July 2014

In July, member Barry Brown gave his first ever display on the subject of Iceland.

Barry started with the oldest set of stamps printed in March 1870 when the Danish Post Office opened in Iceland. The first Icelandic stamps were printed three years later in 1873, and the first minisheet was printed in 1937. He showed us the different varieties of stamps over the years with types of overprints, watermarks and paper types whilst pointing out that the stamps depicted different aspects of life in Iceland.

He also showed us aerogrammes, letter cards, postcards, some ‘Active Service Covers,’ one with the original letter from WWII addressed to his wife (My precious old dear) in Kent in 1944. We were shown many pieces of ephemera, including old and new Icelandic money, and a piece of volcanic rock.

We were informed that Iceland is a stunningly beautiful place if you enjoy strange and desolate landscapes, referring of course to its many volcanoes and geysers. Because it is so close to the Arctic Circle, the amount of daylight varies dramatically by season. The sun sets briefly each night in June, but it doesn't get fully dark before it comes back up again. The midnight sun is a beautiful sight and one definitely not to be missed.

Some more facts:

We learnt that a new island was formed in southernmost point of Iceland called Surtsey in a volcanic eruption which began 130 metres (426 ft) below sea level, and reached the surface on 14 November 1963. The eruption lasted until 5 June 1967. With many thermal geysers around, some parts of the island have main pipes flowing from the geyser to their houses, providing them with a hot water system. Iceland has one of, if not the oldest, parliament (The Althing) in the world; it was formed in 930 by Vikings.

All the facts mentioned above were depicted on the many stamps Barry displayed.

Thank you Barry for an informative afternoon which was much appreciated by the members.