Thursday, May 31, 2007

Smiling angel is back on stamp

(A short note only today, being quite busy…)

In my article about Reims, I showed several stamps picturing the smiling angel (l’ange au sourire), a very famous statue located on the front of the Cathedral of Reims. On the 23rd of May 2007, French post has issued a new stamp picturing this angel. This time this is a photography of the angel and no more a drawing.

This stamp is a part of a joint issue with Armenia. The second stamp of the set picture a nice miniature from the 15th century.


I did not see the stamps from Armenia, I don't know if the re-use the same design or not. If somebody knows... I would be happy to get a scan of the issue from Armenia...


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A cover from India, and a scented souvenir sheet

When I came back from holidays I had the pleasure to find my mail box full of mails. Of course there was a lot of junk mail and also some invoices to pay. But fortunately, there was also a lot of nice covers, bearing nice stamps and coming from all over the world. In the coming days I’m going to share some of them with you.For today I have selected a cover from India, sent by a reader of my blog.

(click on the picture to zoom)
As you can see, the cover is a postal stationary on which two stamps have been added. The stamps are issued from the set about endangered birds that I have already presented in a previous post. Inside the cover I could find two souvenir sheets. One is the souvenir sheet bearing the Sandalwood scented stamp : the first scented stamp from India that I already mentioned. The second sheet is this one.

This is a souvenir sheet issued on the 7th of February 2007 and entitled “Fragrance of Roses” (the four stamps have also been issued separately). As you see each stamp pictures a different type or rose. On the stamp we can read : Bhim, Delhi princess, Jawahar and Neelam. I guess these are the names of the species that are pictured, but I’m not sure, as I’m clearly not a specialist of flowers…
As you can imagine, each stamp bears a very nice perfume of rose ! A very strong one. I can tell you that when I opened the cover, with the perfume of the Sandalwood mixed to the perfume of roses, it gave a very impressive feeling !
Another thing to mention : on this souvenir sheet you can find the same principal than the one used on the endangered birds souvenir sheet : the border of the sheet re-uses the design of the stamps but with very pale colours.

Thank you very much for this cover and these nice souvenir sheets.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New issues from Royal Mail, and a new blog

As announced yesterday, I’d like to show you some of my purchase during my holidays in London. Even if I hadn’t much time to deal with stamps I took this opportunity to go to a post office to check the stamps that were available. I was lucky enough to find a post office with a philatelic corner where all the latest issues were available, mainly in the form of presentation packs. I bought some of them, including this one, which was issued on the 15th of May.


As you see on the scan of the presentation pack, this stamp issue is very colourful. According to the text included in the pack, this issue is meant to “celebrate some icons of the classic seaside holiday”. Each stamp is supposed to picture something that represent our vision of a day spent at the seaside. As far as I’m concerned I think that the ice cream cone, the sand castle, the beach huts and the deckchairs are a good choice. The carrousel and the donkeys are, for me, more questionable as representative of the seaside.
I also bought some other new issues that I don’t show you here, and I even used some stamps from the “sea life” issue to send a cover to some of you. Hoping that they will come with a not too bad cancel, knowing the bad reputation of Royal Mail about cancellation of special stamps…
I also made a visit to the Stanley & Gibbons shop located on the Strand. I bought there this first day cover.




As you see this is the first day cover of the miniature sheet issued on the 17th of May to celebrate the re-opening of Wembley stadium. For those who don’t know, Wembley stadium is a very important place for football. Often referred as the home of English football, Wembley is a stadium that was first constructed in 1923 and that has hosted, among other events, the final of the 1966 Soccer World Cup won by England against West Germany. In 2000 the stadium was closed for refurbishment. It has just re-opened, offering now 90000 seats, making it the second largest stadium in Europe (the largest one being… in Barcelona). The souvenir sheet pictures some English definitive stamps and the Crowned lion special stamp. The sheet also pictures the arch of the new stadium which is rather impressive. The new stadium was officially inaugurated on Saturday the 19th of May (after some delay compared to the original planning, leading to a delay also in the issue of the souvenir sheet !) for the FA cup final that I had the opportunity to watch on TV during my holidays.

To conclude I would like to invite you to visit a new philatelic blog if you can read French. It is managed by Eric from Lyon. You can check it at
http://timbredujura.blogspot.com/Welcome Eric in the bloggers’club.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Back to work

Just a short post to tell you that I’m back to work. I have spent a fantastic week in London. We had a great weather, except for the last day. I did not have much time to deal with stamps, I just bough some commemorative covers and some new issues. I’ll tell more about that in the coming days. Due to a big delay with the Eurostar yesterday evening I could not find the time to scan anything yesterday, so no picture for today. More to come in the coming days.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Holidays, holidays...

