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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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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Italy has for many years promoted tourism by way of beautifully illustrated postage stamps. In this second article we feature some of the later stamps with the theme of tourism.

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As with the above Europa stamps issued in 2004 on the subject of vacations, here we celebrate the beautiful land/seascapes found in Italy and the designers/artists responsible for the attractive stamps issued since the 1970s on the topic of Tourism.

Unfortunately, I can’t find much information about the designers/artists of the stamps shown in this article apart from their names. I would be more than grateful if anyone can provide any information about them.

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I imagine postal authorities worldwide would be rather apprehensive nowadays to issue stamps on the subject of tobacco, unless they were using the medium to discourage people from smoking – as seen with the 2006 World Day Without Tobacco stamp below from Argentina.

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earthquake stampsOne can only imagine the horror of experiencing an earthquake. And millions of people live in areas where the possibility of having that experience is great. The recent ‘quakes in New Zealand prompted us to seek out stamps on the subject. Let us not forget that the city of Christchurch, in the region of Canterbury on New Zealand’s South Island, was devastated by an earthquake which killed 185 people in February 2011. The stamp sheet below depicts a cathedral ruined by the event. Incredibly, 4,558 earthquakes were recorded in the Canterbury region above magnitude 3.0 on the Richter measuring scale, from 4 September 2010 to 3 September 2014!

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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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1934 soccer worldcup stampIn 1934, Italy hosted – and were eventual winners – the Football World Cup. They defeated Czechoslovakia in the final after extra time was played. Four years later they again won the final of the competition, this time held in France, beating Hungary 4-2.

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