Stamp collecting feature - Five stamps sets that aimed to change the world

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17 December 2014
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imports_CCGB_screen-shot-2014-12-17-at-16.26.33_00409.png Stamp collecting feature - Five stamps sets that aimed to change the world
The images on stamps, and the messages the stamps carry, have the power to reinforce or even to change our opinions and actions on many issues the entire world must confront. To coincide with our special feature in the February 2015 issue of Stamp & Coin Mart, Ed Fletcher picks five stamp sets that aimed to change the world… ...
The images on stamps, and the messages the stamps carry, have the power to reinforce or even to change our opinions and actions on many issues the entire world must confront. To coincide with our special feature in the February 2015 issue of Stamp & Coin Mart, Ed Fletcher picks five stamp sets that aimed to change the world…

Child Protection
UNICEF’s global campaign: End Violence Against Children has six strategies: to support families; to help children manage risks and challenges in their lives; to change attitudes and social norms that encourage violence; to provide support services; to implement laws and policies that protect children; and to undertake research on which age groups and which communities are most effected by violence.

Philatelic bureaux have shown support with stamps including Romania’s End Violence Against Children issue which went on sale in May this year.

The 4.30 lei stamp carries the symbolic image of a child’s profile supported by a protective adult’s hand.

The graphic seeks to raise awareness of the social problem and to promote the message that protecting children and enabling them to fulfil their hopes and ambitions will help to build a better society for all.

Sustainable Fishing
Royal Mail’s June 2014 issue featured five sustainable and five threatened fish species, all superbly illustrated by artist David Miller.

The text on each stamp names the fish and also indicates its present status in the waters around Britain: threatened or sustainable.

The Cornish Sardines stamp, for example, tells us the species is sustainable.

That’s good news, not only for those of us who enjoy the dish, but also because the fishery as a Cornish industry pre-dates the Penny Black and it will flourish in future if Cornish waters are sensibly fished.

According to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Cornwall’s sardine stocks are presently sustained thanks to a switch in recent years from old fashioned indiscriminate gill nets, which can drown a fish before it is landed, to newer ring nets which allow undersize sardines to escape and fall back into the sea… thus guaranteeing sardines on the menu for future generations.  

Anti-smoking campaigns
Smoking is massively declining in Britain, with the numbers who regularly light up falling this year to below twenty percent of the population for the first time in almost a century.

Restrictions on tobacco sales advertising have certainly helped many to break the habit; but anti-smoking campaigns have also played an important role.

In 2002 Canadian research revealed that graphic images of the effects of smoking were the most effecting deterrent to taking up the habit.

And in 2013 a study published in the European Journal of Public Health found that pictorial health warnings on cigarette packets discouraged many young people from starting smoking.

Postage stamps with their minimal texts, bright colour graphics and striking symbols combined on tiny surface areas have also helped to convey anti-smoking messages; as seen, for example, on Ethiopia’s 1980 Anti Smoking Campaign set in support of the World Health Organisation.

In three values the set depicted a gruesome smoking skull, a pipe and cigarettes forming a cross over diseased lungs, and a WHO emblem with the emblem: Smoking Or Health – The Choice Is Yours.

This set shows stamps at their best, succeeding as communication tools and as works of art.

Literacy
Surely no social issue can be more important to postal services than the promotion of literacy? Afghan Post issued this poignant design in 2003, showing two children on their way to school; a peaceful dove watching over them.

Nine years after the stamp was issued, the world was shocked to hear of the Taliban’s shooting of school girl Malala Yousafzai, and more recently their cowardly attack that left many innocent children dead.

Malala survived and has become known around the world for her bravery and campaigning for female education. In October she became co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

Rural Water Supplies
Rwanda issued this Rural Water Supplies set in 1981 as part of a celebration of the nation’s achievements following independence in 1962.

Since then the country has endured droughts, infrastructure destruction during civil wars, the genocide of 1994, and the harrowing effects of HIV/AIDS.

No doubt the stamps helped to keep hopes alive during those abysmal times; and that the outstanding progress made in recent years in providing 85 percent of the population with access to clean drinking water was achieved by people who used some of the stamps on letters in the 1980s.

World Bank Officials corresponding with Rwanda in those days must have seen them. The Bank has supported the Rwanda Government with loans to fund recent rural water supply improvements. Perhaps it’s time for another commemorative issue?

      Read much more about this subject in a special series of articles in the Febraury 2015 issue of Stamp & Coin Mart magazine.

Order the print edition right here, or download the issue using the links below…

     

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