Thursday, August 31, 2006

Birds cover from Poland

Here is a cover from Poland that I received two years ago and that I find rather nice and colorful. So I decided to show it to you. This is a FDC but it has actually traveled through the postal service. It bears two stamps issued by Poland on the 30th of June 2004. The stamps belong to a set of four picturing exotic birds.

The species pictured on the stamps are : Budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) for the stamp on the left and Gouldian Finch (Chloebia gouldiae) for the stamp on the right. Both species are originally coming from Australia and New Zealand (we can wonder what they do on stamps from Poland… but this is another story).

The complete set has been issued in a souvenir sheet that I find rather impressive. Here it is.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Change of postal rate

On the 1st of October, the French post will increase the rate for postal service for national and international mails. This will be the occasion for a new set of definitive stamps bearing the new face values. As you know probably, the current definitive stamps used in France are picturing Marianne, the symbol of republic. The current Marianne is called Marianne de Lamouche (from its designer Thierry Lamouche) or also Marianne des Français. The one which is shown here is the 0.55€ Marianne, corresponding to the current rate for standard mail to Europe.

Here are some examples of the change of rate:

  • Below 20g, internal to France : from 0.53€ to 0,54€ : the associated stamp is red and does not bear any face value, meaning it is not affected by the change of rate
  • Below 50g, internal to France : from 0.82€ to 0,86€
  • Below 20g, to European Union (including Switzeland) : from 0,55€ to 0,60€,
  • For the rest of the world : 0,85€

Note that in the current rate the world is divided in three zones (A, B,C) and in the new one the world is only divided in two : European countries and the rest. It means that the rate will actually decrease for mail to remote countries…
On the official website of the French Post they explain that even with this change, the postal rate for a letter from France to EEC remains below the average witch is 0,76€ (0,70 in Germany for instance).

Already the stamps that will be issued next week, will bear the new face value of 0,54€.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Da Vinci code

Some times ago, I was coming back home from work by bus, reading the last pages of “Da Vinci Code” the famous book from Dan Brown. I rather liked it, even if I’m not sure it is worth all the noise that was made around it. When closing the book I was thinking that this could be a good material for a thematic collection : trying to gather stamps picturing places and paintings that are mentioned in the book (it shows you how crazy I am…). That could be funny. Then only few days later, I read in a philatelic newspaper that somebody already had this idea (it seems there was a short note on this in Linn’s stamps news). I was so disappointed not to be the first one to have this idea! Still, it could be a funny idea.
I just thought back to this story yesterday, so it made me feel like showing you this stamp (yes, again a French stamp, and recess-printed ! Adrian will be happy ;-) ). This is the only French stamp I know picturing Leonardo Da Vinci. The stamp has been issued in 1952 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Da Vinci’s birth. The stamp has been designed by Albert Decaris, a great stamp designer.
On the background on the stamp you can see views of Florence (on the right) and Amboise (on the left). Amboise is a small French city where Da Vinci has spent the last part of his life and where he has died. And guess what ? Amboise is located near Tours, where I have spent the weekend. I have even been to Amboise during this weekend. There you can visit the “Clos Lucé” the place where he has lived and died

Monday, August 28, 2006


To continue with the list of covers I have received from “exotic” countries (at least exotic for me, a French philatelist), here is a cover I got from Mongolia, two or three years ago. Mongolia has not a very good reputation these days among philatelists because of its strange stamp issuing policy. This cover comes from the Union of Mongolian Philatelists. I got it though the CCCC, the cover circuit club that I already mentioned in a previous post.
This cover bears four stamps issues on the 13th of August 1990. Even if they are not of the same size, the four stamps belong to the same set. They picture various aspects of Mongolian cultural heritage. The top left stamp pictures the well know Genghis Khan.
It is a pity that the postmark is not readable at all. But still, I’m happy I got this cover.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Weekend in Tours

I don’t have much time to write today, because a very busy working day is waiting for me. This weekend I’m going to Tours. Tours is a city located on the bank of the river Loire. The area around Tours is called “La Touraine” and is well known for its wine. Tours is also located in the area of the famous “Chateaux de la Loire” (Loire castles).I looked for French stamps picturing this city. I found actually three. The first one is from 1962, it commemorates the 100th anniversary of the death of Pierre Fidèle BRETONEAU, a French doctor who was born in the region of Tours. The background of the stamp pictures a view of city of Tours.

