The Mystery of Solomon’s Hairline

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Sri Lanka’s Solomon West Ridgeway Dias (SWRD for sanity’s sake) Bandaranaike was honoured in several stamps both during and after his rule as Prime Minister. His stamps are relatively common so I never gave them much thought besides, let’s face it, he’s got one helluva boring face. Then I discovered something hilarious.

SWRD Bandaranaike

Uptight nationalist wanker with distinctive hairline – image via newsfirst.lk

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Poetry on Stamps

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I admire poetry in the only way someone who can’t actually write poetry, can appreciate poetry. I may not notice if a piece is written badly or well, but judge purely based on the “feels” it generates. So it’s bad enough that this new set of no less than SIX miniature sheets from the United Nations (who allowed them to issue stamps in the first place?) celebrating World Poetry Day is completely extravagant but NONE of the included snippets seem to justify the expense of trying to collect them.

You are not just a drop in the ocean
You are the mighty ocean in the drop.
— Rumi

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Maybe it’s a good thing that I can’t actually read this shite.

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Slovakia’s 2015 Easter stamp

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Jesus H. Christ Slovakia, what’s up with your new Easter stamp? What happened to Easter being about chocolate eggs and bunny rabbits? I have never seen such a miserable looking picture of the overhyped martyr in my whole life. Shouldn’t he look happy to be back among the living and not like he’d burst into tears any minute? Does this being imbued with an eucalyptus fragrance supposed to help?
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The Head of Christ – image courtesy of Slovak Post-Slovenská

As a long suffering misanthropist, I do have some sympathy for the poor bugger. Being born is bad enough. Why the dead can’t be allowed to stay dead is beyond me.

Ceylon 1952 Star Orchid stamp variations

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I’m sure that at one stage (likely 25+ years ago) I had nearly 20 copies of this thanks to a larger collection bequeathed to me by a grand aunt. Over the years I’ve given away most of them assuming that they are all duplicates. Imagine my horror when I returned to my childhood hobby recently and realised that there are THREE distinct variations.

Maybe I was not a very observant child. I most certainly did not have access to the internet or catalogues like Stanley Gibbons (SG). Either way, I hope I can help you avoid this situation by pointing out the differences below.

1. So the first one was issued on 1 February 1952 as a 35 cent stamp. This has an SG catalog number of LK 424 and it gives prominence to the word CEYLON in English with Sinhalese and Tamil notations appearing in smaller script. The stamp subject and words POSTAGE AND REVENUE are also given in English.

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Ra glorious ra

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For a nation that drinks as much as we do, I find it upsetting that Sri Lanka has yet to produce an alcohol themed stamp. We even have local equivalents in the form of Ra (also called Toddy) and Arrack so why avoid it? The arrack in particular has been referred to in legendary explorer Marco Polo’s 13th century travelogue, Il Milione – a fact to be proud of surely!? If it were upto me, I’d design a stamp with the dude sitting on a nice beach with his feet up, enjoying a bowl of arrack and use it to teach school children that drinking responsibly is more important than perfect abstinence (and you wonder why they won’t accept my calls at the Philatelic Bureau).
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Big useless lumps

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Elephants bore me to death. It is thus unfortunate that I live in a country where the big useless lumps are something of a national symbol. The only thing interesting about elephants (in my opinion at least) is watching them pee. Honestly. I once timed an elephant pissing and gave up after the 2 minute mark. Add THAT to your bucket list.

That said, these 1986 World Wildlife Federation (WWF) stamps issued in honour of the venerable beasties hold a nostalgic appeal because they are the first complete “set” of stamps I collected.

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Blessed pink flamingoes

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So I just noticed that The Bahamas issued three stamps in honour of the World Day of Prayer last Friday.

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Whilst I remain sceptical of prayer and religion in general, what I REALLY can’t understand is the presence of “Blessed” pink flamingoes in the second one. Feels like something from Under the Dome if you ask me.

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And yes, I also find the first one rather demeaning. It’s all fine and dandy that Mary Magdalene felt like washing Jesus’ feet and wiping them with her hair that one time, but putting it on a postage stamp and labeling it “Never Forget How to Serve” is like saying women should be washing men’s feet all the time.

As if.

‘Maithriyen’ overprint

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NOTE: This post has nothing to do with the current president of Sri Lanka although the poor sod was likely named for the same basic concept.

I was looking at two of my 1957 stamps recently and noticed an interesting overprint on one of them. The words “Maithriyen” (I doubt there is a direct English translation because it seems to mean a complicated combo of about 8 different but equally boring qualities) and “Wairaya” (hatred) are clearly visible on the green four cent stamp. These were issued on 1 April 1957 to celebrate the Ceylon postal centenary and features methods of transportation.


I know there is a popular local Buddhist saying “maithriyen wairaya sanside” so could it be that? (loose translation = “benevolence diminishes hatred“). Does anyone know?

I’d love to see any other covers or stamps with this marking so if you do have one – please scan and share!

Where are the Sri Lankan Royalty stamps?

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It just occurred to me that I have never seen a local king on a postage stamp. This dude was likely well on the way to commissioning his own but thank goodness for democracy eh?

I digress. We have so many local stamps featuring British monarchs but not a single one with our own. Yes okay, I know the British royalty stamps were due to the occupation or what have you, but STILL.

Any fan of philately would have seen those lovely stamp sets on the various royal houses issued by Great Britain. In case you haven’t seen them, take a gander because they are GLORIOUS.

So without further ado, here is my list of the top 5 royals of ancient Sri Lanka I would like to see featured on a future stamp.

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