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ISLE OF MAN ISSUES `MUTINY' STAMPS

The much-publicized and romanticized story of the "Mutiny on the Bounty" is known all over the world. Books, films and even postage stamps have told and retold this real-life drama of the high seas, and the names and places connected with it are still of interest two centuries later.

Not as well known, however, are the ties that exist between the Isle of Man and the individuals involved in the mutiny. Three of the main characters - Capt. William Bligh, Fletcher Christian and Peter Heywood - had roots on this island.Hence, the Isle of Man has issued a set of five stamps and a souvenir sheet to hail the 200th anniversary of the mutiny and the Manx men involved in it.

Bligh married Elizabeth Betham, daughter of the collector of customs, in Old Onchan Church in 1781. Christian, who led the mutineers, was part of a famous family on the island. Heywood, who was later pardoned and went on to have a distinguished naval career, was also from a prominent Manx family.

As the story goes, Christian and his mutineers landed on Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific, where many of the descendants of the original group live today. Some fled Pitcairn to nearby Norfolk Island, and their progeny are still found there.

The 13-pence Manx stamp shows Bligh outside the church in which he was married, and the 16-pence depicts him and his loyal supporters being cast adrift by the mutineers. Heywood appears on the 30-pence, while the 32-pence has a scene of the Bounty arriving at Pitcairn Island. Shown on the 35-pence is Christian against a backdrop of the refuge at Pitcairn.

Three stamps and a label make up the design of the souvenir sheet. Included is the 35-pence Christian stamp. Since Pitcairn and Norfolk are also celebrating the anniversary, the Isle of Man has reproduced one stamp from each to complete the souvenir sheet. Clive Abbott, the designer of the Manx anniversary stamps, also designed the Pitcairn and Norfolk stamps. The label bears a map of the Pacific region in which the historic events took place.

These Isle of Man issues are available at your local stamp dealer.

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From 18th-century sailing vessels, we go to spacecraft of the 20th century and beyond.

As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of man's landing on the moon, many stamp collectors are becoming more involved in acquiring stamps with spaceflight themes. Three months after Sputnik I was launched on Oct.4, 1957, a small group of topical collectors formed the Space Topics Study Group, which today is one of the largest, if not the largest, space philatelic club.

The group collects space and rocket stamps, space first-day covers, manned- and unmanned-flight event covers, pictorial cancels, autographs and other stamp items. It is the largest such group within the American Topical Association and is affiliated with the American Philatelic Society.

For more information, write: Seymour Rodman, P.O. Box 356, Chatham, NJ 07928.

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Four new airmail stamps commemorating the 20th Universal Postal Congress will be released this fall in Washington. The quartet of stamps offers a glimpse of what mail transportation might be like in the future.

The four stamps feature a hypersonic airliner, a shuttle involved in midspace mail transfer at a space station, a surface rover vehicle delivering mail to a space colony, and a mail vehicle speeding along a highway on a cushion of air.

The block of four 45-cent airmails together with an imperforate souvenir sheet are part of a series of stamps and stationery items to be released by the U.S. Postal Service during World Stamp Expo '89 to commemorate the Universal Postal Union Congress.

An upcoming column will feature more details and photos of the stamps.