The Marshall Islands and World War II

The Marshall Islands, an old German colony in the Pacific Ocean, were caught in the tag of the World War II as it was there where many air and naval operations took place between the Americans and the Japanese. Today, they are under the protection and care of the United States.

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fig.1 The sets are wonderfully designed while covering all the aspects of the War

The thing that we would like to point out, from a philatelic point of view, is the fact that this inland complex has issues a great number of stamps with reference to World War II. From 1989 to 1998 there were about 230 stamps issued on the specific topic. Any collector wishing to start a thematic collection on World War II, it goes without saying that s/he will certainly find those islands of invaluable help. The sets are wonderfully designed while covering all the aspects of the War (fig. 1).

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fig.2

Stamps have been issues ranging not only from very important events but also covering battles of lesser significance such as the Warsaw battle and the Dieppe landing. The Katyn graves have not been forgotten either (fig. 2). All first-class leaders, generals and admirals of both sides, Allied and Japanese forces alike, are portrayed. Even Mark Clark, the well-known blunder-head of the Italian expedition, is also depicted.

One may also find: all the American and Japanese war ships, including the German

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fig.3

ones; most of the fighter aircraft which took part in World War II; military uniforms; even the surrender of Japan in 1945 (fig. 3).

There is no other country with so many issues in such a short spell of time covering the topic of World War II to that superlative extent. Perhaps the 230 stamps from Marshall Islands along with some more from the rest of the world, would be enough to satisfy the needs of a potential collector embarking on the theme of World War II.

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KO for eCharta

Rafael the Italian painter through philately

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Pic: 1: Federico da Montefeltro di Urbino

Raffaello Sanzio, or simply Raphael, was an Italian painter who was born in Urbino of the Montefeltro in 1483 (Picture 1), an important cultural center at the time.

Raphael, along with Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, are regarded as the Great Masters of the later Renaissance, who have exerted a lasting influence on Western art. His father, also a painter, sent his son to be apprenticed to Perugino (Picture 2) where he quickly rose to teacher status himself.

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Pic: 2: Leonardo da Vinci                                                 Michelangelo                                                Perugino

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Pic. 3: Kolona’s Retample

One of his first surviving works is the Retample of Colona (Picture 3), an altar painting of 1502, situated in the New York Metropolitan Museum. This is a grand masterpiece with rich decor. The main piece is made of tempera wood and it measures 1.70 x 1.70 meters.

On the block of Turks and Caicos, we can see the Gavari Crucifixion also

Pic. 6: Mond or Gavari Crucifixion

Pic. 4: Mond or Gavari Crucifixion

known as the Crucifixion of Mond (Picture 4). Measuring 2.80 x 1.65 meters this is a 1503 work and is displayed in the London National Gallery. The painting is done in oil where the artist has started to establish his own style.

In 1503, having been influenced not only by Perugino but also by his own innovations, the young Raphael adroitly painted the Maria Conestabile (Picture 5). This is a small-size work, 18cm in diameter,

Pic.5: Contestabile

Pic.5: Contestabile

which was sold for 310,000 francs by his owner, Count Scipione Conestabile della Staffa, who found himself in a difficult financial situation, in 1869. Ever since the piece has belonged to the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg in Russia.

The Coronation of Mary (Retample Oddi) (Picture 6) is an oil painting of 1502-04, measuring 2.67 x 1,63 meters and belongs to the Vatican. As an artistic style it belongs to the Perugino style. Mary and Christ flanked by cherubs appear to be in motion and are rendered very expressively. The classical spirit can be distinguished in the very small painting, 17×17 cm, known as “The Knight’s Dream” (Picture 6), made between 1504 and 1505, which is situated in London. The figures accompanying the sleeping youth are Virtue and Love and are made with both simplicity and clarity. Along the same dimensions and period (1504-05) as the “Knight’s Dream”, the “Three Graces” (Picture 6) are to be found in the Museum of Count in Chantilly. In this case the figures are three-dimensional with classical analogies symbolizing immortality. In the 15 cents of Lesotho we can see the “The Wedding Ceremony of Holy Mary” (1.74×1.21 meters): a work of 1504. This is about an artistic Renaissance masterpiece, with vigorous structure, which is the pride of the Brera Gallery in Milan. This is young Raphael’s distinguished piece of art with meticulous attention to its structure.

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Pic.6: Retample Odd                     The Knight’s Dream                              The three Graces                     Virgin Mary’s Weddings

In the portrait of Elizabeth Gozzanca (Picture 7), 53×38 cm, produced in 1504, we can see the wife of the Count of Urbino, Guidobaldo, an educated and refined woman. The painting belongs to Uficci of Florence. The “Young Holy Mary”, Kaouper is displayed in Washington Museum (Picture 7). With dimensions of 60×40, made in 1505, the work still resounds Perugino along with the innovations of Raphael. The faces are gentle conveying a sense of intimacy to the observer. It was named after the Kaouper family who owned the piece for 130 years. The great Retample Ansidli (2.74×1.52 meters) was produced in 1505 (Picture 7) where one may notice the emotions depicted on the faces along with their three-dimensional version. It is situated in London. Its technique is exceptional. Under its Florence arch there is an interesting landscape in great detail in the background. From St. Lucia we may see the “Mary of the Meadows” (Picture 7) or Belvedere which measures 1.13 x 0.88 cm. It is a 1506 piece of art and is to be found in Vienna. Its composition comprises elements of Leonardo while this piece is an eternal prototype honoring Holy Mary.

