Friday, December 28, 2007

Birds from UK

(This is probably my last post for 2007, so I would like to take advantage of it to wish you a happy new year. I hope 2008 will bring you all what you may desire. Thank you to all of you, for this wonderful philatelic year spent together. And let’s hope 2008 will bring us even more pleasure with stamps and covers !)

If you read regularly my blog you know how much I like fauna stamps. So you can imagin how happy I was when I received this set of stamps from Adrian (thank you so much Adrian ! I know I’m late for sending you some stamps but don’t worry they will come…).

I read regularly in philatelic magazines that British stamp collectors complain about the quality and the high number of stamps issued by Royal Mail. I must admit that I often agree with them when I see the modern issues. But from time to time, there is a set of stamps that seems to break this trend. This is the case of this one, that I really find wonderful. Don’t you think ?
These stamps were issued on the 4th of September 2007 and picture birds from UK that are under a recovery program. Each stamp pictures an endangered bird species, with indication of the number of birds observed in past years and in recent years, to show the progress of this recovery. The birds that are pictured are (from left to right and top to bottom) : White-tailed eagle, Bearded tit, Red kite, Cirl bunting, Marsh harrier, Avocet (which by the way is not a species but a sub-family), Bittern (again a sub-family and not a species), Dartford warbler, Corn crake and Peregrine falcon.
As you see Adrian has sent me the bottom of a sheet, with the “traffic lights” on the right and the indication of the date of issue at the bottom.A very nice set of stamp to finish this year !

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cover from Hong Kong

I think this is the first time I show a cover coming from Hong Kong on this blog (even though this is not the first time I get one). It comes from one reader of my blog (thank you very much for this nice cover and the stamps included inside. By the way you did not tell me which specific stamps from France you would like?). Here it is.

Covers franked with a full souvenir sheet are rather rare, this is why I really like this one. As far as I could find out, the souvenir sheet has been issued on the 7th of September 2002 to celebrate the participation of Hong Kong post to AMPHILEX 2002, an international stamp exhibition that was held in Netherlands. The stamp embedded in the souvenir sheet re-uses the design of a stamp belonging to the Landmarks series of 1999 and pictures Tsing Ma bridge located in Hong Kong which is the 6th largest suspended bridge. I guess the background of the souvenir sheet is a view of Amsterdam.
The small stamp is part of the very beautiful definitive series issued on the 31st of December 2006 and picturing birds. This stamp pictures a Red-whiskered bulbul. I do not resist to the pleasure to show you the full set, because I think this is a really beautiful series.

The high value stamps are interesting : they have small perforations around the face value indication. Very nice !Thanks again for this cover !

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Italian regions

I hope you’ve all had a nice Christmas time. Mine was very quiet and very nice. For today I want to show you a new cover I have received from Italy, from Pierliugi.

The two stamps located on the left are part of the definitive series “Donne dell’arte” that I have already mentioned in a previous post. This stamp, with a face value of 0.10 Euro, was issued in 2002 for the first time. It has been reprinted several times and if I’m not wrong the ones on the cover are part of later re-print (because of the Sp.A indication at the bottom of the stamp, that was not present on the original printing). The stamp pictures a part of a female terracotta statue from the 3rd century BC. The large stamp belongs to a set of four stamps issued on the 29th of April 2006. This set is actually a part of a series celebrating Italian regions. This series has started in 2004, with four stamps issued each year. The stamp on the cover pictures the area of Puglia or Apulia, an area that is a part of the south-eastern Italy bordering Adriatic see. Here is the area on a map.

As you see the stamp pictures a map of the Puglia region, the coat of arms of the region (on the top left corner of the stamp). On the left side of the stamp is pictured the Basilica St Nicholas located in Bari, the capital of the Puglia. All stamps of the series are made on the same model, picturing the map and coat of arms of the region, and a famous place located in the area. Here is the full set of 2006, where you can see that on top of Puglia the other regions that are celebrated are Piedmont, Tuscany and Lazio.

