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

Monday, October 30, 2006


The weather in Paris was not so good over the weekend, so I could spend dome time sorting out my stamps and digging into a worldwide mixture of mint stamps that I bought several weeks ago. Two stamps caught quickly my attention, mainly because, as you’ll see, they are overprinted. And you know that I’m always interested by overprinted stamps. So I decided to show them to you.

These are two stamps from Ethiopia. The 20c stamp has been issued in 1947 and pictures Aïba, near Maï Tcheo. The 60c stamp has been issued in 1951 and pictures a Canoe on lake Tana, the largest lake of Ethiopia. Both stamps belong to a larger set, but only those two have been overprinted in April 1960 to commemorate the 1959/1960 World Refugee Year.

Friday, October 27, 2006

No picture today

Blogger does not seem to allow me to upload pictures this morning, so I'll not be able to update my blog today.
See you next week. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Snow art, from Finland

I have recently written about stamps that are sensible to heat. Here is another recent example from Finland.
(click on the pictue to zoom)
This booklet of four stamps related to Snow Art has been issued the 22nd of September 2006.
I like the design of those stamps. From left to right and top to bottom they picture :
- a head of horse, a piece of art built during the Blue Ice Art competition in 1999
- the snow castle in Keni, an architectural piece of art which is also a resort for traveler
- a wall built from ice coming from Lake Saimaa
- a snow lantern, a common decoration in Finnish gardens during winter.
The particularity of those stamps is that when you rub them with your finger, the color of the face value changes from blue to white !

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Cover from Bosnia and Herzegovina

Again a first time for me : last week I got for the first time a mail from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The list of countries from where I got nice cover is increasing again. I’m seriously thinking of putting them all on another blog or something else so that I can show my collection to everybody. I will let you know.

The three stamps in the middle row have been issued in 2004 and picture zodiac signs : Libra, Taurus and Gemini. The other stamp (repeated four times) belongs to a set of two issued in 1998 and picture the city of Travnik.
Again I’m impressed by the good quality of the postmark. It is so rare these days to receive such clean cancel on stamps…

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dangerous Australians

I have a subscription to new stamp issues from Australia, so regularly I received from my stamp dealer a packet with all the latest issues. Last weekend I received this colorful souvenir sheet called “Dangerous Australians” !

This souvenir sheet has been issued beginning of October 2006 (for the stamp collecting month) and pictures some of the most dangerous animals that live in Australia (from left to right and top to bottom) : the white shark, the Eastern brown snake, the Box Jellyfish, the Saltwater crocodile, the Yellow-bellied Sea Snake and the Blue-ringed Octopus. I did not know that there were so many dangerous animals in Australia when I went there ;-).
These stamps have also been issued separately as single stamps, and also in self adhesive version (so if you add the prestige booklet and some other stuff it represents already an impressive amount of money for one single issue…).
The stamp sheet has also been issued in a limited edition, with the Yellow-bellied snake stamp replaced by a Red and Black Spider stamp imperforated (while the other stamps of the sheet are perforated). This semi-perforated special edition stamp sheet is presented in a very luxurious and beautiful collector pack. As I did not want to destroy it, I did not dear taking out the sheet to scan it, so I can not show it to you.Looking at all that I still wonder, is there really a need for so many stamps ?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Cover from Netherlands

I’m so happy ! End of last week I have received this cover from Netherlands.

