A couple of weeks ago I was introduced to the YouTube Channel “Exploring Stamps.” I didn’t know what a YouTube Channel was. My YouTube experience has been one-off computer software ‘how tos’ and recent segments about replacing my RAV 4 rearview mirror (Horrors!).
When I think of stamp collecting I see older men (like me) seeking exotic material (I wish) for their collections, or kids being distracted for a short while with pretty stamps (hopefully some will catch the collecting bug), but that distraction most often succumbs to video games, TV, and smart phones.
Suddenly, on my monitor, there was this Millenial or GenXer, Graham Beck, with a South African accent. (Confession: I don’t know what those Mill/Gen terms mean.) Anyway, Graham has a box of stamps, and one-at-a-time he takes you stamp exploring—a volcano in Iceland (highly recommended), Canada’s first stamp (and perhaps the world’s fist emoji!), a woman’s head (and what’s that hat she’s wearing?), even the Simpsons, and much more…
Stamp collecting and exploration through a Gen-Millenial-XYer’s eyes—a great ride! Episodes are lively, intelligent, funny, and crisply paced. SO…This is a YouTube Channel—and definitely one to watch! Hopefully the Gen-Mill-YXers will continue to amaze me with their vision of stamp collecting.
My August 3, 2018 post featured British Colonies Bicolors that I picked up during Volunteer Week at the American Philatelic Center. Here’s another intriguing stamp I acquired at the same time. It’s from a 1988 set called “The Early Years,” part of a series of Australia Bicentennial stamp issues. I was attracted by the apparent primitive artwork featured on the stamp and wanted to learn more, as well as get a closer look at the artwork. The pale, pastel colors, especially the salmon framing of the central image seemed perfectly suited for an appealing presentation of historical watercolor art.
This stamp is one of a strip of five different stamps shown below. Each stamp features a ‘framed’ artwork with a tastefully chosen framing color, and along the bottom of the strip of stamps is one continuous historical scene. The featured artwork on my stamp is a watercolor (Brickfield Hill, or, High Road to Parramatta) from about 1850, likely based on a 1798 etching by Thomas Watling. The watercolor features Brickfield Hill, an area that supplied the early colony’s growing need for bricks. Parramatta Road itself became a major historical east-west artery of Sydney.
This strip of stamps is a attractive door-opener to Australia’s history. Since the country as we know it today largely evolved from a penal colony, the history is unusual and fascinating. It’s a subject I’ve begun to pursue, as you can see by this post, and I plan to continue down that road. I’d welcome any feedback or insights you’d like to offer.
Above, After Thomas Watling. “Brickfield Hill, or, High Road to Parramatta,” ca. 1850. National Library of Australia, PIC Drawer 2151 #T3134 NK9921.
Left, attributed to Thomas Watling. “Brickfield Hill, or, High Road to Parramatta,” plate form David Collins’ An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, 1798.
One of the many fun aspects of participating in Volunteer Week at the American Philatelic Center is the chance to take a break from your assigned task and spend a little time rooting through a pile of thousands and thousands of stamps, free to volunteers for the taking. Many of the volunteers are advanced collectors, and this activity probably doesn’t fit their interest, but it makes me feel like a kid again and I enjoy seeing many familiar stamps from my years of collecting and taking away a few to fill spots in my worldwide collection.
The two British colony bicolors shown here were among the ‘treasures’ I brought home. To me the British Colony bicolors, which began appearing in the mid-30s, are among the most beautiful classic stamp designs–rich colors, exquisite engraving, and exotic lands and cultures. Also shown here is a third stamp from the Volunteer Week ‘thousands’ that shows a later take on the colonies pictorials, when full color imagery was introduced. It’s true there are many beautiful stamps in this format, but for me the bicolors remain tops.
The stamps illustrated are the Gilbert & Ellice Islands 1 1/2d ‘Canoe Crossing Reef’ (1939), Bahamas 3d ‘Fishing Fleet’ (1954), and Bahamas 15c ‘Sea Garden’ (1967). What are some of your favorite stamp designs?
Why?: This site, though primarily featuring postage stamps, will also include other kinds of stamps, like the poster stamp* above. Poster stamp graphics are often hard for me to resist, and this one seems to illustrate well the labor (of love?) involved in developing this website.
The stamp (German, early 20th century) presents an odd image (or perhaps not), for the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Junglehrer (ADJ), the German young teachers group associated with the Verband Bildung und Erziehung (VBE – Association for Education). Naked young men are pictured trying to move an enormous boulder. Perhaps the message speaks to the difficulty young teachers have as they begin their profession. (I was once a challenged young teacher.) And is that a tree of golden apples? Well, teachers and apples go together.
If I learn more about the circumstances surrounding this stamp, I’ll pass that information along. Note the insignia in the bottom left corner of the illustration. I assume that’s the mark of the artist. Can you add more information about this stamp?
Your comments are encouraged.
* Poster stamps were quite popular (and collectable) in the early 20th century. They were used to promote products, events and causes. Often they were miniature reproductions of actual posters. For more info check out the Poster Stamp Collectors Club.