Saturday, October 02, 2010

Subversive Stamps

It’s a shame Wales doesn’t issue its own postage stamps. We could have, say, John Cale (1st class), Arthur Machen (2nd class), and maybe Isabel Ice (large letter). How about a Super Furry Animals Christmas set? Actually, subversive philately has a distinguished underground tradition. Down the years everybody from the anti-nuclear movement to Sinn Fein have been tampering with the queen’s mail. Wales is no exception. The usual method is overprinting, where images are defaced or messages (often political) superimposed. During the 1960s Welsh-language activists were overprinting British stamps with ‘STATWS I'R GYMRAEG,’ ‘CYMRU,’ and ‘CYMRU AM BYTH’ (see pic). Even in the 1920s there was a group called ‘Trigolion y Ddraig Goch’ (Natives of the Red Dragon) who were busy defacing images of king George V with pairs of red dragons.

You can read more about this sort of thing here.