Posts Tagged ‘commemoratives’

Only a few days from home, 175 years ago: Darwin’s landfall, Falmouth, October 2nd 1836

September 29, 2011

On this day 175 years ago, Charles Darwin was close to ending his world-changing 5 year journey round the world  Only a few days away from landfall and harbour in Falmouth on October 2nd 1836 and  a few days coach journey home away from his family in Shrewsbury.

Plaque marking spot of Darwin's landfall from HMS Beagle voyage, Oct 2 1836 in Falmouth and his departure home by coach.

A plaque now marks the place where Darwin made landfall that evening in Falmouth, arranged by Falmouth Town Council and Falmouth Art Gallery, during the Darwin 200 celebrations .

We still have  a few copies available to schools free of our Darwin stamp book – contact Sandie Robb at Edinburgh Zoo or Mark Norris at Newquay Zoo.  

A new Darwin stamp book for 2011

Many of the new 175th anniversary stamps issued to celebrate Darwin’s journey can be found in Barry Floyd’s new book Chrles Darwin His Life Through Commemorative Stamps (2011) , available through Traveller’s Tree Thematic Services, 30 Watch Bell Street, Rye, E. Sussex, TN31 7HB, UK Priced £15 + £2 P&P (UK). £5 P&P overseas Cheques in sterling to B N Floyd.

Look out in 2012 for events and publications celebrating Edward Lear’s bicentenary.  See the Blog of Bosh and other websites including www.nonsenselit.org

See our previous blog entry on Lear

https://darwin200stampzoo.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/the-victorians-are-not-dead-and-gone-celebrating-the-big-and-bearded-victorian-icons-from-darwin-to-lear-a-future-festival-of-nonsense/

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Famous footsteps, incredible journeys: Happy New Darwin Anniversary Year 2011 – 175 years on, and a bit more of our Victorian Time Safari …

January 2, 2011

It’s 175 years this year since Charles Darwin returned to Britain at the end of his five-year voyage, just as the Victorian period was beginning. He had spent his last Christmas 1835 away from home and was heading back in HMS Beagle for the final part of his epic voyage of discovery. He still had much of Australia, New Zealand, Keeling Islands, Mauritius, Cape Town in South Africa, St. Helena, Ascension Island and Brazil (again) to visit before reaching Britain. Many of these countries, especially the islands, mark the anniversary of his famous visit with postage stamps.

By October 2nd, 1836 he would be back on land in Falmouth and heading home by mail coach

Plaque marking spot of Darwin's landfall from HMS Beagle voyage, Oct 2 1836 in Falmouth and his departure home by coach.

A plaque set up by Falmouth Town Council and Falmouth Art Gallery marks the point where he made landfall in Falmouth and waited for the mail coach home. Within a year, a new Queen would be on the throne and a new era of scientific, agricultural and technological revolution begun. Lots of developments had happened in technology and society whilst he had been away, not least the beginnings of railway mania, so that the very coach he travelled on was soon to become obsolete as public transport within his lifetime.

The penny post and Penny Black stamp were only a few years aways in 1840. By the time he died in 1882, telegraph communication was widespread and telephones in their infancy. The first petrol engine vehicles were in development. Cinema experiments were beginning. Iron and steam had replaced wood and sail in modern ships. Darwin lived through an amazing century, which set the pace for the developments since.

There’s a 2009 news story and photos about the Darwin’s landfall plaque in Falmouth  http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/news/falmouth/Plaque-marks-Darwin-landfall/article-1636415-detail/article.html

Sadly since this was put up, Brian Stewart the curator of Falmouth Art Gallery has sadly died in December 2010, much missed by  the Newquay Zoo staff with whom he worked extensively on Darwin 200 activities. Many tributes can be read to his work in the Falmouth Packet newspaper. Newquay Zoo staff were already planning a follow-up to Darwin 200 based around nonsense poet and animal painter Edward Lear’s bicentenary in May 2012.    