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Pic.7  Elizabetta Gontzanca           Young Madonna Kaouper                The Ansidei Retample                      Madonna di Belvedere

Around 1506, he created his self-portrait (47x33cm – Picture 8). This is situated in Ufficci gallery. This great painter reveals his melancholy while in his youth. In his “Madonna of the Great Duke”, 84×56 cm, (Picture 8), situated in Palazzo Pitti in Florence, a piece of 1506, we may distinguish the affectionate relationship between mother and child, as its name also denotes: due to the fact that its former owner, the Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand III always used to carry the painting with him. “The Lady with the Unicorn” (65×51 cm) dates about the same period (Picture 8). It is part of the Borghese Gallery in Rome, while the unicorn acts as a symbol of purity. In 1506, he also created the “Holy Mary with the Goldfinch” held by two young children. The expressive figures, full of light, witness the influence of Leonardo. The painting belonged to the Nasi family until their house collapsed in 1547 and the crippled painting still survives. Today, it belongs to Ufficci Gallery.

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Pic.8: Self Portrait              Madonna of the Grand Duke             Woman with the Unicorn               Madonna with the Goldfinch

In this Bulgarian stamp we notice the markedly rich bourgeois man, Agnolo Doni (65×45 cm – Picture 9), work of 1506-07, found in Palazzo Pitti. The all-pervasive, intelligent look of Doni, who had the rare opportunity for his name to be recorded in history because of that painting, dominates, while we are not in position to know about the actual ownership of many other surviving works of art of that period. The “Fair Gardener” (1.22 x 0.80 cm – Picture 9) comes from Canada , now part of the Louvre Museum, is a work of 1507: a simple composition, on surface, but with particular attention to the third dimension. The moving “Sepulchral Lamentation” (1.84×1.76cm – Picture 9) by Retample Baglioni was created in 1507. The painting secretly bears the message of the Resurrection and was stolen in 1608 by Schipio Borghrse from Perugia, where it previously belonged. Ever since it has been part of the Borghese Gallery, in Rome. The “Dumb” (Picture 9), work of 1507- 08, belongs to the Museum of Urbino and has been influenced by Leonardo. Her perfectly oval face emerges from the dark background and is staring at the observer. This is considered as a great portrayal achievement by Raphael.

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Pic.9: Aniolo Doni               The Beatiful Gardener            Pieta Borghese or Baglioni                  The Mute

From Hungary we may see the portrait of a man of 1508 (Picture 10). This is in the Budapest Museum and the unknown youth has a lively look while there is a wonderful Tuscany landscape spreading in the background. During the same year (1508), Raphael is called by the Pope, Julius II, in the Vatican and embarks on the renowned frescoes within the Papal palace. In the Vatican block, we can see “The Dispute over the Sacraments” fresco of 1508-09 (Picture 10) with enormous dimensions, as its base measures 7.70 meters. Among the individuals discussing the Truth of Christ real figures have been included. This technique has undoubtedly earned the favor of many an admirer. “The School of Athens” (Picture 10), work of 1509, is one of the most well-known frescoes around the world. It is a masterpiece both in terms of its conception and execution. Among the figures presented one may recognize Sodoma, Brabande, Leonardo, Michelangelo and other famous figures of the time. This is his best creation. In 1510 the “Cardinal’s Portrait” was created (Picture 10), which belongs to the Prado Museum in Madrid. The name of the figure illustrated remains unknown but this unofficial work is full of the social and existential dignity of the person depicted.

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Pic.10: Portrait of a Young Man                          La Disputa                                 The School of Athens                      Cardinal’s Portrait

The creation of the “Mary of the Duke of Alba” or “The Holy Mary of the Dawn” emerging from the morning light in the landscape (Picture 11) goes back to 1511. This is a well-wrought round painting – 95 cm in diameter – that is distinguished by its fluidity in its composition and an almost invisible circular rhythm. It belonged to Hermitage, but in 1930 a great number of masterpieces were secretly sold under the blessings of Stalin. Thus 21 pieces reached the hands of the American tycoon Andrew Mellon who in his turn offered them to Washington Museum. “Madonna Alba” was one of them. It is worth noting that the Russians needed the money in order to buy tractors! The portrait of Tomasso (Fedra) Inghirami (Picture 11) was made in 1511-12 and is situated in Palazzo Pitti. Here Raphael succeeded in incorporating a kind of internal energy in his work along with an ethical force while, at the same time, he was not dealing with a beautiful model: in fact the model suffered from strabismus. Surely, Inghirami being a great intellectual, deserved that. The postcard (Picture 11) presents the portrait of Pope Julius II, Raphael’s patron. The power of his personality can be seen along with some degree of fatigue. This painting (1.08×0.080 meters) enjoyed such a success that the Popes who followed demanded to be depicted in the same manner. The piece belongs to the London National Gallery. On the Gibraltar postage stamp (Picture 11), work of 1511-12, we may see “Madonna Folignio”. The commissioner is shown on his knees in the foreground. The work is renowned for its artistic landscape by Raphael.

