Welcome readers to todays offering from The Philatelist. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. We have an interesting story about how desiccated finery can lead to nostalgia.
Today’s stamp is from the early years of the Shah of Iran’s reign. You can see on the stamp a lot of Turkish and British influence. The Turk in the style of paper and the British in how the Royal is portrayed. Notice his dress is western and the portrait attempts to show him as a wise father figure. Some stamps from later in his rule show the Shah as an ageless profile. Much in the same way as Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Victoria before her were displayed.
The stamp today is issue A71, a 5 dinar stamp issued by Imperial Iran in 1949. This was before the time of the Mossedeck coup but during when he served as one of the Shah’s appointed Prime Ministers. The stamp displays the Ramsar Hotel. It was part a 16 stamp issue that displayed various architectural landmarks that could be credited to the Shah. According to the Scott catalog, it is worth 25 cents cancelled.
The Ramsar Hotel, now known as the old hotel, was built in the 1930s in the resort town of Ramsar on the Caspian Sea. A newer larger wing was built next to it in the 1960s. When built the hotel was quite grand, however time has not been kind to it. It still photographs well and was built in a very good location that captures the natural beauty. The hotel today however is in disrepair, expensive and has a poor staff. The original 5 star rating is more like a 2 star if you believe the online reviews.
This situation helps one to see how a leader like the Shah can see his reputation rise in terms of nostalgia. With no restraints and ample oil revenue, great edifices of prosperity are built. The connected class enjoys this high life with nightclubs, imported food and wine, and fine cars. Their women wore miniskirts and had uncovered hair. A movement rises up calling this decadent and forces him from power. With him goes all the high living and western decadence. No new edifices of prosperity are built and the ones from the former time fall into disrepair like the Ramsar Old Hotel.
Here is where the rub happens. If the average person does not feel his or her own life better under the new system resentment can form. The Shah built things, what have you done? Likely there is a class of people that benefits from the current system but they must keep their own high living hidden in a way the Shah’s people never did. The style of the old times takes on a new respect. This is how it should be. The former regime was not all bad and the current regime is not all good. Despite what the partisan of each will tell you.
Well my drink is empty and it is time to open up the conversation in the below comment section. Have any of our readers stayed at the Ramsar Hotel, perhaps during the glory years? Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.