Friday, December 29, 2006

Away for few days

I'm leaving today for few days to Manchester, UK, where I will celebrate the New Year Eve. I will be back next wednesday and I will not be able to update my blog in between. So see you then. And :
Happy New Year to all of you.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The joy of topical stamp collecting

There are some great moments of joy when you are a topical stamp collector : this is when you discover, while browsing the “new issues” section of your favorite philatelic newspaper, a new stamp that falls into your topic for collection. Each time it happens to me, I feel thrilled and I start thinking of what will be the easiest/quickest/cheapest way to finally get this stamp :

Buying it directly from the post office that issued it : first I have to check if the concerned post office has a website, and that they do sell stamps on line. But even if both conditions are met, there could be a big obstacle : the shipment cost. Sometimes the cost to get the stamp is much higher that the price of the stamp itself… So I use this solution only if there are a significant amount of stamps in the set, or if there are some very interesting philatelic item (such as FDC, booklet, collector sheet etc) that you can hardly find somewhere else.

Another alternative is to check on Ebay. Usually, very quickly after the stamp has been issued you can already find it on Ebay. But this is not always the cheapest way, far from that…

Another solution (my preferred one, to be honest) is to check my list of philatelic contacts in the world to see if I know someone in this country to propose an exchange. This worked very well at several occasions. This is the advantage of being member of international philatelic associations. This solution is surely the cheapest one but may be not the quickest.

If these solutions did not work, I check the new issues service proposed by some French stamp dealers. Again, not a very cheap solution.

And then, if finally it did not work, I take note of the reference of the stamp in my notebook. I’ll search for it regularly, until I can satisfy my desire!

My last acquisition is this stamp from Slovenia. I found it in one philatelic newspaper (I almost did not see that there was a frog on it the first tile I saw it!) and I could easily get it from a contact in Slovenia.
This stamp was issued the 22nd of September 2006. it belongs to a set of two stamps about Flora. This one pictures floating water moss (Salvinia natans).

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Security perforation

I have already shown on my blog several examples of security perforation. Usually these are oval holes made on the border of the stamps within the usual perforation. I showed some examples of perforation that are shaped as a bracket or even as a maple leaf. I guess that in this case they are used more for esthetic reasons than for security. Recently, I was browsing a catalog of new issues and I came across this set of stamps from Korea.
These two stamps have been issued the 3rd of July 2006 by South Korea. This is in fact the second issue in a series called the Goguryeo series, started in 2005. Goguryeo is the name of an ancient kingdom located in the northern Korean peninsula. This kingdom established in 37 BC was the main one of three kingdoms that established the basis of what is Korea today.
The stamp on the top pictures a stone mound tomb from this period. The stamp on the bottom shows a mural painting from a tomb, picturing the God of Sun and the God of Moon.
But the reason why I wanted to show you those stamps, is the perforation. I had a hard time trying to guess what it pictures! Finally I found out that the hole in the perforation has the shape of the territory of Goruryeo kingdom at the height of its power ! Isn’t it sophisticated ?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Saint Erik (2)

Last week I have written about the set of stamps issued by Sweden to commemorate the 650th anniversary of the Hanseatic league (see Saint Erik). During the weekend, I received the xmas gift of the Swedish post : a printing proof of the four stamps of the set. Here it is. Rather nice, isn’t it ?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Yes, Christmas is there already. I wish you all a merry Christmas.
To illustrate this post I have chosen a nice cover I received from Sweden, stamped with two of the 2006 Christmas stamps that have been issued beginning of November by Swedish post. Nice postmark too...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Saint Erik

I recently found a new item in my quest for stamp picturing famous people named Eric

This stamp belongs to a set of three issued on the 7th of September 2006 by Swedish post. The stamps commemorate the 650th anniversary of the Hanseatic league and belong to a joint issue with Germany. The Hanseatic League was an alliance of trading guilds that established and maintained a trade monopoly over the Baltic Sea between the 13th and 17th centuries.