It has been sent by Cees, the blogger of Stamps And Chicken Things, and this is my first cover with a frog stamp on it ! I have already some nice covers with frog stamps, but this is the first one addressed to me. I’m so happy. Thank you very much Cees. This stamp is extracted from a sheet issued beginning of October about Animals from the Zoo. The complete sheet has been already shown by Cees on his blog (click here to see the article).
I did not take the time to look for information about the other stamps, sorry... But looking at the three stamps I realized something interesting : the three stamps denomination is in Eurocent. Since we have adopted Euro in France, all stamps are denominated in Euro, even when the face value is very low. For instance the 1 eurocent stamp is denominated 0.01 Euro. I wonder if there are other countries from the Euro zone that is using Eurocent on stamps...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Cover from Slovakia

I have received recently this nice cover from Slovakia. This is the first time I get mail from this country, so I’m really happy. And the stamps on the cover are quite nice (they are recess printed), with a very neat postmark.
The stamps have been issued on the 10th of April 2001 and they both represent archeological localities. The one on the left pictures fortification of a gate and an observatory from the first decade of the first century, located in Liptovská Mara—Havránok. The stamp also pictures Celtic coins.
The one on the right pictures the locality of Ducové—Kostolec with construction from the 9th century together with an ornamental button and jewel discovered there.
If you are interested by stamps from Slovakia, you can find a lot of information on

This archeological stamps make me think that I discovered yesterday (through a comment let on my blog) a very nice website with an online philatelic exhibition around Neanderthals :
http://www.boneandstone.com The site is very nice and well done, and is really worth the visit!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A debate...

I've received an email from George from Taiwan about my last two articles, indicating me that he has some doubts that those stamps have actually been used in China. He thinks that they were used only in Indo-china (i.e. what is now the Vietnam). This is not what is indicated in my Scott catalog, and not what I found when reading several pages on various websites... but still, now I have a doubt. So the debate is open. Any information in one direction or the other is welcome.

French post offices in China (2)

Here is another example of stamps from Indo-china overprinted for usage in the Pak-hoi post office (see post from yesterday)

This stamp belongs to a set issued in 1907 and picturing an Annamite girl. The stamps have been overprinted in 1908 for usage in China. What is interesting is that, some years later, more exactly in 1919, this stamp has been overprinted again, this time with a new face value !

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

French post offices in China

Since I’m collecting stamps from China and also stamps from France, I naturally became interested in the stamps issued by France for the French post offices in China.
At the beginning of the 20th century several foreign countries have operated local post offices in China. France is no exception, and French post offices were operated in :

- Canton (1901-1919)
- Hoi Hao (1901-1919)
- Kwangchowan (1906-1941)
- Mongtseu (1903-1919)
- Pakhoi (1903-1919)
- Tchongking (1903-1919)
- Yunnan Fou (1903-1919)

Initially French stamps overprinted « CHINA » were used. Then stamps from France and from Indo-china were used, overprinted in black or red, with the name of the city where the post office was located.Here is an example of stamps from Indo-china, used in the post office of Pak-hoi.

The 10c stamp has been issued in 1904 and overprinted for usage in China in 1906. The 35c has been issued in 1906 and overprinted the same year. The red overprint is hard to read on the black design of the stamp. In reality the background of the stamp is much more yellow than on the scan.I have other examples of stamps used in Pakhoi that I’ll show you in a later post.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Cover from Pakistan

This weekend I received a registered cover from Pakistan, bearing an impressive number of stamps. I decided to share it with you. The recto of the cover does not have anything special, just the addresses and the registration number from Pakistan post.
But the verso contain 18 stamps, all of the same type!

This stamp has been issued in June 2006 by Pakistan post. The postmark from “Satellite town, Rawalpindi” is hardly readable, except for one on the right top corner, but overall I think it gives an interesting result.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Update of my website

I have recently completed a significant update of my website about frogs and toads on stamps : The Philatelic Frog. I have added around twenty stamps, I have removed some (because they appeared illegal issues). I have also change my web hosting company. It is no more a free one, but they propose much more interesting services.
If you have five minutes to spend I would be very happy if you could tell me what you think about my website. You could, for instance, check the page related to your country and tell me if you know something more about the stamps that I have put, or even if you know more stamps. Any comments, suggestions, critics are welcome.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My oldest stamp

Few days ago, I asked myself the question : what is the oldest stamp that you have ? So I browsed mentally my collections and all stamps that I remembered having received in one way or another. After some minutes I came to the conclusion that it was this stamp.
A one penny... but one penny from Saint Vincent. The first stamp from Saint Vincent was issued in 1861. But, seing the postmark of this one, I guess it is more the one issued in 1885/1886. Still it remains the oldest stamp that I have, so far... And you ? What is your oldest stamp ?

