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Political correspondence

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Alex01/04/2017 15:33:05
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I have always had an interest in post war British politics (I'm currently reading both the autobios of John Major and Tony Blair). I was therefore pleasantly surprised to find a small hoard of political correspondence in a local charity shop which I was able to buy for pennies.

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The postcards were written by Russell Johnston, a Scottish Liberal Democrat MP who had been the Leader of the Scottish Liberals back in the 1970s and 80s. They were mostly addressed to Annie Nicolson MBE, his constituency agent. Both are now dead. I suppose that the family of Annie Nicolson put the postcards into the local charity and nobody took much notice of them until I started to buy them.

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The postcards were posted in London (House of Commons) as well as in Europe. Johnston was involved with the European Parliament and some of the postcards were posted from there. They give a little insight about the meetings he attended as well as mentioning the amount of travelling he did by Eurostar between London and Paris, Brussels and other places.

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They are of little philatelic value but for me they are of social, historical and political value. They show a window into another age, the time just before emails took over completely as a form of mass communication. An age where people wrote little chit-chats on a postcard instead of the modern way of throwing out a rapid email.

Julian01/04/2017 18:24:25
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Geez Alex what made you pick those two characters to read about? whilst any Autobios has some value and insight, politics is definitely not my cup of tea but i commend you for taking the time to read them.

I would think the post cancels of these would be sort after with the provenance as well.

Take for instance the PC with The Houses of Parliament and how NOW that sky line is very different!! I find PC very fascinating probably more than stamps if pushed to say.

Now my mind would be dead chuffed at buying those for a mere sum of money....................

Alex02/04/2017 11:12:29
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Well, I read widely and reading about political figures gives you an insight into the era that one is living thru or has lived thru.

I think that politics is a good choice for a philatelic collection and I saw some amazing examples of such collections when I was a member of my local stamp club. I have quite a few political philatelic items already so that I could, if I wanted to, start one as well though I would probably concentrate on the Cold War years. I've a few Kennedy items, things like that.

I also have this autograph from a famous British politician which I think is a pretty darn cool thing.

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As to your comment about postcards, yes I would certainly agree. It was postcards that first moved me away from stamps and into postal history. I remember being intrigued by some Edwardian postcards; their pictures in the front and the messages on the back as well as the postmarks and the like.

Julian02/04/2017 18:11:22
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I do not doubt for one minute, you are well read. I just wish I had a brain like it. I can't remember what I found last week let alone in a book.

Now tell me is that an optical illusion on that card but does Big Ben lean to the right? I know the signature is leaning to the right lol being Conservative, Emmmm however much I dis like the woman it is a good thing to have.

When you think about it, a Postcard is a back to front FDC really with the added bonus of normally a real picture.

Julian03/04/2017 14:07:26
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Here you go Alex you saying about JFK and the cold war era. A little gem from Central Africa and other than the obvious bit about Apollo 11, the rest of the stamp is pretty weird. I would love to know what the left hand side of this stamp is supposed to be depicting?

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Alex03/04/2017 14:34:04
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It is supposed to be an image of the photo John Glenn took of his boot leaving a footprint on the moon, July 1969.

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Alex03/04/2017 15:30:02
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I started buying some covers a while back with a view to starting a new collection about the Cold War. It never came to anything as I still enjoy my German air mail and American Wild West collections too much to spend any more money on these at the present time. Here are a few of the covers I have.

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An iconic symbol, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

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Opening of the Berlin Central Library which was a cultural gift of the United States to the Berliners.

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The State visit by President Kennedy to West Germany and West Berlin in 1963.

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The State visit by President Eisenhower to West Germany, 1959.

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West Berlin commemorative cover for the first anniversary of the death of Kennedy.

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As above.

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This cover carries both the West Berlin Kennedy stamp as well as the American Kennedy stamp and was postmarked in Wiesbaden. The US Army / Air Force APO cancel carries a similar Flame of Freedom design. APO 633 was the US military base in Wiesbaden.

I don't think that I will ever start such a collection but it would be a great subject matter for anyone looking for a new subject.

Julian03/04/2017 21:40:48
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OMG HA HA HA HA I am not going to tell you what I thought that was, how bizarre!!!!! Seeing your picture yes I can see it now and yes I should have known better, geez like Paul and China???????

Trouble is with that subject Alex is, where all the different directions you can take but I see you have another signed gem there????? Would much rather that than the other one your proud of lol.

I think I need psychiatric help with the way my head works though, I wont get over that stamp in a hurry that's for sure......................

Alex04/04/2017 08:53:20
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Yes, Julian, that is why I haven't started; where do you begin?

You may be interested in this little tale I've pasted here (I wrote it for an American site) concerning the Apollo 11 landing, nothing to do about stamps though.

