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Stamp exhibition celebrating the work of Ryman and the first Gib stamps on a local theme

A stamp exhibition will be held at the Gustavo Bacarisas Gallery next week. The event marks two  important anniversaries. It is the 50th anniversary of the first stamp designs for Gibraltar produced by Freddy Ryman, who went on to become Gibraltar’s most prolific stamp designers. The exhibition also marks the issue of the first special stamps by Gibraltar on a purely local theme.

The exhibition will be inaugurated at 12 noon on Monday, in the presence of members of the late Freddy Ryman's family. It will then open to the public until 5pm. The exhibition can also be viewed on Tuesday and Wednesday between 10am and 5pm and has free entrance.

The material on display has been prepared by local stamp enthusiast and collector Stephen Viñales. It includes all the 85 sets comprising 336 stamps issued by Gibraltar which were designed by Freddy Rymanover 25 years, between 1966 and 1991; the 12 miniature sheets and three Gibraltar stamp booklets also designed by him; some of the artwork and proof material forstamp designs that he produced; and even some of the unadoptedstamp designs that he created.

These were designs that were never used as stamps. All the artwork is unique.

The exhibition will also include a cabinet dedicated exclusively to the first special stamps for Gibraltar on a local theme, the set of three stamps issued on 27 August 1966 to mark the European Sea Angling Championships, which were held in Gibraltar. Prior to this date, there had only been one stamp issue on a Gibraltar theme: the New Constitution overprints of 1950. They marked the inauguration of the Gibraltar Legislative Council, the forerunner of Gibraltar's Parliament. There stamps were overprints, not specific designs for the special issue.

With the issue of the European Sea Angling Championship stamps in 1966, Gibraltar philately took off in a completely new direction. The three stamps were the first to be designed by Freddy Ryman, who was later awarded the MBE in 1973 for "sustained efforts, over a number of years, devoted to the design of Gibraltar stamps". He is the only Gibraltarian to have been so honoured. This set of stamps also produced the first major error of the 20th century on a Gibraltar stamp: the black printing was omitted on a sheet of 7d stamps. One of these stamps will be on display at the exhibition.

From the Sea Angling stamps onwards, it became the norm for local events to be marked with stamp issues; stamps were produced on Gibraltar-related themes; and Gibraltar stamps were now primarily designed by a Gibraltarian artist instead of someone from abroad.

The Sea Angling issue also saw another first for Gibraltar: the production of the first ever Gibraltar Presentation Pack. It has subsequently become the norm for the Post Office to issue a Presentation Pack with every issue.

The help of the Department of Education has been enlisted to arrange for groups of pupils from Gibraltar schools to see the exhibition and be given a talk and tour of the exhibits. A number of slots have been made available for organised school tours. The talks will be delivered by Richard Garcia and Stephen Viñales.


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