France Air mail stamp of 1947

You know that I like, from time to time, to show you some old nice French stamps. This is the case again today with this Air mail stamp issued in 1947 for the 12th UPU congress. Once again, this stamp has been designed by Pierre Gandon, the famous stamp designer/engraver.
This large stamp pictures a bird flying above the center of Paris : “l’ile Saint Louis” and “l’ile de la Cité”, the two main islands of the Seine river. Located on the “ile de la Cité”, you can see Notre Dame, Paris cathedral.
On top of a lot of nice commemorative stamps, Pierre Gandon is also the designer of three major definitive sets used in the 40’s (Marianne de Gandon), in the 70’s (Sabine de Gandon) and in the 80’s (Liberté).

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Experimental design

In a previous article I have written about innovation on stamps : the moving stamps from Ireland, the stamps from New Zealand that react to the temperature. I could also have mentioned the scented stamps, the embroided stamps, the wooden stamps… Some other countries have attempted some experimental design for the shape of the stamp itself. A striking example is this souvenir sheet from Portugal (click on the picture to zoom) containing twelve stamps.
It has been issued on the 17th of September 2003. Bizarre, isn’t it ? I wonder if many of these stamps have been seen on a cover. As I know there are some readers of my blog in Portugal I would be happy to hear from them to know if they have ever seen those stamps used on mail.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Cover from Iraq

(click on the picture to zoom)

I have read recently in a philatelic newspaper an article about stamps from Iraq, picturing Saddam Hussein, that are more and more looked after. When I read this article, I remembered that somewhere I had a cover from Iraq. So I looked for it over the weekend in order to show it to you. Here it is.
The cover was sent in 2001 (there is a postmark from Baghdad dated on the 18/06/01 on the reverse side of the cover). The stamp with Saddam Hussein has been issued in 2000. It commemorates the “referendum day”. The other one has been issued in 2001 and commemorates the 10th anniversary of the bombing of Al Amiriya shelter.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Some update about Eric(s) on stamps

To start this new week, I’d like to share with you my last findings related to my collection about famous Eric(s) on stamps. I found recently two stamps from Austria. The first one has been issued in 1971 and commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Erich von Tschermark-Seysenegg, an Austrian agronomist known to have rediscover the work of George Mendel around the laws of inheritance.
The second one commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Eric Korngold, an Austrian composer who has written several operas and film music.The stamp does not actually show Eric Korngold, it illustrates a scene of one of his opera The dead city (Die tote Stadt).

Friday, October 06, 2006

A small anecdote

Today I would like to tell you a small anecdote that shows how, in stamps collecting, a great pleasure can come from almost nothing.
First of all some background information. As you know I collect stamps picturing frogs : all sort of frogs, identifiable or only drawings. I have started my collection 6 years ago, and I have read a lot of stamps catalogues, I have browsed a lot of internet web site, I have consulted a lot of stamps checklists and I have looked at a lot of auction websites. All this to say that I start to have a rather good view on all existing stamps that picture a frog. I have built my own checklist which is very complete and I already own a big number of those stamps.Last weekend, I was sorting out some stamps for a philatelic contact. He is interested to get some stamps from Germany and as I happened to have a set of mint stamps from this country I was looking at them to see if there was anything for his want list. And then my eyes fell on this stamp.

It is a stamp issued by Germany the 12th of May 2000. It is related to nature preservation. And, as you may notice, there is a frog on it ! Can you imagine that I have this stamp since 5 years in my boxes and I never saw before that there was a frog on it ? This stamp was even not listed in my checklist ! I was so happy to discover this. I mean these days I rarely discover new stamps with frogs, except new issues. This little joy has lit up the rest of my day.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Beta Blogger

As you may have noticed I have moved my blog to the "Beta blogger" version and I have changed the layout. I hope you like it !