The second one is from 1967 and pictures the Hotel Goüin, a private hotel which is now a museum. Very nice building and gardens.

The third one is from 1985 and pictures Tours Cathedrale.

Have a great weekend. See you next week.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

New issue from Ukraine

Few days ago, I have received this souvenir sheet from a reader of my blog from Ukraine (thanks a lot !). He sent it to me because there is a frog on it. Well, actually this is not a frog but a toad (do you know the difference between a frog and a toad ?).

This stamp sheet has been issued by Ukraine on the 14th of July 2006 in the series “Reserves and natural parks”. As far as I’m concerned I think the design is a little bit simplistic. But this is my first frog stamp from Ukraine, so I’m happy !
The toad pictured on the sheet is a Natterjack toad (Bufo calamita). This is a species that can be found in Eastern and Northern Europe. On the stamp we can see the physical specificities of this species : the yellow line on the back and the warts (the red spot) that are full of venom. The legs of the Natterjack toad are shorter than on other common toads which make it run rather than hop when it moves.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Beijing 2008

At the beginning of August, Chinese post has issued a new set of four stamps related to the next Olympic Games that will be held in 2008 in Beijing. An yesterday, when coming back home, I had the pleasure to fin in my mail box this very nice hand made FDC with the four stamps, sent by one of my Chinese pen pals (the condition of the cover is much better than it looks on the scan).
These four stamps picture some of the official pictograms that have been designed specifically for this 29th Olympiad. The pictograms will be used locally fro the road orientation system and also on TV. There are 35 different pictograms, and there should be at the end, 35 stamps ! The first four picture the pictograms for basketball, Fencing, Sailing and Gymnastic. Here is the complete set of the 35 pictograms. They have been designed based on an old style of Chinese calligraphy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Cover from Myanmar and other stuff

Last weekend I spent again some time sorting out all the covers I have accumulated during the last years and I found this one that I had almost forgotten. It is coming from a country from which I hardly get mails : Myanmar (also known as Burma). The cover has suffered a lot during the transport, but the stamps were not touched. The left stamp belongs to a set issued the 1st of September 1993 and pictures a golden bird. The one on the right has been issued the 28th of August 1998 and belongs to set about musical instruments. This one pictures a harp. The postmark is very basic, and not very readable.

I wanted also to share with you information about two internet resources that I find really useful for all my activities related to stamps. You may already know them, but just in case I think this is worth mentioning them.
The first one is the
Post Offices Pages from Graham Rhind . This is a simple web page which gives the list of almost all the Post Offices websites of the world. A lot of countries do have a website, and even more, a website in English. Some of them even propose on line shopping of stamps. This can be very useful.
The second one is
WADP Number System web site. The WNS (WADP number system) has been developed by Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the World Association for the Development of Philately (WADP). The objective is to create a database of authentic postage stamps in order to fight against the increasing number of bogus issues that we can find on the philatelic market. On this web site you will find basic information and excellent scan of new issues of almost all countries!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Airbus A380

The comment from Michael on my last post gave me the idea to show you the stamp he is speaking about. This stamp has been issued by French Post the 26th of June and pictures the future Airbus A380. The plane is late but we already have the stamp! This is an air mail stamp so with a rather high face value : 3.00 euro. It has also been issued in small stamp sheets of ten (another way to get money from collectors ?)