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Pic.11: Madonna of the Duke of Alba          Tomasso (Fedra) Inghirami             Pope Julius II                  Madonna of Folignio

The great fresco of Galatia was made in 1512 (2.95×2.25cm – Picture 12) in the villa of Farnesina in Rome. Agostino Chiggi, a very rich banker, was the owner of the place. The sense of movement, beauty and sensuality that are part of this fresco point to the fact that Raphael’s art had no limits regardless of the theme, being it religious or mythical, as in our case. The Holy Mary is depicted as lively and beautiful in the Holy Mary of Saint Sistine of Dresden or, better known, as “Madonna Sistine” of 1513 ( 2.65×1.96 meters – Picture 12). It is almost certain that his lover, Fornarina, posed as a model for the Holy Mary. On the left, there is the face of Julius II replacing that of Saint Sistine. The angels (Picture 12) in the foreground are universally known as they have been used in various different decor including any other conceivable artwork such as tapestries and Christmas tissues. The round picture of Holy Mary of 1513-14 (Picture 12 – 71cm in diameter) with the armchair comes from Lesotho and is to be found in Palazzo Pitti. This a well-known work of art distinguished by its movement, tenderness and power of expression.

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Pic.12: Fresco “Galatia”         Madonna of the Chapel                              Angels of Madonna’s                          Madonna of the Armchair

In 1514, Raphael was appointed as the architect of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome (Picture 13), as Brabande, who had offered so much to that artistic workshop had died (Picture 13). Baltassare Castiglione (Picture 13 – 0.82×0.67 cm), both an ambassador and an author, became one of the themes of Raphael in 1515. This is part of the Louvre Museum in Paris. Here the artist created an exceptional, psychological portrait. This painting is characterized by its simplicity along with its very expressive face revealing its inner world. The composition is full of serenity, culture and nobility. “La Velata” (Picture 13 – 0.82×0.60 cm), situated in Palazzo Pitti and painted in 1516, is a woman richly dressed and is allegedly the painter’s lover. The arrow that is covering her contributed to the very name of the painting. Raphael rendered her as an individual belonging to high society by stressing her delicate features.

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Pic.13: St. Peter and Bramante                                                     Baltassare Castiglione                             La Velata

In 1516, he also painted Cardinal Bernando Dovicci di Bibiena (Picture 14). He was a powerful man, who had a tendency towards a luxurious way of life including art and the authorship of comedies rather than religion. The new Pope, Leo X and Raphael’s patron was painted along with his nephews in 1518 (Picture 14). The painting belongs to Galleria Ufficci and measures 1.55×1.19 meters. It has a stately appearance with expensive material and objects interspersed within its magnificent figures. All three figures in the painting belong to the Medici family. The “Fornarina” of Palazzo Barberini (Picture 14), work of 1518-1519, shows Raphael’s lover, whom Chiggi had brought with him in his house (Farnesina-Galatia) so that the painter could spend some time with her, in order to help the artist finish his frescoes as there had already been a great delay due to his uncontrollable passion for her. His last work is the oblong “Transfiguration” (Picture 14 – 4.05×0.78 meters). This masterpiece of 1518-1520, which can be found in the Vatican, is full of movement along with warm and bright colors while it conveys the message of Resurrection through the light enveloping Christ. This painting was placed next to his coffin during his funeral, in 1520, at the age of only 38.

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Pic.14: Cardinal Bibiena                        Pope Leon X                             Fornarina                          The Transformation

For more than 500 years, his Madonnas, along with those of Leonardo, have become eternal prototypes of beauty and have exerted a great influence on other artists as they bordered on perfection. He did not get on well with Michelangelo, however, there was always mutual respect in terms of artistic recognition. Almost all Raphael’s works bear the names of their previous owners or their depicted themes. The names do help towards the recognition and differentiation among his Madonnas: Alba Colona Sixtina and so on.

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The Greek stamp dedicated to Aristotle

Postage stamps with Raphael have been issued by many countries around the globe with the exception of, mainly, Arabic ones. Only one postage stamp was dedicated to Raphael, in Greece, in 1978, without bearing his name on it! The stamp is actually dedicated to Aristotle!

The greatness of his name within the artistic pantheon is beyond dispute. He has left us with a wealth of extraordinary pieces, all done within his brief lifespan, escorted by his ingenious ideas that reveal themselves through his creations.

