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Saturday September 11th, 2010

When you're handed life's lemons, make lemonade. That's appears to be the philosophy in Iceland, which has issued three stamps depicting dramatic scenes from this spring's eruption of Eyjafjallajokull.

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The enormous ash cloud generated by the volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajokull illustrates one of three stamps issued in July by Iceland.

Two of the stamps are night scenes of fiery eruptions and flowing lava, while the third is a daytime shot of the enormous ash cloud that closed 27 of Europe's airports, disrupted the mobility of millions and cost airlines more than a billion euros.

Actually, there's nothing unusual about Island issuing stamps featuring its mountains and volcanoes; it has been doing that for years. But to add impact, the new Eyjafjallajokull stamps have pieces of volcanic ash embedded in the designs.

According to Iceland Post, all three stamps are silkscreen printed with very fine-grained trachyandesite ash which fell at Eyjafjallajokull on April 17, a little more than three months before the stamps' issue date of July 22.

Iceland is not the first nation to implant things in their postage. Other items, including soil, rock, meteorite dust and even jewels, also have been embedded in stamps.

In 2002, pieces of the Rock of Gibraltar were incorporated into four stamps put out by the Gibraltar Philatelic Bureau. In 2008, Aland, an island archipelago in the Baltic Sea, burned pieces of red granite onto a stamp by a heating process known as thermography. And soil from a school for children with special needs was silkscreened onto a set of 10 South African stamps issued in January of this year.

You can find out more about Iceland's stamps by going to There is also a neat weblog that features nothing but stamps illustrated with volcanoes from around the world at

Club meets Sept. 22

Meetings of the Saint John Stamp Club start up again Sept. 22 after a summer holiday. The meeting will be at the Fort Howe Hotel, 10 Portland Street, in the city's north end.

After moving around to various locations over the past couple of years, the club has now established a regular meeting spot at the hotel.

The club meets the fourth Wednesday of each month, except July and August. The meetings, which begin at 7 p.m., are generally pretty informal affairs and anyone interested in the hobby is welcome.

David Williams is a stamp collector in Saint John. His column appears the second Saturday of the month.

Source:Volcanic ash embedded in Iceland stamps

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