Remembering Gustave Eiffel’s work in Peru during the French Exposition Lima 1957

An exhibition of a rich country in a poor country can be awkward, but less so if a legend of the rich country had done earlier work in the host country. 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. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

When I first spotted this stamp, I reacted badly to it. Poor Peru has nothing to compare to the Eiffel Tower except a long ago Cathedral built by the Church not the state and likely inherited from the Spanish colonial period. This is where digging in deeper as I do on this site helps. It turns out that Gustave Eiffel did a fair amount of work in Peru and indeed the exposition was held in a building designed by Mr. Eiffel. This changes my whole outlook on the stamp. Now the Exposition takes on the spirit of two countries that have had a friendly collaboration for years. Eiffel’s work in Peru was after independence and included work for the State as well as the Church. This was a great bit of history to recognize during the Exposition as it was probably new to the French. Peru even had the confidence to have this stamp look vaguely French. Good Job Peru!

The stamp today is issue AP57, a 50 Centavo airmail stamp issued by the Republic of Peru on September 16th, 1957. It was part of a four stamp issue celebrating the French Exhibition in Lima that year. According to the Scot Catalog, the stamp is worth 25 cents. There is a version of the stamp with an overprint from being issued directly at the exhibition. This ups the value five times, however still to a modest $1.25.

It is a regret that a young person who might have waited in line to get his commemorative stamp overprinted. He carefully saved the stamp now for over 60 years and yet is only rewarded with a value of a little over a dollar. Being rewarded with a decent valuation might help get his grandchildren collecting. At the current valuation, it is at best a curiosity to the young and even the now grandfather must wonder why he bothered.

The Exposition was a big deal. It was attended by Peruvian President Prado and French President Coty. The French Navy made a port visit to coincide with the Exposition and the French had elaborate trade goods on offer. The two Presidents were similar. Both were older conservative presidents that are not well remembered today. Both were elected by small majorities and served out their terms but beset by agitation from the young left who were dissatisfied but could not win at the ballot box.

Gustave Eiffel did work in many countries during a long career that is forever memorialized by the Eiffel Tower in Paris. He did bridges, aqueducts, churches, train stations and even a few hotels. He was an engineer by training and the aesthetics of his work gave a sense of the industrial revolution going on around him. He also worked on the Statue of Liberty and was part of a failed counter proposal for the Panama Canal. He also did some groundbreaking work in aerodynamics in the early days of manned flight.

My drink is empty so I will toast Peru for far exceeding my expectations with this stamp. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.

Russia 1977 Should be recruiting for the KGB

A beautiful girl dressed like a stewardess, a big creepy black car, an elicit phone call and a patriotic medal. What is this stamp selling? Slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

I gave a partial run down on what is going on on this large stamp. Our Russian readers can read what it is really selling and there are even a few clues on the stamp if you look closely. We know that is really a smokescreen. The communist Soviet system of the time assigned workers where they were needed. Would the system really be so foolish to assign a girl that looks like that to do what the stamp claims? Of course not.

The stamp today is issue A2181, a 4 kopec stamp issued by the Soviet Union on September 16th, 1977. The stamp is alleged to be showing aspects of a certain system in the Soviet Union. I will stick to my argument that this is a smokescreen. According to the Scott Catalog, the stamp is worth 35 cents mint. A stamp that is such a great period piece in China would be worth 100 times that. I know that more stamps were printed for the Soviet Union and that most went straight into the collections of young people. It is past time for Russian collectors to get a hold of this stamp while it is still cheap.

The catalog says the car on the stamp is a Moskvitch 430. I think it is actually a 427. The car does have the version of the grill that was export only. Just the thing to slip across the Finnish border to meet up with your warm and lovely contact. They sold a lot there where it was known as the elite 1500. The engine was hotted up and resembled BMW’s famous four that it predated.

Apropos of nothing, in 1977 Vladimir Putin was a KGB operative and his future wife was a stewardess on Aeroflot where she was awarded the honor of serving on international flights. Putin is known to own period Soviet vintage cars. Neither him nor his then wife had any connection to the Soviet postal service.