I am not a speciaalist of planes, but I am very impressed by this one. I think that it will really be something to fly in this huge plane. I'm not sure I will ever have the opportunity to do it. Who knows ?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Cover from Kazakhstan

To finish the week, another cover I received recently. This time it comes from Kazakhstan. Again a country from which I never got mail before! The stamps I like on this cover are the pair of “Taurus” stamps. They belong to a set issued in 1997 and picturing Zodiac’s constellations. Here the sender made the right choice (by pure accident) : he chose two stamps picturing the Taurus constellation and this is my Zodiac’s sign! I rather like those stamps, I think they have a nice design.
The other stamp (on the top right) has been issued in 1993 and pictures the president Nasarbajev. The one on the left corner is from 1996 and picture hunting dogs. I don’t have any information on the last small one. I guess this is a definitive stamp. It bears the indication 2005 but I could not find anything in my catalogs.

I hope the weather will be better during the weekend then in the last days. It has been raining almost everyday. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Engraved seals from Greece

I have already mentioned here in this blog my interest for archeology and for ancient times. I do not specifically collect stamps about archeology (except if they are related to Ancient Egypt) but I’m always interested when I see stamps dealing with ancient civilizations (if you are interested, there is an international philatelic association related to archeology : the Old World Archeological Study Unit, ).
I was therefore quite happy when I received these stamps, coming from a contact in Greece. I really like these stamps. They have been issued the 10th of May 1976 and they picture designs from Creto-Mycanean engraved seals (from around 1500/1400 BC). The stamps show common subjects that can be found on such seals : a lion attacking a bull, two aquatic birds, a wounded bull, a head of Silenus (an ancient god) and a cow feeding a calf.

I got those stamps through a stamps swap circuit. I like to receive, from time to time, mint stamps from any countries, even if they do not fit exactly in my collections. I usually search for information on those stamps and I learn a lot of interesting things through this exercise. A very nice and easy way to extend my culture

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

For any reason I could not update my blog yesterday : blogger did not allow me to upload any pictures. It seems to work today.
During the last four days I have spent a significant number of hours scanning stamps to update my frog stamps website ( It is a shame, I’m so late in the update of my site. But it takes so much time. I do it all by hand. And since I have started this blog, I hardly find enough time for the website. But I have made towards myself a clear commitment to put on line the rest of my frog stamps collection before the end of the year. I think this is feasible (I still have more than one hundred stamps not displayed on my website, plus a lot of postmarks, postal stationeries and miscellaneous stuff).
So what could I show you today if not frog stamps ;-)
This impressive and colorful stamp sheet comes from Peru. It has been issued the 23rd of November 1998. For people interested the stamps picture (from left to right and top to bottom) the following species:

a) Amazon leaf frog (Agalychnis craspedopus)
b) Horned frog (Ceratophrys cornuta) : isn’t it ugly ?
c) Manu poison frog (Epipedobates macero)
d) White line frog (Phyllomedusa vaillanti)
e) Biolat poison frog (Dendrobates biolat)
f) Sumaco horned tree frog (Hemiphractus proboscideus)

As far as I know, all those species can be actually found in Peru. Very often, some countries do issue stamps picturing frogs that have never been seen in their region or even on their continent!
What is funny is that c) and e) are species that have been discovered quite recently (1993 and 1992). This is astonishing that we still discover new frog species in this recent time.

