Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Going to Australia

I’m happy ! I have just settled my plan for my next (long) holidays : I’m going to Sydney in January 2009, for a bit more than two weeks. I’m so glad. I have fallen in love with Sydney in 2003 when I first went there. So I’m thrilled even if this trip is planned in 9 months from now. I have been there twice already.
This is why I have decided to collect some Australian stamps and why I have a subscription to new issues from Australia. I wonder if I will keep this subscription because it starts to cost me too much money. Australia issues a LOT of stamps...

So today, you can imagine, I’m going to speak about some new issues from Australia that I received last week. The first one is a souvenir sheet entitled Love blossoms.

The stamp was issued on the 15th of January and pictures a rose to illustrate Love. The souvenir sheet contains ten stamps of the self-adhesive version, the stamp being also issued as a standard auto-adhesive version. The particularity of the self-adhesive version is that it is foiled and perfumed. If you rub your finger on it, you can smell the nice perfume of the rose. This is why the souvenir sheet also contains ten labels written “rub and smell”. You can stick them on your love letter to indicate to the addressee what she/he should do to enjoy the perfume.
Scented stamps are not a revolution, they start to be rather common now. I think this is the first time that Australian post issues a scented stamp, but I’m not completely sure.
When I got this souvenir sheet I immediately thought that putting ten stamps was a bit too much for such special occasion stamps. A sheet with three or five would have been enough. But even worse, the stamp is available (on top of the standard version and the souvenir sheet) in a stamp sheetlet pack and in a special occasion booklet ! Without mentioning the maximum card and the first day cover. Ouf ! So many ways to drain money from collectors.

The second issue I selected is very different but is also a very good example of the abuse of Australian post. On the 24th of March a set of 16 stamps (!) was issued to commemorate to centenary of the rugby league in Australia. Those stamps have been issued as gummed stamps, but again, also as self-adhesive stamps sold in booklet. Here is a copy of the booklet pane.
Each stamp pictures one of the 16 Rugby league teams that currently exist in Australia : Broncos, Bulldogs, Cowboys, Dragons, Eels, Knights, Panthers, Rappbitohs, Raiders, Roosters, Sea Eagles, Sharks, Storm, Titans, West Tigers and Warriors.
On top of this, Australian post issued a “De luxe” stamp pack, a prestige coin and stamp booklet and a booklet collection containing (I hope you are seated) 16 self-adhesive booklets, containing each of them 10 stamps of one team. And again maximum cards and first day covers…

When you know that French philatelists complain about the (too) high number of stamps issued by France, I wonder what Australian philatelists think…

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Russian lorries… and a word about stamps and covers exchange circuits

I have spent some time over the weekend sorting stamps and covers and scanning the most interesting pieces. Among the covers I have recently received, here is one coming from Russia.

The two stamps located on the top belong to a set of three stamps issued on the 25th of October 2007 and picturing Russian trucks. The three stamps have been printed in se-tenant band of three and also in the form of a souvenir sheet.

The two trucks pictured on the cover are (from left to right) :
- The AMO F-15: it was the first truck produced by AMO in the Soviet Union. Its production ran from 1924 until 1931 under the licence of Fiat, the AMO F-15 being a replica of the Fiat F-15. In addition to the standard version, it was produced with different bodies as ambulance trucks (1925), bus with 14 seats (1926) and fire brigade vehicle (1927).
- The GAZ-AA : it is a license version of Ford AA produced by
GAZ between 1932 and 1942. This truck is most famous for being the vehicle used by the Soviets to cross the frozen Lake Ladoga bringing supplies into Leningrad so that the besieged city would not fall into German hands

The last truck pictured on the stamp (not on the cover) is a ZIS-5V from 1942.

Below the trucks stamps, you can see two definitive stamps. One is from 2002 and pictures the Mafino palace. This palace was built between 1837 and 1839 by the architect Mikhail Dormidontovich Bykovsky (1801-1885). This palace contains a staircases with gryphons as the one we see on the stamps.
The second definitive stamp is from 1998 and picture a radio mat.