I hope you enjoy this artistic journey through philately. Rafael was one of the greatest artists of all times. The little paper stamps tribune him as much as they can. And they can do it … a lot!

KO for eCharta

Politicians who died violently; through …stamps!

In this post we are referring in politicians who did not die by a natural death or illness, but we did try to find politicians that they die by violent acts such as murder or fatal injuries as plane crash, terrorist attacks or from the hangings and other similar episodes. We cannot fit all those politicians who ended their lives in such manners, but we are sure that friends collectors, if they are interested they will find out more of these incidents. Many of these stamps you can probably find them under Stamps Category in eCharta.

LinkAbraham Lincoln was born in 1809 and he became the 16th U.S. president. He started his life very poor and became a lawyer. He started the American Civil War in 1861-1865, to empower black people and not break apart a united America. The United States, owe to him their character today. On the evening of April 14, 1865, John Booth, shot him in the gallery of the Ford Theater in Washington. Lincoln died the next day at the nearby hospital.

Ioannis Capodistrias, born in Corfu and he was a descendant of an aristocratic family. He kapodistriasrarely trained with a high level of education for that time and reached up to become Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Tsar in Russia. Switzerland owes the independence of its territories to him. However they have been no dedicated a single stamp. He was invited in Greece for Governor, but the known interests of the rich Koundouriotis family of Hydra and the ambitiousness of Mavromichalis family destroyed him. He was very powerful politician and he never dropped by anything from his main beliefs. So, inevitably, he was murdered by Mavromichalis family in Nafplion on September 27, 1831.

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John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in 1917 and he was the 35th U.S. president. He came from a very wealthy family of politicians and he was the most beloved president. Since 1947 onwards, he did not lose any election. He became an MP, Senator and finally the youngest U.S. president in 1961. He failed in the Bay of Pigs Invasion, but he succeeded in many other cases, such as missile crisis in Cuba. On November 22, 1963, he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, from sniper, in his open car, in front of his wife.

Robert Francis Kennedy was born in 1925 and he was the brother of John Fitzgerald. He serviced White House from many places: as Senate, as Prosecutor and Governor and as Minister of Justice with excellent intuitions, even in the very sensitive issue of the era, the apartheid. In 1968, he was ready to become the new U.S. president, but after a speech at the Hotel AMBASSADOR of Los Angeles, was killed by a Palestinian fugitive.

mussolini

Benito Mussolini was born in Predappio, Italy in 1883. It was the first known fascist in Europe, known as “Il Duce». He started his career as a teacher and journalist and imposed strictly in politics. He got involved his country in World War II, which almost devastated it. The dictator was executed by partisans near Como, at the end of the war in 1945.

Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 in Braunau am Inn, in Austria-Hungary. The famous Nazi leader and German Chancellor, who led the world in the Second World War, had in his mind the welfare of his country at the cost of the misery of others. When the Allies invaded Germany and the Russians were approaching the Chancellery in Berlin on April 30, 1945, Hitler committed suicide in his secret sanctuary.

Kranidiotis John Kranidiotis was born in 1947, a native of Cyprus political family. He serviced in many government offices with PASOK political party, in the Foreign Ministry, reaching the position of Deputy Minister. During an official trip to Romania, the plane suffered serious damage and without crashing, Kranidiotis killed with his son Nicholas, in the airspace of Romania in 1999.

Saddam Hussein was born in 1937 and served as President-dictator of Iraq. Hussein He had an adventurous life, with many attempts for murder, imprisonments and unlawful acts. He was the president who made the war with Iran in 1980 when he was a “friend” of the Americans. In 1990, making the mistake to occupy Kuwait, thus declaring his opposition to his previous “friends”, he was arrested and hanged at the end of December 2006.

Garfield James Abraham Garfield was born in 1931 and he was the 20th U.S. president. Guyton shot him on July 2, 1881. He had only four months as a President. After 80 days that he was in intensive care in a hospital, finally on September 19, 1881, succumbed to his wounds.

William McKinley was born in 1943 and he was the 25th U.S. president (1897-McKinley 1901). He made war with Spain in the Cuban island and annexed as “new states” of the U.S. Puerto Rico and Guam. On September 6, 1901, he was shot by anarchist and died of his wounds.

Sadat Muhammad Anwar al Sadat was born in 1918 and he was an officer and president of Egypt. He was with Nasser, at the coup of 1952 and when Nasser died, he became the next president of Egypt. In 1973 he made the Yom Kippur war with Israel, which brought his country in a very difficult position. Later, he made peace and he awarded the appropriate Nobel Prize. Peace was not a forgiveness for Muslim extremists and they killed him during a parade in 1981.

Giacomo Matteotti was born in 1885 and he was an Italian socialist leader. In 1924 he daredmatteotti to denounce the fascist Mussolini’s terror of the people and in a few days, on 10 June of that year, six fascists killed him and buried him. In the great crisis that followed, Mussolini continued to irritate, saying that he was the one which assassinated Matteotti. Mussolini’s government was shaken, but he remained in power with the known later consequences.

dollfussThe Austrian politician Engelbert Dollfuss was born in 1892 and he became Chancellor in 1932. He was opposed in the union of Austria with Nazi Germany, where he paid dearly after he was assassinated in 1934 in the same Chancellery Building of Austria by Nazis.

