A while back Paul, a stamp collector, retired geography teacher and lecturer living in Wales, sent in a nice email about the FMF Stamp Project blog, including much interesting personal background. At the end of his long note, Paul mentioned my World Stamp Map, which is displayed above my desk and which I used as an image in one of my blog posts. The idea of the stamp map is to try and find a stamp for each country and attach it to the appropriate spot.
Paul wrote: ” … In finishing, as a geographer, I was very impressed by the world map on your study wall. Of course, I instantly honed in on my part of the world. The map is not in focus on the web page, but it seems the UK has a red Machin on England and if I am correct a 3d National Productivity stamp from 1962 above it which buries Scotland. Living in Wales, with the Celtic sensitivity that brings, I don’t think I can see an Irish stamp or any recognition that Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own definitive stamps. Please! This is by no means a criticism, just an observation, and I would be more than pleased (on receipt of postal address) to send you stamps to address this matter. I think Scotland is beyond help, but I can certainly offer you an Irish and Welsh stamp to enhance your wall map. …”
What a thoughtful offer! Far from resenting his critique of my stamp map, I welcomed the attention! I also was touched by Paul’s chauvinist pride in Wales, and his loyalty to Scottish and Celtic sensitivities. Paul was absolutely right — the UK region of the stamp map definitely could be enhanced. I immediately sent Paul my address, and in due time a letter arrived — actually a card decorated with a beautiful linocut of the Welsh rock formation Craig y Fan Dhu. Out of the card tumbled a delectable selection of stamps, arranged on a stock card.
The note Paul wrote on the card succinctly explained everything, so I will include a slightly adapted version, along with enlarged illustrations of the stamps he describes.
Dear Fred 13/9/19 (sic, that’s Sept. 13, British-style)
UK and Ireland stamps as promised. In order from the top left:
#1/2 Wales definitive 1999 with the Welsh dragon which features on the country’s flag. 1af is ‘cyntaf’ = 1st in Welsh language. Ideally, the dragon would be red, so the 19p (1988) version might be preferred.
#3 Scotland definitive 1999 with the Rampant lion, red on gold, as featured on the unofficial flag of Scotland.
#4-5 Ulster definitives 65p (2000) and the 3d design from the first country definitives 50 years ago. Both show the hand of Ulster, but usually this would be red.
#6 Victoria and Elizabeth profiles 1990 Penny Black anniversary — simple but striking design.
… or #7 The Lord Mayor’s Show, London, 1989 which features both the Union Jack and St. George flag of England. I have to come clean, Fred — the National Productivity Year stamp you have currently on UK is a dreadful design. Either #6 or #7 would enhance your map!
For Ireland either #8 Padraig mac Pairais — Patrick Pearse and the 1916 Easter Rising anniversary stamp (1975) with the allusion to the Marianne stamps of France, but here she is holding the Irish tricolor.
… or #9 1972 Christmas stamp illustrating the Book of Kells, one of the glories of the Celtic Christian world.
And of course the Channel Islands and Isle of Man issue their own stamps (in profusion). So included are 4 of these.
Crikey, this part of your map is going to be crowded. As with all approvals, there is no obligation! So if you have better designs, discard these and no offense (sic) taken. It was an enjoyable exercise.
Below is my new-and-improved UK section of the World Stamp Map. As you will notice, I have removed that dreary “National Productivity Year” stamp, along with the run-of-the-mill Machin definitive of Queen Elizabeth. This opened up space to use some of Paul’s stamps — for Scotland, England, Wales, Ulster, as well as the Channel Islands Guernsey and Jersey, also the Isle of Man. Since things were really getting crowded (crikey!), I substituted a small Irish stamp from my own supply instead of using one of Paul’s offerings. Yes, it’s surely a busy corner of my stamp map today. Anything wrong with that?
Let me just add a word about the charming stamps Paul used on his mailing envelope, which are reproduced here. At right is another Welsh definitive, this one
depicting the humble leek, a vegetable long representative of Wales. Below are three scenes of Wales on UK issues. I have begun to have a hankering to visit this quaint and scenic land sometime (better not wait too long!). Wife Chris is mildly interested. I floated the idea to Paul in an email, and he said I would be welcome. You never can tell where stamp-collecting will lead you …
TO BE CONTINUED