the first race was held on August 10th, 1986.

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Penny Black stampsThis year, 2015, is the 175th anniversary of the first issue of Great Britain’s ‘Penny Black’ postage stamp. Looking back to 1990, the stamp’s 150th anniversary, we feature some of the stamps released that year to mark that first issue.

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