Thematic Philately: Introducing 'Thematic Thursdays!'

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In the first of her regular columns on thematic stamp collecting, collector Katrin Raynor-Evans, introduces herself and reveals her love of astrophilately…

Welcome to the first 'Thematic Thursday', your weekly helping of topical stamps.

We’re sure you’ll enjoy and learn from the themes that I will be sharing with you and we’d love to hear about your favourite stamp themes too.

Every Thursday we’ll focus on a particular theme whether it’s an event, anniversary, person (let’s face it, the list is almost endless!) that has been celebrated and commemorated on stamps all over the world.

No doubt the themes will spark your interest and curiosity and perhaps inspire you to broaden your collection, exploring a theme you hadn’t considered or heard of before. 


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So what do I collect?  

My main interest lies in astronomy, I love scientific subjects on stamps, and I have a particular soft spot for palaeophilately. I thought I would kick off with these themes and explore them over the next few weeks so you can see why they excite me so much.

Astronomy stamps

Let’s start with the world’s first astronomy stamp that was issued in Brazil in 1887.

Blue and buff in colour, the perforate stamp is illustrated with the asterism Crux Australis or in English, the Southern Cross which forms part of the constellation Crux. The Southern Cross is an important symbol in Brazil’s political, religious, and nautical history and features on the flag.

We can’t see the asterism here in the Northern Hemisphere, unfortunately, it is only visible when you travel south across the equator.

The blue 300 réis stamp was the first on which a pattern of stars appears and is therefore noted as the first astronomy stamp.

The design of the stamp is astronomically accurate and has been illustrated as if the observer were looking up to the asterism from the Earth. As the years progressed, the asterism remained a firm favourite to appear on Brazilian stamps including newspaper stamps and overprints but in 1930, something unusual happened to the illustration of the Southern Cross which we will explore next week.

Can you guess what it is?   


Read more thematics articles…