Pedal to the metal

Australia 2015 Bicycle $1.85 1930s men's sprung-frame bike stampI’ve become a bit of a new issues service for Australia Post lately. I didn’t mean to. It’s just that AP has been in great form. Also, I’ve only written about the stuff I love, not the issues that have left me feeling meh. This is the opposite of what writing on the internet is meant to be. You’re meant to ignore good things, while ensuring that anyone in public life who has done wrong knows all about how personally you have taken offence and how much you hate them. (See: many other entries on this site.)

Australia 2015 Bicycles 70c 1888 penny farthing stampI really like this week’s Bicycles issue. It’s unusual for me to be moved by such stark designs, but that’s just the contradictory kind of guy I am and if you don’t like it, you’re going to have to deal.

There’s something olden-daysy in the font used for ‘Australia’ and the value. I see a delightful visual consonance between the ‘0c’ of 70c and the wheels of the penny-farthing. Could it have been deliberate, or have I had one too many after-dinner rieslings?

Australia 2015 Bicycles $2.75 2015 custom-made road bikeMy first thought when I saw this issue was that it could almost be a UK issue. I mean that as a compliment. In all my years as a collector and as someone who may or may not be involved with design, I’ve just never encountered a country with such a consistent output of quality stamp designs as the UK, across such a variety of styles and topics. Other countries should look to the Royal Mail as inspiration. The UK is the only country whose new issues I am tempted to collect. I don’t, of course, because Royal Mail is as guilty as any other postal administration of churning out product to make a quick buck off stamp collectors, and I’m not going to fall for it. Oh, OK, I’ll take the Star Wars stamps but IT ENDS HERE.

Rage Against the Machin
My band’s album cover

My pro-UK comments, of course, don’t include the interminable ‘Queen’s heads’ design. I’m going to start a philatelic punk band called Rage Against The Machin.

I assure you that was a very funny pun, but to get it, you’d have to be into both British Commonwealth philately AND 1990s rap metal. If you are the one person on the whole Internet who enjoyed it, get in touch below and say hi. Incidentally, I’m happy to point out that the title of this page is cleverer than you realised at the time.

Australia 2015 Bicycles 70c 1910 Ladies' safety bike stampWhere was I? Excellent choice of subject bicycles – not all obvious candidates. I particularly like the 1910 Ladies’ Safety Bike. Safe, I’m guessing, until the headlight spills burning kerosene on your billowy lady-dress.

The simplicity of these designs leaves space for the subjects to sing. The muted colours are a lovely change from the norm. This is class and elegance. Well done Aussie Post and designer Sean Pethick.

Ding-ding indeed! x

This blog is dedicated to the appreciation of philatelic design and general silliness. If you enjoyed this piece, please like, link, and share! I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. x

© Philatelic product images remain the copyright of issuing postal administrations and successor authorities

13 thoughts on “Pedal to the metal

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  1. “Rage Against The Machin” made me laugh…and need to clean a bit of a mess I created with the soda I was drinking at the time. Thank you for that, perfect way to start the day. And yes those bicycle stamps are beauties, Australia Post on a roll lately. Meanwhile the US Postal Service ends the year with the ultimate example of commercialism in the guise of recapturing happy memories of youth – the “Charlie Brown Christmas” stamps for the holidays. DJCMH


  2. For the Rage against the Machin, you will need collectors of French colonies to provide the rhythm: DOM-TOM, DOM-TOM, DOM-TOM. One of the warmup bands will have to be the Unhinged.


  3. Hi. I may be late, but that’s at least three people, now, who enjoyed your “Rage against the Machin” joke. I suspect most of your readers already know what a Machin is, so it’s not that surprising that there are a few of us who also know of RATM.

    The much-maligned Machin can be fascinating, if you’re willing to take an interest! Variations in colour, perforations, value and printing techniques can ok I’m boring myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll take any compliment for my puns, Bella, no matter how long ago I cracked them. Thank you! And it’s true, I may have been a bit harsh on the Machins. I saw a page full of them recently, all different colours and denominations, and there really was something quite delightfully regal and British about it all.


  4. I am not a stamp collector yet….so I keep saying, but at a local show I picked up a 1978 bicycle set from the Royal Mail. I think I might be starting a bicycle theme collection (topicals, they told me to call them)
    These look pretty cool and I wish I could find them here. I will have to look.

    Liked by 1 person

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