I will be on holidays from the 17th of May until th 27th of May. I will be in London (UK). I'm not sure that I will have the oppotunity and the possibility to update my blog from there. I will try to do mys best ;-).
I owe some covers and some stamps and some emails to some of you. Please be patient, it will come. Sorry for being late.
So see you at the latest on Monday 28th of May, with more stamp stories and news.

A new cover from Gibraltar

Back to a more traditional post (I mean with pictures) since the upload function in blogger seems to be back to normal.
For today I have selected a cover that I received recently from Gibraltar and sent by Angel, the blogger of Send me a cover. Thank you very much Angel.

(click on the picture to zoom)
As you see the cover bears two stamps, one of the stamps having a part of the margin of the sheet still attached. But I’ll come to that. First let’s speak about the stamps.
Both stamps belong to a set of four issued on the 15th of September 2003 to celebrate to enlargement of the EU. At a first glance I was surprised to see stamps picturing flowers to celebrate the enlargement of EU… but then, after a second thought I understood that the flowers pictured on the stamps must be the national flowers of each new country entering the EU. Some search on the web confirmed my guess except may be for one country.
The stamp located on the right side pictures :
- the daisy of Latvia
- the corn-flower of Estonia
- the rue of Lithuania
The stamp on the left pictures :
- the corn poppy of Poland
- scented thyme of Czech Republic (this is where I have a problem, because I found on the web that the national flower of Czech Republic was the rose… if somebody knows..)
The other stamps of the set picture : the tulip of Hungary, the carnation of Slovenia, the rose of Cyprus and the Maltese centaury of Malta.

Each stamp of the set has been issued in sheet of ten, with a decorated margin. On each sheet the margin pictures a part of Europe including the new countries, each country being illustrated by a famous monument. Here is the complete sheet from which the stamp of the cover is extracted.


France is illustrated by the Eifel tower. It is funny to see how the Eifel tower has become a symbol of Paris and of France all over the world. When you think that it was built for the “Exposition Universelle” of 1889 and was supposed to be dismantled later… Hopefully they did not do it, it is now the most visited site in France !


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Miscellaneous thoughts

“British stamps are the best in the world” ! This affirmation comes from an interview of the Royal Mail’s director of Stamps and Philatelic business that I read in the May issue of Stamp Magazine. He even adds : “Overseas postal authorities are highly envious of the quality of our research and design”. Well, well, well. I wonder if British stamps collectors would agree with such statement. I remember having read so many complains from British collectors in various philatelic publications that I don’t think they share his views. Complains about stamp design seems to be a very common thing, these days : in France, in Great Britain, in USA, in Australia… people seem to complain about the high number of issues and the low quality of the design… What is worrying in the interview of Stamp magazine, is that the guy speaks about stamps only as marketing products. Well, aren’t they a bit more than that ?
I would be happy to get testimony from collectors from other countries to see what they think of the design of the stamps form their own country. For instance, I know I have some readers in Asian countries, I would be glad to hear from them. Drop me an email, or let a comment here, this will be great !

In the same issue of Stamp magazine, there is an interesting article that asks the question : when is the last time you looked at your stamp collection ? The article underlines the paradox of many philatelists : we value a lot our stamp collection, we even miss them when, for any reason, we have to sell or give some of them. But how much time do we spend actually looking at them ? Think about it…

So no stamp pictures today (in fact blogger seems to be out of service for the picture download so I can not show you anything…). I’m preparing my holidays… but more on that tomorrow.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Singapore

As you may have understood from my blog, I have had the opportunity to receive covers from a lot of various countries. My collection of nice covers is growing impressively (and is taking more and more space in my small flat ;-) ).Singapore is one of the countries from which I hadn’t received any cover so far. I recently got this one, after the purchase of some stamps on Ebay. The seller had the nice idea to put nice stamps on his cover to send me my purchase. As this is a registered cover, it bears some high face value stamps.

The biggest stamp (the one on the right) belongs to the Singapore-Japan joint issue from 2006 and pictures flowers and birds of the four season. The full set of this issue contains six stamps.

The stamp on the left belongs to the definitive series of 2002 picturing tropical fishes. This $1 stamp pictures a couple of Blue Turquoise.
The last stamp, belongs to a set issued in 1997 about ground transport : it pictures an electric tram.
A rather nice cover isn’t it ?

Friday, May 11, 2007

2007 The year of biology

2007 has been designated as the year of biology by the South Korean government in the effort to promote the significance of biology and to elicit the Korean people interest in it. At this occasion, the post office of South Korea has issued a stamp and a souvenir sheet on the 19th of March.
Here is the souvenir sheet that I recently bought and that I received yesterday in my mail box.


