Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A short post today

Yes today’s post will be short as my schedule is completely disturbed due to an unexpected family issue.
I just wanted to show you the cover I received recently from Russia. It comes from Alexander, the author of
Used covers.

(click on the picture to zoom)
The souvenir sheet was issued in 2004 (5th of August) and explains to children, in the form of a cartoon, the basic rules of road safety : use pedestrian crossing, cross when traffic light is red, know the road traffic rules, don’t play on the road and use a safety belts. I particularly like this last one, the stamp with the chicken. The postmark is very nice also, as you can see it clearly on the two other definitive stamps.
Thanks a lot Alexander.

Before going to work, one last word to tell about Bob’s blog (Stanlick Stamp Exchange). Bob recently wrote to me about mine and I’m happy to I invite you to visit his blog. The recent post about “Can you ever achieve a complete collection” asks a very interesting question…

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Famous letters

In my quest for stamps picturing (or commemorating) people named Eric I made recently a very significant progress. Using my 2006 Scott catalogue on CD-Rom and the search facility of Acrobat reader I was able to establish a consequent list of stamps, which is surely not yet exhaustive. For instance I found out that Sweden is the country that has issued the highest number of stamps in this category. This is not really a surprise, since several kings of Sweden were named Erik.
In my research I came across this booklet of four stamps (I show you the stamps and the cover of the booklet).
(click on the picture to zoom)

It was issued on the 6th of June 1984, to celebrate STOCKHOLMIA ’86, an international philatelic exhibition that was held in 1986 in Stockholm (easy, no ? ;-) ). The idea of this stamp set is to picture four famous letters that are kept in various libraries.

The two first stamps on the left side are the ones that fall into my topic for collection. The first one, on the far left side, pictures Erik XIV (1533-1577). Erik XIV was King of Sweden from 1560 until 1568 when he was deposed. He was the son of Gustav I of Sweden and Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg. His foreign policy was marked by his attempts to make Sweden a great power, leading him sometimes to clash with the members of his own family. In his early reign he showed signs of mental instability, that led to insanity. He died in prison after his half-brother, John III ascended to the throne. The legend says that he was killed by a poisoned bowl of pea soup.
The background of the stamp reproduces a letter that Erik XIV wrote to Elizabeth I of England to propose a marriage to her. He did not succeed in this attempt, neither when he proposed the same to Mary I of Scotland nor when he asked Renata of Lorraine.

The second stamp (from the left) pictures Erik Dahlberg (1625-1703), a Swedish soldier who became general director of fortifications for the Swedish crown. He is sometimes referred as the “Vauban of Sweden”. In the background of the stamp is reproduced his letter to the general paymaster Sten Bielke to request means to pay the workers at the fortification construction in Goteborg.

Just to be complete the two last stamps picture a feather letter, making reference to the Swedish custom to attach feathers to the seal of urgent crown letter, and a letter from August Strindberg to his ex-wife, the actress Harriet Bosse.

The four stamps haven been engraved by the very famous CZ Slania.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Another week begins

It is holiday time in France for the Paris and its area. This week, a lot of people are going to the south of France to ski. I’m not really into skiing. I have tried once, a long time ago, and did not really enjoy it. So I’m not on holidays this week.
To begin this new week, I have selected this nice cover that I received recently from Belarus. This is not the first cover I receive from this country, but the previous ones were not so nice

The stamp located in the left bottom corner belongs to a set issued on the 18th of July 1994 celebrating Belarusian painters. This stamp pictures Jasev Drazdovich, a painter that I personally don’t know…
The stamp in the top right corner was issued on the 24th of October 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the UN.
But the two small other stamps are my preferred ones on this cover. They belongs to the definitive stamp set issued in 2006 called Birds of the Garden. The full set contains twelve stamps. The ones on this cover picture a blue tit (Parus Caeruleus) and a linnet (Carduelis cannabina).
I had a chance to see the full set that I find very attractive (you can see it at ). Nice stamp set when you are interested in birds on stamps, or simply in definitive stamps.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Cover from Bangladesh

My daily schedule was really disturbed yesterday by of a massive strike at work, so I could not find the time to write for my blog.
For today, and just before the weekend, I have chosen to show you a cover I have received few weeks ago, from Bangladesh.