Monday, August 14, 2006

2010 FIFA World cup... already !

This weekend has been very rainy in Paris. So I had plenty of time to sort out my stamps and read some philatelic newspapers. One of them was the July/September issue of SETEMPE, the philatelic magazine of South African Post Office. I could read in it that the Soufh African Post Office has issued the 7th of July, the first souvenir sheet commemorating the 2010 FIFA World cup. The 2006 version is just over and we have already a stamp for the Soccer World cup that will be held in four years ! Not bad for the soccer stamps collectors, no ?
In the article presenting the souvenir sheet, they explain that they wanted to give a different look to this stamp, they wanted it to look as "african" as possible. Hence the choice of the African wild dog, standing on a soccer ball. The African wild dog is one of the most endagered predators of Africa and can be found only in Africa south of Sahara. They chose this animal because it always works in a team, similar to soccer players (sic)! The red sun behind the dog emphazises the african look, as also the design of the stamp sheet itself, picturing King Proteas (Protea cynaroides) the national flower of South Africa.
I can not really say that I like this souvenir sheet, but I wanted to show it to you because I find it very original. I think it is very different from all the soccer stamps and souvenir sheets that I have seen before. Just because of this, and because of the effort done by the South African Post office to give a local color to this worldwide event, I think it was worth mentionning it.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Famous Eric on stamps

After reading an article in an old philatelic newspaper I have decided to start a new collection. I want to gather stamps that picture somebody whose first name is “Eric” or that picture anything related to somebody called “Eric”. A sort of collection of “famous Eric on stamps”! Yesterday evening I decided to browse my stamps catalogs to see what could be available for such collection. After few minutes I realized that it would be more difficult than planned, and that there would not be so much material for such collection. Which is good news for my finances ;-)
Among French stamps I found only two. The first one pictures the famous composer Erik Satie. This stamp belongs to a set issued in 1992.
The second one pictures Eric Tabarly, the very famous navigator born in 1931 in Nantes and who was unfortunately lost at sea in 1998. This stamp was issued on 2000.

I think that’s all for French stamps. Now I have to go through other countries. So if you want to help me, and if you know any stamps picturing an Eric (or Erik, or Erick, or Erich, or Eriq… yes there are some people called Eriq with a q ! For instance the actor who played Dr Benton in the TV serials “E.R”… may be he is the only one ;-) ) then let me know. Thank you for your help. I will keep you informed on this blog on the progress of my new collection.

Have a great philatelic weekend.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Birds from New Caledonia

For today, again a cover I received during my holidays. This one is coming from New Caledonia. This is again a first for me, I never received mail from there before. May be I should start to make a list of all places from where I got a cover… it starts to be an impressive list…
The stamps on this one are colorful birds stamps. They have been issued in June 2006 and picture three different species of endemic birds that have almost disappeared. It seems none of them has been observed during the 20th century ! From left to right you can see : a New Caledonian Rail (Gallirallus lafresnayanus), a New Caledonian Owlet-Nightjar (Aegotheles savesi) and a New Caledonian Lorikeet (Chamosyna diadema).
The postmark from Noumea is very clear, I’m impressed. A nice cover for birds stamps collectors, no ?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Recent issues from China (PRC)

I have a philatelic pen pal in China (PRC). “Philatelic pen pal” means that he sends me the most recent stamp issues from China and I send him back the ones from France. And we try, as much as possible, to include the maximum of information we have on those new issues. This exchange is very interesting, mainly when it concerns such different cultures as Chinese and French ! I recently got his sending for the stamps issued during the two first quarters of 2006. I wanted to show you a specific set of stamps that I found really beautiful, but for any reason I could succeed to scan them. The stamps are very nice, but once scanned they appeared completely fuzzy. I could not find the good parameters to put into my scanner to get a good result. So I decided to who you another set, that I also like. It has been issued the 22nd of April, and pictures sceneries of the Tianzhu Mountain. The four stamps have charming titles as Green dragon mountain Stream, Taoist practice terrace, Sanzu temple and Qingtian peak.
I don’t know if you are familiar with Chinese stamps, but there is something on them that I did not see from other countries. On each stamp, usually at the bottom, there is the indication of a serial number made from the year of issue and from the order of the issue in the year. For instance on those stamps, on the left bottom you can read 2006-9 because this is the 9th stamp set issue of 2006 (well you have to trust me because it can not be read on my scan ;-) ). Furthermore, on the right bottom of each stamp you have an indication of the total number of stamps in the set and the position of the stamp in the set. The four stamps are number from 4-1 to 4-4. This is valid for all stamps issued by China, and I think this is done since a long time. I don’t think any other country does the same.
By the way if you want to see the stamp set that I originally wanted to show you, you can click
here to see the info on the website from China post.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Cover from Chile

