A few months ago I received a new book: Howard Plitz’s Mainline Railway Stamps. As I’ve made clear on the blog, I am bang up for receiving free stuff, so I’m delighted to return the favour with this site’s first ever book review!
Howard is a lifelong philatelist and railway aficionado, and this book is the sequel to his Narrow Gauge Railway Stamps of 2018 (which I haven’t seen). He has chosen a dangerous path in life. What if he made a minor error? The consequences of incurring the combined wrath of philatelists AND trainspotters are too gruesome to contemplate.
Lots of collectors like trains on stamps. But there are trains on stamps, and then, to paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson’s character Neville Flynn from Snakes on a Plane: there are motherfucking trains on motherfucking stamps.
Have a look at these beauties marking the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad across the USA:
There’s some cute design work going on. The Transcontinental Railroad was built across the United States from each direction, with the ceremonial meeting of the tracks taking place at Promontory Summit in Utah in May, 1869. The two engines depicted each hauled a trainload of dignitaries to the ceremony – Jupiter from the west, and No. 119 from the east. The so-called golden spike was then driven into the ground between them to ‘finish’ the railroad. This significant engineering feat cut the time it took to cross the nation from months down to about a week.
American pop culture gives us a certain depiction of an old steam engine: the bulbous chimney, the cattle-grid cowcatcher, a giant headlight, a colorful paint scheme and brass trim all over. It’s only when I see old American locomotives that I’m reminded that they actually looked like that! If the framing was a bit wider, you’d see a moustachio’d villain tying a damsel to the rails. It’s a shame they went for the golden spike in the middle stamp, instead of two runaway convicts pumping one of those see-saw handcars. Continue reading
This week, everyone’s excited about water being found on Mars. But at the House of Punk, water has been covering the surface of Mars for at least a week now, thanks to the tears of joy I’ve been crying over Australia Post’s latest stamp issue, entitled Our Solar System. Cynicism be damned, just look at these gorgeous stamps and tell me they don’t make you similarly teary. As with real planets, they’re best viewed in the night sky (or in this case, in their minisheet).
You can, of course, buy many of these stamps separately, but if you’re spending $4.90 or more on parcel postage this week, and you let them slap a boring docket on that parcel instead of insisting on this beautiful minisheet, then YOU SHOULD BE SHOT AND I MEAN THAT LITERALLY I AM QUITE PREPARED TO PULL THE TRIGGER. Continue reading