Here is the rub. The stamp is really celebrating the postal service. We are to believe that she is a postal supervisor and our dapper young hero in emptying a mail bin into the sack which he will then load into the postal delivery vehicle. If this really is what the stamp is about, I am disappointed. The stamp could have been so much better. That’s right John, believe the smokescreen.

Well my drink is empty and I have probably had enough so I will open the conversation in the below comment section. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be imagined from stamp collecting.

Rebuilding Dresden, East German style

In the aftermath of a war that concluded with a devastating firebombing, this stamp displayed what a new government did to renew the city. 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. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

I must say that I like this stamp. East Germany farmed out it’s stamp issues. As a result there are some oversized, overdone issues that were printed in too much quantity. Not this issue. This issue celebrated the 20th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic by showing clean modern architecture in 12 cities. Many of the cities were heavily bombed in the war and so the new construction was sort of a rebirth. This is how the GDR must have seemed to it’s leaders.

The stamp today is issue A357, a 10 pfennig stamp issued by the German Democratic Republic on September 23rd, 1969. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth 25 cents used. Central Europe was full of stamp collectors and if there are still collectors of communist era memorabilia, this issue of stamps may yet be discovered.

Dresden was firebombed by British Lancaster bombers in February 1945. German resistance in the west was fading and the eastern city was crowded with refugees from the advancing Russians from the East. 75 percent of the city center was destroyed and 25,000 people perished. Post war, some consider this a war crime but  British Air Marshal Harris interviewed many years later stated that the bombing was justified and reduced the German ability to keep fighting.

Dresden had been a cultural and royal center of the Prussian Empire with a long history. As such there were many historically significant sites damaged in the bombing. The East German decided to concentrate on German Cultural sites such as the opera house for reconstruction. The Prussian and church heritage was judged of less importance. The East Germans were out to construct a new modern scientific Germany, and with that came new modern architecture. It should be noted that there were more of the old buildings repaired in East Germany than in West Germany.

Interestingly at the time both East and West Germany considered themselves the legitimate government of all of Germany. Each viewed the other government as the lackey government of an occupied country. Since both East and West Germany were inundated with over a million foreign soldiers, there was some point to this critique, on both sides.

We all know the reunification that occurred in 1990 was a victory for the West and a defeat for the East. The west had delivered more economic opportunity and freedom to it’s people. It should be remembered though what a bold undertaking the East German government attempted. There was war devastation, no Marshall Plan of USA aid as in the west, and crippling war reparations that had to be paid to the Soviets. Through these challenges, East Germany built the most dynamic economy in the communist world. A fair appraisal of East German leadership should include consideration of this. It was not considered in the immediate aftermath as East German leaders had charges filed and long time leader Erich Honecker had to run to Russia and later Chile to avoid prosecution while Egon Krenz, his short term successor, spent time in German jail.

Well my drink is empty so I will pour another to honor the citizens of Dresden and their recovery efforts after the war. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.

China celebrates the post office anniversary as the final period of the long civil war heats up.

After the Japanese defeat in World War II China had a choice to make. The old regime, the Kuomintang, the Communists, or a coalition of the two. 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. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

A westerner like myself who cannot read Chinese characters gets a very different impression of the stamp than what was intended. At fist glance it appears to be a homeless person with all his possestions on his back hitchhiking a ride to town on the truck. An every day scene at the time probably all over the world. Agriculture requires ever fewer workers and so they go to the cities to hopefully make their future. This is something that is almost never shown on a stamp. It is too fraught with uncertaintity. To see it instantly attracted me.

Instead on further investigation, it was celebrating the anniversary of the postal service. Perhaps the rural postman depicted on the stamp should wear more of a uniform. Getting mail organized and delivered in rural areas in complicated and expensive to set up. I can see why a government would want to celebrate the achievement. There are plenty of stamps from all over saying how great the post office is. I would have rather put myself with the man moving to town.