To come back on the cover, you can see also the very nice Christmas cancel from Bari, the city from where the cover was posted, and also the capital of the Puglia region ! A very nice cover, thank you very much Pierliugi. It gave me the opportunity to discover this series of stamps which I think is very nice and a good tribute to the regions of Italy.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, with this Santa Claus on the 2007 Chritsmas stamp from Aland.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Print your own stamps !

I have already written about the possibility proposed by some postal administrations to print yourself your own stamps. You subscribe to their service, and then, from the Internet, you can print some labels that are actually valid for postage. Some of the companies that propose such services, also propose to include some pictures or logo in the design of the stamp. This is the case for the American Here is a cover sent by Mr Zhenbang Huang, a reader of my blog, who lives in the USA (Thank you very much for this cover. I will send you soon the stamp you asked me for).

As you see the “stamps” have been customised using drawings of some very famous tourist places : (clockwise) the Taj Mahal, The Pisa tower, The Eiffel tower and the Parthenon. A very nice idea. I don’t know is those designs are “standard” ones proposed by or if they are completely customized ?
As for all these sort of stamps you find on the right side a barcode, that is encoding the information about the validity of the stamp and the face value.
This is the first time I get a cover with stamps coming from, so I’m happy to add it to my collection !

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Time for gifts (3)

Here is the third (and normally the last) episode of my series about gift sent by postal administrations. Today I’ll speak about the gift I received from the Swedish post. I have a subscription for new issues from Sweden, so to thank me of my fidelity, I receive this very nice engraving.

Nice, isn’t it ? It was included in a presentation pack. Here is the complete object.

This engraving re-uses the design of two stamps issued in a souvenir sheet on the 10th of May 2007 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Linnaeus. Here is the souvenir sheet, as a reference.

First let me say a word about Linnaeus. Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) (known as Carl von Linné after his ennoblement by the Swedish king Adolf Fredrik in 1757) was a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist. He is sometimes referred as the father of modern taxonomy. His most famous work, Systema Naturae, published for the first time in 1735, established the foundation for the modern scheme of nomenclature.
The Linnaean system classified Nature within a hierarchy, starting with three kingdoms : Animalia (for animals), Vegetabilia (for plants) and Mineralia (for minerals). Kingdoms were then divided into Classes, divided into Orders. Each Order was divided into Genera and then Species. The groupings were based upon shared physical characteristics. To this day, only his groupings for animals remain, and even the groupings have changed significantly since Linnaeus’ time.
If you look at scientific names of some animals, you will see that a lot of them are followed by the indication “Linnaeus”, indicating that they have been classified by him.Swedish posts has also issued a stamp picturing a portrait of Linnaeus, on the 25th January 2007. Here it is.

The plants that are pictured on the souvenir sheet and on the engraving are : on the left, Musa x paradisiacal, a sort of banana tree, and on the right Padophyllum peltatum, commonly known as the Mayapple. A funny anecdote about the last one : despite of its name, this is the flower that appears in May, the apple appearing normally in the summer. It is sometimes called the Devil’s apple or the Wild lemon (because of its taste). Only the fruit of the Mayapple tree can be eaten, the plant itself can kill a human in 24 hours !

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Time for gifts (2)

As promised yesterday, I would like to show you today the gift I got from the Canadian postal administration. Well, this time it was not really a Christmas gift. It was a gift to thank people who have answered to a survey they have organized few months ago. What is interesting is that I’m not even a customer of Canadian post. I juts happened to register once on their website to get some information about a stamp issue. Then I started to receive their, very interesting, philatelic publication. I answered the survey and now I got a gift. Nice isn’t it ?The gift is in two parts. The first one is a First Day Cover. Here it is.

As you see this is an FDC of a joint issue between Canada and USA. Both stamps have been issued on the 28th of May 2006. As they bear the same design this issue qualifies as a twin issue. The only difference between both stamps (except the denomination) is the size : the USA stamp being smaller than the Canadian one. This issue commemorates the 400th anniversary of the exploration of North America coats by Samuel de Champlain in 1606. For Canada, this stamp is the third in a series honouring 400 years of French settlement on this continent. An interesting anecdote about this stamp is that there are no reliable portraits of Champlain, so they decided to show instead the type of vessel he used during the 1606 expedition. I think the stamp design is rather nice, and the overall FDC is beautiful. The two first day postmarks are really impressive, mainly the one from the USA !

