Wednesday, April 25, 2007


It used to be big(ish) news when pop stars got themselves onto postage stamps. Certainly when the US Post office used images of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley on their stamps, stocks soon sold out. Jamaica even put Bob Marley on stamps commemorating his birth. Other countries soon cottoned on the fact that pop + rock+ stamps meant big business.

The former Soviet states like Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan have turned the whole thing into a very lucrative overseas currency earner - because there are not too many home sales. Their stamps have featured all the usual suspects including the Beatles, Abba, Mariah Carey, Queen, Madonna. Sometimes they have made some bizarre choices, like Turkmenistan using Peter Andre. They are not alone, Mali have featured sixties US ‘heart throb’ Fabian, Sting is big in the former Belgian Congo. While Grenada issued a set of stamps a few years ago with paintings that are so bad as to bear little more than a passing resemblance to a wide ranging group of artists that includes, Cher, Dolly Parton, Johnny Mathis and Janice Joplin. This set from the Gambia is fairly typical.

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