Hanau Evening, 1969

Woke up to the news that Neil Armstrong has died. The first man on the moon. I was too young to take much note of the early, pioneering, days of space flight; the Mercury missions, the Gemini missions, nor the early Apollo days. It was during the early 1970s and beyond that I took an interest in NASA, which continues right up to this day. The Apollo car, Skylab, Viking landings, the Space Shuttles and everything since, these were things I witnessed, read about, watched on TV. I still get that same kick out of Mars nowadays as I got in 1976. I still have a yellowed front page of the Stars & Stripes announcing the Viking landing. The icing on the cake for that amazing bicentennial summer, which seems like another world now.

However Neil Armstrong, and that July lunar landing so long ago, is part of my personal history too, or rather my family history. The story goes like this, according to my parents. I was there, so was my baby brother, but I don't remember the day as I was only 4 years old.

Well, we were stationed in Hanau, West Germany. My dad was based in one of the Lamboy kasernes and we lived somewhere on the German economy. It was, apparently, a lovely hot summers day. Dad was off duty, so we all went for a walk in the woods, somewhere to the north of Pioneer kaserne. On our second tour of Germany we returned here, in the late 1970s. The wood had become smaller, thru developement, but was still big. It was a lot bigger in the 1960s! There were things to be discovered in that wood, old building foundations going back to the Roman limes, a tower from a medieval abbey, that kind of thing.

Anyhow, this little American family decided to take a walk in the woods, and they walked and walked. It was getting towards dusk when my parents decided to return back to the car. But which way back? Apparently we managed to get ourselves lost in that wood. Baby was asleep in the buggy, I stood holding on to it, my feet resting on the wire cage underneath the buggy, and my parents pushed onwards, around and around, outwards and onwards. It was dark by now, darker in the woods. Dad could hear, in the distance, motor traffic. Somewhere over there, so they trailed up one path, then another, aiming for the traffic. After a little while my parents could see the car lights. After some more walking, some more detouring, they made it to a road. By now it was about nine or ten at night, local time. Six hours walking around that darn wood.

Dad stood at the road and hitched a ride back into Hanau. How he did it I don't know. Man, I sure as hell wouldn't have stopped in a wood, after dark, to give someone a lift into town. Dad himself is a bit vague about it. I imagine him running in front of some poor German driver, arms waving about, stopping him in the middle of the road. Dad would have crazy enough to do that. Or maybe somebody saw the family in the dark and stopped. Mom was too tired to care much as long as she got her kids home. Anyhow, some kind German driver stopped in the middle of that dark wood and took the Amerikaner back into town, in fact he dropped us off at the front gate of Pioneer kaserne. I imagine him telling the story of how he picked up a American family in the dark for years afterwards.

Well, the day (or night) hadn't finished yet as we still had to get our car. So dad dropped us off at the MP station and got a taxi to go back to pick up the car. Things sure look different at night, and dad wasn't sure where he'd parked, so he and the taxi driver had to drive around for a while, deeper and deeper into that darn wood. By now, according to dad, the German taxi driver was beginning to freak out, thinking that dad was going to rob him, or worse! Thankfully they found the car, and dad paid the, relieved I'm sure, taxi driver. Once he picked us up from Pioneer we got back home well after midnight.

That was how our family spent the day Neil Armstrong took that giant step. I don't remember any of it, but it has become one of those family stories that I'm sure we all have, part of that cement that binds families together. First man on the moon? Man, that was just a walk in the woods....

Julian04/04/2017 16:45:46
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Well I must be the same age as you roughly because I remember being allowed to stay up and watch that on TV and well into the night I might add, of course being so young staying up was the bonus, not the event. I am more what you call a person who knows much about many subjects but little to back it up.

There is a very interesting view again with religion and the firmament above the firmament which sort of leads me with interest and space, my favourite classical piece is Holst The Planets and I am linked with it also through Astrology, always find it fascinating even with the conspiracy theories and indeed UFO's. In my late teens I was very into this thinking and with the concept of other life other than our own.

When I was small, I was given a huge picture child Bible for Christmas, I read that back to front, twice and the questions I had then, I have only just found the answers to myself sort of now. Probably what put me off reading books I might add....... I read online a piece about some Astronaut who had recently wrote a book, his perception was very thought provoking and indeed spiritual even if he did not know it but it was to do with viewing the Earth and the speed at which they traverse the planet. He described viewing one place on the Earth and within minutes could be around the other side, thus giving a very spiritual feeling to Spirit that is all around us, as there seems to be no boundaries!

I was going to write a book all about Genesis and the mis interpretation of the scriptures, which of course Jesus was trying to correct. And don't choke on your coffee, I also read the Qur'an RECENTLY which I found very very interesting, I would like to read The Torah as well but I sort of know the outcome already? I did however read a very interesting book about a Jewish Astrologer, who was exiled from his kin folk for his radical thinking, remind you of anything?????

If I remember rightly,isn't that why Germany is used for outposts for Army training is because of their dense woodlands?

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