The second part of the gift is a souvenir sheet of stamps from China !

This stamp is a part of a joint stamp issue between China and Canada issued in 2005. This stamp pictures a Cougar. The full issue contains two stamps for each country. The second stamp from China pictures a leopard. I have already show here the stamps from Canada belonging to this issue.
I’m really surprised that the Canadian post offers a Chinese stamp sheet as a gift to their customers…

Monday, December 17, 2007

Time for gifts

Christmas is coming and also the time for gifts. Postal administrations are sending gifts to their customers to thank them for their fidelity. Last week, I had the pleasure to get one from Finland, from Canada and from Sweden. The one from Finland is actually a Christmas card, as last year. The recto of the card bears one of the two stamps issued on the 2nd of November by Finish post for Christmas and picturing a Gingerbread mouse (click on the pictures to zoom).

As you can see the stamp is cancelled with a first day postmark, a nice and funny one. I read somewhere that if you rub the stamp with your finger you can smell Cinnamon, but this is not true. I tried and the stamp does not smell anything.
The second stamp issued at the same time for Christmas pictures a straw goat and a mouse and it is put on the other side of the card. This time the stamp is cancelled with the famous Santa Claus cancel that Finish post is using every year.

This is a very simple but nice surprise. Tomorrow I’ll show you the gift I got from Canadian post.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A short message

Just a short message to tell that if I did not update my blog since the last two days, it is just because I ran out of scanned materieal. I have some nice covers and stamps to share with you, but I could not find the time to scan then yet. I'll try to solve this over the weekend, so that I can be back next week with lots of stamp stories.
See you then.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Today I would like to show you two letters that I have received from China, sent by ZHOU Fan (thank you !) and that have a very special characteristics. Here they are.

As you see, they actually are Cécogrammes. Cécogramme is a French word used by UPU to name such mails. This is a letter or a package containing documents sent or received by visually impaired people or by assisting organizations. This type of mail benefits of a franchise in whole or in part in the postal systems of many countries.
Two types of documents are accepted in such mail : embossed documents (e.g. texts written in the Braille alphabet, this is what was inside both covers) and sound documents such as audio books.
Those mails are identified by the word Cécogramme printed on the cover (see the red cancel, in French and Chinese) and by a specific label. The UPU recommends the usage of a label of 52×65 mm, white on a black background, picturing a stylized silhouette of a man seen in profile and walking with a white stick (see the label on the left top corner of the covers).
Depending on its status (registered, or air mail…) a cécogramme may require additional franking as it is the case on the covers I show you here.

The first cover bears a stamp issued for the
2007 Special Olympics World summer games held in Shanghai in October. Check their website if you want to know more about these special games that enable people with mental disabilities to open through sport. This was the first time that this special games were held in Asia, and the second times only that they are held out of the USA. The stamp pictures the emblem of the competition. The logo is shaped like an eye with the figures of two athletes jumping in the pupil, resembling a blooming white magnolia, Shanghai’s city flower.
The second cover bears a stamp issued also in 2007 but that I could not identify yet. If somebody can help. I quite like this stamp, with a black background.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Volcanoes of Indonesia

Here is a very nice cover I got few weeks ago and coming from Indonesia.

The three stamps belong to a set of five issued on the 5th of June 2003 and picturing volcanoes. The three volcanoes that are pictured on those stamps are (from top to bottom) : Ruang, Tambora and the famous Krakatau (or Krakatoa). The two other stamps of the set picture the Merapi and the Kerinci.
The five stamps have also been issued in sheet containing two of each stamps and two labels. I could not find a scan of the complete set or of the sheet, so I can not show it to you. Sorry. Indonesia is the country with the greatest number and density of active volcanoes. Indonesia usually is a the top of the statistics for active volcanoes, eruption and unfortunately, fatalities due to volcano ! Just look at this map of the volcanoes located in Indonesia and you will understand.

