Paper Ambassadors: The Politics of Stamps

Paper Ambassadors: The Politics of Stamps

Paper Ambassadors: The Politics of Stamps

Paper Ambassadors: The Politics of Stamps

Synopsis

Written by a well-known author and social commentator, this book provides a new interpretation of the history of the postage stamp. The author explores the political, financial and military significance which stamps can and do have. A lavishly illustrated, thought-provoking and entertaining study.

Excerpt

For most people, stamps are objects that are bought after queuing at the post office, used, and discarded. Apart from stamp collectors few people really look at stamps, although almost everyone who is literate will make frequent use of them. Every recognised state -- and quite a few unrecognised ones -- produces stamps, increasingly far more than are necessary for purely postal purposes. in 1890, a few hundred stamps were issued worldwide; these were small, dignified and sombre in appearance. in 1990 almost 10,000 stamps will be issued, many of them large, garish and multicoloured.

Stamps have rarely been analysed, despite contemporary interest in popular culture as reflected in the growth of semiotics. Perhaps because we all possess, use and receive stamps they are so common they are hardly noticed. This was brought home to me when the great majority of people I asked had no idea that John Lennon had appeared on an Australian stamp in 1988, even though they would almost certainly have . . .

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