Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Mushrooms from Pakistan, and the Cover Collectors Circuit Club

I’m a member of the Cover Collectors Circuit Club (also known as CCCC). In case you don’t know it, this is an international philatelic association which gives you the possibility to get nice covers from various different countries. How does it work ? A “circuit” is a list of five or six members. An originating member sends the circuit to the first name in the list. Then the circuit is sent from one member to the next one in the list. At the end the circuit is mailed back to the originating member. At each step the receiver gives a grade (bad/good/excellent) to the cover he has received. There are members all over the world, so you can have the opportunity to get covers from countries from where you rarely receive mail. This is worth a try, the fee being very low I think. The CCCC has given me the opportunity to be in touch with various collectors with whom I have had (and still have) very fruitful exchanges.To illustrate this post I have chosen a cover I received from Pakistan !

This is not a place from where I get mail every day ! The cover is rather nice I think. The bad point is that it arrived open (not by accident but on purpose) and even torn on the lower left corner as you can see on the scan. The paper of the cover is very thin and easily gets torn. The four stamps belong to a set of ten stamps issued the 1st of October 2005 by Pakistan about mushrooms (Scott 1071 for the complete set). A very popular topic among topical collectors. For the specialists the stamps picture (clockwise) the following species : Amanita caesara, Lepiota procera, Coprinus comatus and Amanita vaginata. I don’t know much about mushrooms, I think they are all edible, but I’m not sure. If you know something about those mushrooms, just let me know. I’m always happy to learn new things.
The postmark from Islamabad is also really good, even if a little bit heavy (I have increased the contrast on the picture, in reality the postmark is no so dark). It is now almost impossible to get such clean postmark from France, except if you go to special philatelic offices. Or you have to be very nice with the postman. When you just drop mails in a public mail box, you can be sure that the cover will come out with an ugly postmark. Ok, I’m not going to re-launch the debate I read in almost all European philatelic newspapers on how postal services sometimes “spoil” nice stamps… It seems to be a common problem.

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