I like this cover. The shape of the stamps is rather unusual and quite well appropriate for the subject. The cancel is very clean and neat. It seems to come from a philatelic bureau, so this must not be a surprise.
Volcanoes on stamps must be a very interesting topic to collect….

By the way, following some questions I got recently : if you are interested to get a cover or a set of stamps that I show on my blog, then just send me a mail to and we will see what we can do. Thanks.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Golden Ratio

I love mathematics. I have always been fascinated by arithmetic and geometry. So I was particularly interested by the souvenir sheet issued by Macao on he 26th of October and entitled “Science and technology : the golden ratio”.

So let’s speak a bit about mathematics. What is the golden ratio ?
This is a ratio ;-) easy no ? Two quantities (let’s call them A and B, and take the assumption that B is greater than A) are said to be in golden ratio if the ratio between the sum of both quantities and the larger one (here A+B divided by B) is the same as the ratio between the larger one and the smaller (here B divided by A). This ratio has a value equal to 1.6180339887… and is usually named using the Greek letter Phi. This is what is pictured in the first stamp of the souvenir sheet, the value of the golden ratio.

This golden ratio is not only a mathematical object. This is also a concept that has been used in art. At least since the Renaissance, many artist have used the golden ratio to proportion their work because it is said to be aesthetically pleasing : a golden rectangle in which the ratio of the longer side and the shorter one is the golden ratio is considered as being particularly aesthetic. The golden ratio may be found in the proportion of the Parthenon, conceived by Phidias (490-430 BC). This is one of the first use of this ratio which is known in architecture and art. This is why it was “Phi” was chosen to name the ratio itself, because of Phidias.
Plato, Euclid, Leonardo Da Vinci have made a lot of reference to the golden ratio in their work. So you see it goes far beyond mathematics itself. Even more, some people have discovered the presence of the golden ratio in nature. Da Vinci indicated that the ratio between some parts of the human body was following the golden ratio. Even in the animals or in the plants, some people are seeing this magic ratio, you will have some examples below.
But first let’s speak about another mathematical object : the Fibonacci sequence. Fibonacci is the common name of Leonardo of Pisa, a mathematician who invented a very famous sequence in the 13th century. His idea was to answer to the following problem : if a pair of rabbits is placed in an enclosed area, how many rabbits will be born there if we assume that every month a pair of rabbits produces another pair, and that rabbits begin to bear young two months after their birth ?
If you list the number of pair of rabbits you get every month, you get the following sequence :
1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233,…
This is the Fibonacci sequence. You can notice that one element of the sequence is equal to the sum of the two preceding elements. Here is another stamp from the same souvenir sheet, illustrating the sequence, using the rabbits story.

What is the link between the golden ratio and the Fibonacci sequence ? Well if you divide on element of the sequence by its predecessor you get an approximation of the golden ratio ! And the bigger is the element you choose, the more precise is the approximation ! It’s magic !
From the Fibonacci sequence you can draw spirals. And here we find back the relation with nature. It is said that the shell of the Nautilus is following a spiral built on the Fibonacci sequence. As illustrated in the following stamp.

More, if you mix together several spirals, you get the pattern of the heart of a sunflower, as shown here.

This is because it can be found in the Nature, that the golden ratio is sometimes called the divine proportion : as if God would have built our world, using the golden ratio as a metric.
Just to be complete, the souvenir sheet also shows another usage of the golden ratio : the Penrose tiling. I’m not going to detail it here because it is a bit complex and I’m not sure to be able to do it in English ;-)

You see, that mathematics are fascinating. I wonder if there are people who collect stamps related to mathematics ? If yes, I would be glad to hear from them.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mail from Pakistan

I recently got a letter from Pakistan. This is not the first one I receive, I think I showed some here on my blog. But this one is a bit more enigmatic for me. I show you only the verso of the cover, since the franking is there. Nothing special on the recto.

