Category Archives: Postal History

Stamps You Don’t Remember, Part 2.

Yeah, the pap test. Thanks for mentioning that.

#1754 is another stamp that you probably don’t remember.  When I saw this stamp, I thought it might have made more sense to say something about women’s health or the like.  Do we need to reference the pap test specifically if the Dr. Papanicolaou’s name is also on the stamp?

I think everyone agrees that early detection of cervical cancer is important.  I still wouldn’t want to put this stamp on a letter to my mom.

Other than the pap test reference, this stamp is a superb pencil drawing of Dr. Papanicolaou and his microscope.  I love the typeface and the scrolled name at the bottom, as well as the clean white background.


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Stamps You Don’t Remember, Part 1.


I am working on the 1960’s and 1970’s in my collection and seeing a few stamps that just aren’t featured prominently anywhere.  Why?  Well, some of them are a little embarrassing.  They are culturally outdated or commemorate something that, while important, just isn’t polite conversation.

I’d like to start this series with a doozy.  “Retarded” isn’t a word many people use today.  It’s considered insensitive, but there was a time when it was a serious term used by doctors as well as everyday people to describe the mentally challenged.

#1549 was issued in 1974 as a 10¢ definitive.  It bears the slogan “Retarded Children Can Be Helped,” which leaves us wondering a little if the artist or designer knew anything other than the basic fact that “retarded” children should not be ignored and hidden.  That was probably progressive enough for 1974, but imagine hearing that from a co-worker or friend these days!

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Palestine Issues Christmas Stamp

I thought this news was interesting from a purely philatelic perspective.  Why Palestine would issue a Christmas stamp is a mystery to me and I don’t have an opinion on the political implications of the stamp, but it occurs to me that I’ve never seen any Palestinian stamp, so that is very interesting indeed.

Of course, these stamps are issued by the Palestinian National Authority which does have a short postal history going back to 1994.  The PNA maintains relations with the Universal Postal Union, though it is not a member.  Initially, PNA stamps were recognized only by Arab states, with foreign delivery made via commercial agreements with Egypt, Israel, and Jordan.  Pre-Israel Palestinian postage did exist, going back to antiquity.  In fact, Postal services in the region were first established in the Bronze Age, during the rule of Sargon of Akkad, and successive empires have established and operated a number of different postal systems over the millennia.

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