Today, stamps still claim to commemorate aspects of a nation s history and achievements. During World War II, however, stamps were symbolically hugely important: they proclaimed military victories, they "authenticated" occupation of long contested territory, restored pride in historic achievements, or simply proclaimed continuing independence. Of course, many nations endured defeat and occupation, and the enforced use of stamps whose heavy overprints or carefully selected illustrations accentuated their subjection. Stamps and their accompanying postmarks offer a fascinating and surprisingly detailed insight into the hopes and fears of nations. The stamps of 22 nations are examined, interpreted, and illustrated, many in full color. The glorification of the Fuhrer on stamps in all conquered lands was inevitable but many are ambiguous and indicative of rival cultural and political forces. Why, for example, did the British go to the lengths of forging a stamp with the head of Hans Frank, "the Butcher of Poland," on it, and distributing it across the Reich?"
These are the stories of fifty countries that once existed but have now have been erased from the map. Varying vastly in size and shape, location and longevity, they are united by one fact: all of them endured long enough to issue their own stamps.
Some of their names, such as Biafra or New Brunswick, will be relatively familiar. Others, such as Labuan, Tannu Tuva, and Inini, are far less recognizable. But all of these lost nations have stories to tell, whether they were as short- lived as Eastern Karelia, which lasted only a few weeks during the Soviet- Finnish War of 1922, or as long- lasting as the Orange Free State, a Boer Republic that celebrated fifty years as an independent state in the late 1800s. Their broad spectrum reflects the entire history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with its ideologies, imperialism, waves of immigration, and conflicts both major and minor.
The motifs and symbols chosen for stamps have always served as a form of national self- presentation, an expression of the aims and ambitions of the ruling authorities. Drawing on fiction and eye- witness accounts as well as historical sources, Bjorn Berge's witty text casts an unconventional eye on these lesser- known nations. Nowherelands is a different kind of history book that will intrigue anyone keen to understand what makes a nation a nation.
When it was issued in 1856, it cost a penny. In 2014, this tiny square of faded red paper sold at Sotheby's for nearly $10 million, the largest amount ever paid for a postage stamp at auction. Through the stories of the eccentric characters who have bought, owned, and sold the One-Cent Magenta in the years in between, James Barron delivers a fascinating tale of global history and immense wealth, and of the human desire to collect. One-cent magentas were provisional stamps, printed quickly when a shipment of official stamps from London did not arrive in British Guiana. They were mostly thrown out with the newspapers; one stamp survived. The singular One-Cent Magenta has had nine owners since a twelve-year-old boy rediscovered it in 1873. He soon sold it for what would be $17 today. Among later owners was a wealthy French nobleman who hid the stamp from almost everyone; a businessman who traveled with the stamp in a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist; and John E. du Pont, who died while serving a thirty-year sentence for the murder of Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz. The One-Cent Magenta explores the intersection of obsessive pursuits and great affluence and asks why we want most what is most rare.
"Warman's U.S. Stamps Field Guide, 3rd edition," features photographs of nearly 1,000 color stamps, thousands of listings values for U.S. regular-issue and Airmail stamps from 1847-2013, all providing a compact and enjoyable overview of one of the world's oldest hobbies.