United Nations Will Issue Six World
Heritage Sites Stamps at StampShow

The United Nations will formally issue six new stamps in its ongoing World Heritage series at a ceremony in August at the American Philatelic Society’s StampShow.

The stamps depict sites Along the Silk Road. A ceremony has been scheduled for 2 p.m. August 3, the first day of the four-day show at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Virginia.

To accommodate headquarters in three locales (U.S., Switzerland, Austria,) the stamps show architectural treasures in three national denominations: U.S. – Kyrgyzstan (Too Sacred Mountain) and China (Longmen Grottoes); Switzerland (text in French) –  Uzbekistan (Historic Center of Bukhara), Turkmenistan (Konye-Urgench, or Kunya-Urgench); and Austrian (text in German) – Iran (Bazaar in Tabriz), and Turkey (City of Safranbolu). The U.S. denominations are 34 cents (Grottoes), which pays the current postcard rate, and 49 cents (Mountain), the first-class domestic rate.

The series began in 1997 and features cultural and natural sites that have been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The new release includes panes of 20 for each stamp and a prestige booklet a block of four for each stamp, additional photos of the sites, and explanatory text.

“The Silk Roads were an interconnected web of routes linking the ancient societies of Asia, the Subcontinent, Central Asia, Western Asia, and the Near East, and contributed to the development of the world’s great civilizations,” the U.N. booklet states. “They represent one of the world’s preeminent long-distance communication networks, stretching to around 7,500 km [4,600 miles], but extending to more than 35,000 km [21,700 miles] along specific routes.”

StampShow 2017, the nation’s largest annual philatelic show, will be held August 3 to 6 and feature hundreds of high-caliber exhibits, scores of dealers, displays of stamp rarities, a youth area, dozens of presentations, meetings of specialty societies. The show serves as the summer convention for the 30,000 members of the APS, which is marking its 131st year.

More show information is available online via the APS website.

Royal Mail Marks 50th Anniversary of the Machin Definitive With New Stamps

Great Britain today, June 5, marked the 50th anniversary of one of its most iconic stamps — the Machin Definitive (often called Machin Head by collectors) — with a series of new stamps.

The stamps show a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and were created in 1967 by artist Arnold Machin (1911–1999), who first sculpted a bust of the queen that was adapted to the stamp design. Born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1911, Machin was a renowned sculptor and had a long association with Wedgewood potteries.

The new stamps present a snapshot into the history of the design that has been reprinted an estimated 220 billion times and is considered one of the most reproduced images in the world, according to Royal Mail.

The Machin Head has been reproduced in more than 130 colors and more than 800 major varieties.

Royal Mail lists 20 different products in connection with the new stamps, including a Prestige Booklet, Presentation Pack, postcards, first-day covers, and a set of six Post & Go (vending machine) labels.

A new miniature sheet of the new stamps show various steps in the Machin’s design process in 1966, including an image of the Queen Victoria Penny Black stamp, a model for the 1967 Queen Elizabeth II definitives; a photograph of the sculptor’s coin mold; essays; and a photograph of the queen by John Hedgecoe.

A new Golden Anniversary Celebration miniature sheet features eight stamps in various denominations, colors and shapes, including a £1 stamp, based on the high-denomination range of 1969 and is printed using gold foil.

Canada 150 Stamps Issued: Final
Two Stamps Honor Ties to
Olympics and Paralympics

Canada’s close associations, traditions, and triumphs in the Olympic and Paralympic Games are celebrated on the final two stamps revealed in the Canada 150 series.

The permanent (domestic first-class) stamps, like the previous eight, are in the shape of a maple leaf. The last two stamps in the set were unveiled today in a ceremony in Vancouver. All 10 officially went on sale today, June 1, in a variety of formats. The stamps celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial by presenting landmark achievements and personalities since the centennial was marked in 1967.

Both stamps unveiled today show gold medal-winning alpine skiers: Alexandre Bilodeau, of Montreal; and Lauren Woolstencroft, 35, of North Vancouver.