I guess that you can understand why I bought this stamp : it pictures a frog in the background. On top of the frog silhouette, the stamp pictures a chromosome, some piece of DNA and other animals. Appearing on the background of the small sheet to show animal lineage (origin and evolutionary process) are paramecium and euglena, hydra, squid, earthworm, butterfly, starfish, fish, salamander, turtle, crane, eagle, dog and the human being.

I also bought a block of four stamps and I was thrilled when I saw it.



As you can see, in the illustrated margin of the block there is also a small frog! This was a very good surprise that I did not really expect.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Centenaries

In 2007 New Zealand is celebrating the centenary of four significant organisations. At this occasion, New Zealand post has issued a set of eight stamps, printed se-tenant. There are two stamps for each organisation : each time one stamp illustrates the organisation as it was 100 years ago together with a portrait of one of the founders, and the other stamp pictures a view of the organisation as it is today, and its emblem.
I bought these stamps from New Zealand post website for my collection of stamps related to rugby, and I found the whole set rather interesting. I just got them yesterday evening, when coming back from my trip to Reims.
Here is the block of eight stamps.

From left to right and top to bottom, the celebrated organisations are :

World scouting : an experimental camp run by Robert Baden-powell in 1907 marked the beginning of the largest youth movement in the world. In 1908 Lt. Col. David Cossgrove organised this movement in New Zealand. They both had similar ideas and values, teaching boys and girls moral values, patriotism, discipline and life skills through outdoor games and activities.

New Zealand Rugby League : in August 1907, a pioneering New Zealand rugby league team toured England, Wales, Ceylon and Australia playing 49 matches, winning 29, drawing three and incredibly winning both inaugural test series against Great Britain and Australia. The captain of this first league team was Hercules Richard Wright, a powerfully-built man aptly nicknamed ‘Bumper’.
For people who don’t know there is a difference between the Rugby league (which is played with 13 players) and the Rugby Union (which is played with 15 players).
The first rugby league team of New Zealand is pictured on the left stamp. This team has been nicknamed the ‘All Golds’ in opposition to the Rugby Union amateur team the All blacks. Not because they were wearing golden rugby shirts ;-), they were wearing black shirts. The team was named the “all golds” because of the financial arrangement they made for this first tour : each player who wanted to participate to the tour had to pay 50 pounds, and at the end, the profits (if there were any) would be equally divided among the team. This financial reward was highly criticised and in a news paper a journalist used the name “all golds” as an insult against the players. Even if it started as an insult this name remained and is still used when speaking about the first New Zealand rugby league team of 1907.

Plunket movement began on 14 May 1907, when Dr Frederic Truby King founded a society that would ‘help mothers and save the babies’. Today, Plunket continues to play a vital role in the lives of young families around the country. Plunket is now the largest provider of services to support the health and development of children under five.

Home of Compassion : Suzanne Aubert, founder of the Sisters of Compassion, has been acclaimed as one of New Zealand’s greatest women. She opened Our Lady’s Home of Compassion in Island Bay, Wellington, in 1907 to care for babies, children, the disabled, and extended it to establish a hospital to nurse the sick and elderly. Other Homes were built and today the Sisters continue the good work of Suzanne Aubert, throughout the Pacific.

THANK YOU !

Thank you for all your nice emails and wishes for my birthday. My trip to Reims was great, even though the weather was not so good. I learned a lot about the way Champagne is produced, and I had the opportunity to taste some very good ones ;-)
As usual a huge amount of work is waiting for me now, so I’ll probably not have the time to write more on my blog today. Or may be this evening… we’ll see.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Reims

Tomorrow is a bank holiday in France, and as Wednesday is my birthday and as I don’t like to work on my birthday, I will have the next two days off. I will be travelling to Reims, and I thought it could be a good idea to see how Reims has been pictured so far on French stamps.Reims is a city of the northern area called Champagne-Ardenne. It is located only 144 km from Paris. Reims was founded during the Roman Empire. This city has played an important role in French history because this is the city where all the kings of France have been crowned. One very important place in Reims is the cathedral. The cathedral has been completed at the end of the 13th century (except for the west front which was finished only in the 14th century) and is built on the site where Clovis was baptized by Saint Remy, bishop of Reims. This cathedral has been pictured several times on stamps.

The stamp on the left has been issued in 1930 in a series about monuments of France. The same design was re-used on the stamp on the right, issued in 1938 with a surtax for the renovation of the cathedral. A detail of this cathedral is also very well known within the philatelic world. A close up of a statue located on the left portal and picturing a smiling angel (l’ange au sourire) is very famous among French stamps collectors.


This stamp was issued in 1930 with a surtax for the sinking fund. The rather high surtax explains why the stamp was not very well sold at this time. This angel can be found again on anther stamp issued in 1956.