The Chilean Marxist Salvador Allende was born in 1908 and he was a doctor. He became Allendepresident of Chile and clashed openly with the U.S. policy of nationalization and his ideas. Thus, in a coup, the Pinochet junta, killed him on September 11, 1973 in the presidential palace in Santiago, after strong resistance.

MountbattenLuis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Maountmpanten, Prince of Maountmpanten, British politician and naval leader, a relative of the English Royal Family, was born in 1900 in Windsor. He became the last Regent of India, and became Viscount in 1946, Earl in 1947 and Admiral in 1956. He played an important role in the independence of India but when installed as a Governor of Ireland, was murdered by the IRA in 1979.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, with the common name Mahatma (the man Gandhiwith the great soul) was born in Porbandar, India in 1896. He is the liberator of the Indian nation from the English with his method, without violence but endless struggles. He was assassinated by Hindu fanatic on January 31, 1948. The British honoured the great personality, issuing stamps. It should be noted that, Indira Gandhi, had no affinity with him.
Indira GhandhiIndira Gandhi was born in 1917 in India and served as Prime Minister from 1966 to 1977 and from 1980 to 1984. She was the daughter of Prime Minister Nehru Jawaharlal. She was gunned down by her own Sikh bodyguards in New Delhi in 1984.
Rajiv Ratna Gandhi was born in Bombay in 1944.

rajiv GandhiHe was the son of Indira and grandson of Nehru. He became Prime Minister of India in 1984 following the murder of his mother until 1989. He was generally conciliatory, but was assassinated by suicide bomber in 1991 belonging in Tamil (LTTE).

Olof PalmeThe Swedish Prime Minister from 1969 to 1976 and from 1982 to 1986, Olof Sven Palme was born in Stockholm in 1927. He was peace lover and socialist. Security had never been a major issue, and Olof Palme could often be seen without any bodyguard protection. The night of his murder was one such occasion. Walking home from a cinema with his wife Lisbet Palme on the central Stockholm street Sveavägen, close to midnight on February 28, 1986, the couple was attacked by an assassin. Palme was fatally shot in the back at close range.

The Mexican politician Francisco Madero was born in Parras de la Fuente in 1873. He maderoled the Democratic Movement and he was a strong supporter of the poor farmers. He succeeded Porphyry Diaz and became President of Mexico in 1911. He assassinated by the coup of General Huerta in February 1913 in Mexico City.

HammarskjoldThe twice UN Secretary General Swedish, Dag Hammarskjold, economist and politician, son of a Prime Minister, was born in 1905 and became Finance Minister in his country. He commanded the UN, very robust in many crises. While he was conducting peace process in Katanga of Congo, was killed in a plane crash near Ndola in Northern Rhodesia in 1961.

Patrick Emery Lumumba was born in the Belgian Congo in 1925. He was a nationalist leader Lumumbaand became the first Prime Minister of his country. He wanted a united Africa without European colonization. On December 2, 1960 he was arrested by Kasa-Vubu and murdered in Katanga of Congo on January 17, 1961.

Zaures The French politician and orator, Jean Zaures was born in 1859. He was the founder of the French Socialist Party and tried to avert the risk of First World War between France and Germany but he was murdered by nationalists in Paris in 1914.

The astronomer and politician Milan Rastislav Štefánik was born in 1880. In collaboration Štefánik with Masaryk founded Czechoslovakia. He killed in a plane crash in May 1919. The same fate had Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, who served as first President of Czechoslovakia. On March 10, 1948, was found dead beneath a window of the Foreign Ministry Building.

Masaryk

And the list goes on and on.

I’m sure that the collectors that decide to start such thematic gathering they’ll find a lot more and interesting material. Enjoy!

James Long for eCharta

Napoleon the Great through postage stamps

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figure 1

Very rarely has the title “Great” been conferred on anyone throughout the course of history. There has always been some reason for those bearing it and who rightly deserve it: Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and so on.

figure 2

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Napoleon the Great was a military genius and he would have been

figure 3

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considered even greater if Alexander the Great had not been born, who was the only general never to have been defeated in battle. Napoleon was born in Corsica (Figures 1,2) in 1769 and became an artillery officer. This, in the long term, proved to be one of his strong points. After the turmoil of the French Revolution, he had a rapid progress, starting with the Italian Expedition (1796) as a commander in chief. He won a personal victory at the battle of Arcole (Figure 3).

He defeated the Mameluks during the Expedition in Egypt, in 1798, while the scientists that escorted him laid the foundations of Egyptology (Fig. 4). However, the sea battle of Abukir, where Nelson was involved, (Fig. 5) blocked his advancement. Napoleon became Consul in 1799 and Life Consul in 1802. The battles that he personally took part always crowned France with success. However, the great victory in Marengo, in 1800, was brought by Desaix (Fig. 6).

