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, 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 (, since I collect Chinese stamps.

To finish, the last but not the least, I’m member of the Cover Circuit Collectors Club ( 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


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 , 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.