This stamp celebrates the twinning between Reims and Florence. It pictures on the left the smiling angel and the cathedral in the background. On the right you can see a detail of “The spring” from Botticelli and the palace located on the Piazza della Signoria in Florence.

In 1941 a stamp has been issued picturing the coat of arms of Reims.
As I said at the beginning, Reims is located in Champagne-Ardenne, the area which is well known in the world because this is where Champagne is produced ! This is the main reason of my trip to Reims. Being a big fan of Champagne, I was offered a private visit of a Champagne cellar on the day of my birthday. I promise not to drink to much ;-) The vineyards of Champagne have been pictured on a stamp issued in 2003 in the series “La france à voir / La France à vivre” (France to see / France to live).


This concludes our philatelic tour in Reims. See you in two days.




Sunday, May 06, 2007

Election time (2)

Yes, today is again election time in France. This is the second round of the election of the new president. As for the first round, we have received an envelop containing the propaganda paper and the ballot paper for the two remaining candidates. The marking used on this one is slightly different than the one I got for the frst round. I don't know if this is the case for everybody...


For the first time in France a woman is present at the second round of the presidential elections! We'll see if she wins... but according to the last surveys that were made in the previous weeks, she has no chance.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Eurovision

Next week there will be two important events : the first one is that I will be 41 ;-). The second is the Eurovision song contest that will be held in Helsinki. For those who don’t know, the Eurovision song contest is an annual competition held among various European countries, in which the participating countries submit a song to be performed on live television. Then a vote is organized to chose the most popular song. The country that wins has to organize the contest the year after.
The Eurovision song contest has been broadcasted every year since its creation in 1956 and is one of the longest running television programmes of the world. It is also the most watched non-sporting events in the world. This contest has been the opportunity for some artists to start a career that would run long after their victory. This is the case of ABBA for instance, who won the contest in 1974 for Sweden with their song Waterloo.
Personally I must admit that do not watch Eurovision anymore, but I was a big fan when I was younger.
Last year, the contest was won by the “monster” band Lordi, a Finish group that I found more frightening than anything else. This is why Finland is hosting the show this year, and this is why the Finish post has issued a set of stamps and a souvenir sheet to celebrate the event.

The souvenir sheet contains four stamps picturing famous Finish artists, among which the members of the monster band Lordi. The stamps are self-adhesive and have been also issued in a booklet. What is to be noticed on these stamps, is the odd shape (not very visible in the picture sorry) : a sort of “cloud” shaped stamps.

New stamp picturing a skeleton

In a previous post I was expressing my surprise to see a stamp picturing a skeleton, as this is not a subject which seems to be very attractive and which may be even frightening for some people. A new stamp has been issued by Latvia, on the 9th of March 2007 picturing a skeleton. Here it is.

I think the stamp issue has something to do with medicine and a museum (I’m not very fluent in Latvian sorry…)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Chinese gardens

I have recently received this really nice FDC from my Chinese philatelic pen pal and I decided to share it with you.

(click on the picture to zoom)
The three stamps located on the right side have been issued on the 8th of April 2007 to celebrate the Yangzhou gardens. Yangzhou is a city of the Jiangsu province. The three stamps picture three famous gardens located in this city : (clock wise) He garden, Ge garden, Xu garden.

I could not find much information on the first and the last one, but I could find out that Ge garden was built during the reign of the emperors Jiaquing (1796-1820) and Daoguang (1821-1850) of the Qing dynasty and covers around two hectares. It takes its name from the fact that it contains a lot of bamboos, and the bamboo looks like the Chinese character “ge”. A rather nice FDC don’t you think so ? And it arrived in good condition.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

New frog stamps from Malaysia

We’ve had a very sunny May day in Paris, yesterday. I intended to work on my stamps collection, but the weather was so nice that I decided to go out for a picnic and I finally spent the whole day out. No time for stamps and no time for this blog.
For today I’ll share with you some information I got from one reader, Ian, who also collects frog stamps. Malaysian post will issue, on the 3rd of May, a set of three stamps and one souvenir sheet picturing frogs. Here are picture taken from the Malaysian post website (so not a scan from the real stamps).


Nice colourful set, isn’t it ? The species pictured on the stamps are :
- Malayan Brown Toad (Pedostibes hosii)
- Long-nosed Horned Frog (Megophrys nasuta)
- Cinnamon tree frog (Nyctixalus pictus)

And on the souvenir sheet : Rana laterimaculata (it seems it has no English common name) and Flying tree frog (Rhacophorus nigropalmatus).
Not really the type of frogs you can meet in our western European countries ;-)Thank you very much for the information, Ian.