Darwin is not the only eminent Victorian to have his landing-place marked in Cornwall. We’ve included it as part of our Victorian Time Safari, looking at the legacy of Darwin’s Victorian times around us. What can you see in your village, town or city from Victorian times?

We spotted this unusual footprint when arriving by boat ferry at St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, that magical castle in the sea that Darwin would have passed on his route into Falmouth just up the coast.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert 's royal visit marked by bronze plaque near her 'footstep' at St. Michaels' Mount, Cornwall (Photo: Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo)

Nearby, Truro station has all the ornate ironwork of a Victorian station still, including its VR Victorian post box. Nearby, Truro station has all the ornate ironwork of a Victorian station still, including its VR Victorian post box. On a recent Dublin trip, we saw a Victorian explorer commemorated not in stamps but in a lifesize bronze statue. What Victorain memorials or  inventions can you find in your area?

Ornate Victorian ironwork, Truro rail station, Cornwall, 2010Ornate decorative Victorian ironwork, Truro rail station, Cornwall, 2010Victorian statue of explorer / surgeon TH Parke from Stanley's expeditions in Africa, outside Dublin Natural History Museum

Happy 225th birthday, US postal system 26 July 1775

July 26, 2010

Taken / Reposted from the http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

Welcome to the THIS DAY IN HISTORY daily email from History.com

 July 26 1775 : U.S. postal system established

On this day in 1775, the U.S. postal system is established by the Second Continental Congress, with Benjamin Franklin as its first postmaster general. Franklin (1706-1790) put in place the foundation for many aspects of today’s mail system. During early colonial times in the 1600s, few American colonists needed to send mail to each other; it was more likely that their correspondence was with letter writers in Britain. Mail deliveries from across the Atlantic were sporadic and could take many months to arrive. There were no post offices in the colonies, so mail was typically left at inns and taverns.

 In 1753, Benjamin Franklin, who had been postmaster of Philadelphia, became one of two joint postmasters general for the colonies. He made numerous improvements to the mail system, including setting up new, more efficient colonial routes and cutting delivery time in half between Philadelphia and New York by having the weekly mail wagon travel both day and night via relay teams. Franklin also debuted the first rate chart, which standardized delivery costs based on distance and weight. In 1774, the British fired Franklin from his postmaster job because of his revolutionary activities.

However, the following year, he was appointed postmaster general of the United Colonies by the Continental Congress. Franklin held the job until late in 1776, when he was sent to France as a diplomat. He left a vastly improved mail system, with routes from Florida to Maine and regular service between the colonies and Britain. President George Washington appointed Samuel Osgood, a former Massachusetts congressman, as the first postmaster general of the American nation under the new U.S. constitution in 1789. At the time, there were approximately 75 post offices in the country.

Today, the United States has over 40,000 post offices and the postal service delivers 212 billion pieces of mail each year to over 144 million homes and businesses in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the American Virgin Islands and American Samoa. The postal service is the nation’s largest civilian employer, with over 700,000 career workers, who handle more than 44 percent of the world’s cards and letters. The postal service is a not-for-profit, self-supporting agency that covers its expenses through postage (stamp use in the United States started in 1847) and related products. The postal service gets the mail delivered, rain or shine, using everything from planes to mules. However, it’s not cheap: The U.S. Postal Service says that when fuel costs go up by just one penny, its own costs rise by $8 million.

 American Revolution  1775 : Congress establishes U.S. Post Office

View original post at http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/congress-establishes-us-post-office

Wallace – the alternative Darwin – gets a postage stamp or two at last!!

July 25, 2010

George Beccaloni left a very excited message on the Alfred Russel Wallace website  about the 2009 issue by Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe (in Africa) of Wallace stamps – at last!

You might have read earlier Sandie’s jubilant blog entry about the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society postage stamps from the Royal Mail featuring Wallace  http://http://royalsociety.org/Royal-Society-350th-anniversary-stamps/ 

Interesting to compare the two different designs!

