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July 28 2012

1948 Olympics: Day 1: Stamp of approval for Olympic Games

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 30 July 1948: The 6d stamp is perhaps the best, but the shilling Olympic stamp looks overcrowded

The Royal Mail has issued three collections of stamps in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympics. They also plan to release a new stamp for each Team GB gold medal winner.

In 1948, when London last hosted an Olympic Games, only four commemorative stamps were released, designed by a sculptor, a poster designer, an engraver and an illustrator.


guardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds




January 02 2012

Codebreaker Alan Turing gets stamp of approval

Gay mathematician convicted of gross indecency in 1952 among those to be celebrated in Royal Mail stamps in 2012

The mathematician and second world war codebreaker Alan Turing is to be celebrated on a special stamp as an online petition calls for a posthumous pardon to quash his conviction for gross indecency.

The computer pioneer is one of 10 prominent people chosen for the Royal Mail's Britons of Distinction stamps, to be launched in February, which includes the allied war heroine Odette Hallowes of the Special Operations Executive, composer Frederick Delius and architect Sir Basil Spence, to mark the golden jubilee of Coventry Cathedral.

Turing worked as part of the team that cracked the Enigma code at Bletchley Park, and went on to help create the world's first modern computer. This year marks the centenary of his birth.

He was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, when homosexual acts were illegal in the UK, and sentenced to chemical castration. He killed himself two years later by taking cyanide. The e-petition says his treatment and death "remains a shame on the UK government and UK history".

In 2009, the then prime minister Gordon Brown issued an unequivocal apology on behalf of the government to Turing, describing his treatment as "horrifying" and "utterly unfair". Brown said the country owed him a huge debt.

Hallowes, who was born in Amiens, France, in April 1912 and married an Englishman in 1931, was awarded the George Cross (the only woman to receive the honour while alive) and the Légion d'honneur for her work in Nazi occupied France.

She was imprisoned, tortured and condemned to death in 1943 after being betrayed, but survived Ravensbrück concentration camp and the war. She died in 1995 in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey.

The Olympic Games and the Queen's diamond jubilee also feature in the 2012 special stamp programme.

House of Windsor stamps will feature the five monarchs from the start of the 20th century, with the Queen taking pride of place on the final stamp to mark the 60th year of her reign. A special miniature sheet issued on 6 February will bring together six portraits of her taken from stamps, coinage and banknotes.

Giant peaches and a famous chocolate factory will feature in a set of six stamps on 10 January to celebrate the work of Roald Dahl.

The first of several stamp issues to mark the London Games go on sale on 5 January. Other stamp subjects during the year include Charles Dickens, born 200 years ago this year, great British fashion, comics, dinosaurs, space science and classic locomotives of Scotland.


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December 21 2011

From the archive, 21 December 1942: Stamp fever in wartime

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 21 December 1942

A strange thing has occurred in the ranks of the folk we call collectors. This time it has come to the stamp collectors, and it is a fever of urgent buying – we won't call it panic buying. It has as yet only touched the inner circle, the experts. It has moved the outer circle, the serious collectors, to protective action, but it has set aflame the vast horde of gatherers, as we might call them, the people who know little about the stamps they gather but who form the great bulk of the hobby's disciples and make possible the industry that has grown up around them.

An infective urge has come to the gatherers – the schoolboys, the students, the office clerks, the casual men about town – and they have descended upon the stamp shops and the dealers and are buying up everything in the lower grade of stamps. Sheets of stamps are put into the shop windows and they are picked almost clean in the space of a day.

Most of the shops which sell the stamps know nothing about them. Stamps are put on sale on a commission basis (and very handsome it is, too) by the stamp dealers and companies. Just now we are witnessing stationers and booksellers and others giving a whole window to stamp display where previously it was a difficulty for their salesmen to find their stamp stock at all. No questions are asked in these shops; it is take it or leave it and the salesmen look admiringly at the buyer. The salesmen think there may be a hidden treasure somewhere and leave it at that, while the gatherers back their fancy in the true spirit of the turf.

It is bewildering, for we are told that the same thing is going on all over Europe. I quote from a notice in the press, "… thousands of pounds are being paid for valueless common currency stamps by people who know absolutely nothing about stamps." They are listening to the voice of rumour, which whispers that such and such a commodity – in this case stamps – is going to be scarce and valuable, and so they decide to be in on the ground floor and make it a corner.

The big stamp dealers are getting jumpy. They are at a loss to know the drill for the occasion. If they open their stocks to the crowd these common stamps – the backbone of the trade – will in truth become scarce. If they hold them all back there will be no trade at all.

If this gold rush goes on there will soon be no good stamps for sale. The war has created a shortage for many stamps, and though the accumulations still in the dealers' hands must be very great, in self-preservation they cannot unload to meet the demand.

J. H. B.


guardian.co.uk © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


May 31 2010

02mydafsoup-01

March 15 2010

Niederländische Architektur-Briefmarken

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(Gefunden bei delicious industries, wo auch die Häuser im Original zu sehen sind.)

Reposted fromglaserei glaserei
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