Friday, January 04, 2008

First Day Cover from Poland

I have received this very nice cover from Poland, sent by Andrzej, who is a reader of my blog (Thank you very much Andrzej).

This is a very nice official FDC from the Polish post for the stamp issued on the 3rd of December 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Joseph Conrad (1857-1924). Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniwski, who changed his name to Joseph Conrad in 1886 was a Polish-born English novelist. He is considered as one of the greatest English novelist. Orphaned at the age of eleven, he begun a career as a seaman at the age of 16. He lived an adventurous life, sailing on various ships. He notably sailed the Otago, the ship that is pictured in the background of the stamp and also on the first day cancel (note the very nice first day cancel !). Conrad has used his experiences in the French and then later the British Merchant navy as a source of inspiration for his novels. One of his main novels, Heart of Darkness, written in 1899, is known to have inspired the movie “Apocalypse now” !
This is a really nice cover, it is a pity that the French mailman spoiled it a bit by sticking the green label that indicates the address of my post office.
There is an additional stamp on the cover. It belongs to a set of twelve stamps issued in 1995/1996 and picturing the signs of Zodiac. This specific stamp was issued on the 10th of July 1996 and pictures the Capricorn. I must admit that I did not really understand the symbolism used to picture the Capricorn…On top of this cover, Andrzej has sent me this very nice postcard, bearing the same stamp and the same cancel.

On the illustration of this card, there is again a portrait of Joseph Conrad, but there is also a picture of Alan Villiers. Alan John Villers (1903-1982) was an author, adventurer, photographer and Master Mariner. Why is he pictured on the card ? Because in 1934 he purchased a ship called Georg Stage, that he renamed to the Joseph Conrad, as a tribute to the novelist. The Joseph Conrad is now a museum ship at the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, and also a static training vessel.

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