Stamp Collection Part Four: U.S., Britain & Miscellaneous

by Derrick Bostrom


Our stamp series has been so wildly popular among Bostworld readers that I couldn't resist doing one final episode. This time we bring you two empires, one on the wax and one on the wane, along with some of the smaller satellites pulled along in their wake. While the British Empire both celebrates and defends the trappings of their noble traditions, the United States focuses on the task at hand. Somewhere along the way, amidst the ground shaking footfalls of the superpowers, the smaller nation states engender some growing pains of their own. I wonder: how many readers remember the days of Siam, French Equitorial Africa and the Philippine Islands of the United States of America. I thought so.

The three stamps in the "For Defense" series were actually issued in 1940 to help convince the public of the inevitability of American participation in the war. Once that inevitability finally arrived, the very snappy purple cheerleading number came out. Nowadays, you can get these attractive designs on eye-catching tee-shirts, sure to please both the ironist and the patriot on your gift list. And they have no cancellation marks.

Britain, on the other hand, was having its own problem managing public buy-in. Specifically, could the country stomach a monarch that not only advocated fascism but willingly consorted with a divorcée? Not so much, as it turns out. A quick abdication was engineered, but not soon enough to stop the presses. So a very sharp series of Edward VIII stamps saw light of day, featuring a crisp stark profile that would have even satisfied his friends and family over in the Third Reich. The public liked it as well, but since they all horded their copies hoping they might be worth something someday, it is in fact extremely common.

Using the profile of your own local strongman has long been a widely accepted practice among the various developing postal entities here on earth. But if your country's political climate is unstable and your man isn't as strong as initially hoped, sometimes it's better to hedge your bets. I like the route taken by the Togolese Republic. When in doubt, you can always celebrate the availability of the coconut while you wait out the political storm.

United States United States United States

United States United States Great Britain

Great Britain

Great Britain

Siam Philippine Islands Of America Peru