Martinique: The Unsinkable ‘Stone Frigate’

The feature image depicts a stamp issued in 1970 by the Republic of France with the Caribbean island of ‘MARTINIQUE’ clearly identified in the top left. The scene is one of tranquility – a fishing boat is pulled up on the shore of the Caribbean island, the nets are drying in a breeze and theContinue reading “Martinique: The Unsinkable ‘Stone Frigate’”

San Marino: The Ubiquitous Three Towers

At 38 square miles, San Marino is the fifth smallest country in the world, located just inland from the Adriatic coast and entirely surrounded by Italian territory. Stamps were first issued in 1877 but look closely – it’s not always obvious – and you’ll notice that three towers feature in many of the issues. It’sContinue reading “San Marino: The Ubiquitous Three Towers”

Jamaica: Local Artist Comes to the Rescue

Jamaica’s 1932 pictorial definitives were issued to support the growth in tourism that was sweeping the Caribbean and bringing a much needed economic boost to the islands. The issue featured vignettes selected by the Government Printing Works who were unfamiliar with the stamp design process. Local artist, Stella Shaw, came to the rescue and deliveredContinue reading “Jamaica: Local Artist Comes to the Rescue”

British Guiana: Democratising the Philatelic Holy Grail

It’s the most famous philatelic artefact and the holy grail for philatelists – the British Guiana 1c Magenta (featured image courtesy of Wikipedia:Contents). Stamps from this former British colony in South America, now Guyana, are considered some of the rarest in the world. The 1c Magenta comes with quite a back story and that taleContinue reading “British Guiana: Democratising the Philatelic Holy Grail”

Martinique: The First Distinctive Issue

Martinique is part of the Lesser Antilles island group of the Caribbean and was discovered by Columbus in June 1502 but not colonised until the French founded a settlement in 1635. The island lies directly north of Saint Lucia, northwest of Barbados and south of Dominica. Before 1886 Martinique used the French general stamp issuesContinue reading “Martinique: The First Distinctive Issue”

Danish West Indies: Not to be Forgotten

Think of Denmark’s colonial past and you are most likely to cite the Viking heritage and associated former possessions in the North Atlantic such as Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. However, it’s later colonial power stretched across four continents including on the Gold Coast (Africa), eastern India (Asia) and in the Caribbean (America). TheContinue reading “Danish West Indies: Not to be Forgotten”

Germany: Birth of an Empire

The German Empire was formally declared by Prussia on May 4, 1871 from the miscellany of states once ruled by the Austrian Habsburgs. A loose confederation of 39 states had emerged from the aftermath of the Napoleonic era and it was the powerful northern state of Prussia, under the leadership of the ‘Iron Chancellor’, Bismarck,Continue reading “Germany: Birth of an Empire”

Barbados: Tale of Two Kings

Barbados, the most easterly island of the Caribbean group, is argued to have first been visited in the early 16th century by the Portuguese who named it ‘Los Barbados’ after its bearded fig trees. It was claimed in the name of King James I in 1625 by the captain of an English trading ship. ItContinue reading “Barbados: Tale of Two Kings”

Netherlands: Coming of Age

Queen Wilhelmina succeeded to the throne of the Netherlands in 1890. Her father, King Wilhelm III, had featuring on the first adhesive stamps of the Netherlands issued on New Years Day, 1852. On succession, Wilhelmina was just 10 years old and not of age to reign alone. Her mother and second wife of Wilhelm III,Continue reading “Netherlands: Coming of Age”