Tag Archives: stamps

The Battle of Shaykan

Originally published September 12, 2016.

Commemorated by Sudan in 1984 the Battle of Saykan was fought between the forces of Egypt and Sudan and was part of the Mahdist War.


Also referred to as the Battle of El Obeid it was fought on the plains near the town of El Obeid.

The main commanders of the forces were “Billy” Hicks in charge of the Egyptian forces and Mohammed  Ahmed, the Mahdi commanding the Sudanese forces.


At the time it was estimated that the Sudanese forces numbered around 40,000 Sudanese warriors although this number was probably exaggerated.  The Egyptian forces numbered around 11,100. The majority of this force were Egyptian soldiers that were recently released from prison and didn’t have their hearts in the fight.

The Egyptian government had heard that Ahmed and his forces were laying siege to the Egyptian town of El Obeid and decided that he must be captured.  Despite warnings against this plan by Hicks, the operation got underway.


While in transit, El Obeid had fallen to the Madhist forces, but the Egyptians continued on to relieve their governor in Darfur. According to Winston Churchill, the Egyptian forces were “perhaps the worst army that has ever marched to war”.



Through mistake or on purpose the guides leading the Egyptian forces were led astray and soon found themselves surrounded.

At this point, the regulars started to desert and on November 3rd the Sudanese forces began the attack.  The Egyptian forces formed a square and some reports state that they persevered for up to 2 days.

500 of the Egyptian troops surrendered and were later freed, all the officers who were mainly European were killed.


György Dózsa

Originally published September 4, 2016.

György Dózsa was a Székely man-at-arms from Transylvania who led a peasants uprising against the Kingdom of Hungary’s Nobility in the 1500s.

He was born in 1470 during Hungary’s war with the Ottoman Empire and grew up to become a soldier of fortune who was well known for his valour.

In 1514, under the direction of the Hungarian Chancellor, Dózsa was asked to put together an army to fight the Ottomans. He raised an army of 40,000 mostly peasants, students, priests and friars. At the conclusion of the training, his army started complaining about their status and the treatment they were receiving at the hands of the nobility.

As a result, the nobility started to treat their families poorly and placed retainers on their return to reap the crops that were due to be harvested. This combined with the nobilities lack of military leadership led to Dózsa’s army to lead a war of revenge against the nobility.

Dózsa was successful and on all accounts seemed to operate honourably and with the exception of those nobles who were extremely greedy he rarely tried to execute those he captured. His primary concern was his lack of control over his followers.

His successes were becoming a bigger problem for the King and his capture was a necessity. This was accomplished at Temesvár. After his capture, Dózsa was tortured and killed.



The Battle of the Saintes

Originally published August 15, 2016.

In 1975 the postal authority of the island of Barbuda issued a set of four stamps commemorating the Battle of the Saintes. The stamps were issued on the 30th of May, 1975 and are perforated 13.5 x 14.

This was an important naval battle that was fought between the British under Admiral Sir George Rodney and the French under the Comte de Grasse between April 9th, 1782 and April 12th, 1782, during the Anglo-French War. The Battle was fought off the Island of Dominica and was named after the group of islands between Guadeloupe and Dominica which were collectively known as the “Saintes“.

This battle was important to the British forces as the fleet was responsible for the blockade of Yorktown and was responsible in part for the British surrender.  With the British surrender at Yorktown, the next phase of the French/Spanish plan was to invade Jamaica.

On April 7, 1782, the French left Martinique to rendezvous with 12 Spanish ships of the line and to embark 15,000 troops.  On hearing this Admiral Rodney left in pursuit of the French fleet the next day.

April 9th saw the British fleet catch the French fleet and the two sides sailed in line for the next few days while repairing damage to their respective ships.

At 7:40 am on the 12th, the British began to engage the French fleet and the two sides engaged each other in broadsides.  Due to shifting winds, the British ships broke the line and delivered a devastating attack on the French fleet.  Eventually with the French fleet in disarray, the Ville de Paris, struck her colours and the Comte de Grasse surrendered to the British.

