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Celebrating Malta’s first stamp anniversary

The Annual Maltex Philatelic Exhibition, organised by the Malta Philatelic Society, will be held at the Green Lounge of The Hotel Phoenicia in Floriana this weekend.

This year the society will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of Malta’s first stamp, the famous Queen Victoria Halfpenny Yellow which was issued for local use in December of 1860.

The UK-based Malta Study Circle, with whom the Philatelic Society enjoys a warm and friendly relationship, have been invited to participate in this event and a few Circle members are currently in Malta to join their local counterparts on this special occasion. The exhibition will be opened by Rodger Evans, chairman of the Malta Study Circle, and will be blessed by Fr Anthony Galea, a long-standing member of the Society.

Visitors will, no doubt, find the exhibits both attractive and interesting as exhibitors have, once again, gone out of their way to make their displays as varied and diverse as possible so as to satisfy the different collecting tastes of most philatelists.

A rich variety of items will be on display. These include: Green Cross and patriotic labels of World War II; covers commemorating Pope Benedict’s visit to Malta; Great Britain Victorian postmarks on stamps; choice items from Society President Alfred Bonnici’s collection; Zeppelin covers addressed to and from Malta; Malta half-penny stamps; covers and stamps issued to commemorate philanthropists David Livingstone and Albert Schweitzer in Africa; different printing shades of Malta postage stamps and postal stationery; Belgian stamps and covers commemorating the death of prominent people; Spanish costumes on stamps; Halfpenny Yellows and Malta paquebots; philatelic material depicting halfpenny yellows; Great Britain stamps used in Malta, Maltese revenue stamps and advertising stamp labels, women on stamps; articles of the UN and an old stamp album.

In the junior section, Gerald Parnis will be displaying French mythical heroines on stamps.

A selection of philatelic material from the Maltapost archives will also be on display.

Two souvenirs in the form of a crystal glass paperweight and a metal keychain, both reproducing a facsimile of the “halfpenny yellow” designed by Society member John De Battista, have been produced to commemorate this special event.

Visitors can obtain either or both of these souvenirs at the exhibition against a small donation. The exhibition will feature a temporary branch post office which will be open throughout the three days.

All mail posted at this post office will receive the special Maltex handstamp. Local and foreign stamp dealers will also be in attendance to cater for collectors’ needs.

Another interesting feature this year will be the presenceof Stuart Billington, a representative of the internationally famous Grosvenor Philatelic Auctions.

The intention is to promote the sale by auction of an important collection of Malta stamps and postal history which is to take place later this month.

The exhibition will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday. Admission is free.

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