Inside the cover there were some mint souvenir sheets that I will probably share with you in a future post. I got this cover through one of the various stamps and covers exchange circuits I belong to.
This is interesting to belong to such exchange circuit : it’s an easy (and usually cheap) way to get nice covers and stamps from all over the world. There is only one thing that I regret about them : I would really like that when somebody sends me a cover (or some stamps) he/she includes a letter giving me some background information about the stamps. I do not know any covers exchange circuit that requires from its member that they include philatelic information when sending an item : may be we should create one ? Don’t you think so ?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Writing letters

As you know, the subject of 2008 EUROPA stamp issues is : writing letters. Several postal administrations have already issued their stamps, you can see some of them on the very complete blog Globally I have been rather disappointed by the lack of originality from postal administrations for this issue. May be this is not an easy subject to be pictured on stamps…
Two issues kept my attention anyway. The first one is from Sweden. As usual, Swedish post shows a very original way to treat this subject. Here are the two stamps issued on the 27th of March 2008.

Those stamps are the result of a competition organized by Swedish post among students at the University College of Arts, Craft and Design’s Department of Graphic Design and Illustration. The winner, Pontus Björlin, had decided to focus his design on the punctuation marks that give its intonation to a written sentence, in a written letter. I think it is a funny and nice idea, because that at the age of emails, instant messages and SMS, punctuation marks are used less and less. He selected two different marks for his stamps : the comma and the semicolon. The result is rather simple and efficient, isn’t it ?

The second issue that I found interesting is the one from Ukraine. Two stamps were issued on the 12th of March 2008 : one is picturing the traditional letter writing and the other one pictures the more modern form : writing emails.

I like the design of those stamps and I think the idea to associate the old and modern way of writing is a good idea.
And you ? What do you think about the 2008 EUROPA stamp issues ?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Postcard from Estonia

For once, I would like to show you a postcard I received recently from Estonia. It was sent by Renate and contains a very nice message about my blog. Thank you very much for this.First of all, let me show you the image side.

As you see it contains a nice picture of a common frog. But it also pictures two beautiful sceneries of Estonia :
- On the right : Jägala waterfall located on the north part of the country, one of the most outstanding Estonian nature monuments.
- On the top : Marimetsa bog located in the western part of Estonia
Here is the verso of the postcard, where you can read the nice message from Renate.

Of course, as usual, when I got the postcard, I immediately looked at the stamp. I found it very nice and decided to get some information about it. This stamp belongs to a souvenir sheet issued on the 12th of October 2005 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Amandus Adamson. Here is the full souvenir sheet.

Amandus Adamson is one of the most prominent Estonian sculptor. He was born on the 12th of November 1855. After studying sculpture at the St Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts he lived and worked in Russia, France and Italy and since 1918 in Paldiski, Estonia where he died in 1929. He was elected academician of the St Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts in 1907. Amandus Adamson is one of the founders of Estonian national art. The souvenir sheet features four wooden sculptures by Amandus Adamson from the Estonian Art Museum collection. From left to right, the souvenir sheet pictures the following sculptures :

- “Love, Eternally Triumphant” realized 1889. It is really impressive with this cherubim, picturing love, dominating the skull, picturing death, I presume.
- “Lüüriline muusika” realized in 1891. I could not find an English translation of the title of this sculpture
- “Memento mori” realized in 1907. Memento mori is a Latin locution meaning “remember that you are mortal”. This is the stamp used on the postcard.
- And finally “Dawn and Dusk” realized in 1895. (Interesting the idea to picture the dawn and the dusk as two lovers. This would be a tragic love story since they should never be able to meet)
Again thank you for this nice postcard and this nice stamp that gave me the opportunity to discover this sculptor that, I must admit, did not know at all.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mails from Republic of Korea (2)

As promised yesterday here is the second cover I got from Korea.

It bears a stamp and a full souvenir sheet issued on the 15th of February this year, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the King Sejong Station in the scope of the 2007-2008 International Polar Year.
The King Sejong station is a research station for the Korea Antarctic Research Program established on the 17th of February 1988 and located on the Barton Peninsula (
King George Island). Human habitation of King George Island is limited to research stations belonging to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, South Korea, Peru, Poland, Russia, and Uruguay.
The King Sejong station is named after King Sejong the Great of Joseon (1397-1450) the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea.
During the summer the research station welcomes up to 90 people. In winter only 17 engineers and scientists are present to maintain the station and collect data with a focus on general change of the natural environment. In these times of global warming and destruction of ozone layer, research and observation done in such remote scientific stations is a key element. Korea has some plans to build a second station on the Antarctic continent by 2011.

