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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It’s that time of year again and history tells us that the often-repeated message churned out during the Christmas holiday period, wishing for ‘Peace on Earth’, will never happen. My negativity was aroused when searching for appropriate stamps for this article, whereby I thought I’d take a look back at some of the earlier Christmas stamps. I came across the two Spanish stamp sheets seen above which were issued in 1941 to commemorate the second anniversary of the liberation of Barcelona by General Franco’s forces during the Spanish Civil War.

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Do you recognise the young man above? He is someone who has already been recognised in the world of postage stamps for his achievements. Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, still only 26 years old, is a three-time World Champion of chess. He won his first world title in 2013, becoming the second-youngest ever to win that competition.

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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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