The stamp today is issue A87 a $200 yuan Chinese stamp issued by the KMT government on December 16th 1947. It displays rural mail delivery and is part of a 5 stamp issue celebrating the 50th anniversary of the postal service. You may notice the high denomination. Inflation was out of control at the time. An issue from 18 months later had no denomination on it at all, it was sold at the rate of the day. The first forever stamp? According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth 25 cents mint.

The final period of the civil war in China began in 1947 as the KMT launched a large offensive toward the CPC capital. The CPC had much strength in the countryside and had taken control of many Japanese arms. The KMT received much aid from the USA and they tried to leave surrendered Japanese troops in place to prevent CPC advances. This was very discrediting as one thing uniting all Chinese was the desire to be rid of the Japanese. The Russians had accepted the Japanese surrender in Manchuria and turned over that area to the CPC.

Large campaigns were fought by the two huge armies with the KMT gradually giving way. In late 1949, the remnants of the KMT fled to Formosa. Communist Chairman Mao renamed Peiping as Peking and the new capital of the Peoples Republic of China. Both KMT and the CPC claim to be the legitimate government of all of China. This suits both sides as if Taiwan sought recognition as a separate country, it would mean China gives up sovereignty of Formosa. That is not acceptable to the Peoples Republic.

Well my drink is empty so I will pour another to toast the man on the stamp carrying the heavy sack. Whether postman or a tramp, or CPC or KMT, may your rounds be successful. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.

Skylab, NASA falling back to earth

How to follow up going to the moon, how about a space station? Okay until it comes back down.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. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

60s and 70s space program stamps were a great staple. They were often oversized and brightly colored, something new at the time. The stamps were not just from the USA and the USSR. The third world often got into the act. you could even tell whose cold war team the country currently routed for based on whether they were touting the American or Soviet program. In 1975, Laos had an issue honoring American astronauts. In 1977, following the communist takeover, there was another stamp honoring Soviet cosmonauts.

Todays stamp is issue A932, a 10 cent stamp issued by the USA on  May 14th, 1974. The stamp featured the Skylab space station on the one year anniversary of its launch. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth 25 cents whether it is mint or used.

The idea for a space station was first proposed by German rocket scientist Wernher von Braum in the early fifties. The science fiction writer Author C Clark was also an early proponent. A space based telescope and a venue for extended periods in space would be invaluable for research. At the time, there was also a competing United States Air Force program for a manned reconnaissance satellite. This program was cancelled when it was realized that unmanned satellites were much more cost effective.

Work on Skylab intensified in 1969 when Dr. von Braum looked for ways to keep NASA employed after the moon landings. The large Saturn 5 rocket that handled the lunar landing could be launched unmanned to get Skylab into orbit and leftover smaller Saturn Ib could be used to bring crews to the station. Several Saturn Ib launches had been cancelled during this period  allowing for their recycling economically into the Skylab program.

The launch of Skylab was mostly successful but part of it’s solar panel power array broke off and left the station with less power. Some repairs were successfully made on the first manned mission to it. Three of four scheduled missions were carried out. The last one left astronauts Gerald Carr, Edward Gibson, and William Progue in space for a then record 84 days. The space station had an airlock allowing occupancy in normal clothing and the astronauts had private beds and access to a shower and toilet. Human waste was not spewed out into space but tanked and returned to earth for analysis. No doubt a less glamorous job at NASA.

Although the space station was left with enough supplies on board for future missions that could have also regenerated the orbit, the last mission was cancelled. It was hoped that the then in development space shuttle could provide a more economical way to visit the station  but the space shuttle program was very late and quite the budget buster.

With no further missions Skylab’s orbit slowly deteriorated until it reentered the atmosphere and crashed to earth in Australia in 1979. A Soviet satellite had crashed to Earth in 1978 leaving much radioactive debris in Canada. Skylab did not contain anything radioactive but still created much hysteria about where it would land. No one was hurt but there was a widely seen light show has it gradually broke apart on its last orbit. NASA was surprised how long it held together during re-entry. The program cost $11 billion in todays money. The Chinese space station Tiangong 1 reentered the atmosphere yesterday near Tahiti. That station went up in 2011 and ceased functioning in 2016.