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After so many victorious battles and with ingenious, though hard, political maneuvers he was crowned as an Emperor in 1804 at Nontre Dame in Paris along with the Empress Josephina (Fig. 7).

figure 7

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In 1807, he suffers defeat, once more by Nelson, at the naval battle of Trafalgar (Fig. 8). France lost its domination of sea routes for ever. Nevertheless, Napoleon triumphed in Austerlitz (Pic. 9) against the Austrians and the Russians and seized Vienna. The battle of Austerlitz is still being taught, today, in the most important military academies. His Field Marshals grasped many victories and enjoyed a great deal of honor and distinction such example are Lahn (Fig. 10) and Bernadotte who, in a twist of luck, was called to stand at his coronation ceremony as a king of Sweden. The present kings of Sweden are his descendants (Figure 11).

08

From then on, Napoleon acted as he pleased. He invaded countries, seized small states and offered them to his allies, won battles, in some cases he was curbed, he abducted the Pope, Spain was ceded to his brother Joseph, Naples to Mira and proclaimed his sister, Paullina, queen: nepotism in its full scale.

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After a series of blunders, the fatal one loomed in the background: the Russian Expedition (Fig.12) of Alexander I (Fig.13) in 1812. As Napoleon was the only general to invade Moscow, his retreat led to his crushing defeat. Despite his victory in the battle of Leipzig, he lost his last one in Waterloo in 1815 as he was unable to meet his enemies individually: a thing that he had always practiced in the past. While he was engaged in a battle with Wellington (Fig.14) the first Prussians under Blucher made their appearance (Fig.15). The chief of staff of one Blucher’s army corps was the renowned Claousewitz (Fig.16). His minister of foreign affairs was Talleyrand (Fig.17): a decadent, avaricious individual who, on the other hand, was the best diplomat ever to be brought up to surface in France! The battle was lost, the curtain fell and Napoleon found himself exiled by the British on the island of St Helena until the end of his life (Fig.18). He died in 1821.

1919Stamps with Napoleon (Pictures 19-26), as it is easily understood, are not to be found in countries which suffered his invasions such as Spain, England, Germany and Russia. Sets about the great general, apart from France which has been glorified as much as ever, were issued by the French Colonies, mainly in 1968, in 32 values. Those large-shaped, wonderful stamps complete the puzzle of the “Napoleon Phenomenon”: an atheist, authoritarian, materialistic and conceited individual who attributed a cosmopolitan air to his state and laid the foundations for modern France.

Even today, we use such terms as “Napoleonic Maneuver, Napoleonic Campaign” but mainly “Napoleonic Era” as this period between 1800-1815 is frequently called. All this surely justify the term: “Great”.

Many of these stamps are on sale on eCharta stamps page right now. Enjoy this thematic, topical Napoleonic collection!

Jimmy Long for eCharta

FREE LIFE-TIME Listing OFFER for Comics and Stamps!

eCharta is launching a Promotional OFFER for all the fellows that they want to list items in two of its categories:  Comics & Stamps! They can list and sell their items FREE FOR EVER. 

The offer expires on 30 April, 2013. 

eCharta offers this for 1000 people in each category!

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We’re talking about colorists, inkers, pencilers, cartoonists, story board artists, illustrators, writers and any comic artist, collector, publisher, trader and aficionados of comic books, cartoons or graphic novels!

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And at the same time about traditional, thematic, postal history or any kind of philatelists and stamp dealers, auction houses, single sellers and any stamp aficionados!

This offer has life-time FREE listing in BuyOut auction style on eCharta! ECharta regularly charges $0.20 for listings of BuyOut Auction style (check out our other fees here)!

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The rarest stamp of the world!

There were at least two unsuccessful attempts by the English on the conquest of the land, which will later be called British Guiana. Efforts were made in the 17th century when the Dutch had already colonized the region in two points: the Essequibo, which in commanding by the Dutch West India Company and Demerara, which was under the command of West India Company (fig.1).

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Fig. 1: Map of British Guiana dated 1690

In 1796, during the French Revolutionary Wars, the English managed command and control, since then the Dutch were under the domination of French and English with the French were at war. An English expeditionary force, initiated from its own colony of Barbados for the conquest of territories that they were under the French domination, the so-called Batavian Republic. The settlers retreated without resistance and English, to meet the existing situation and policy have not changed the long existing laws in the colony. In 1802 the colony was returned to the Batavian Republic under the terms of the Treaty of Amiens, but the UK sized the colonies again less than one year later upon the resumption of hostilities with France in Napoleonic Wars in 1803. The colonies officially ceded to the United Kingdom, with the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814. The British continued to have a separate administration in the colonies, when finally in 1831 were combined together and became a united colony known as British Guiana, with its capital Georgetown (Demerara). Guyana went on to become independent of the United Kingdom on 26 May 1966.

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Nobody thought then that this British colony will issue the rarest stamp in the world today: the black on magenta 1 cent of British Guiana.

