Beautiful postage stamps from the "Mad Men" era celebrate spaceships and progress

The postage stamps of the 1950s and 1960s, from all over the world, are full of hope for the future. There are Soviet rockets, Nigerian stamps showing "the peaceful use of outer space," and Israeli paeans to industry.

The amazing Karen Horton has been posting a set of her mom's old stamp collection on Flickr, and it's like a window into a future that never was. Here are our favorite stamps from her set, that depict space exploration or technology in a hopeful — not to mention insanely cool — fashion. Check out the rest, and bigger versions, over at the link. [Karen Horton on Flickr]

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Soviet rocket ship

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Nigerian stamp — peaceful use of outer space

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Romanian stamp — Early Bird

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Dutch postage stamp — cooling towers

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Polish postage stamp

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Germany/DDR postage stamp: electronics

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Romanian stamp, space exploration

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Israeli stamp celebrating aviation

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Israeli stamp celebrating aviation

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Bulgarian stamp — space ship

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Iraqi stamp, air mail

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Indonesian postage stamp: trains

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Romanian postage stamp: telegraph

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Spanish postage stamp: Brussels expo 1958

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British Solomon Islands: International Telecommunication Union centerary

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DISCUSSION

Some of the Soviet space art is fantastic. Just look at this statue of Yuri Gagarin