Well my drink is empty so I will pour another to toast the 9 astronauts that spent time on Skylab. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.

The “Light of the World” designs a tomb for her husband the “Conqueror of the World”

A large empire rules over a quarter of the people on Earth deserves to be remembered, and this one is by some of it’s surviving architecture. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of tea and sit back in your most comfortable chair. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

Pakistan was newly independent when this stamp was issued. What better way to celebrate the independence than by showing off relics of a long ago empire that the people might feel more connection to than their recent colonial memory. In the early days anything can seem possible and reminding of past greatness can be a good tool for that.

The stamp today is issue O47, a one and a half Anna stamp issued by Pakistan in 1954. It features the tomb of Jahangir, a Mughal Emperor from the 1600s. It was part of a 7 stamp issue celebrating the seventh anniversary of independence from Great Britain. The service overprint signifies the stamp was for official use. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth $2.50 used.

The Mughal Empire stretched through much of current day India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan in the 14th and 15th centuries. The government was Sunni Muslim and the leaders were of mixed Indian and Persian decent. Hindu was allowed to be practiced and Hindu civil law governed them. Muslim law was only applied to Muslims. The empire is remembered for it’s architecture that was heavily influenced by the Persians. The Taj Mahal is the most famous example of such architecture.

Mughal Emperor Jahangir ruled in the 1600s and though he suffered a defeat at the Afghan city of Kandahar he succeeded in expanding the empire. His name means in old Persian, “conqueror of the world” He didn’t quite do that but a quarter of the world’s then population was in his realm. He had 18 wives the last of which was his and his subjects favorite. Upon the marriage, her second, she was given the name Nur Jahan. This means “light of the world.”

The Emperor Jahangir died in 1626 on his way back to his home in Lahore. Nur Jahan set out to build a Persian style tomb in the peaceful gardens of  the home. She was interested in architecture and the result was an elaborite tomb with four minarets that displayed a resurgence in Timurid architecture at the time. The tomb faced Mecca and was decorated with Frescoes. It took 10 years to build. Jahangir’s third son became Emperor having murdered the two older sons.

When Nur Jahan later died she was placed in a tomb nearby. Later the tomb was damaged by the Sikhs when they ran the area. British rule saw repairs made but a new railroad routed between the tombs of husband and wife dividing them. The site still exists and is a protected heritage site but some encroachment of the property was allowed.

Well my drink is empty so I will salute the architectural vision of Nur Jahan, the light of the world. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.

 

India honours George V on his Silver Anniversary by displaying Holy Places

Though Queen Elizabeth II was just getting going at her silver jubilee, for most Royals it is near the end of his rule. That was the case with George V. Rather than just a stuffy political portrait of an old man, why not include the beauty of the empire, even where the King is not responsible. 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.

I have a real fondness for this stamp. One of the duties of George V was to lead the Anglican church. Another is to be the head of the British Empire. The obvious stamp to do would be a portrait perhaps with a map showing the vast realm. Instead there is the confidence to show views of India that really don’t have much to do with the British. In showing these type of places it implies India is a special place that George V had the honour to serve. A much more nuanced  and flattering way to celebrate the silver jubilee.

The stamp today is issue A73, a one and a quarter anna stamp issued by the Crown Colony of India in 1935. The stamp shows the Jain Temple in Calcutta. The 7 stamp issue showed holy places of various religions practiced in India, none of them Anglican. According to the Scott Catalog, the stamp is worth 55 cents used. It is interesting to me that now days Indian stamps in the early years after independence seem to be worth more than those of the late days of the colony. The hobby was always big in England but I think it reflects the taking up of the hobby by native Indians rather than expatriate British. As there are vastly more Indians than British, it bodes well for the future of stamp collecting.

Jainism is a religion practiced by about 5 million people worldwide. The bulk of these people are Indian. They believe in non violence, vegetarianism, chastity, meditation and being anti-materialistic. The temple in Calcutta was built by Badridas Mukeem. He was a jeweler.

