Usually when I get a cover, it is franked with recent stamps, issued in the last two or three years. I recently got this cover from Japan, which bears rather old stamps, since they have all be issued in around 1970. Here is the cover.
Let’s speak about the stamps, from left to right.
The first one has been issued on the 5th of December 1968. This is a 1969 New Year stamp, picturing a carved toy cock. It is a part of an annual series of stamps, issued at the end of each year for the new year celebration and picturing a traditional toy. I could not really find when this series started and when it ended. I also read that those stamps were offered, in the form of a sheet of four, to the winner of the National New Year Lottery !
The second stamp has been issued on the 15th of June 1970. It is a part of a set of three stamps issued for EXPO’70, the international expo that was held in Osaka between the 15th of March and the 13th of September 1970. EXPO’70 was the first word’s fair held in Japan, and its theme was “Progress and Harmony for Mankind”. It gathered 70 countries. Among the curiosities that you could see at this exhibition, there was a moon rock brought back to earth by Apollo 11 ! Also a time capsule was sealed at this occasion, with the plan to be opened 5000 years later, in 6970 ! Two other sets of stamps have been issued for this exhibition : one in 1969 and another in 1970. You can find here a picture of all these stamps.
The last two stamps have been issued on the 20th of April 1979. They picture “standing beauties” of the middle of the Edo period. The Edo period is the early modern period of Japan, running from 1603 until 1868. Those stamps have been issued for the philatelic week. Every year, since 1948 (as far as I could find out), Japan issues a set of stamps for the philatelic week, picturing traditional Japanese artwork.
At the beginning I was quite surprised to get this cover in 2008 franked with old stamps. But finally this was a very good idea, it gave me the opportunity to have a look to stamps issued by Japan at this period !
The week is ending. Next week I should be (once again) in China, in Shanghai. I hope I’ll have the opportunity to update my blog during my trip.