The stamp that is put twice on the cover belongs to a set of twelve definitive stamps issued on the 11Th of September 1994 and picturing Mohammed Ali Jinnah (1876-1948), a Muslim politician who is considered as the father of the nation because he has actively taken part to the creation of Pakistan. His portrait has been reused later on another set of definitive stamps. The other stamp was issued on the 14th of November 2000 to celebrate IDEAS 2000 : the International Defense Exhibition And Seminar. The total face value of the stamps is 37 Rs, which seems to be the correct franking (see also the hand written indication on the top of the cover).
The cancel is a bit enigmatic for me. The cover comes from Peshawar. First, there is no indication of the year. The date is just 12th of November, and there is a blank where the year should be. Then it is written FRANCHISE POST OFFICE. What does it mean exactly ? Does it mean that the cover was cancelled in a place (a shop for instance) which has the franchise of being a post office ? Anything else ?
If you have any information about this cancel I would be very happy to hear from you.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

New blogs

Just a short note (I'm very busy today... no time for stamps) to announce you two new blogs maintained by friends : Selos e cartas, maintained by Rui and Gem's World Postcards, maintained by Glenn. Have a look to them !

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My first cover from Algeria

Yes I’m glad today to show you the fist cover I received from Algeria. And as you’ll see it bears a lot of stamps. Here it is, a registered cover sent by Abdel.

An interesting number of fauna and flora stamps, exactly what I like ! And inside the cover there was some mint fauna stamps that I will may be show you in a future post. But let’s speak about the stamps of this cover.
The stamp on the right top corner was issued on the 25th of January 2006. It belongs to a set of four stamps about wading birds. This one pictures a Common crane (Grus grus). The stamp below was issued on the 17th of March 1999 and belongs to a set of three stamps picturing flowering trees. This stamp pictures an orange tree.
The stamp located on the left of the crane stamp was issued on the 24th of January 2001. It belongs to a series about birds that was started in 1998. This stamp pictures a Greylag goose (Anser anser). Just below, the stamp picturing a cheetah was issued on the 20th of July 2005 in a set of two dedicated to the Cheetah of the Tassili.
The stamps located below the cheetah stamp is part of the definitive series about roses. This one was issued on the 7th of September 2004 and pictures a Rosa odorata.
Finally the last stamp, the one you can see three times on the cover, was issued on the 10th of April 2007 and pictures Cheikh Mohamed Ameziane Belhaddad (~1790-1873) one of the main leaders who has taken a big part to the fight against French occupation.

As you see the postmarks on the stamps are a bit heavy, but not too much. Interestingly they are of a blue color and not the more traditional black one.
I really don’t know much about the philately of Algeria, so I’m really happy to e able to add this letter to my collection of worldwide covers !

Monday, December 03, 2007

Cover and stamps from Portugal

Life is full of coincidences. I have spent the weekend in Fontainebleau (a city located in the south of Paris and near a large forest) and as the weather was not so good I have spent some hours reading various philatelic newspapers and browsing the “new issues” sections. My attention was specifically triggered by a stamp and a souvenir sheet from Portugal, and I decided to try to find more information about this issue. Then yesterday, when I came back home, I found a letter from Portugal, sent by Rui, and franked with the stamp I was looking for ! And more, the cover contained a mint copy of the stamp and of the souvenir sheet ! Thank you very much Rui.First here is the cover.

The letter is franked with a standard ATM and a stamp picturing the Portuguese national flag. The stamp was issued on the 5th of October, and belongs to a souvenir sheet named : the symbols of the republic. Here is the sheet.

As you see the souvenir sheet contains five stamps, each of them picturing a different flag : from top to bottom, and from left to right, the flags are :
- the national Portuguese flag
- the flag of the president of the republic
- the flag of Azores
- the flag of the Portuguese assembly of the republic
- the flag of Madeira
The sheet is also marked, on the top, with the emblem of Portugal 2010, an international philatelic exhibition that will be held in Portugal in 2010 ;-) I could not find information about the face that is pictured on the top right corner of the sheet. If somebody could tell me ?
What I found interesting is that the stamp bearing the National flag has also been issued separately. But as you see below, with a different perforation.

