The added bonus of being with a philatelic society, whether a local or a specialized one, is the club packet. Those books with stamps that are sent round to the members. I got my latest one from my local club yesterday, and immediately went in search of anything nice. Now, being here in Britain means that most books are full of Commonwealth stamps, and hardly any Europe is to be found. But there are of course some "British Europe" stamps to be found, so I did manage to get one (!) stamp I did not have yet. It's from the Republic of Ireland and it is a nice example of how political stamps are, or can be perceived. Any idea what I'm on about yet?
Well, this stamp is famous for its missing borderline. As you can see, the island is shown as one state with no borderlines whatsoever. This may be perceived as a provocative gesture for the top bit of the island is Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK and not of the Republic of Ireland. And yet, this was a perfectly legal and correct depiction of matters as they were. After all, the stamp was issued in 1922, the year the Irish Free State came into being. The constitution of that state, recognised by Britain, was formed on the basis of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. One of the requirements of that treaty was that Northern Ireland would be part of the Irish Free State, unless its parliament decided to opt out. It did eventually opt out, but at the time of the issue of the stamps, it had not yet done so, which therefore made Northern Ireland a part of the Irish Free State and therefore the stamp design is correct.
The design will have caused such a storm though, that Ireland has refrained from showing its map on stamps ever since, barring the odd exception!