Climate change, global warming and environmental Issues are, quite rightly, often in the news. I, for one, am more than pleased with the great focus on these subjects nowadays although there are many influential people and organisations that, despite scientific evidence, continue to deny the facts.
I have experienced the terrible winter fogs of 1950s London caused by the effects of widespread coal burning, vehicle emissions and other pollutants which killed thousands and hospitalised hundreds of thousands of people. This experience left me with life-long lung problems.
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The Spanish Civil War had a dramatic effect on the artist Pablo Picasso’s outlook on life. Not having previously been a man interested in politics, the 1936 Franco uprising in Spain was an event that dragged him out of this disinterest and made him a defender of peace and liberty. After he painted his famous response to the German bombing of the Basque village of Guernica in the north of Spain in 1937, Picasso became a symbol not only of anti-fascism but specifically a symbol of the opposition to fascism by artists and intellectuals.
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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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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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Investigating the origin of the English-language term “Gordon Bennett”, once commonly used as an expression of surprise, I came to the conclusion that there does not seem to be a definitive explanation. Various theories abound. What is certain is that a motor car race held in Ireland in 1903, and a hot-air balloon race first held in 1906, was named after a certain Gordon Bennett. In tracing the origins of Gordon Bennett, I discovered that there were two famous Gordon Bennetts who might have been the source.
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A mint, never-hinged stamp pair issued by South-West Africa in 1936.
Below, five 1937 Edward VIII Coronation stamp pairs, South Africa.
2004 Football European Championship winners Greece commemorated by this set of four stamps.
From Manama 1971, stamp sheet featuring a self-portrait of the artist Modigliani and one of his seated nude paintings.
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