This is my first cover from this country. The condition of the cover is not so bad, it looks worse on the scan than in reality. The postmarks from Dhaka are quite clear. As usual I looked for some information about the stamps.
The one located on the far left of the cover was issued on the 21st of June 2004 to celebrate the International Year of Rice. The purpose of the IYR was to promote the production of this vital food crop which is rice. On the stamp, the motto of the IYR is written : Rice is life.
The stamp located on the left side of the top row has been issued on the 15th of June 2002 to celebrate a national tree plantation campaign.
The one of the far right belongs to a series of stamps related to martyred intellectuals that started in 1991. This stamp was issued in 1998 and pictures Altaf Hossain. I could not find anything in my Scott stamp catalogue about the last stamp. I guess it was issued in 1995 but I could not find it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Stamps on stamps, and more

I had recently a mail exchange with a stamp collector who has specialized his collection around stamps on stamps. After this very interesting discussion, I checked my own stock of stamps to see if I had anything interesting on this subject. And I found this souvenir sheet from Nepal. I thought it could be a good idea to share it with you.

It has been issued on the 16th of July 1981 and commemorates the 100th anniversary of the first stamp issue from Nepal. The three stamps of the souvenir sheet picture the three first stamps issued in 1881, the 1 Anna (ultramarine), the 2 Anna (purple) and the 4 Anna (green).
Celebration of the anniversary of the first stamp issue of a country is the main occasion to see stamps reproduced on stamps.

Now, something else. I added in my link list a new link to a blog dedicated to
Europa stamps. If you are interested by Europa stamp issues, have a look, it is very well done. Even if you don’t have any specific interest in this area you may have a look ;-)
If you know other interesting blogs, or if you maintain yourself a blog, don’t hesitate to give me the address so that I can add it in this list.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Covers from Spain

Today I would like to pay tribute to Angel, the blogger of Send me a cover, who sent me recently three very nice cover. The first on is the one I showed here. Here are the two others.

I like the idea of thematic cover, i.e. covers bearing stamps that are linked together by a common theme. The first one is illustrated by stamps about extreme sports and picturing kayaking and rafting. What is interesting is that, when looking quickly at the cover, you could think that the four stamps of the top row belong to the same set. But this is not the case. Three stamps belong to a set issued in March 2006 about extreme sport, but the 0.28€ belongs to a set issued in 2005 and called “For the young : on the edge of the impossible”.
The second cover contains stamps that all include at least one hand in their design.
I really appreciate the time spent by Angel to find the appropriate stamps and to prepare the covers. They arrived in very good condition.Angel, I owe you at least three covers. I’m late but be sure that I’ll send them soon to you…

Monday, February 19, 2007

Letter from Slovenia

Slovenia has entered the Euro zone since the 1st of January this year. At this occasion, Slovenian post has issued the first stamps denominated in Euro only. This is a set of definitive stamps picturing plants and flowers from Slovenia. One example is the 1 cent stamp (0.01 Euro) of this cover I received recently (the stamp is on the left).

The stamp on the right is also denominated in Euro. It has been issued on the 24th of January 2007 and belongs to a series about traditional costumes. Each year a stamp is issued picturing stamps from a different area; on this one the costumes are from Smeldnik.
I could not find information on the stamp located in the middle, the one with the snowman and the “A” denomination.
What is a bit strange for me on this cover is that the stamp on the right is cancelled with its first day cancel dated from the 24th of January and the two others are cancelled with the standard postmark from Smeldnik, but dated on the 5th of February, the actual date on which the letter was sent. The postal rate of a letter from Slovenia to France is 0.40 Euro, it means that the A stamp (equivalent to the national rate so 0,20 Euro) and the Smeldnik costumes stamp (face value 0.20) were needed (the 0,01 Euro stanp being “on top”).
In France this sort of double postmark with different dates would not be possible. Such a letter would not be accepted. I mean you can not post a letter on the 5th of February, with a stamp already cancelled on the 24th of January (even though this is a first day cancel)… So I wonder how such double postmark is possible… This is not the first time I see such thing but I’m always puzzled when I see it…

Friday, February 16, 2007

Danish post

I’m always amazed to see the difference of level in the quality of service provided by the postal administrations to philatelists of the world. I recently had a very good experience with Danish post and wanted to share it with you.

Something as two weeks ago I have bought the international polar year souvenir sheet and associated stamps, issued by Danish post, from their
website. This website is very well done and easy to use, and you can get it in four different languages (Danish, German, English and French).
Few days after my order (I would say four or five days), I received a nice folder from Denmark, containing the 2006/2007 catalogue of stamps (again translated in four languages) and a copy of the January issue of their philatelic publication. Here is a scan of the cover.