The centenary of Wallace’s death in 1913 is due soon in 2013 and the Wallace Fund website blog has more details about how this is being marked around the world. There is also a short biography of this amazing man and many links.

These very Darwin style portrait and dinosaur stamps compare well with some of the Darwin 200 and other anniversary issues shown in our Charles Darwin: A Life In Stamps book, published in 2009. Copies are still available to schools (free) and collectors (small charge, see earlier blog).  The stamps should,  as George notes,   appeal to dinosaur stamp collectors as much as Darwin realted stamp collectors.  

 http://wallacefund.info/first-ever-postage-stamps-featuring-alfred-russel-wallace-are-published

His book The Malay Archipeligo has never been out of print since its publication, much like Darwin’s Voyage of The Beagle, another classic of  Victorian travel writing.

Wallace’s travels took him across Indonesia including to Papua New Guinea where our Black Tree Monitors are from and Sulawesi, an Indonesian island,  home to Sulawesi Macaque monkeys that are now critically endangered – you can see our group at Newquay Zoo through our webcam http://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/conservation/sulawesi-crested-black-macaques.htm, part of our support for Selamatkan Yaki (Protect The Macaque! in Bahasan Indonesian).

We’ll keep you posted on celebartions for Wallace 2013, Darwin 2011 and Edward Lear 2012 on the blog – watch this space.

Centenary of Florence Nightingale’s Death 13 August 2010: update of ‘Florence Fatigue’ and another Great Victorian on postage stamps: Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole and women scientists on stamps.

May 16, 2010

A 1960s UK stamp featuring Florence Nightingale from my childhood album (in old L-S-D pennies) with a youthful Queen Elizabeth head, much like the Young Victoria!

This Friday 13th sees the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s death on 13 August 1910. Commemorated in many ways  through a Royal Mint £2 coin, a church service on Radio 4  Sunday morning 8th August  2010 (available on I-player) and much press coverage about anniversary events http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2010/07/09/55064/florence-nightingale-centenary-nursing-by-numbers.html 

along with her refurbished museum http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/cms/

Visitors to the Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth, where part of Wind in The Willows was written by Kenneth Grahame, can see Florence Nightingale’s signature in the visitor’s book of what was a very popular Victorian hotel for travellers overseas via  the busy Falmouth harbour. http://www.greenbank-hotel.co.uk/falmouth-hotel/14/falmouth+hotel+history.html 

Readers of our Darwin 200 stamp blog will note that much of our Darwin celebrations locally in Cornwall in 2009 focussed on Falmouth, where Darwin made landfall on Oct 2 1836 at the end of the Beagle voyage. A plaque, rather then register entry,  marks the spot as he rapidly left for home by mail coach after five homesick and seasick adventurous years. Darwin and Nightingale in their dogged pursuit of evidence or statistics to support their arguments would have had no doubt a very interesting discussion, had they ever met!  

 Her obituary can be found at http://century.guardian.co.uk/1910-1919/Story/0,,126410,00.html  and an interesting research blog at http://www.florence-nightingale-avenging-angel.co.uk/

Previous Entry May 2010:

Every 12 May around the world is International Nursing Day, baacuse it is also Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Happy 190th birthday Florence.  

This year has extra significance, amazingly it is only 100 years since Florence Nightingale  died on 13 August 2010.

Florence was one of that generation of long-lived famous Victorians who lived well into the Twentieth Century including Alfred Russel Wallace the explorer and evolutionary theorist who died in 1913. Wallace has been mentioned on this blog site with news that you may soon see him on a UK stamp.

One of our recent commenters on the blog asked why we didn’t mention Rosalind Franklin ‘the dark lady of DNA’ when we introduced DNA, Crick and Watson. A trawl through internet stamp sites and Stanley Gibbons catalogues will produce some images of women scientists and engineers who aren’t Marie Curie. (Personally I look forward to a portrait stamp of Hedy Lamarr, featuring a background print of her World War Two patent for torpedo switching gear).