The isolated stamp has a cross in the middle of the perforation. This is something that can be found quite often on modern stamps from Portugal. This is quite funny to see that the stamp extracted from the souvenir sheet and the isolated stamp are therefore different ! And obviously Rui has used the one form the souvenir sheet to frank my cover !

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Paquebot mail

I have received this cover some weeks/months ago already, but I haven’t shared it with you yet because I wanted to decipher it completely before. Unfortunately I did not succeed as you will see below.The cover was sent by Velu (thanks a lot Velu for this cover and others).

As you see this is a paquebot mail. What is a Paquebot mail ? The concept is based on the fact that a merchant ship on the high seas is sovereign national territory of the country whose flag she flies. Therefore mail posted aboard a ship in international waters is to be franked with stamps of the country of the ship’s registry. Then when the ship reaches the next port, the mail is handed over to the postal service. Those specific mail are marked with special postal marks (several models exist) to indicate their special status.
On the cover sent by Velu, you see clearly the PAQUEBOT MAIL – POSTED ON HIGH SEAS mark. You also have some indication on the ship (see left part of the cover) : this is the MT.MARONI, registered at WILLEMSTAD, Netherland Antilles. I could not find the signification of the remaining information, below the name of the ship There is a signature on the left bottom corner, I guess this is the signature of the captain ?
The stamp located on the right top corner is a stamp from the Netherlands Antilles (so the country where the ship is registered) : I could not identify the stamp, sorry. If somebody can help ?
You see that the stamp has been cancelled by an ugly unreadable postmark, but there is also a mark from PANAMA post : so the mail was handed over to PANAMA post on the 24th of September. I guess that this red meter mark adds some additional franking, otherwise how should we interpret the 0.45 written on it ?
As you see there are a lot of things that I could not really identify on this cover, so any help is welcome.Paquebot mails are rather rare in these modern days, so thank you very much Velu for this cover that I will keep preciously.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tribute to Greenish post

(Just a quick post for today… so much work… so little time).

I have already shared with you the good experience that I have had with the Greenish post. I recently had, once again, a proof that this postal administration shows respect to stamp collectors. I recently received this cover, containing a letter announcing that the Greenish post will have a booth at the Salon d’Automne, held in Paris early in November.

As you see, the cover is franked with an actual stamp, and is very nicely postmarked. Except from Greenland, Gibraltar and Ireland, I never got any letters from any other postal administrations franked with real stamps. They always use pre-paid postage mark or similar thing. So I was very pleased to see that people at Greenish post take the time to put a stamp on a cover to write to their customers. Nice, isn’t it ?The stamp is one of the two stamps issued early this year to commemorate the International Polar Year. Here is a picture of both stamps, in case you haven’t seen them already.

They have been issued also in a souvenir sheet. The postmark from Tasiilaq is very clean. In case you don’t know, Tasiilaq is the city where is located the philatelic bureau of Greenish post.
I know what you think, this is normal that Greenish post is showing so much respect to their philatelic customers : this is mainly because the philatelic sales probably represent a big part of their income. This is surely true, much more than for the French post, for sure. But still…

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Frogs on postmark

My topical collection about frogs does not include only stamps, but also postal stationeries and postmarks. Early in November, when I have visited the Salon d’automne, the stamp fair, I could not find any new stamps for my collection, but I could buy few covers bearing interesting postmarks picturing frogs. Here are the two nicest ones that I have bought.

The first one is a first day cancel of a UN stamp issue about endangered species. The stamp, issued by the office of Vienna, was issued on the 4th of April 2002 and picture a Sonoran green toad (Bufo retiformis). What is strange is that this toad can be found only in the area of Mexico, so I wonder why it was chosen for the Autsrian office. Anyway, as you see the very nice first day cancel reuses the same design than the stamp. I like it.
The second cancel is also a first day cancel, but what is very strange is that it is not applied on the stamp issued on this day, but on a standard Machin stamp. Here is the picture.

Back in March of 2000 Royal Mail issued the Water and Coast stamps. They were the third instalment in a total of 12 sets issued as part of the Millennium Projects series. The complete set comprised of four stamps featuring photographs, both in black and white and colour, representing different coastal aspects of Britain. One of the stamp pictures frogs legs and water lilies in the first stamp that represented the has a good place in my collection. Here is the stamp.