This stamp pictures one of the seal from Stockholm showing Saint Erik’s crowned hear, and dating from 1370. Saint Erik was in fact Erik IX, king of Sweden between 1150 and 1160. Very few historical data is available about the life of Erick IX. According to the legends, he did a lot to consolidate Christianity in his realm and to spread the faith in Finland. He was murdered the 18th of May 1160. He later became a Saint whose feast day in the Catholic Church is the 18th of May, but he was never formally canonized by the Catholic Church. Erik is the patron saint of Stockholm and is depicted in the city coat’s of arms.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Registered cover from Russia

In a previous post I mentioned that during my trip I received some nice covers. Here is a registered cover that I got from Russia. I think it is quite nice.

The stamps on the top right belong to a set of five stamps issued on the 29th of August 2006 about fauna of Sakha Republic. The stamps of the set picture animals with their babies. On the left you can see a Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus), in the middle a caribou (Rangifer tarandus) and on the right a horse (Equus caballus).
The stamps on the left border are definitive stamps from 2002 and 2003. The green one pictures Catherine palace in Tsarkoye Solo, the brown one pictures the great palace of Pedrodvorets and the purple one pictures Kushovo palace.
I don’t have information about the single stamp on the right bottom corner.
Overall it gives a very nice cover, don’t you think ?



Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Santa Claus

Santa Claus has written to me. Yes! From Finland. The proof ? Here it is ;-) (click for a better view)
Finish post proposes the same service than a lot of other post offices. You can get a letter from Santa Claus. I tried it and this is what I got. I was surpised (and disappointed) to see that the letter was stamped with xmas stamps of 2005 ! Why didn't they use the stamps issued this year for xmas ? The cover contained a letter (written in French !) and signed by Santa Claus. And the letter also contained a small calendar. A nice one. I also got the surprise to get this xmas card from the philatelic service of the Finnish post. I put a scan of both sides (again, click on it to get a wider view). This time the stamps are the ones from 2006. Nice stamps, nice card, nice postmarks. Christmas is coming !







Monday, December 18, 2006

Back home

I’m finally back home after my one week trip to Romania and Germany. I had a nice and busy time, a rather cold weather (I caught a cold), and I had no time to deal with stamps. I expected to have some free time to visit a post office or a stamp dealer in Timisoara but finally I could not. Note that finding a stamp dealer in Timisoara must be a challenge…When I came back from my trip, I found my mail box full of nice covers. I’ll surely show some of them to you in the coming days. One of those covers was this impressive registered cover from Nepal. As usual, click on the picture to zoom.





I show you both sides because the verso is franked with a full sheet of 16 stamps. This stamp sheet is an issue of 2005 about fruits. The stamps picture (from left to right and top to bottom) : Indian Gooseberries, Walnuts, Wood apples and Golden evergreen raspberries. When you think that franking a registered letter in France with stamps instead of ATM is becoming a challenge… I wonder how a French postal clerk would have reacted if I had given him such a cover…





Friday, December 08, 2006

On the road

I’m leaving today for a one week professional trip through Europe. I’ll go to Romania (Timisoara) and Germany (Stuttgart). I will not be able to access to the internet during this trip, so I will not update my blog. I’ll be back on this blog on Monday the 18th. So until then, have a great time with your stamps.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Mozart


I did not have time yesterday to update my blog, and I haven’t much more time today. I’ll leave for a professional trip to Romania and Germany next week, so I have plenty of things to sort out before.
Anyway, I wanted to show you this cover I received some time ago, from Belgium. A simple cover, but still very beautiful. The stamp has been issued in January this year to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. The postmark is also very nice. If I’m not wrong, Mechelen is the town where the philatelic service of Belgium is located, so I guess this cancel is the one of a philatelic office or something similar.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Very nice cover from Russia

In one of the very first article of my blog, I have shown a nice cover from Russia bearing three stamps commemorating the re-opening of the Amber room (see http://my-philately.blogspot.com/2006/07/amber-room.html). Those three stamps belong to a set issued in May 2004, but the full set also contains a souvenir sheet. Last weekend, I had the very nice surprise to receive this cover.