This is a very nice booklet, containing description of the stamps issued in January 2007. For each issue, there is a very comprehensive article giving a lot of background information, and also an article giving information on one of the persons who has participated to the design of the stamp. All is illustrated with very nice pictures and nice reproduction of the stamps, stamp sheets, booklets and first day covers. A very luxurious booklet. And all… in French ! (I guess the same is available in Danish, English and German also).
Then after few days I received my stamps. Here is a scan of the stamps and souvenir sheet that I bought (I already mentioned this issue in a “International polar year” and “International polar year (2)).

I was highly impressed by the quality of the service. If I compare to French Post there is a big difference. The French post website is not so well done, is available in French only. The philatelic publication of the French post (Philapost) is available only in French and you need to subscribe to get it… and therefore you need to pay… even if you buy stamps.
I must say that this very good experience makes me feel like buying other stamps from Denmark. I’m going to have a deeper look on the stamps issued buy this country. May be this is the beginning of a new collection ?
I would be happy if you would like to share with me (and us) the experience you have with other postal administrations.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Erich Mayer, painter

It has been a long time since last time I found a new stamp for my collection on “famous Eric on stamps”. So I was very happy when, last weekend, I got a letter from South Africa, containing several souvenir sheets including this one.

Ok, it does not actually picture a famous Eric, but it celebrates the work of Erich Mayer, so it fits into my collection.
The souvenir sheet has been issued on the 20th of April 1976 to commemorate the 100h anniversary of his birth. Erich Mayer (1876 – 1960) was a German painter who spent a part of his life in South Africa. It seems he is well known for his paintings of baobab. He has given his name to a park, Erich Mayer park. I could not find much information about him, so if you know something you are welcome.
The souvenir sheet contains four stamps, representing four paintings from Mayer. From left to right and top to bottom we can see :
- Picnic under Baobab tree
- Wagons at foot of Blauberg, Transvaal
- Harbeessport Dam near Pretoria
- Street in Doornfontain
Between the two rows of stamps, the signature of the painter is represented.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Canada, year of the pig

I have recently received some stamps from my friend Rob who lives in Canada. He sent me this cover that I wanted to share with you.
(click on the picture to zoom)

The cover bears the stamp and the souvenir sheet issued by the Canadian post on the 5th of January 2007 to commemorate the year of the pig. The postmark is a bit messy but overall the cover looks nice.
As you see the souvenir sheet contains one stamp and integrates also the design of the stamp issued separately.

The sun had already set as the last of the animals crossed the river. The Jade Emperor held his lantern above the pig's head and sighed in resignation as the pig explained: "I was hungry and stopped to eat. After the meal, I was so tired that I had to take a nap."

According to popular Chinese legend, this is how the pig became the final animal of the 12-year lunar cycle. The other animals, upon hearing that the Emperor would name each lunar year in order of each animal finishing the race across the river, had feverishly responded to his challenge.

An interesting point to be mentioned on the design of these stamps is the usage of "cloisonné". This is an art form that is thought to have originated in Beijing during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). This is a sophisticated enameling technique that integrates gold or bronze metal strips. The stamp's pig recalls this art form with foil-stamped flowers covering its body.
When you look closer at the stamps they effectively look embossed.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

World Men’s Handball Championship in Germany

I haven’t written much in my blog these last days. I hope this will improve. During last weekend, I have received this cover from Germany that I found quite impressive and therefore I decided to share it with you.

The stamp on the right corner of the cover has been issued on the 2nd of January 2007 to celebrate the World Men’s Handball Championship that was held in Germany in January and February. The stamp goes together with the impressive postmark that has been designed to celebrate the victory of Germany. Germany haw won the Championship against Poland. Unfortunately, Germany has won against France in semi-final, after a very tight game, that ended with a very controversial decision from the referee (he refused a goal to France and nobody understand why).
The stamp on the left side has been issued at the same date, and commemorates the 1000 years of the city of Fürth. This city located in the north of Bavaria, which is contiguous with Nuremberg, has been first mentioned in a document dated from the 1st of November 1007 (even thought it existed already before).
Overall it gives a very nice cover. The postmark is impressively clean. I was really happy to receive this cover, even if I’m not a big fan of handball…

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dogs from India

This week is definitely hectic ! After the snow of yesterday, a strike in the public transports has completely disorganized my daily schedule. On top of that my workload is not decreasing, so it does not let me much time for stamps.