The temple is really a complex of temples built on a filled in lake.  It features elaborate decorations and a lamp that has been continuously lit since the temple’s completion in 1867. It is today a major tourist attraction in Calcutta. Calcutta in 2001 reverted to the name Kolkata. Kolkata was always how it was pronounced in Bengali, with Calcutta being the Anglicized version. A village named Kolkata in the area predated the arrival of the British. I believe it is then still okay to say Calcutta when speaking English, but over time we will get more used to the new pronunciation.

George V died after a long illness in 1936. He was a very traditional presence that gave him a bond with the average  citizen. His long rule saw the suffering and the loss of wealth of World War I and the following depression. He also saw the rise of socialism and republicanism. Unlike many of his contemporary European royals, his rule survived. He was also a noted stamp collector and his granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II has kept and built on his collection.

Well my dink is empty and so I will open the conversation in the below comment section. If we have any Indian readers, could you let us know whether it is still correct to call the city Calcutta when speaking English. For that matter does Bombay survive when speaking English in India? Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting

Celebrating in Russia Marx’s German Birthplace

Marx is the father of communism. Russia in 1932 was working to turn communism into a working system for Russians. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your fist sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

Todays stamp displays Trier, Karl Marx’s birthplace in Germany. It is a beautiful ancient city with ruins that go back to Roman times and a large Lutheran Cathedral. It is perhaps for the best that the printing on this stamp is so bad. If Trier’s beauty and prosperity had been better displayed the point of the stamp might have been obscured. Instead of hope for what Marx’s ideas might do for the average Russian, they may wonder what Trier is doing right that the Soviet city of Stalino is doing wrong.

The stamp today is issue A141, a three Kopek stamp issued by the Soviet Union in March 1933. It was part of a 3 stamp issue marking the 50th anniversary of the death of Karl Marx. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth $1.80 used. A mint copy of the 35 Kopek stamp in the issue is worth $67.50 mint.

Marx was born into a well off Jewish family. They were not religious although they converted officially to Lutheranism to avoid anti Semitic rules. His father was a lawyer and owned an interest in several vineyards. His mother was from a rich Dutch Jewish family that founded Philips Electronics. Marx was excused from Prussian military service by claiming a weak chest. He spent a great period of time in higher education pursuing the study of law and philosophy. He married a baroness.

The Soviet Union had been a Communist nation for 15 years. There had been a big push to industrialize and with that a large relocation to the cities. The forced collectivization of the farm land had not gone well and left the cities short of food. Both rural and urban areas were full of strife and shortages. The Soviet leader Stalin was ruthless in trying to bring order. He was also demanding much authority from the Communist Party to stamp out doctrinaire Marxists who might have other ideas as to what needed to be done.

Given this, it seems to be personally revering Marx as a man with a well off non Russian background is strange. Communism is supposed to be about building up the working man and through him building a nation. Thus his ideas should be promoted with special reference to what they can achieve for the average citizen.

That is not what this stamp does. It celebrates the man Karl Marx, who was without a nation or a church. He survived on the patronage of rich friends and family. His ideas were just untried theories. Nothing that will get the Soviet Union through the crisis it faced. There are a lot of stamps like this from Communist countries. Marx thought each country should have a separate communist party. He would probably also agree that their heroes should be local.

Well my drink is empty so I will open up the conversation in the below comment section. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.

Fiume, the city state whose principle was music and weapon was castor oil

A city state near a moveable border and with a diverse population is a formula for unrest. Sometimes what comes to occupy the vacuum is just bizarre. 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. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

Fiume never had a stable government in it’s five years of existence. So there was not time to let the drama of the place be reflected on the stamps. Many were just overprints of Italian or Hungarian stamps. The stamp today is a newspaper stamp that though Fiume specific is somewhat generic.

Todays stamp is issue N2, a newspaper stamp issued  by the free state of Fiume on September 12th, 1920. This was during the time the right wing Italian poet and soldier Gabriele D’Annunzio had declared himself El Duce and that Fiume was the Italian regency of Carnaro. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth $4.00 mint.