As you can see the cover is franked with the complete souvenir sheet of the set. Nice, isn’t it ? This cover has been sent by Alexander (the blogger of Used Covers). Thank you very much Alexander. This is a nice addition to my covers collection. I’m really impressed by the quality of the souvenir sheet which shows the reconstructed Amber room. And this is quite seldom to see a full souvenir sheet on a cover.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Joint issues

I have recently made some research on joint issues. This is a subject that I find fascinating. I have discovered that there are in fact a lot of different types of joint issues and that there is a precise classification that has been put in place by the International Philatelic Society of Joint Stamp Issues Collectors. I just would like to give here some highlights of my findings.
First of all, what is a joint issue ? A joint issue can be declared when two (or more) independent postal administrations reach an agreement to create new postage stamps with a common interest and issue them within a pre-defined timeframe.
The most common type of Joint issue is called a Twin issue : this is when both countries issue at the same time stamps with the same design (“at the same time” means that the dates of issue must not be separated by more than one week). One example is the much criticized joint issue between France and Great-Britain for the 100th anniversary of the entente cordiale. The design of the stamps is the same, France has issued the stamps on the 7th of April 2004 and Great Britain on the 6th of April.




A Joint issue is called a Siamese issue when both stamps are printed se-tenant. This is the case of the souvenir sheet issued by New Zealand and Jersey for the 80th birthday of the Queen. Each stamp being valid in its own country.



A more uncommon case is the Unique issue. This is the case when only one stamp is issued, bearing the name of both countries. Here are two examples : one between Switzerland and Liechtenstein (issued in 1995) and one between Switzerland and United nations (issued in 2004).





When both stamps have the same design but have not been issued at the same date (i.e. the dates of issue are separated by more than one week), this is called a Concerted issue. One example is this stamp commemorating the 200th anniversary of Ignacio Domeyko issued by Chile on the 11th of April 2002 and issued by Poland on the 3rd of July 2002.



There are other types of joint issues and each type is also divided into sub-type but I just wanted to give you a rough idea.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Fireworks

As I already said on this blog, during last stamp show held in Paris, I visited the booth of Austrian post. On top of the Edelweiss stamp that I showed last week, I have bought this interesting souvenir sheet.




This is the Austrian part of a joint issue with Hong Kong issued in August this year which pictures fireworks. A subject that is not seen very often on stamps.. In fact, what I’m showing is not actually the souvenir sheet but a presentation pack. It is made of a thick cardboard sheet, containing two square holes that show the stamps. The particularity of the those stamps is that, part of them, are covered with real Swarosky crystals, which gives them an impressive look (this is unfortunately not really visible on the scan...). The presentation pack is sold with a certificate of authenticity to prove that these are real Swarosky crystals. If I’m not wrong this is the second time Austrian post issues a stamp with crystals. Once again, as for the embroidered edelweiss stamp or any other innovative stamps, this is surely a performance, but is it really answering a postal need ?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Souvenir sheet from Malaysia

I just realized that I haven’t shown a frog stamp on my blog since weeks… I’m sure you miss it ;-) So here is my last acquisition for my frog stamps collection.

This is a souvenir sheet issued by Malaysia on the 9th of October this year, to commemorate the 2006 stamp week (in France we have a stamp day, here they have a stamp week, and I think in Australia there is the stamp collecting month…). The subject of this issue is semi-aquatic animals. The complete set contains also three single stamps that I also show below, just to be complete (this is not a scan of the stamps since I haven’t them, but a picture taken from Malaysian Post website). I think that it is funny to see how different is the design of the stamps compared to the one of stamp sheet.


The frog pictured on the left stamp of the sheet is a Polypedates leucomystax (!), a frog that can be found in Southern Asia. There are several common names for this frog, due to its highly variable look : you can find it under the name Golden tree frog, or Four-lined tree frog (because of the four dark lines it has on the back), or Asian flying frog, or Banana frog (!) or simply Asian tree frog. It is a rather small frog measuring 3-5cm (for the male) up to 5-7cm (for the female).

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Philatelic associations

I am a member of several philatelic associations. Some of them (almost all of them in fact) publish a newsletters for their members. In all of these publications, when reading about the life of the association, you can see complains about the decreasing number of members and the decreasing number of active members. I was thinking about that recently and suddenly I felt guilty : after all, what do I do for these associations ? I mean I take advantage from them and from all the information I can get from them. But in return, what do I give back ? Out of the subscription fee, of course ? So I decided that at least I could speak about them in my blog.

