The Shape of… Who?

Ed Sheeran Collection header

[This post has been updated.]

I’m sorry that I never met Dr Frank Sheeran, a retired university professor of English who passed away in Kansas City last November, aged 79. From the tributes paid, I have learned that he was a stamp collector with a deep passion for philately. He inspired those around him by assembling a primo world collection, and making time to encourage younger collectors. I send my sympathies to his friends and family and I raise a magnifying glass to him.

Frank Sheeran’s stamp collection will be auctioned in a few weeks as part of Kelleher Auctions’ Sale 732. When it went online, the auction site showed a cover page for Frank’s portion of the auction. (The resolution ain’t great.)

It would seem that either Frank had a nickname that wasn’t mentioned in any of his obituaries, or someone got their Sheerans mixed up…

Ed Sheeran Rolling Stone cover

Whatever the case, Kelleher Auction 732 might set a new benchmark for interest from the females-under-30 demographic. Frank’s collection stands to make a whole lot more money than anyone expects.

Unless… it IS Ed Sheeran’s collection! After all, Twitter user Swee thought he was onto something all the way back in 2014. (And, er…. language warning.)

I object to Swee’s inference that stamp collectors are boring, and I will put him in his place as soon as I finish rearranging my collection of British Machin stamps according to the positions of their ultraviolet phosphor bands.

I’ve sent an enquiry off to the auction house. I’ll let you know the outcome. In the meantime, don’t let the fact that it might not be Ed Sheeran’s collection put you off looking. It’s full of some very pretty classic philately, especially for US collectors. You just have to be on Ed Sheeran’s income to afford a bunch of it.

UPDATE: No official word back from the auction house, but a hasty correction would seem to confirm that this IS the collection of Francis J. Sheeran, to be sold under the name ‘The Francis J. Sheeran Collection’. Oh well. We had some fun, didn’t we?

Cover of Kelleher Auctions Francis J Sheeran Collection

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New Zealand wins the Battle of Rock

We’ve seen rock legends on stamps.

USA 1993 Legends of American Music Elvis Presly 29c stamp

We’ve seen classic rock album covers.

UK 2010 Classic Album Covers The Clash London Calling 1st stamp

You might have spotted some Classic Rock Posters at this very website.

Australia, 2006, Australian Rock Posters

Ireland’s Great Irish Songs issue from earlier this year had its share of rockers.

Canada wants you to know that it rocks.

Sweden doesn’t rock. It Roxette.

And then… there’s New Zealand.

Here’s New Zealand bringing us its Rock Legends.

Continue reading

Love this retro Jersey

Jersey 2017 Popular Culture: The 1960s - moon landing, language, leisure stamps Jersey is one of those funny little islands in the English Channel that are closer to France, and part of the UK, but get to put out their own stamps.

Jersey 2017 Popular Culture: The 1960s 63p music stampInterestingly, this practice began during the Nazi occupation of those islands, when they were cut off from the mother country. This is just one of the reasons why nerds who are into postal history find them so delectable. (If you think you might be one of those nerds, you should check out the Channel Islands Specialists’ Society.)

I’m not one of those nerds, but I do like how these islands churn out pretty stamps, because, let’s face it, what else have they got going on? I mean apart from tax avoidance schemes.

Jersey 2017 Popular Culture: The 1960s 73p fashion stampRecently Jersey jumped on the retro stamp bandwagon with a 1960s Popular Culture issue.

I love the Hendrix-inspired psychedelic guitar player with his groovy vibes and his remarkable fused fingers on his strumming hand.

The models (or are they just ’60s housewives?) on the fashion stamp take me back to a childhood spent rifling through Grandma’s sewing pattern magazines.

And it eludes me why more stamp administrations don’t honour the cheese and pineapple stick on their postal stamps. Continue reading

Souvenirs, novelties, party tricks…

India 2017 100R scented coffee stamp(And yay to you if you know which film lent me that headline.)

I’m excited today, and not because I’ve been snorting lines of this coffee-scented stamp from India. It’s a big day. I’m launching a new tag on this blog.

I get very easily excited.

As the use of snail mail for letter post continues to fall off a cliff, postal authorities around the world look more and more to stamp collectors to fluff up their bottom line.  Thus opens a new and technologically marvellous chapter in an old book: that of the novelty stamp. Continue reading

Bowie’s latest release

UK 2017 David Bowie album stamps

UK 2017 David Bowie 1ST Aladdin Sane stamp

Well this is the most exciting thing to happen this year since I accidentally swiped right on Tinder and he turned out to be a match, a babe, and leaving for overseas two days later.

The UK is releasing a set of David Bowie stamps today!

David has been on a UK stamp before, as part of a Classic Album Covers release in 2010. (You can also spot a wild Bowie issue hiding in this post about tortoise stamps from Namibia. Yes, you read right.)

Now Royal Mail is releasing this fabulous set of six iconic Bowie album covers, plus four photos from live tours combined in a stamp sheet.

Continue reading

You crazy diamonds

UK 2016 1st Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon (1973) Album Cover Stamp

UK 2016 Pink Floyd album cover stampsAs the header of my site attests, I love it when music, design and philately collide. And it’s happening again, thanks to the Royal Mail. Attention cool uncles and that boring guy who used to corner me at university house parties: Pink Floyd is being immortalised!

UK 2016 1st Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon (1973) Album Cover StampLast year marked the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s founding, though it feels like they’ve been around for a lot longer, since every David Gilmour guitar solo goes for 50 years in its own right. Royal Mail’s tribute issue clocks in at no less than 10 stamps, which, much like a prog rock album, is more than anyone asked for and a lot more than was probably necessary to get the job done. Continue reading

Stamp of the Day: Sorrow

ZiggyI’m composing an official-first-blog-post-of-2016, but sadly it has been gazumped by the loss of a personal musical icon. Many words are being written today in tribute to David Bowie. Let me add a few of my own.

Today’s Stamp of the Day depicts the iconic cover of David Bowie’s album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.

It was part of Royal Mail’s 2010 Classic Album Covers issue, which combined two of my great loves, music and design, as well as philately, which I shall classify as a great like. If I called it a great love, I would sound like one of the dotty old men one bumps into at philatelic society meetings.

But that’s the thing, isn’t it? Being a stamp collector with a creative and intellectual streak made me odd among my peers in my teenage years. I persisted, quietly, because screw them.

David Bowie’s musical output speaks for itself. I speak for the many people who were once teenagers who felt like they came from another planet. Bowie showed us it was just fine to be a bit weird.

Incidentally, the building in the background of the Ziggy Stardust cover is a post office. First class indeed.

 

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

Finland punks collectors to celebrate Eurovision

Finland 2015 PKN Eurovision Stamp

It’s Eurovision weekend! Long ago, the nations of Europe decided to stop holding wars and instead sort out their differences via an annual shit pop music throwdown. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it in Asia or the Americas, but it’s huge in Europe, and its once-cult following here in Australia has gone so mainstream that they’ve even let us enter in 2015. Continue reading