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


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 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


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 ?