The only French association that I belong to is Association Française de Philatélie thématique (French Topical Philatelic Association, http://perso.orange.fr/afpt.themaphilatelie/). Among various services to its member, the association edits several philatelic publications : a bulletin about topical philately in general and several bulletins dedicated to specific topics such as sports, fauna and flora… In the same type, I am also member of the American Topical Association (http://www.americantopicalassn.org/). This is a much bigger association, also dedicated to topical stamp colleting. The publication of the ATA is called Topical Time and gathers very interesting articles about all sort of subjects that are represented on stamps. The main problem with publications of topical associations is that they can not speak about all topics, so, if you have a specialized topic such as mine (frog) you rarely find article about it on those papers.

A part from topical associations I am member of the well known American Philatelic Society (http://www.stamps.org/). A huge international association which edits the American Philatelist, a very impressive and interesting newspaper. Of course it is very often oriented towards American philately, but not only.

The ATA and the APS contains a lot of chapters, affiliates and units which gather philatelists specialized in a specific area. For instance, I am a member of the International Society of Worldwide Stamp Collectors (http://www.iswsc.org/) which promotes worldwide stamp collecting. Yes, some people still collect worldwide stamps, and not only topical collectors (that are, by definition, worldwide collectors). Even more specialized, I’m a member of the China stamp society (http://www.chinastampsociety.org/index.html), since I collect Chinese stamps.

To finish, the last but not the least, I’m member of the Cover Circuit Collectors Club (http://www.geocities.com/coverccc/) an affiliate of the APS which gives you the opportunity to receive nice covers from all over the world. A lot of the covers I show here on my blog come from members of the CCCC.

Generally speaking, what I have learned from all these associations is that their main richness is their members ! Belonging to an association gives you the opportunity to meet very interesting people who can teach you a lot.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Christmas stamps (2)

Life is full of coincidence ! Yesterday I spoke about Christmas stamps from South Africa, and in the evening, when I came back home, what did I find in my mail box ? This letter.

It comes from South Africa and bears the stamp I was mentioning yesterday with a Santa Claus Lion.
Interesting also is the cancel : the stamp is cancelled with the name of the town from where the letter was sent (hardly readable) and the date. And on the left there is a slogan : use speed service couriers for international delivery.The letter was containing a lot of interesting stamps that I’ll surely have the opportunity to show here on my blog.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Christmas stamps

Christmas is in less than one month now. Already in Paris you can see the Christmas decorations in the shops. And the frenzy of Christmas shopping has already started.
On the philatelic side, Christmas stamps are coming. I have received SETEMPE (the philatelic publication of South African post) where they describe the Christmas issue from South Africa. I found it so funny that I wanted to share it with you. In the article they explain that they wanted to give an African touch to this Christmas issue, this is why they have transformed Santa Claus into a Lion and the reindeers of his sleigh into African animals. Here is what it gives (this is a reproduction taken from South African Post website, not an actual scan of the stamps).


Not bad, isn’t it ? In the set, there is a sixth stamp for international mail picturing a close up of the Lion/Santa Claus.
I think that the stamps issuing policy of South Africa is rather interesting. They issue a low number of stamps (if I compare to our situation in France) and the stamps have always a relation to the country or the local culture. If the stamp does not picture a subject directly linked to Africa, they always try to give an African look, as for this Christmas issue. I think this is rare enough to be mentioned.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Cover from Angola

Few weeks ago I have received a cover from Angola, a country from where I rarely get mail, so I wanted to share it with you.

The cover is in a good condition except for one stamp that wasn’t well stuck on the cover and got bent during the transport (the one on the left). This is a very important rule when you prepare a nice cover : always make sure that the stamps are well attached to the envelope. Also the stamps are not cancelled, which is a pity. The cover is a registered one, I like the registration label with the UPU emblem. The green label is just a label put by my local post office to indicate in which office the letter was kept for me (as I was absent when it arrives).
The stamps are from 1994 and belong to a set of two picturing traditional potteries. This one pictures a bird shaped pottery.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Embroidered stamp from Austria

Austrian post was present at last stamp show to which I attended two weeks ago. As I did not know much about the stamps from Austria I decided to visit their booth to check what they had to propose. They had some interesting stamps, and with Mozart year they proposed a lot of nice presentation packs around Mozart.
Among the other stamps they proposed there was this one.

