Gibraltar and the Isle of Man issued similar sets of stamps in February commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War I.
Gibraltar’s Feb. 9 set features preparations for war, and the Feb. 19 set from Isle of Man focuses on trench warfare.
The designs show black-and-white photographs with a red poppy in the lower right corner. The first flower to bloom on the devastated battlefields of Belgium, France and Gallipoli, the poppy serves as an emblem of the war.
The 12-penny stamp from Gibraltar pictures a detail of the 1914 “Your Country Wants You” recruitment poster featuring Horatio Herbert Kitchener, the British secretary of war, pointing his finger. Figure 1 shows the stamp.
According to Great Britain’s National Portrait Gallery, Alfred Leete designed the poster based on a photograph of Kitchener by Alexander Bassano.
The National Portrait Gallery reported: “It [the poster] first appeared on the cover of London Opinion magazine on 5 September 1914 and was adopted for recruitment purposes soon after. Several poster and postcard versions followed, and it became one of the most iconic images of the World War One era.”
The design of the 40p stamp depicts a man joining up and includes a gramophone with a horn.
A man saying goodbye at the door is portrayed on the 50p stamp, which is inscribed “Leaving Family.”
The 64p stamp is inscribed “Kit.” It pictures a person at a sewing machine and soldiers being measured for uniforms.
Soldiers participating in a training session are pictured on the 68p stamp, and soldiers waving as they embark for war are shown on the £1 denomination.
BDT International printed the stamps by offset in sheets of eight with a label in the center and a silhouette of a battle scene and text at the bottom. The designs were created by Westminster Design.
The Isle of Man
The stamps from the Isle of Man are the first installment in the four-year WWI series. The set includes seven stamps, one of which is in a souvenir sheet.
The souvenir sheet features trench art, items created by soldiers and other artisans using pieces of military equipment, spent shell casings or other debris from the battlefield.
Figure 2 shows the sheet. The £3 stamp pictures a detail from a German Christmas card made in 1917 at Knockaloe Internment Camp on the Isle of Man. The card is from the collection of Jane A. Kimball, the author of Trench Art: An Illustration History.
On her website, www.trenchart.com, Kimball explained: “Trench art is a highly evocative term conjuring up the image of a mud-spattered soldier in a soggy trench hammering out a souvenir for a loved one at home while dodging bullets and artillery shells. This is an appealing but very false conception of the reality of this art form.
“A few types of trench art (finger rings made from melted down aluminum are a good example) could be made easily in a trench during lulls in the fighting, but the hammering involved in making many trench art pieces would have been greeted with unwelcome hostile fire from the enemy.
“Trench art items made during the war were in fact created at a distance from the front line trenches either by soldiers at rest behind the front lines, by skilled artisans among the civilian population, by prisoners of war, or by soldiers convalescing from wounds as handicraft therapy.”
The selvage of the souvenir sheet depicts additional trench art pieces.
ECJ Design designed the souvenir sheet using photographs taken by Kathleen Bishop. BDT International printed it.
The other six stamps reproduce wartime photographs of life in the trenches. Figure 3 shows the 42p stamp picturing sappers at work inside a trench.
The British Army website explains the name sappers: “The Royal Engineers, or Sappers as they are known, have blazed a trail of innovation and achievement through history. The term Sappers originates from the trenches or ‘saps’ which engineers were employed to build towards enemy positions to allow the placing and detonating of explosive charges.
In the new-issue bulletin from Isle of Man Stamps and Coins, Col. Charles Wilson said of sappers’ role in WWI: “Sappers specially recruited from mining communities dug deeply and stealthily beneath enemy lines to cause massive explosive damage.”
The remaining stamp designs show communications, 40p; an inspection for trench foot, 69p; war horses, £1.08; the Christmas truce of 1914, £1.41; and an officers’ dugout, £1.60.
The Isle of Man stamps were printed in the same sheet of eight format as those by Gibraltar, but new-issue agent CASCO is credited with the designs.
The Isle of Man Post Office said that it joined with the Royal British Legion for this issue, and the charity’s red poppy is displayed as a symbol of remembrance.
blogIn this column in the Aug. 24 issue of Linn’s, I referred to the American Philatelic Research Library in Bellefonte, Pa., as a “gift to stamp collectors.” The BNAPS library and the APRL are two of many libraries available to stamp collectors, and some philatelic libraries are available online. Read More ›
blogIt’s often been said that one of the salutary benefits of collecting stamps is the friendships made along one’s philatelic journey. If I were asked to place a value on the bonds thus forged with collectors in locales near and far, I would be rich beyond measure. A few of these hobby friends I have never met in person. Read More ›
blogToday, Nov. 11, 2015, is Veterans Day. Over the years, a number of United States stamps honoring those who have served in our nation’s armed forces have been issued. Read More ›
blogMy previous blog post focused on a mystery: the apparent indentations of paper clips on United States Purple Heart forever stamps that were used to mail payments to the circulation department of my employer, Amos Media in Sidney, Ohio. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke reports on a new Charlie Brown computer-vended postage stamp that is sold only through post office self-service kiosks.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses Great Britain’s final stamp issue for 2015, a Star Wars prestige booklet, and reveals what is included in its stamp program for 2016.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses a registered 1967 cover from Qatar that recently sold for almost $1,200 and the latest discovery of an Upright Jenny Invert pane.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editorial director Donna Houseman announces that Linn’s has been named official daily publisher of World Stamp Show-NY 2016 and provides an update on the reorganization of the Scott catalogs.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.