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~ Bagpipes on Postage Stamps ~

~ Stamp No. 999: South Stewart ~
one of a kind

This is the rarest of all bagpipe stamps, there having been only a single specimen made due to a recent ruthless national inventory of South Stewart revealing the existence of only one unused envelope in the entire country, the rest having been foolishly squandered on futile pleas for international assistance in supporting the country's currency, the OS. (The OS has fascinated economists for entire minutes, what with its being based on broken bagpipe reeds, which drip with the very essence of human frustration and thus are beyond conventional value. (Pronounced "OH,SH," with the "S" as in the Very English English "Schedule," the term is believed to have evolved to a contraction of an unprintable expression of surprised alarm often uttered by pipers when one of their reeds "goes south" (and there you have the the origin of that term as well).))

For those who didn't pay attention during geography class, South Stewart is among the world's smaller nations, occupying approximately 74 square feet and running from corner to corner along the south wall of an upstairs bedroom in what looks otherwise like a normal sort of dwelling in East Yorkshire. (If you've never heard of East Yorkshire you're flat out of luck here - we just can't help you; go eat some pudding, or play your bagpipe, and leave the heavy lifting to those of us who understand important international matters.) The clever placement of the entire country on the second floor avoided what could have been a nasty territorial dust-up with the slightly larger surrounding nation, England. South Stewart being an Aerial Nation, there is no trespass on the Old Sod, as it were. South Stewart is also most interesting politically - having a population of one, it is by default simultaneously a Kingdom and a perfect democracy and the King is completely immune to court intrigues. The State Motto is "Reed it and Weep." But we digress.

According to the CIA World Fact Book, there is only one Post Office in South Stewart, located in the third drawer of the East Bureau, behind the socks. Because of the heated controversy raging in the IMF and among the G7 concerning the foreign exchange value of the OS, the stamp is valid only for domestic postage. However, due to the King having seized the 400-pound cast-iron cancellation machine for use as a cider press, the single stamp may be used repeatedly. It is noted in the Guinness Book of World Records that the S.S. Postal Service holds the all-time speed record for border-to-border mail within a country, at four seconds. The Royal Postmaster (another of the King's many titles) has stated in the local newspapers (all three of them, which He alone writes, edits, prints and reads) that He will shave this record to three seconds by 2008. We shall see.

As for the stamp itself, the gentleman pictured is the ambassador to South Stewart from The Universe of Bagpipes, a Free State located on the extreme edge of the Western World, in the region named Nova Albion by Sir Francis Drake. Certain deluded elements of the United States and California governments are under the ludicrous impression that Nova Albion is a part of their domains, but the fact is that Drake's possession in the name of the Queen, in 1579, has never been formally challenged by either of those parties. However, the Crown claim was abandoned, by total neglect, long ago. So now, whoever has possession of lands within the region is entitled, according to at least three former Soviet tractor-factory lawyers, to challenge that abandoned claim and found a sovereign state. All that's then necessary is for any other country to recognize the new nation in an official document, as South Stewart has done by picturing the ambassador of The Universe of Bagpipes on its stamp. From there it's a short hop to UN membership.

The Ambassador is shown here Presenting Credentials to the King, the credentials consisting of a bagpipe called a "Xard," especially constructed to make frequent contributions to the Royal Treasury. By the way, only persons with the initials OS are accepted as Ambassadors by the Kingdom, and their presence is always virtual, via the Internet, rather than physical - this due to the lack of a spare chair in the country. That's the history of this stamp, stretching all the way back to last Tuesday.


And that's the end of the collection, for the moment.
We're keenly interested in hearing about other bagpipe stamps,
so please write if you know of any!


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Text and Scans Copyright 1999 - 2005, Oliver Seeler,