Birds from Portugal

I have received this cover this week. It contained some stamps I bought on an auction site (not Ebay, but Delcampe. If you haven’t tried Delcampe auction website, you should. It is very well done and very dedicated to collectors). This covers comes from Portugal and bears an interesting number of stamps ! The two birds stamps are in fact definitive stamps. The one on the left border has been issued in 2003, the other one in 2002. I think there are quite nice for definitive stamps, don’t you think ?
Just for the record, the last stamp, the big on one the right top corner, is a part of a set of five stamps issued on the 21st of June 2006 and illustrating Roman heritage in Portugal. I have not much clue of what this stamp is picturing actually. As I don’t read Portuguese…

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Overprinted stamps from Romania

I have already mentioned several times, here on my blog, my interest for overprinted stamps. I have shown stamps from Lesotho (overprinted due to change of name of the country) and stamps from North Borneo (War Tax stamps). Another common reason for overprinting a stamp is to change the face value. This is the case when a country is experiencing an important inflation. The overprinted stamps from Romania are an interesting example.
After the fall of the communism in Romania, at the end of 1989, the country has started a long period of reconstruction. Unfortunately, as often, during this difficult reconstruction a heavy inflation has been experienced. This inflation has become stronger and stronger over the years : for instance between 1998 and 1999 the official inflation rate was 55% ! In 1982 the standard fee for domestic letter was 0.55 Lei, and it was 1700 Lei in 2000 ! Due to this, a set of stamps have been overprinted with this new rate. Here are some examples.

Those stamps have been issued in 1993, 1996 and 1997 and have been overprinted in 2000/2001. What is interesting is that in all cases, the former face value has been cancelled with a pictorial overprint : one can see here a snake, a snake on a branch, a snake and a cup or also a crown. I have also in my collection some stamps picturing insects and overprinted with silhouettes of prehistoric animals ! Of course, all sort of varieties exist, as for almost all overprinted stamps…
I think I have already seen such pictorial overprints on recent stamps from Austria. If you know other examples, I would be happy to hear about them.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Austria, 1966

Recently, I have been exchanging stamps with various collectors from various countries. In exchange for French new issues, they were sending me items for my collection of stamps issued in 1966. Among the nice stamps I have received, there is this set of six.

It has been issued by Austria the 25th of November 1966 and, as you see, pictures various fruits and berries. I like it a lot. The stamps actually look much better in reality than on the scan. Seeing the small size of the stamps, my first impression was that they were definitive stamps. My assumption was confirmed when I checked my Yvert&Tellier catalog, where this set is presented as a “definitive” issue. But it seems to be different in my Scott catalog. And on the Austrian post office website, these stamps are presented as “special” stamps and not definitive one. So I guess I was wrong…
Anyway, I think these are nice stamps that I’m happy to add to my collection of stamps of 1966. This collection starts to be rather impressive, so I should really think of starting an inventory and establishing the detailed list of the stamps I have and the one I don’t have. At least to avoid duplicates. But this looks like such a huge job that I still did not find the strength to start.

Monday, October 02, 2006

New French ATM

I know that among the readers of my blog there are several collectors of ATM so I wanted to show you this one today (sorry the scan is not very good. In fact such item are not so easy to scan…)
This is a French ATM (we call them LISA for Libre Service affranchissement, i.e. self-service stamping) that has been issued two weeks ago for a philatelic exhibition held in Nevers jointly between France and Germany. As usual for this type of “commemorative” ATM, it was available only during the event and only at the location of the event. I was not present (I got this one thanks to a friend) but I guess this was as usual : you had to queue for hours in front of the machines to be able to buy some. This is really a pity that such item are not available directly from the post office. This is not a surprise in this case, that just after such event, you can find these ATM at a relatively high price on auction websites…