As far as I understood the first day cancel that I showed above is the cancel of the first day of issue of this stamp. So I wonder how it could be applied on a Machin stamp. In France I don’t think this is possible : a first day cancel must be used only to cancel the associated stamps. Is it different in Great Britain ? Does anybody know ?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Japanese maximum card

I recently received several covers from Japan through the Asian Cover Collectors Club. I’m still fighting to find information about the stamps that were used on them to be able to share them with you. But in one of the covers, the sender has put this very nice maximum card, as a gift, in order to stiffen the envelope and to avoid that it gets bent.

The design of the card is identical to the one of the stamp. The stamp belongs to a series about modern Japanese art. This specific stamp was issued on the 7th of July 1980. It pictures a painting from Seiho Takeuchi (1864 - 1942), entitled “Dear me… this is a shower”. I could not find information about this painting and also about this strange title.
Seiho Takeuchi was born in Kyoto. He was a key-figure of the Kyoto painting circle of his time. He was considered the last “meijin” (master artist) by his contemporaries. Like many Kyoto artists of his time, he was also involved in textile design in the early years of his professional life. A visit to Europe in 1901 proved decisive for the next stage in the development of his style and themes. His work of this period can best be characterised as a successful fusion of the best of Japanese painting techniques and styles, and Western art. In the second half of his career his main sources of inspiration were China and haiku poetry.
The postmark is also very nice. I guess this is a first day cancel. A large red cancel, as I have seen very often on covers from Japan that I have shown here on my blog.I’m not into maximum card, but I think this one is really nice. If you are interested to get it, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Covers from Gibraltar

(I am finally back on line earlier than plan. It’s good to be back thinking about stamps, it helps forgetting the difficulties that life sometimes bring to us…)

Today I wanted to show you a set of three covers that I received from Gibraltar thank to Angel.The first one is franked with a set of four stamps issued on the 4th of May 2006. This is the Europa issue : the theme of Europa stamps in 2006 was integration as seen by your people. I think is set illustrates very well the theme, showing kids of different origin and religion, playing together. A nice colorful set that clearly illustrates the message that they want to give !

The second one is franked with two stamps. The one on the left side belongs to the set issued on the 31st of March 2006 to celebrate the 2006 Soccer World cup in Germany. The full set contains seven stamps that have been issued in a souvenir sheet that I want to show you because I find it very attractive. As you see, each stamp pictures a kid with the face painted according to the color of the flag of one of the previous winner of the world cup : Brazil, England, Argentina, France, Uruguay, Italy, Germany. I think this is a very nice idea. This is quite different from the usual “soccer” stamp showing game actions.

The second stamp was issued on the 28th of February 2007 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signature of the treaty of Rome. The treaty of Rome established the European Economic Community (EEC) and was signed by France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (the latter three as part of the Benelux) on March 25, 1957. The full set contains six stamps, each stamp picturing the flag of one of the countries that have signed the treaty. The set has been issued also in a souvenir sheet that I show you here.

As you see Angel has chosen for both stamps, the one using the French flag : a blue, white, red thematic. Very nice.

The last cover is franked with the set of four stamps issued on the 30th of June 2007. This is the 2007 Europa issue commemorating 100 years of scouting. The stamps depict Gibraltar Scouts from 1908, the 1950’s, a 1980’s Sea Scout and modern day Scout.

All three covers are postmarked with very nice and clean cancel.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cover from Italy

(A quick post for today. My daily life is currently disturbed by severe strikes in public transports in France, so I haven’t much time to update my blog)

I haven’t received so many mails from Italy so far so I was quite happy when I got this one from Pierliugi. Thank you very much Pierliugi.