 Not surprisingly the Royal Mail, mints  and postage stamp designers ariound the world have often honoured nurses, Florence Nightingale and occasionally her contemporary Mary Seacole  often over the last 100 years.

http://www.rcn.org.uk/development/rcn_archives/exhibitions/international_postage_stamps/florence_nightingale

http://www.rcn.org.uk/development/rcn_archives/exhibitions/international_postage_stamps/mary_jane_seacole  

2009/10 also marks the 150th anniversary of  her important book Notes on Nursing, based on her experiences in The Crimean War. www.royalmint.com/store/BritishBase/UKFNBU.aspx.  Just as revolutionary in its time and field as Darwin’s Origin of Species, the International College of Nursing ICN  modern edition of Notes on Nursing is still available 150 years later!

As a scientist, Florence is also famous for using Pie charts to present information in persuasive ways, useful for introducing maths to the history curriculum and the ever present role model search for women scientists.

Some primary teachers I know do groan at the name Florence Nightingale as this is currently the examplar famous Victorian person in the current National Curriculum (England and Wales) and some hope the new one due in  2011 is Florence free. http://http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/schemes2/history/his4/?view=get 

Talking to collegues and stall holders at a history teaching conference including the TTS people who have a Florence section http://www.tts-group.co.uk/, some teachers  after many years of teaching Florence were showing signs of ‘Florence Fatigue’. This will hopefully never become a recognisable medical condition.

Examples of creating famous person / Florence Nightingale displays (timelines!) using postage stamps can be seen at: http://fnif.org/,  showing pictures of  the story of Florence Nightingale as an exhibition of stamps at the ICN Congress in Durban by Marilyn Gendek, an Australian nurse and philatelist. 

Country Joe’s site covers statues and other memorails, good for looking at evidence of Victorians in our towns and local areas such as suggested on our Victorian Time safari blog entries last year: http://www.countryjoe.com/nightingale/honors.htm   

http://www.uoguelph.ca/~cwfn/stamps/index.html  

http://www.sma.org.sg/smj/4703/4703ms1.pdf   

is a comprehensive six page long pdf article on Florence Nightingale in stamps.

The Crimean War was marked 150 years on by a recent Royal Mail issue four or five years ago – see the Royal Mail website.   Local regimental museums and the National Army Museum at Chelsea are also good sources for information on this conflict.

There is lots of biographical information on Florence ranging from the BBC, Victorian Web and Wikipedia to the Florence Nightingale Museum

http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/

http://www.uoguelph.ca/~cwfn/    her collected works and writings

http://www.victorianweb.org/history/crimea/florrie.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Nightingale

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/nightingale_florence.shtml

New UK mammal biodiversity stamps launched!

April 15, 2010

Hopefully you have all seen the news release about Royal Mail’s new UK Biodiversity stamps (and you’ll see them on your post). Surely Charles Darwin as a backyard biologist would approve, especailly in 2010 Year of Biodiversity,  of the beautiful new photographic stamps about rare British mammals. You can see them on the Royal mail website or at the execllent zoo blog http://zoonewsdigest.blogspot.com:80/2010/04/mammal-stamps-in-uk.html 

Stephen Woollard and Sandie Robb at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo commented: “We are particularly pleased to see the Scottish wildcat as one of the featured animals and the launch of this stamp took place at our RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, as we are one of the partners of the Cairngorm Wildcat Project.”

See these links: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8617325.stm

 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8616599.stm

 http://www.royalmail.com/portal/stamps/content1?catId=118600813&mediaId=119300768

If only Darwin had known about … DNA and Gregor Mendel.

February 28, 2010

Royal Mail's Millennium stamp issue featured this striking DNA stamp.

If only Darwin had known about … DNA.

A useful website for teachers is a daily email from History.com 
THIS DAY IN HISTORY http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 


February 28: General Interest
1953 : Watson and Crick discover chemical structure of DNA

On this day in 1953, Cambridge University scientists James D. Watson and Frances H.C. Crick announce that they have determined the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule containing human genes.

