If you only read my blogs, you won't know that I have other philatelic interests apart from modern Great Britain - security Machin definitives and Post and Go. The journey of Tim Peake from Baikonur to the International Space Station (ISS) gives me the opportunity to introduce you to two other areas of collecting.
Tim Peake isn't the first British Astronaut, although he is the first to go to the ISS as part of the European Space Agency's venture with the Russian space programme. The first was Helen Sharman who went to the Russian Mir space station in 1991. The Sheffield Scouts Charity Christmas Post chose Helen as the subject of their Christmas stamps that year.
You can read more about the Sheffield Scout Posts from 1991 here.
In the mid-1990s I took an interest in the modern postal history of the countries which 'appeared' from the collapse of the USSR. This turbulent period included provisional stamps, high inflation, and a large number of totally bogus 'stamps' and covers, from 15 countries some of them totally new to the philatelic atlas. This was totally by chance as I happened upon some interesting covers at one of the London Stampex events.
I started studying some areas in detail, and even learned a little Russian to help! Sadly I still have a huge amount of material to study and write up, but the first fruits of my labours are here. This was in the days of dial-up modems and pay-per-minute internet access, so the images are necessarily small. When I get back to it, there will be much more detail and much bigger images.
I don't have any stamps showing the ISS to which Tim Peake will blast off in just over an hour, but one of the earliest of Kazakhstan's stamps shows the Mir Space Station.
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