In 1856, the Postmaster of the British colony of Guyana, E T E Dalton, literally got frustrated when he heard that a cargo which included the British colonial stamps, failed to arrive in Georgetown! Because he believed that he could not leave the people of the colony without this much-needed and still relatively new, service facility, via a local printer, who edited and the local newspaper, the Royal Gazette, ordered the immediate production of stamps. The print was in black ink in various colors of paper depending on the denomination. These prints, which are quite rare, are known as “ cotton-reels”, because of the printing press used. Once the three types of stamps printed (a 4 cents in blue paper, a 4 cents in magenta paper and 1 cent in magenta for posting local newspapers) (fig.2), Dalton found that the printer did not fulfill the simple requirements that he had suggested and tried to put on print creative contribution, putting a ship emblem. Dalton did not like the design and ultimately used it as an urgent and necessary need. The stamps were without perforation with the colonial motto “Damus Petimus Que Vicissim” (We give and expect in return). He also ordered at all the post office clerks to sign the stamp to avoid phenomena of counterfeiting or other fraud. He would be astonished to hear that today his name is still mentioned as a result of these provisional stamps.

Fig. 5: The two provisional stamps of 4 cents, one in magenta and one in blue, printed at the same time with the rare one-cent stamp

Fig. 2: The two provisional stamps of 4 cents, one in magenta and one in blue, printed at the same time with the rare one-cent stamp

Vaughan Vernon, a Scottish student, discovered a stamp of 1 cent in magenta paper (fig.3), cut into an octagon shape, in one of his uncle’s letters in Georgetown (Demerara), the capital of British Guiana in 1873. The stamp bears a heavy postmark of the local post office and the initials of the postal clerk E D Wright, who implemented the policy of Dalton. This was the beginning of the great tour that was made by the rarest stamp in the world.

Fig. 6: The famous stamp of 1-cent in magenta of British Guiana

Fig. 3: The famous stamp of 1-cent in magenta of British Guiana

Vernon sold it a few weeks later, a few shillings, about $1.50 in today’s match, at a local collector, N R McKinnon, as his stamp catalog had not a reference for it. Despite the dismal situation, the stamp is the only unique piece existed. The price begins to climb, passing through the hands of small and large collectors and dealers. But as a huge and rare philatelic item, attracted the large solitary collector of that time, Philippe Ferrary! Around 1880, Ferrary buys it for $750. During the 14 auctions of the sale of Ferrary’s collection from the French Government in 1922, Arthur Hind buys the stamps for more than $36,000 and after his death his widow disposed it for $40,000 to an engineer from Florida, USA. In 1970, a syndicate of investors from Pennsylvania, headed by Irwin Weinberg, bought the stamp for $280,000 and spent much of the decade, presenting it in a world tour. The athlete, philatelist and ornithologist John E. du Pont bought it for $935,000 in 1980. In 1997, John E. du Pont, convicted for the murder of his friend, Olympic wrestler David Schulz (fig.4). The court, after du Pont had no rational motive to kill his friend, decided that he suffers from schizophrenia. Today, as the owner is serving a sentence of 30 years, the stamp is guarded in a bank deposit. Experts estimate that the stamp is worth more than $7,000,000. For now it is hidden from the world.

Fig. 7: John E. du Pont while he was arrested

Fig. 4: John E. du Pont while he was arrested

The line between fantasy and reality is often confused around this rare stamp. Sometimes there were allegations that the rare stamp of 1 cent was a four-cent counterfeit stamp in magenta paper, since they are very similar to each other. These claims were denied. Around 1920, a reputation was developed about a second copy that was discovered. The owner of the “unique” stamp known, Arthur Hind, bought it quietly and completely destroy it, making his first stamp unique again! Neither this reputation is established.
In 1999, a copy was discovered in Bremen, Germany. The stamp was found by Peter Winter, who is widely known for his production of many counterfeit copies on classic philatelic items, that he printed them on modern paper. Two European experts, Rolf Roeder and David Feldman, said that the stamp is genuine. The Royal Philatelic Society of London, having considered the stamp twice, concluded that this copy is a counterfeit 4-cent stamp!

The 1 cent magenta of British Guyana is so famous, that they brought it into play in cinema!
“The Saint in Palm Springs” is the name of a thriller movie screened in early 1941 (fig.5). It’s the film that inspired the well-known series “The Saint” with Simon Templar. The stamp was used as a plot device in the project and its value in the film was $65,000.

Fig. 8: Poster from the movie “The Saint in Palm Springs”

Fig. 5: Poster from the movie “The Saint in Palm Springs”

The stamp appeared along with the long known hero of Walt Disney, Donald Duck. In the comics of Carl Barks “the gilded man”, Donald, a philatelist, says in its story that the stamp “worth more than fifty thousand dollars!” (fig.6)
Certainly, all philatelists, but also all the collectors-investors, which they financially withstand to buy such a rare object, waiting anxiously the day when a famous auction house will announce the sale of the 1-cent in magenta paper of British Guiana.