Though DNA–short for deoxyribonucleic acid–was discovered in 1869, its crucial role in determining genetic inheritance wasn’t demonstrated until 1943. In the early 1950s, Watson and Crick were only two of many scientists working on figuring out the structure of DNA. California chemist Linus Pauling suggested an incorrect model at the beginning of 1953, prompting Watson and Crick to try and beat Pauling at his own game.

 On the morning of February 28, they determined that the structure of DNA was a double-helix polymer, or a spiral of two DNA strands, each containing a long chain of monomer nucleotides, wound around each other. According to their findings, DNA replicated itself by separating into individual strands, each of which became the template for a new double helix.

In his best-selling book, The Double Helix (1968), Watson later claimed that Crick announced the discovery by walking into the nearby Eagle Pub and blurting out that “we had found the secret of life.” The truth wasn’t that far off, as Watson and Crick had solved a fundamental mystery of science–how it was possible for genetic instructions to be held inside organisms and passed from generation to generation.

Watson and Crick’s solution was formally announced on April 25, 1953, following its publication in that month’s issue of Nature magazine. The article revolutionized the study of biology and medicine. Among the developments that followed directly from it were pre-natal screening for disease genes; genetically engineered foods; the ability to identify human remains; the rational design of treatments for diseases such as AIDS; and the accurate testing of physical evidence in order to convict or exonerate criminals.

Crick and Watson later had a falling-out over Watson’s book, which Crick felt misrepresented their collaboration and betrayed their friendship. A larger controversy arose over the use Watson and Crick made of research done by another DNA researcher, Rosalind Franklin, whose colleague Maurice Wilkins showed her X-ray photographic work to Watson just before he and Crick made their famous discovery.

When Crick and Watson won the Nobel Prize in 1962, they shared it with Wilkins. Franklin, who died in 1958 of ovarian cancer and was thus ineligible for the award, never learned of the role her photos played in the historic scientific breakthrough.

———————————————————————————-

Gregor Mendel and his famous smooth and wrinkled pea plant experiments on inheritance are commemorated on this German stamp. If only Darwin and he had met ...

And if only Darwin had met or read properly the work of Gregor Mendel

Charles Darwin and 2010 International Year of Biodiversity

February 18, 2010

Darwin's microscope (still to be seen at Down House) used on the Beagle around the world and to look at backyard biodiversity from his back garden and the Sand walk, Falklands commemorative stamp 1982.

Following on from 2009’s Charles Darwin’s bicentenary Darwin 200, this year has been dubbed 2010 International Year of Biodiversity. You can find out more about IYBD at www.biodiversityislife.net – stamp issues in Britain and around the world will mark the event. It also coincides with British Association’s National Science and Engineering Week events from 12 to 21 March 2010 www.nsew.org.uk . Both websites have good event listings and lots of teaching ideas and resources. Many IYBD events are planned in zoos and other venues across the UK. There is encouragement for backyard biologists or biodiversity Our Darwin stamp book partners RZSS Edinburgh Zoo are very busy with events  as well as hosting the IUCN secretariat www.iucn.org. IUCN the International Union for Conservation of Nature prepare the IUCN Red Data List www.iucnredlist.org of how rare some of the species that Darwin saw on his Voyage of the Beagle have become .

Darwin’s work on coral reefs, islands and how animals become specialised, adapted  and eventaully become separate species on islands are very important today for conserving and protecting biodiversity hotspots like the Philippines.

HMS Beagle and Darwin's work on coral reef islands celebrated in this fabulous First Day Cover, 1981 Cocos And Keeling Island stamps

Our Philippines Trail at the zoo is mentioned on the IYBD and  half term  and National Science Week activities.  We have used many Philippines stamps from the zoo and personal collections to illustrate more about these amazing islands. Stamps show the flags, cultural dances, history, produce and wildlife. Two of the most beautiful stamp sets used are WWF stamps of our Warty pigs  (Red Data List Wild status: Critically endangered) and Philippine Spotted deer (Red Data List Wild status: Endangered)

WWF Filipinas Philippines stamps showing the rarest pigs in the world (Visayan Warty pig) and rarest deer (Philippine Spotted deer) in the world, here at Newquay Zoo as part of a conservation breeding programme between the Philippines, zoos and other organisations around the world.