This stamp has been issued the 19th of July 2005. It is embroidered and pictures an edelweiss. I’m always a little bit puzzled when I see embroidered stamps. I think the first one was issued by Switzerland few years ago. I always wonder what it gives when a cover is franked with such stamp. In fact, I have never seen such stamps on a cover and I’m wondering if any has ever actually been used on mail. Does anybody have experience on this?


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Stamp collecting and rugby

If you are interested in rugby you may know that last weekend, France has lost the second rugby test match against the All Blacks from New Zealand. The French team played much better than the week before but, still, they have lost. Not a very encouraging sign, one year before the Rugby World Cup that will be held in France !
Why do I speak about rugby, you may wonder ? Out of the fact that I collect stamps about rugby. Well I just read an article on a French newspaper explaining that Daniel Carter, the fly half of the All Blacks (the number 10 for people who’re not familiar with rugby), the one who is considered by a lot of journalists as the current “best player of the world”, is a stamp collector ! He explains in the article how collecting stamps brings him the serenity he needs to bear the pressure that surrounds him.
It is always interesting to learn about famous people collecting stamps. Very few people really speaks about their interests in stamps collecting because this always looks a bit old fashioned. So this is nice when it comes from a young and famous sportsman.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

First stamp issues in 1966

Last week I discussed with a collector who has specialized his collection in “first issues”. He collects the first stamp issued by any country in the world. Interesting (but also very expensive I guess) collection. Then I was thinking to my collection of stamps of the year 1966 and this discussion triggered a question in my mind : are there any countries that issued their first stamp in 1966 ?
I spent some time over the weekend browsing my Scott catalog and also some various websites and I came to the conclusion that, at least three countries has issued their first stamp in 1966, the year of my birth.Botswana, the former Bechuanaland Protectorate, has reached independence the 30th of September 1966. A set of four stamps has been issued to commemorate this event. Here is the lowest face value, therefore the “number 1” of Botswana.


Guyana, the former Crown Colony of British Guiana, has become independent on the 26th of May 1966. A set of six stamps has been issued, re-using the stamps of the former colony, overprinted “GUYANA INDEPENDENCE 1966”.




Lesotho, the former Basutoland, has reached independence on the 4th of October 1966. Here is the fist stamp of the set of four issue at this occasion.







Monday, November 20, 2006

Cover from Japan

I have received this cover from Japan several weeks ago and I wanted to share it with. I finally found some free time during the weekend to scan it.


I think that this cover is rather impressive. First it bears three large stamps that have been issued on the 8th of October 2004 for the International Letter Writing week. They picture paintings extracted from “Fifty-three stations of the Tokaido Road” by Hiroshige.
Then the three red cancels used on the stamps are also very impressive. This is not the first time I see such cancel on Japanese stamps but I wonder what they are : they are surely not first day of issue cancel. Are they cancels from a philatelic office ? Does anybody know where I could get some info on them ?
I got this very nice cover through the Asian Cover Collector Club, which is a very good covers exchange club if you are interested to get mail from Asian countries (mainly Japan, I have to admit).

Friday, November 17, 2006

Zodiac

I’m not much into astrology and I hardly know more than my own sign of the zodiac. But I was quite impressed when I received recently this set of stamps from a stamp collector in Russia.

(click on the picture to zoom)
This set of 12 stamps picture the signs of the zodiac. It has been issued on the 21st of April 2004 by Russia. The stamps are really nice, and even if they don’t’ fall into my topics for collection I was quite happy to get them. They even look much better in reality than on the scan because the small stars that you can see on the stamps have a silvery glint.French post never issued any stamps about signs of the zodiac, but I know that a lot of other countries have. I guess this could be a topic for collection in itself.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

French ATM (LISA) from the Salon d’Automne

As promised few days ago, here is a picture of the last LISA (name of the French ATM) that was issued during the last philatelic show called le salon d’automne.