Fiume is a port city on the Adriatic that for many years belonged to the Austria-Hungarian Empire. It was administered by Hungary and was their only port. The people who actually lived there were mainly Italians and Croatians. At the end of World War I, Fiume was not part of the land that transferred from Austria to Italy and Hungary was also not able to hold on to it. Italy and Serbia claimed it but at the suggestion of mediator Woodrow Wilson it was declared a free state. There was much turmoil with new governments every few months.

Into this quagmire lands uninvited an Italian poet and war hero named Gabriele D’Annunzio. This was before the fascists had taken over in Italy but Fiume became a model for that takeover. He declared himself El Duce of the Italian regency of Carnaro. Only the Soviet Union recognized his government. He gave long poetic and musical speeches from his balcony in the central square. He reorganized the government into a series of corporations where people were assigned various tasks. He famously enshrined in the constitution that one corporation was to protect the interest of poets heroes and supermen. Music was also enshrined as a fundamental principle of the state.

D’Annunzio clamped down on opposition by the use of black-shirted thugs. They are believed in originating the technique of dousing opponents in castor oil. This was an extreme laxative that would immobilize and humiliate them. Eventually the Italian military forced D’Annunzio to withdraw from Fiume and Fiume reverted to Italy in 1924. This was opposed by the local government which became a government in exile. At the end of World War II they again tried to claim the city but their leaders were quickly assassinated by Yugoslavia which took the city for itself. Fiume is now the Croatian city of Rijeka.

D’Annunzio returned to Italy and retired to his villa. He was weakened physically when he fell from a window on the second floor. It is not clear if he was pushed or lost his footing due to intoxication. It meant though that he did not participate in the rise to power of his fascists allies in Italy. He did live on into the rule and was the recipient of honors from them. His son was a movie director of movies based on his stories.

Well, my drink is empty, and as I am on the third floor so I will abstain. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.

Belgium honors a stamp engraver

As philatelists, we love the artistry of our stamps. Belgium loved the artistry on it’s early issues enough to honor the engraver. 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. Welcome to todays offering from The-Philatelist.

This is the second time we have featured a stamp honoring the art of stamp engraving. See http://the-philatelist.com/2017/11/03/paying-extra-to-celebrate-the-art-of-stamp-designing/. Both stamps were issued in relation to a stamp show. While Argentina shows off bold colors and a vigorous young but generic artist. Belgium takes a different tact. A simple grey stamp displaying Mr. De Bast as a seasoned professional. Visually I will go with the Argentina stamp but I rather like how each stamp displays something of each nation’s character.

The stamp today is issue A513, a 12 Franc stamp issued by the Kingdom of Belgium on April 22nd, 1985. It was a single stamp issue relating to a stamp show. According to the Scott Catalog, the stamp is worth 25 cents used.

Jean De Bast had a long fruitful career in the postal office from 1907 through his first engraving in 1921 through to his last one in 1967. By then he was in his eighties. He only worked on Belgian stamps also this includes stamps for airmail. the railroad, the revenue department and a single issue for the Belgian Congo. A gallery of Mr. De Bast work is here. https://web.archive.org/web/20131218082333/https://picasaweb.google.com/Dan.Voitu/JeanDeBastTimbres

The ruling family of Belgium had seen what a great job De Bast was doing depicting them on the stamp issues. By the mid twenties they had seen to it that the postal authority would no longer seek out foreign engravers. It was a time when the Royals were depicted in a deeply reverential fashion. De Bast style fit that well but would not work so well on a modern stamp offering, except perhaps for Vatican City. There were also a far greater number of long ago historical figures on Belgian stamps, and they benefited from Mr. De Bast’s treatment.

I find myself torn on the style of stamp on the De Bast issue of 1985. Since his last stamp 18 years before, the technology and color palate possible had widened greatly. It might have been interesting to use all the advancements in the fullest while still using the style of Mr. De Bast. That could have been great or just not have worked at all.

Well my drink is empty, so I will pour another to toast Mr. De Bast and all the other stamp engravers we don’t know. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.