But enough complains. For today I wanted to show you this nice registered cover I got from India through the CCCC.

Click on the picture to zoom

This set of four stamps picturing breeds of dogs from India has been issued on the 9th of January 2005. The breeds of dogs that are pictured are the Mudhol hound , the Rampur hound, the Himalayan sheepdog and the Rajapalayam. I’m not much into dogs, neither on stamps nor in real life. But the cover looks quite nice. The postmark is not very visible, at least it does not spoil the stamps.

By the way, I’m late in sending some covers and stamps to some of you. Sorry for that, but don’t worry they will come. I just need to find a bit more of free time…

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Chinese stamps from 2006

Again a busy day today… And it is snowing. Snow in Paris is never a good news…

I have received yesterday from my Chinese philatelic pen pal, a subset of the stamps issued by China (PRC) in 2006. It is always interesting to see how much different the stamps from China could be compared to modern issues from France and western Europe countries. A set of four stamps has particularly caught my attention.

(click on the picture to zoom)

It has been issued on the 12th of November 2006 and commemorates the 140th anniversary of Sun Yat-Sen’s birth. Sun Yat-Sen was a Chinese revolutionary, often considered as the father of modern China. He was the first president of the Republic of China founded in 1912.

Independently from the subject of those stamps, I think they are really nice. They even look better in reality than on the scan. It is also nice that the four stamps that my friend sent me are coming from the corner of a sheet, with the “traffic lights” in the margin. “Traffic lights” is the name given to the dots in the margin of the stamps and representing all colours used in the printing of the stamps. They are very useful to detect a variety on a stamp with a missing colour…

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Birds from Ukraine

I haven’t much time to write today, a very busy working day is in front of me. Anyway, yesterday I was sorting some stamps that I have received last week and I realized that, interestingly, two of the birds that are pictured on the souvenir sheet from Moldova of yesterday, are also pictured on this souvenir sheet from Ukraine. What a coincidence.

This souvenir sheet has been issued on the 26th of October 2004 and is entitled Danube’s reserve. The mute swan and the great white egret that are on the Moldavian stamp sheet are also on this one. Additionally the souvenir sheet pictures a pygmy cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmaeus), a greylag goose (Anser anser, also known as the wild goose) and a common spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia).
I like that the sort of “diamond” shape of the stamps (well actually they are square, but their orientation give them a diamond look). I wonder if they have been seen very often on a mail…

Monday, February 05, 2007

Birds from Moldova

Back from Rome, back to stamps ;-)
For today I wanted to show you this souvenir sheet from Moldova that I got last week through a stamps exchange circuit. I found it quite nice so I decided to share it with you.

The four birds that are pictured on this sheet are :

The tawny eagle (Aquilla rapax)
The great white egret (Egretta alba). Egrets are like herons, they fly with their neck retracted which is different from storks or cranes which extend their neck.
The little bustard (Tetrax tetrax)
The mute swan (Cygnus olor). The mute swan is the national bird of the Kingdom of Denmark. The famous “swan song” refers to this species of swan and to the legend that it is utterly silent until the last moment of its life, and then sings a beautiful song just before dying. In reality the mute swan is not completely silent.

I think the stamps and the souvenir sheet are well designed and give a beautiful result. I like also the predominating brown colour that gives a specific atmosphere.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Away to Rome

I’m leaving soon for a long weekend to Rome. This will my first time in Rome (but not in Italy). I’m thrilled. I don’t go to Rome only to eat pastas, pizzas and drink Chianti, amaretto and Limoncello ;-) This trip has another purpose : rugby.
On Saturday, starts the 2007 six nations tournament and one of the first games is Italy vs. France. As I could get tickets I thought this was a good occasion to travel to Rome.
To illustrate this post what else could I choose than the stamp issued in 2000 by Italian post to celebrate the entry of Italy into the Six Nations tournament ? So here it is.

On the left border you can see the emblem of the six nations participating to the tournament : from top to bottom : Wales, Scotland, England, Ireland, France and Italy. The stamp pictures an action in a rugby game. It is probably taken from a photography of a real match, but due to the artistic treatment made on the picture, it’s hard to guess which teams were playing and what game it could have been…

I’ll be back on Monday on this blog, with still a lot of things to show you ;-)