The large stamp has been issued on the 9th of June 2007 (the cover is in fact a FDC of this stamp). It pictures the Chianca dolmen. The Chianca dolmen is one of the largest dolmen of Europe. It is located near the city of Bisceglie. It was discovered in August 1909. The research was continued in 1910. This dolmen has a broad corridor and is composed of a funeral part and an access passage. It is 1,80m high and the cover stone measures 2,40mx3,80 ! A huge dolmen and a very nice stamp ! The nice first day cancel reuses the design of the dolmen.
The second stamp belongs the definitive series “Women in Art” (Donne dell’arte) , started in 1998 with stamps bearing a face value in Lira. In 1999 the stamps of this series were issued with a double face value Lira/Euro and after 2000 they were all denominated in Euro. The series seems to have ended in 2004. This is a very nice series that pictures portrait of women. The stamp of the cover was issued in 2002 (I think it reuses the same design as one used on a stamp in Lira in 1998 but I’m not completely sure). It pictures the portrait of an Etruscan woman named Velia Spurinna. I could not find a scan of the complete series, but if I find one I’ll show it here, because this is really a very nice series.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The stamp as a link to the internet !

Last week, during the stamp fair held in Paris, I had the opportunity to visit the booth of the Swiss post. I do not know much about stamps issued by Switzerland so I took some time to check the latest issues that were available. I was quite intrigued by one stamp, but unfortunately the lady of the Swiss post was quite busy, so I could not get details about it. Of course, once home, I searched on the internet to find some information and I was quite surprised by what I found.First of all, here is the stamp.

It has been issued on the 31st of October and it is the result of the collaboration between the Swiss post and the Swiss Tourism Office. The pictures is a scenery of the Swiss Alps, nothing really special about it. But what triggered my attention is the right part of the stamp, the logo that looks like cells that you can find in a beehive. I found out that this logo is in fact called a BeeTagg. It is a sort of barcode, that you can “read” with the camera of your mobile phone (of course you need a camera on your mobile phone ;-) and you need to install a specific software on it… a software that you can download for free from a website). Once you have “scanned” the barcode with your mobile, you just need one click and you are re-directed to a specific website. By visiting this website you participate to a draw and you can win some prizes related to skiing. So this barcode is a sort of hyper link, in some way… I guess this is a first ! (and probably the last time, because I do not really see the interest of it).
I did not know about this BeeTagg stuff, I discovered that this is already used on other support than the stamp. You can check is you want to know more.

And to answer the question you probably have in mind ;-) : I did not test the BeeTagg myself, because my mobile is not in the list of mobiles compatible with the software !
Ha, and one precision that may help you understand why I was so intrigued by this stuff : I work in the area of mobile communication, so everything that relates to mobile phones is in my area of interest.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Very nice cover from Germany

The day of yesterday has gone so quickly that I could not find the time to update my blog and to share with you the item I had prepared. So let’s do it today. I have received this very nice cover some weeks ago already. It comes from Germany and was sent by a reader of my blog : thank you very much Kalpana for this cover, for your very nice letter and for the stamps/aerogrammes you sent me.

As you see the cover is franked with two copies of the same souvenir sheet. This souvenir sheet has been issued on the 1st of March 2007. It pictures the LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin. The LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin was a very large dirigible that was named after the German pioneer of airships, Ferdinand von Zeppelin (“Graf” being a rank in the German nobility). With a total length of 236.6 meters, the LZ 127 was the largest airship of that time.
It flew for the first time in 1928. In 1929 it flew all over the world in 21 days, 5 hours and 31 minutes. From 1930 to 1936 it was used for regular transatlantic trips between Europe and South America : the stamp on the souvenir sheet pictures also the route of these trips from Friedrichshafen to Buenos Aires. The usage of such airships decreased a lot after the accident of the Hindenburg in 1937and the LZ 127 was dismantled in 1940, its aluminum parts being used by the German war industry.
The LZ 127 has been pictured on several stamps from various countries. I think that this souvenir sheet is really nice. The tamp bears a surtax, but I do not know for which purpose this surtax is used. Additionally the stamp is written “tag der briefmarke” which means “stamps’ day” if my German is not too bad…
The cancel is also extremely nice : it pictures the same dirigible. The cancel is the one used during a stamp fair held between the 26th and the 28th of October in Sindelfingen, as indicated also by the label that is put on the cover under my address.
Nice cover, isn’t it ?