Ships of the Line.

The strength of the British fleet was 36 ships of the line, the French fleet consisted of 33 ships of the line.

H.M.S. Ramillies.

At the conclusion of the battle, the total casualties for the British were 243 dead and 816 wounded with no loss of ships.  In contrast, the French suffered 3,000 dead or wounded. 5,000 captured, 4 ships of the line captured and 1 destroyed.

Bonhomme Richard firing broadside.

As a result of the loss, the French/Spanish plan to invade Jamaica was ruined and the British dominance of the seas was again re-established.

The French ship of the line L’Orient burning.


Samuel Gompers

Originally published August 6, 2016.

Samuel Gompers was born in London, England in 1850.  At the age of 10, he was sent to work as a cigar maker apprentice to help out his impoverished family.

In 1863 the Gompers’ immigrated to the US and settled into Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  For the first year and a half in New York, Samuel assisted his dad manufacture cigars at their home.


The US issued a stamp commemorating Samuel Gompers on January 27, 1950.  The image above at right courtesy of Amazon.

In 1864 Samuel Gompers joined the Cigarmakers’  Local 15 Union became active in its activities.  In 1875 Gompers became president of Local 114 of the Cigarmakers’ union and introduced high dues to cover the cost of implementing out of work benefits, sick benefits and death benefits for members in good standing.  In 1886 Gompers was elected as second vice-president and in 1896 first vice-president of the Cigarmakers’ International Union.  He continued on as first vice-president with them until his death in 1924.

In 1881 he helped form the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, which went on to become the American Federation of Labor in 1886.  Gompers was its president from its inception until his death in December of 1924, with the exception of 1895.

A cover addressed to Samuel Gompers when he was President of the AFL.


Allied Nations Day

Originally published December 29, 2015.

On the 30th of May 1944, according to Scott, Russia issued a set of two stamps to commemorate the “Day of Nations United Against Germany” which was June 14, 1944.


The stamps which are visually appealing feature the flags of the  US, Russia and Great Britain.  The two values issued were 60 kopecks and 3 roubles.

What intrigues me about the set is that if we use the day of issue from the Scott Catalogue Russia was telegraphing the imminent invasion by the allies.  The date of issue of these stamps is only 7 days before the D-Day invasion that Canada, Britain and the US executed on the 6th of June.

In researching this issue It is interesting to find that Russian history sees the British, Canadian and US effort on D-Day as only a small contributing factor the German defeat of World War II.  The majority of Russians have been taught and believe that they could have done it without the rest of the Allies.

None the less I think these are a nice set of stamps issued to celebrate the worlds major powers uniting to defeat the NAZI reign of terror.

Reuters Who won the War Russians take a different view on D-Day http://www.reuters.com/article/us-dday-anniversary-russians-idUSKBN0EG20820140605

The Botswana National Museum Turns 40

Originally published September 7, 2015.

In 2008 the postal authority of Botswana issued a set of 5 stamps to commemorate the 40th anniversary of their national museum and art gallery.

The museum was established by an act of parliament in 1967 and is located in the Botswanan capital of Gaborone.  For the 40th anniversary, the museum mirrored the International Council of Museums banner of “Museum as Agents of Social Change and Development”

The first stamp in the set denominated 1.10 Pula depicts a Pitse Ya Naga Launch.  This ‘Zebra on Wheels’ is used for outreach to school children all over the country.  It brings the museum to the rural areas of the country providing instruction in Botswanan cultural heritage.

The next stamp in the set denominated 2.60 Pula featured a representation of the National Botanical Garden.

This garden is a 17-acre park located along the Notwane River.  It was opened in 2007 to protect Botswana’s heritage.

The garden is composed of six sections, one for each of the 6 ecological divisions within Botswana.  The park is also responsible for maintaining all botanical monuments throughout the country.

A depiction of the new museum galleries is featured on the 4.10 Pula stamp.

These galleries feature traditional and modern African art.  The galleries also feature European pieces as well.