I spent four hours last night fighting with my PC in order to update this bloody anti virus software but I managed to find few minutes to scan some of the covers I have received last week during my holidays so that I can share them with you.
This one comes from Chile. This is the first time I get some mail from Chile, so I was very happy. The postmark is not very very clear, but the letter comes from Conception (I like blue postmarks. I don’t know why but I prefer them to the standard black ones). The stamps are rather large ones. The one on the right has been issued the 5th of Octorber 1999 and commemorates CISAC 2000, the world congress of authors and composers that was held in Santiago from the 24th to the 27th of September 2000. The stamp pictures the logo of the congress. The stamp on the left was issued in 2001 and commemorates the 75th anniversary of the international rotary of Antofagasta. The design of the stamp is a little bit dense, it shows a lot of different things such as the map of Chile (the red dotted line on the map is the tropic of Capricorn), the rotary logo, but also the natural arch of Antofagasta, one of the few natural “monuments” that are included among the protected area of Chile.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Pablo Casals

To start this new week I’d like to show the most recent stamp issued by French post. It has been issued the 31st of July and commemorates the 130th anniversary of the birth of Pau Carles Salvador Casals i Defillo, more commonly known as Pablo Casals. He was a very famous cello player and he is best remembered for the recording of Bach’s Cello suites that he made between 1936 and 1939. Pablo Casals was born in Spain in 1876, but he lived part of his life in France because he was opposed to Franco regime.
I chose this stamp because I like it a lot. It is a very beautiful stamp and I think it is a very nice tribute to this great musician.
I take this opportunity to say that if you are interested in any French stamp (recent or older ones) don’t hesitate to let me know. I’ll try to get it for you. I’m always happy to exchange stamps with people from all over the world.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Souvenir sheets from Nepal

Before my holidays I have showed you a cover that I received from Nepal. I also said that it contained some souvenir sheets. I would like to show them to you today. This is the first time I get mint stamps from Nepal, so I was thrilled when I got the letter.The first one has been issued the 18th of November 1982. It commemorates the 50th anniversary of the international union of alpinists associations and pictures Himalayas peaks : Mt Everest (8846 meters high), Mt Lhoste (8516 meters high) and Mt Nuptse (7861 meters high). What is funny is that the three stamps of the set have different size. The printings in the sheet margins are also quite interesting.
The second one has been issued the 30th of May 1985. The set contains five stamps and pictures religious painting of the 13th century (from the Shiva Dharma Purana). These five stamps picture different attitudes of Shiva. The stamps have been issued se-tenant. In this version of the souvenir sheet, the five stamps are even issued in strip of five “imperf” within, which gives this impression of a rather large stamp but in fact there are actually five stamps per row. The result is rather nice, even if I doubt about the real postal relevance of such strip of five imperf stamps…

Thursday, August 03, 2006

New issues from Belgium

I’m back from my short holidays. I have had six wonderful days. When I arrived back home yesterday evening I got the surprise to find several very nice covers in my mail box. I will definitely show some of them on my blog in the next days. I also got in my email box some nice emails from readers of my blog. Thanks for that. I’ll answer as soon as I can.I also got information from the Belgian post about the next stamp issues. I had almost forgotten that I had subscribed on their philatelic website to get information about the new issues. I’m impressed by the quality of their communication : they sent an email with a lot of technical details about the stamps to be issued in the next three months, and attached to the mail there was a scan of each stamp. I selected one, that is going to be issued the 25th of September 2006. It is a definitive self-adhesive stamp (issued in booklet) picturing a Rembrandt tulip. I chose this one because it has been designed by André Buzin (cf my previous post “Do you know André Buzin”). André Buzin does not only design birds stamps but also the flowers definitive Belgian stamps.