Endangered Mammals stamps

13 April 2010  The Royal Mail will issue a special edition of stamps for 2010 Year of Biodiversity. The latest set in the Action for Species series shows images of mammals and will feature 10 UK endangered species for which conservation action plans are in place. Look on the Royal Mail website in the next few weeks for pictures of these beautiful new stamps – some more backyard biodiversity. 

http://www.royalmail.com/portal/stamps/jump1?catId=32200669&mediaId=32300674

More projects like this can be found at wild about gardening, the new website www.wildaboutgardens.org

Darwin’s birthday 12 February, stamps, teasets, the BBC’s A History of the World in 100 Objects and the new Royal Mail stamps for 2010

January 31, 2010
Charles Darwin young man St helena stamp

Charles Darwin the young Victorian gentleman of science, before the famous beard was established - image taken from a portrait sketch as a young man in the late 1830s around the time of his marriage to Emma Wedgewood and shortly after his return in 1836 from the Voyage of The HMS Beagle, during which he visited the island of St. Helena. Stamp issue 1982, marking 100 years since his death. An attractive border showing 'biodiversity' links this portrait set of Darwin linked 1982 island issue stamps.

“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Charles Darwin …”  Maybe not. Although this tune was late Victorian, it was composed  after Darwin’s death , whilst  the words emerged in the early 20th century. However it’s a chance for a school assembly theme, craft idea or a beautifully designed stamp page: Charles Darwin’s birthday is coming up on Friday 12 February 2010. This is  celebrated each year in Shrewsbury (his birthplace) and in  many unusual ways around the world. Many unusual events are registered at www.darwinday.org  and you can find out more about Darwin on our Blogroll links.  

2010 will see not only the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity (biodiversity being now under threat in  many of the areas Darwin visited) but also the 150th anniversary of the famous Oxford ‘Evolution’ and ‘Creation’  debate between the Victorian church (in the church corner: Bishop Wilberforce) and Victorian Science (in the ‘red in tooth and claw’ corner, not Tennyson but Darwin’s ‘bulldog’ T.H. Huxley). Darwin was, by nature, quite a shy man and wisely working elsewhere! 

The Charles Darwin: A Celebration in Stamps is now published. It is aimed at schools and a copy will be available free to schools on request (while stocks last) but it is also of general interest and can be purchased for £6 (plus p&p). Our Darwin stamp book is available from Sandie Robb at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo or from Mark Norris at Newquay Zoo – see blog entry 25th Nov 2009 for details. 

Charles Darwin the old Victorian gentleman of science, after the famous beard was long established and Darwin was nearing his death- the famous image based on the photograph portrait by pioneer Victorian lady photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. Stamp issue 1982, marking 100 years since his death. Darwin passed Mauritius on his Beagle voyage home. Again an attractive border showing 'biodiversity' links this portrait set of Darwin linked island 1982 stamps.

We’d nominate this 1982 stamp series (shown opposite) to join the BBC Radio 4’s series A History of the World in 100 Objects. This  has a fine section on Victorian objects submitted by museums around the country, individuals and an ‘Early Victorian Tea Set’  (for serving early Victorian tea). The Darwin link? The tea set was  designed by Wedgewood, Darwin’s relation by marriage to his cousin Emma Wedgewood. You can see the tea objects in a fabulous new digital museum online at  http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/FWYgWOCSSpKKuF3pctC6tA  There are  plenty more  Victorian objects at http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/explorerflash/?tag=63&tagname=The%20Victorians&/#/culture/63 with lots of other learning resources and even a CBBC website game called Relic : Guardians of the Museum http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/   There are hundreds of fabulous objects on this BBC / British Museum site. Our other zoo blog World War Zoo gardens http://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com has nominated a child’s ‘wartime handmade sliding puzzle’ toy featured from the 1940s but which could easily have come from the 1840s and the Darwin children’s  nursery.   They still make such sliding toys in plastic and still make tea sets much like the early Victorians – some objects do not change design or purpose very quickly, others rapidly become obsolete or extinct. 

