The man depicted in portrait form and as the main character on the stamps issued by China in 1960 was a Canadian physician, medical innovator, and noted communist. He became expert in thoracic surgery and developed or modified more than a dozen new surgical tools.

Norman Bethune achieved acclaim first for his service as a frontline surgeon supporting the democratically elected Republican government during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). But it was his service in China with the Communist Eighth Route Army during China’s second war with Japan (1937-1945) that would earn him enduring gratitude.

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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 recent problems at the Oroville Dam in Northern California, which caused more than 180,000 people to be evacuated from their homes, have highlighted the danger of living in the downstream vicinity of a major river dam. Though damming projects can be extremely controversial, architecturally they are often attractive. As a topic there are many dam stamps, some of which are included below.

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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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Penny BlackThis year was the 175th anniversary of the first issue by Breat Britain of the now-famous Penny Black postage stamp. This is the second part of an article previously published that looks back to 1990, the 150th annniversary, and some stamps issued that year in commemoration.

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Propaganda on stampsTo use postage stamps as propaganda material is not unusual. Many countries have issued these kind of stamps in the past and in all likelihood some will continue to do so in the future. This is certainly the case in times of war, when propaganda can be deployed on all fronts, including postage stamps. In the ‘Cold War’ much propaganda was used, especially as it lasted so long.

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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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april-14-in-stampsStamps are a great way to illustrate various historical events. The significance of  some of these major events is often equalled by  the amount of stamp issues related to it. Let’s have a look at some of the historical events that took place on the 14th of april.

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