IIt’s strange to think how quickly we are leaving behind tried-and-true communications methods. For many decades, an international system of correspondence – pieces of paper carried around the world – relied on tiny little pictures as proofs of payments. Postage stamps, of course, are one of the quintessential collecting hobbies, and they bring little bits of foreign lands.
Now, I don’t collect stamps, but I do have a stamp collection. In the 1930s, one Betty Avent began her stamp collection prompted by ETA Foods, the Victorian producers of peanut butter and mustard. She kept at it for several years, and then eighty years later I purchased her stamp book at a Hobart flea market.
Inside, tiny little portraits of people, buildings, and landscapes filled the pages. Painfully obsolete descriptions of now-disappeared countries show how mysterious distant lands were to the Victorian authors, but also bring back some of the magic of the exotic postage stamp.
Have a careful look at the small selection of images and some of the text that comes with it- you won’t be disappointed. You will discover Jamaican beauty queens, Bulgarian Soviet cosmonauts, Sri Lanka when it was Ceylon, the pyramids of Egypt, the Queen of Hong Kong, Czech chicory, a one-hundred thousand mark stamp from the hyperinflation of interwar- Germany, knights of Hungary (Magyar), the westernmost point of France (Pointe du Raz), a Finnish woodcutter, and a few other treasures besides. Enjoy!
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