Finally, it’s 175 years this year since Darwin visited the Galapagos islands in 1835.  Whilst there are no Darwin stamps for  2010 from the Royal Mail (2009 saw a fine ‘jigsaw’ set for Darwin’s bicentenary),  we need time to catch up with all the Darwin 200 bicentenary issue stamps and Galapagos visit anniversary from elsewhere around the world! There are  plenty of new thematic or commemorative releases by the Royal Mail. These  include Children’s literature, the Royal Society, Railways, Mammals and others which may feature Victorian subjects, science or animals. Unusually the centenary of Florence Nightingale’s death in 2010 is not obviously commemorated (but there are Florence Nightingale Royal Mail issues from the past). For more stamp collecting information, to inspire you to set up a stamp club in school or collect yourself  http://www.royalmail.com/portal/stamps/content1?catId=32300678&mediaId=32600692 

New Releases 2010 http://www.royalmail.com/portal/stamps/jump1?catId=32200669&mediaId=32300674  

7th January – Classic Album Covers – 
26th January – Smilers 2010  –
2nd February – Girl Guiding UK –
25th February – The Royal Society
11th March – Battersea Dogs & Cats
13th April – Mammals (Action for Species 4)
6th & 8th May – London 2010 Festival of Stamps
13th May – Britain Alone
*15th June – House of Stuarts
27th July – The London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games
19th August – Musicals
16th September – Great British Railways
*12th October – Children’s Books
2nd November – Christmas
*New issue date for this Special Stamp Issue 

Happy stamp collecting! Happy Darwin’s birthday on the 12th!

Care for the rare – What connects Charles Darwin, postage stamps, evolution, conservation, zoos and extinction and rarity value?

January 18, 2010

Charles Darwin first day cover Falklands 1982

 

Last week from Stanley Gibbons I received an inviting offer to invest in a very, very rare Victorian stamp. 

Here at Newquay Zoo www.newquayzoo.org.uk  and my colleagues at Edinburgh Zoo www.edinburghzoo.org,  we are very used to working with often very, very rare animals. The kind that feature  on the IUCN Red Data list www.iucnredlist.org of endangered animals.  If we do our work well, they will became less rare and more common (or at least less endangered and better protected). 

Charles Darwin on his travels around the world and his visits to early zoos like London Zoo ZSL saw some now exceptionally rare animals, even some that are now extinct.  The Warrah or Falkland Islands wolf (Dusicyon australis, pictured above) is one such recently extinct animal.  So no chance of Sandie Robb (co-compiler of Charles Darwin: A Celebration in Stamps) seeing one on her recent Falklands expedition twinning Falklands schools with ones in Scotland. http://rzssfalklands.wordpress.com and www.rzss.org.uk/education/school/falkland_islands_project.html 

Darwin discovered dinosaur bones for other long extinct creatures in South America, being an early palaeontologist and geologist. He even stopped passed Mauritius on his route home on the HMS Beagle, narrowly missing seeing the Dodo by a century or two. 

 

 

 

Breeding rare animals in a well-managed conservation programme is obviously important and you can find more about this on our zoo websites, along with our networks www.biaza.org.uk, www.eaza.net and www.waza.org .  

I’m  not sure if Stanley Gibbons or collectors and investors in very rare stamps would be very impressed if we suddenly produced lots more of a rare stamp like the one we were offered by their investment site. They might be a bit suspicious of forgery. 

  

” Today’s Top Tip – An Undervalued Rarity received from marketing@stanleygibbons.co.uk 10th January 2009 

“One of the most important stamps from the British Empire. Our Philatelic Director produced the description of this item. As it is a bit technical in nature, I have simply highlighted in “bold” the important aspects influencing its investment quality to help you understand why it is so special. 