This stamp show was celebrating the Mozart year and this ATM pictures the opera houses from Paris and from Vienna. There was also a special cancel used during the show picturing Mozart. Some of you, who are interested in ATM, may have received a letter from me with such ATM and such cancel.
This year I followed a good strategy : I started my visit to the show by the LISA section. I succeeded to be the first one in front of the vending machine and was able to buy how many labels I wanted. It’s so different from last year when I had to wait for 1h30 ! I really still don’t understand why the French post does not propose to interested collectors a mean to get such commemorative ATM even if they can not attend to the show.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Endangered birds from Vietnam

Here is a set of five stamps that I bought last week during the stamp fair. I know they are not frog stamps, but I’m always interested more generally in fauna stamps. This set has been issued the 1st of April 2006 by Vietnam and pictures various endemic endangered birds.


From left to right and top to bottom the stamps picture the following species :

  • Edwards’s pheasant (Lophura edwardsi). It can be found in central Vietnam. This species was believed extinct in Wild for several decades until some were rediscovered in the forests of central Vietnam. The species was named for the French zoologist Alphonse Milne-Edwards.
  • Orange-necked partridge (Arborophila davidi) that can be found in the southern Vietnam and eastern Cambodia
  • Vietnames pheasant (Lophura hatinhensis) : this species is sometimes considered as a sub-species of the Edwards’s pheasant. Only small differences may be noticed between both species
  • Germain’s peacock-pheasant (Polyplectron germaini) that can be found in southern Vietnam
  • Crested argus (Rheinardia ocellata) which is endemic to south-east Asia

The stamps also contain the emblem of BirdLife international organization that works for the protection of endangered birds.


What is also interesting to notice on those stamps is the security perforation that takes the shape of a small bracket which is quite unusual. I already showed one stamp from Argentina with such perforation (see http://my-philately.blogspot.com/2006/09/another-large-postmark-this-time-from.html) , and I think Adrian also mentioned this type of security perforation on his blog (see Akphilately in my links section).


Monday, November 13, 2006

Back from Lyon

Here I am, back from my long weekend in Lyon, and very disappointed by the heavy defeat of the French rugby team against the All blacks… Well, we’ll see how they react next Saturday for the second test match…
On Thursday last week I have spent few hours attending to the Salon d’Automne, the stamp show I was mentioning last week. This stamp show was the occasion for the French post to issue new stamps. In fact we had much less new issues than last year. Only three new issues : a booklet to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the “Marianne de Gandon”, a souvenir sheet about flying machines, and a stamp commemorating the 400th anniversary of the birth of Rembrandt (see the scans below). I took benefit of this new issues to post some FDC to some of you, so check your mail box and tell me if you receive something from me… I was also able to buy some LISA (the French ATM), I’ll show you it to you in a next post.
Several foreign post offices were represented at this stamp show and a lot of stamp dealers. I took a lot of time to browse the display of the topical stamp dealers in order to find some interesting frog stamps. I did not have much success. My collection is now so big that it’s hard for me to find items that I do not have already. I was surprised and a bit saddened to see how many topical stamp dealers actually propose speculative issues to their customers. I bought also some nice stamps that I will show later on this blog. Globally I had a good time, even if there was not much surprise in this stamp show. It was very similar to the one of last year.

So here are the pictures of the new issues.






Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Salon d’Automne

Today starts the “Salon d’Automne” (the Autumn stamp fair) a stamp fair that happens every year around mid November. This year this will be the 60th anniversary of this stamp fair. It starts today and ends on Sunday. There will be new stamp issues for the occasion, and also a new LISA (the French ATM) that will be available only during the duration of the fair. I plan to go there tomorrow, and I’ll try to take this opportunity to send some nice covers to some of my regular readers. Check you mail box ;-)
On Friday I’ll leave for a long weekend in Lyon, to attend to the rugby test match between France and New Zealand ! So I’ll be back on my blog only next Monday, and I’ll try to tell you everything I saw during the stamp fair…. See you then.

