Most postage stamps depict serious subjects. Humor, on the other hand, is left to the postcards on which the stamps are placed.
Now, the Royal Mail of Great Britain celebrates the 100th anniversary of the pictorial postcard with five stamps featuring amusing scenes at British seaside holiday resorts.Although invention of the plain postcard is credited to the Austrian government in 1869, it was not until 1894 that the first pictorial card appeared in Britain. By the turn of the century, no seaside town was complete without a selection of funny pictorial cards.
According to the Royal Mail, a majority of the cards had a comic theme often based on innuendo or showing mischievous children, henpecked husbands and large ladies.
The 19 pence stamp illustrates one of these large women who has caught a crab on her toe and is screaming for help. The 25 p depicts a man whose large stomach blocks his view of his missing son. The 30 p portrays a man sitting in a deckchair writing his postcards. The 35 p has two children watching a Punch and Judy Show while sitting on top of their stout mother. The 41 p features a hefty man playing a boardwalk game while a little dog runs away with his prize.
Each stamp bears an inscription at the bottom, "Pictorial Postcards 1894-1994." The silhouette of Queen Elizabeth II is at the top.
- Syd Kronish