The modern Summer and Winter Olympics and Paralympics are held every four years. Canada has hosted one Summer Olympics — Montreal in 1976; and two Winter Olympic Games — Calgary in 1988 and Vancouver in 2010. Vancouver also hosted the 2010 Winter Paralympics and Toronto hosted the 1976 Paralympic Summer Games.

The ceremony today focused on the importance and legacy of Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic movements.

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1972 Team Canada Hockey Team
on New Canada 150 Stamp

One of Canada’s most endearing sports teams — the 1972 Team Canada hockey team — was unveiled today as one of the 10 Canada 150 stamps that will be issued Thursday, June 1.

On September 28, 1972, millions of Canadians watched as Team Canada defeated the Soviet national hockey team in Game 8 of the Summit Series, also known as the Soviet-Canada series.

Team Canada beat the odds, overcoming an early two-goal deficit, the game was tied at 5-5. Canada scored the thrilling winning goal with just 34 seconds left in the third period. The stamp shows Canadian forward Paul Henderson celebrating his game-winning and series-clinching goal against the Soviet team.

The stamp was unveiled today in a ceremony in Winnipeg with many surviving members of the team on hand.

Several factors made this a special hockey series.

It was still the Cold War, so political tensions ran high.

Canada, once dominant in Olympic Games (Canada won the first four gold medals, plus 1948 and 1952, had been knocked off the podium with the Soviets taking three straight gold medals, 1964 through 1972.

And, this was the first competition between the Soviet national team and a Canadian team represented by professional players of the National Hockey League.

Harry Sinden chose the 35-player Team Canada, which included captains, Phil Esposito, Frank Mahovlich, Stan Mikita, and Jean Ratelle. The Soviets had a 31-player team, which included many Olympic champions.

The Soviets won three of the first five games, with Canada winning one and other being a tie. Canada won games six and seven, each by one goal, setting the stage for the thrilling Game 8, the series being tied 3-3-1. With the first four games played in Canada, the finale was staged on Soviet home ice in Moscow.

Henderson, who scored the winning goal, had just hopped onto the ice and said, “I jumped on the ice and rushed straight for their net. I had this strange feeling that I could score the winning goal.”

The team and its players received many honors over the years, including the first team to be inducted en masse into the Canada Sports Hall of Fame. Speaking at that induction in 2005, Team Canada 72 member Phil Esposito said, “A lot of people will go back and say 1972 changed the face of the game and actually I believe it did. I’m not so sure it changed for the better, by the way. But it did change the way we think and look at hockey in this country.”

Canada’s Native Population and Most
Recent Territory on Canada 150 Stamp

Canada’s native population and the creation of its latest, largest, and northernmost territory — Nunavut — is the seventh topic unveiled in the stamp set that celebrates Canada’s sesquicentennial.

Nunavut, a vast area of more than 785,000 square miles and populated primarily by Inuit, residents of native origin, was carved out of the Northwest Territories and formally created in 1999. It’s the only major map change since 1967 when Canada marked its centennial.

The stamp shows a partial portrait of an Inuit woman and the year “1999.” The name of the territory appears in English and native Inuit.

On June 1, Canada Post will issue a set of 10 maple leaf-shaped stamps celebrating significant achievements, places, and people from the past 50 years.

Nunavut has a population of about 37,000. The stamp was unveiled in  the territory’s capital, Iqaluit, which is in the east on Baffin Island.

The Nunavut economy includes mining; oil, gas, and mineral exploration; arts and crafts; hunting; fishing and whaling; tourism; military; and research.

Nunavut is home to the world’s northernmost permanently inhabited place, Alert, which has about 60 residents (and temporary military personnel manning a signals station) and is 508 miles from the North Pole. There are no roads directly connecting Alert to the rest of the province, though there are 530 miles of roadways within the territory.

Another Canada 150 stamp will be unveiled Wednesday and the final two on Thursday when the stamps go on sale in various formats.

Canada Post previously unveiled six previous stamps in the Canada 150 set: Expo 67/Habitat, the patriation of the Constitution and creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadarm (space achievements), Marriage Equality, the Trans-Canada Highway, and Terry Fox and the Marathon of Hope. Details are available at canadapost.ca/canada150.