Raoul Serres, French stamp engraver and designer, in Stamp magazine

In the November issue of Stamp magazine there is an interesting article about Raoul Serres, a famous French stamp engraver and designer. He has started to design and engrave quite late in his life (he started on stamp design at around 60 years old). I was very happy to see a French engraver celebrated in a British philatelic newspaper. The article shows several of the stamps that he has designed and/or engraved. I have selected some of them to share with you.

This stamp is the first stamp he has designed. This is the 1940 Soldier’s comfort Fund issue. Already on this stamp we can see his specific “style” that will be present in all his stamp designs.


This stamps was issued in 1945 for the Stamp day (Journée du Timbre). The Stamp day is a celebration around philately that happens every year and for which one or several stamps are issued by the French post. This 1945 issue pictures the King Louis XI, the creator of the first state post. Raoul Serres has been selected to design a lot of stamps that were issued for the Stamp Day.

This stamp belongs to a set of four about sport and issued in 1956. I selected this stamp because it pictures rugby, one of my topics of collection.


This stamp was issued in 1961 and is the last stamp designed by Raoul Serres. Again this is a stamp issued for the stamp day.




Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Canada-China 2005 joint issue

I have received recently a mixture of fauna and flora stamps from various contact all over the world. Among those stamps there were this set of two stamps.

These two stamps have been issued on the 13th of October 2005. This is the Canada issue for a Canada/China joint issue, picturing big cats. The lest stamp pictures a Cougar (Puma concolor) and the right stamp pictures a leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis). What is more interesting in these stamps is the perforation. The vertical boundary between the stamps is in the shape of a maple leaf ! This is a first for the Canada Post. I have already seen various shapes in the perforation of stamps, but never such an elaborate one. At the end it gives a nice result when the stamps are still together, but I wonder how it looks when the stamps are separated…

Monday, November 06, 2006

Face value in Euro on Estonian stamps

Estonia had planned to enter the Euro zone beginning of 2007. Due to a high inflation, this entry has been postponed until beginning of January 2008. Nevertheless, since the beginning of the year, the Estonian post is issuing stamps with a double face value : one in Kroon, the current currency of Estonia and one in Euro. Here are some examples of recent stamps issued by Estonia, that I received from a philatelic contact there.

This stamp has been issued the 1st of February 2006 and pictures an elk (Alces alces). The elk, also called moose in North America, is the largest member of the deer family (Cervidae).


This other stamp has been issued the 1st of June 2006 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of UNICEF.

This mini stamp sheet has been issued on the 7th of June 2006 to commemorate the sesquicentennial of Tori stud farm. The stamp on the top pictures Tori horses and the one on the bottom pictures Estonian native horses.



Thursday, November 02, 2006

150th anniversary of the first Finnish stamp and Christmas issue

Finland is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the issue of the first stamp. For this occasion the Finnish post has issued, end of October, this souvenir sheet containing three stamps

The three stamps picture the heraldic lion. The stamps on the right actually pictures the design of the first Finnish stamp. The stamps are slightly embossed and the one in the middle is even covered with a gold foil. The sheet looks much more beautiful in reality than on my scan, which for any reason does not look so good.
To continue with Finland, the Christmas stamps have also been issued end of October. I think they are really cute and illustrate quite well the spirit of Christmas. In France we do not have any specific stamps dedicated for Christmas as in other countries. We have stamps for “season greetings” which are more dedicated to new year celebration.




Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Prefecture stamps from Japan

I do not know much about Japanese stamps. I have two or three philatelic contacts in Japan (through the Asian Cover Collector Club) and they send me, from time to time, stamps from their country. Here are few examples of stamps that I have received from them.





All those stamps are prefecture stamps (also called “furusato” stamps), i.e. stamps that are issued by a specific prefecture. Since 1989, each Japanese prefecture issues its own stamps. These “local” issues can be bought only in the area where they have been issued, but they can be used on mail everywhere in the country.
From top to bottom, the stamps are from the prefecture of Toyana (Owara Dance issued in August 2004), Tokyo (issued in June 2005) and Aichi (issued in October 2006).
If you are interested in Japanese stamps, here is a very useful website : http://yushu.or.jp/english/e_sdate/index.html