John Winchester  |  Nov 29, 2010  |  0 comments

St Vincent's first high value The Caribbean island of St Vincent thrived for many years as a simple plantation economy, but after the emancipation of slave labour in 1833 its development required an efficient postal system.

In 1852 a post office was opened at Kingstown, the capital, where British stamps were used initially, cancelled by the distinctive ‘A10’ oval postmark.

But on June 4, 1860, a Post Office Act paved the way for the colony to issue its own stamps.

Julia Lee  |  Nov 11, 2010  |  0 comments

Abraham Lincoln is considered one of the greatest ever Presidents of the United States.

His time in office was spent trying to abolish slavery, save the Union and reunite the country as the American Civil War raged, and his tragic fame was cemented by the fact that he was assassinated within days of the conflict being resolved.

His austere, bearded face remains instantly recognisable today, and the words of his Gettysburg Address are still quoted regularly.

Adrian Keppel  |  Nov 10, 2010  |  0 comments

When rumours arose of a joint stamp issue to mark the 60th anniversary of Indonesian independence, both the Dutch and Indonesian postal authorities were quick to deny them.

That was no great surprise, as the colonial period still touches a raw nerve in both countries.

The last Dutch royal visit, for example, in 1995, was fraught with politics, raising difficult questions about whether Queen Beatrix should apologise for imperialism in what was then the Netherlands Indies (or Dutch East Indies), or voice concern over present-day Indonesia’s poor human rights record.

Adrian Keppel  |  Nov 04, 2010  |  0 comments

The Germania 80pf black and red on rose from the 1899-2000 ‘Reichspost’ printing A group of stamp designers waited on tenterhooks in the hall, each displaying his artwork for a new definitive stamp.

Eventually the door was flung open, and in burst Kaiser Wilhelm II, looking extremely annoyed at having to attend to such a trivial matter.

He dashed past each of the hopefuls before storming back towards the door, only to turn around, point at one design and mutter: ‘This one’.

 |  Nov 04, 2010  |  0 comments

Rarity is always relative, but there are not many stamps of which only one example is believed to exist.

One such is the British Guiana 1c of 1856.

Such is its legendary status that the history of its ownership is as interesting as that of its design, printing and usage.

Julia Lee  |  Nov 03, 2010  |  0 comments

The 1924 three-halfpence for the British Empire Exhibition Until the mid-1920s, the British postal authorities had consistently shunned the idea of commemoratives, an opinion shared by the 'philatelist king' George V, who branded the notion of special event stamps ‘un-English’.

Before 1924 the British Post Office had issued a few items of commemorative postal stationery, but never a commemorative stamp.

 The birth of the stamps
 In the early planning for the British Empire Exhibition, a strong case was made that the only special issue should be postal stationery.

John Winchester  |  Nov 02, 2010  |  0 comments

Mint copy of the octagonal 4a The East India Company, which had a monopoly on the carriage of mail to and from British India, was still using antiquated hand-struck stamps into the 1850s.

A commission reviewing its efficiency suggested the introduction of adhesive stamps, akin to those of Great Britain.

However, the cost of commissioning Perkins Bacon to engrave copper plates and recess-print these would be prohibitive, so a cheaper local approach was required.