Fig. 9: A page from Carl Barks comic

Fig. 6: A page from Carl Barks comic

I wish them good luck!

Primarolia for eCharta

Bibliography – Websites:

1. Carlton, R. Scott (1997). The International Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Philatelics. Iola, WI: Krause. p. 36. ISBN 0873414489.
2. Rachlin, Harvey (1996). Lucy’s Bones, Sacred Stones, and Einstein’s Brain: The Remarkable Stories Behind the Great Artifacts of History, From Antiquity to the Modern Era. Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 0-8050-6406-0.
3. W.A. Townsend and F.G. Howe, Postage Stamps and Postal History of British Guiana, London, Royal Philatelic Society (August 1970) ISBN 0900631015
4. Proud, Ted. The Postal History of British Guiana. Proud-Bailey Co. Ltd., 2000. ISBN 1872465269
5. Sheryll Oswald, “Peter Winter and the modern German forgeries on eBay” (28 July, 2001)
6. “British Guiana 1c, 1856: Weltrarität oder Fälschung?” Bund Deutscher Philatelisten (BDPh) e.V. (in German)
7. “Is the British Guiana 1c unique?” Stamp Online
8. “The Saint in Palm Springs”, IMDb
9. “Donald Duck: The Gilded Man” COA
10. Website of Wikipedia

British Colonies Postage Stamps.

During the last decades of the 19th century, and well into the first five decades of the 20th century, the British Empire was not only the ruler of the seas but also the sovereign power of approximately sixty other countries of various size and distance. The sun never set within the boundaries of the Empire. Bearing in mind Australia, India and Canada, one may have more than just an idea of the vast revenue generated by both Britain and the British companies which monopolized the products and resources of the countries under their rule.

All that came to an end after World War II, when the British economic disaster brought the USA into the ruling foreground. On behalf of all their colonies, the British issued postage stamps some of which are nowadays considered to be classic items for their superb printing method.

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Pic 1

Up to 1930, those stamps are not characterized by any particular variety of image as they strictly adhered to the royal portrait, which was of utmost importance for the projection of the British power. From 1901, in particular, we almost have no other postage stamps than those depicting Queen Victoria in a variety of colors and wonderful printings lacking, however, in thematic imagination (Picture 1).

Those postage stamps are much sought after. From 1902 to 1910, once more, we have only one theme and that is the head of Edward VII (Picture 2). From 1911 until 1936 we have George V: a king who is known as one the finest collectors in the world. He had also made “The Stamp Day” an institution during which absolute silence was observed. He would not even receive his ministers so as not to be distracted during his work with his stamp collection (Picture 3).

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Pic 2                                                       Pic 3

From 1930 onward  there has been a significant turn in British Colonial stamps. We have images depicting wonderful landscape, animals, fish, birds, historical buildings as well as any other theme which featured a particular colony and for which those exquisite London printings were produced (Pictures 4). You may have a look at the balancing stones (Picture 5) of the nowadays Zimbabwe (the then Rhodesia): a recurrent theme which is still present on their banknotes today. The printing is made through the use of the engraving method and it is of high standard on quality paper having the royal crown as a watermark. On the upper corner we notice the royal head of Edward V, just… in case.

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Pic 4

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Pic 5

Within the 1937-1952 period, which was the era of the next king, George VI, there is a continuation of those wonderful issues, and, above all, those of great definitive issues that are really very impressive with their minute detailed engravings (Pictures 6).

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Pic 6

One cannot possibly ignore the fine workmanship done by the engraver in the depictions of all the above-mentioned issues. The circulation of those fine issues lasted until the enthronement of Queen Elizabeth II in 1965 (Pictures 7). After 1965, their method of printing is gradually changing as there are new methods which are faster and more cost-effective.

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pic 7

It is most evident that such postage stamps (with features of landscape, animals and with the royal head in the upper corner) were considered as Colonial type by the British! They had never issued similar stamps for their own country! In this way they “bequeathed” those masterpieces to their ex-colonies. Today, among others, English-speaking collectors are obsessed with English Colonial postage stamps.

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What is characteristic is the fact that the definitive issues almost always “ended up” in postage stamps of high nominal value such as 10 shillings or one pound. Naturally, therefore, those values could not be used to post single letters but only parcels. Used postage stamps of those values are very rare indeed and they do attract the collector’s interest.

The topic of the British Colonial postage stamps is a vast one and it surely cannot be fully covered within the bounds of this article as it concerns about sixty countries. However, new collectors may well have an idea of those, gone for ever, golden ages of this particular philatelic field.

And a very RARE colonial example!

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“Britannia” combination franking with “De La Rue” issues 1859 (9d) dull magenta together with 1859-61 blue and two De La Rue 1d plus 2d singles, all tied by mute cancels on 1860 small size envelope to Scotland, showing London registration cds on face, MAURITIUS AU7 60 GPO dispatch cds on reverse, together with Scottish arrivals. A very rare combination cover!

KO for eCharta