Adrian Keppel

Adrian Keppel  |  Dec 01, 2010  |  0 comments

Albania 1913 25q blue, depicting the national hero Gjergji Kastrioti, better known as 'Skanderbeg' The 10q value with '7 Mars’ and ‘1467 Rroftë Mbreti 1914' handstamped overprints, issued to celebrate the arrival of Wilhelm of Wied in 1914 It was not until the early 20th century that an independent Albania emerged from the crumbling Ottoman Empire of Turkey, which had dominated the Balkans for centuries.

The new country comprised thousands of tribes who were very suspicious of each other, but the hunger for self-determination was the glue that held them together – that, and the support of powerful allies.

When Serbia and Greece threatened to divide the territory between them during the First Balkan War of 1912-13, Europe’s great powers instead brokered the creation of a buffer state of ethnic Albanians, to be ruled over by an appointed monarch, the German prince Wilhelm of Wied.

Adrian Keppel  |  Nov 10, 2010  |  0 comments

When rumours arose of a joint stamp issue to mark the 60th anniversary of Indonesian independence, both the Dutch and Indonesian postal authorities were quick to deny them.

That was no great surprise, as the colonial period still touches a raw nerve in both countries.

The last Dutch royal visit, for example, in 1995, was fraught with politics, raising difficult questions about whether Queen Beatrix should apologise for imperialism in what was then the Netherlands Indies (or Dutch East Indies), or voice concern over present-day Indonesia’s poor human rights record.

Adrian Keppel  |  Nov 04, 2010  |  0 comments

The Germania 80pf black and red on rose from the 1899-2000 ‘Reichspost’ printing A group of stamp designers waited on tenterhooks in the hall, each displaying his artwork for a new definitive stamp.

Eventually the door was flung open, and in burst Kaiser Wilhelm II, looking extremely annoyed at having to attend to such a trivial matter.

He dashed past each of the hopefuls before storming back towards the door, only to turn around, point at one design and mutter: ‘This one’.