NEW ZEALAND 1855 SG: 3b–StockCode–P09004882 
1855 (Dec) 1d orange on white paper, watermark large star, imperforate with large margins and brilliant colour, part original gum.Plated as position 5 on the sheet, the centre stamp from the reconstructed strip of 3 (position 4-6) assembled by H. Gordon Kaye (CRL 12/11/91, lots 65-67), and much the finest of the three.

Slight gum crease at foot but very fine appearance and excessively rare

This first Richardson printing, using paper supplied from London, represents the initial production of postage stamps in New Zealand. A very important and desirable stamp. Stamp comes with a British Philatelic Association certificate (1990).(catalogue value: £32,000

Price: £24,000   This stamp is the finest of the three in existence …”      

New Zealand 1855 (Dec) 1d orange on white paper a very very rare stamp from the Stanley Gibbons website - probably the closest you'll ever come to seeing one!

and so the email temptingly went on. Not having £32,000 or even £24,000 spare, I didn’t take Stanley Gibbons up on their kind offer. Our zoo directors might wonder where their zoo budgets had gone. 

Island life
Stamps from small islands like the animals from small islands tend to be at risk of becoming rare because of the very few produced or surviving, compared to the thousands of everyday definitive (penny and pound) postage stamps used in Britain each year for example. Many of our rarest creatures in zoos today are from islands. Many of the extinction lists feature island species quite heavily.
Darwin noticed that island life tends to create perfect conditions for speciation and evolution of certain features that help you survive or adapt to each unique environment, often favouring certain natural individual variations (height, speed, bill shape etc) within any animal or plant population.
 
Even more like evolution, it is often the tiniest variations, tiny mistakes or errors (famously missing colours or printing pictures of airplanes upside down) that escape the printers’ censorious eyes and the ‘error’ stamps become worth a fortune.  
There are many stories about rare stamps or errors that we will share with you on the blog, even the odd Victorian murder by crazed collectors to gain the only copy of a stamp known to survive. Some animal collectors hoard rare animals such as the Spix’s Macaw until they have the last few left. Other people illegally collect rare bird’s eggs.  Stamp collecting  is much less destructive or murderous than that. 
 
You don’t have to bankrupt your school, classroom or own budget to collect some inspiring and beautiful stamps on almost any thematic subject you can think of to illustrate your teaching and brighten your day !
 
Stamps can easily be obtained from dealers, auction sites like E-Bay, kindly collectors, friends or lucky charity / junk shop finds.  Look at the blogroll for more links.
 
If you do have a spare £24,000 or £32,000 and don’t want to spend it on beautiful rare stamps, both Edinburgh Zoo and Newquay Zoo are conservation charities. We’ve lots of ideas on what to do with the money. You could buy and protect a lot of rainforest habitat for that sort of money through the World Land Trust!
 
Alternatively, you could buy all several hundred  first edition copies of Charles Darwin: A Celebration in Stamps  (for price and postage, see Sandie’s comments on the comments page). Even better, we  will send one copy free to any UK primary school that requests one, thanks to a legacy from Beryl Rennie, a Scottish stamp collector to encourage schools and youth stamp work.   
 
Teaching Tips  – Extinction and Conservation
It is important to distinguish what different causes made animals disappear such as dodos, dinosaurs and more recently extinct animals such as the Falklands Wolf  or Dusky Seaside Sparrow. This can create lots of questions in class to investigate:
  • Was this a natural extinction such as the dinosaurs? 
  • Was it unnatural and influenced by man such as the Dodo or Falklands Wolf?
  • What causes animals to become extinct?
  • What causes animals to become endangered?
  • What rare or endangered animals do we have in Britain?
  • What can zoos, conservation  and nature organisations do to help prevent extinction in the future?

We look forward to hearing from you via the blog about ways that you have used the Darwin book or stamps in your classroom or craftroom.