One of the main features of the art gallery is to feature the work of local artists.  Since 1975 the National Gallery has hosted various diverse exhibitions of art, crafts and photography

The 4.90 Pula stamp features a cave painting from the Tsolido Hills UNESCO World Heritage site.

Created as a world heritage site in 2001 due to its religious and spiritual significance, UNESCO estimates that there are over 4,500 rock paintings on the site.

The site also consists of three main hills named: Child Hill, Female Hill and Male Hill.  These hills play a great significance in the earliest inhabitants of the area.

The last value in the set, 5.50 Pula represents the official opening of the Museum in 1968.  The stamp demonstrates local people participating in craft making.

The museum is also responsible for Tsholofelo Park which is where the remains of the “negro of Banyoles” is interred.  This body was returned from the Darder Museum of Banyoles in Spain and was a taxidermy sample of a San person from the region.

Information provided from:

Celebrating Cape Verde’s Merchant Fleet

Originally published September 7, 2015.

On November 30, 1980, the island nation of Cape Verde issued 5 ship themed stamps.  The stamps were printed using lithography and were perforated 12.5 x 12.

Inscribed “Flota Mercante” the stamps were issued to commemorate the Merchant Fleet serving the islands.


Arca Verde
On the 3 Escudo stamp, the Arca Verde is pictured.   She was built in Norway and completed in 1955 as the Herlaug II.  Powered by 1, 8 cylinder BMV diesel engine producing 400 bhp and capable of carrying 150 passengers.

Ilha do Maio
The 7.50 Escudo stamp features the freighter Ilha do Maio. Completed in 1972 she was Originally built as the JOFF for Norwegian owners.  She was sold to the Companhia Nacional de Navegacao ’Acra Verde’ in 1979 and renamed the Ilha do Maio.
Ilha de Komo
Up next we have the 7.50 Escudo stamp with the cargo-container ship Ilha de Komo.  She was originally built as the Lindinger Hyacinth for the Danish company Reederei Lindinger and was launched in 1973.  Used for worldwide tramping she was sold to the government of Cape Verde in 1978.
Boa Vista
The Boa Vista is on the 9 Escudo stamp. Built as a coaster and completed in 1973 she was originally the Jojet. Bought by Companhia Nacional de Navegacao “ARCA VERDE” in 1978 from the Lys Line, she was renamed and entered service in Cape Verde merchant fleet.
Santo Antao
Built as an open shelter decker cargo ship the Santo Antao is featured on the 12 Escudo stamp.  Purchased by the government of Cape Verde in 1977 from Reederei Lindinger she was renamed the Santo Antao from the Lindinger Diamond. She was designed for use in world wide tramping.
The 30 Escudo stamp features the Santiago.  Constructed in Denmark as the Mercandian Pacific for Mercandia Scandia and completed in 1977 she was sold to the government of Cape Verde in 1979.  She was designed as a container ship.
Ship details courtesy of shipstamps.co.uk

An Interesting Acquisition

Originally published November 29, 2014.

Here is an interesting item that I acquired recently in a Box lot I received.

It is the first cover I have that is from Buckingham Palace and I was immediately intrigued by it. When I opened it up and saw the contents I was pleasantly surprised to find the contents of the envelope still intact.

So what I have found out so far is that the Reverend D.B. Rogers was a member of the Anglican Church of Canada and served as a member of various committees including the education and publishing committee.  I am still looking for more information on him.

The person who signed the letter is Michael Adeane, Lt. Col, who was the Queen’s private secretary for the first twenty years of her reign. It is interesting that he was aide-de-camp to Lord Bessborough and Lord Tweedsmuir who were Governors General of Canada during the depression.

All in all, I was very impressed with this find.

The MS Sirdhana

Originally published November 29, 2014.

The 60h stamp issued by the Emirate of Dubai to commemorate 60 years of postal service depicts the motor ship Sirdhana.

The Sirdhana was built in 1947 by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson for the British India Steam Navigation Company. Displacing 8,608 gross tons she had a length overall of 425′ with a breadth of 62.7′.

The Sirdhana‘s 2 oil powered engines gave her a speed of 14½ knots