When seeing this cover and learning about the subject of the stamps I was wondering how must be in such remote stations. I guess this must be an extreme human experience to stay over one summer in such places…
The pictorial postmark is a bit fuzzy, because I guess the stamp has slipped over the paper of the souvenir sheet. It seems to picture a map of the Antarctic and two scientists digging a hole in the ice, the same than the ones pictured on the right border of the sheet.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mails from Republic of Korea (1)

I received recently two nice covers from South Korea, from two different senders. I will present today the first one, and tomorrow the second one.The first one was sent from Busan, and is franked with a block of four se-tenant stamps picturing a turtle.

This stamp was issued on the 5th of March 1996, in a set of two stamps related to Nature protection and picturing reptiles. The turtle that is represented on the stamp is a Chinese Three-keeled Pond Turtle (Chinemys reevesii), a turtle coming from China and Japan, but that that can also be found in some other Asian countries such as Korea. It has unfortunately reached the status of endangered species. This semi-aquatic turtle is often seen as a pet. Unlike native semi-aquatic turtles such as sliders or painted turtles, it is not saucer-shaped but more rectangular overall.
The stamp was also issued in the form of a souvenir sheet containing two stamps.

To give you a complete view, the second stamp of the set pictures a lizard, also and endangered species, a Tsushima Smooth Skink (Scincella vandenburghi). A souvenir sheet was also issued.

I really like receiving covers franked with fauna stamps, this is really one of my favorite subject.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The life of Buddha on a cover from Nepal

I have had some technical issues week, preventing from updating my blog. I hope they are now solved. I take the opportunity of some free time on this rainy Sunday to share with you a cover I recently got from Nepal. Here it is

As you see the cover is franked with 8 se-tenant stamps. Those stamps belong to a set of 16 stamps issued on the 21st of July 2005. Those 16 stamps have been issued in the form of a small sheet and they all bear the same face value. The particularity of this set is that it contains only four different designs. In fact, the full set contains four bands of four stamps, the only difference between the stamps of two bands being the color of the border. The cover bears the band with yellow and green borders, the other colors of the set being orange and purple.
The four different designs picture four steps in the life of Buddha. I have already written about the life of Buddha in
another post related to a souvenir sheet from India.
From left to right the stamps picture a bas relief illustrating :
- the birth of Buddha, in Lumbini
- the enlightenment of Buddha, in Bodhgaya
- the first sermon of Buddha in Sarnath
- the Mahaparinirvana of Buddha, in Kushinagar
I could not find information about the bas relief itself. Where is it located ? When was it carved ? By whom ? If you have any information about it, I would be happy to get it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My first cover from Slovakia

Today I would like to share with you the first cover I received from Slovakia. Here it is.

The stamp located on the right corner has been issued on the 1st of January 2008 to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Slovak Republic. The Slovak Republic is a rather young country, although Slovaks are among the oldest European peoples. The history of this part of the world is rather eventful. The area of the present Slovakia has belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary for almost one millennium. At the end of the World War I in 1918, Slovaks created a common state with the Czechs – the Czechoslovak Republic. Following tensions between both peoples, the common state ceased to exist on 31 December 1992, and the independent Slovak Republic was declared on 1 January 1993, after what is sometimes referred as the velvet divorce.
The stamp depicts a map of the Slovak Republic highlighted by the national colours : blue, white and red. In the background of the stamp is a stylised emblem of the European Union (blue background with yellow stars), to remind that Slovak Republic joined the EU in 2004.
In the left corner of the stamp you can see the coat of arms of Slovakia composed of a silver double cross, elevated on the middle peak of a dark blue mountain consisting of three peaks. The meaning of the double cross seems to be a source of debate. One of the modern interpretation is that it represents Slovakia as an heir and guardian of the Christian tradition. But other interpretations exist. The three hills represent the three mountains : Tatra, Matra and Fatra (Matra being now located in Hungary). The same three hills can be seen on the coat of arms of Hungary, but in green colour. The coat of arms of Slovakia is also present on the national flag.
On the stamp, inside the borders of the map are the symbols of eight central towns of the self-governing regions into which the Slovak Republic is subdivided. Those eight regions are (from east to west) : Bratislava, Trnava, Trencin, Nitra, Zilina, Banska Bystrica, Presov, Kosice.

The second stamp was issued on the 6th of March 2008. It represents the city of Kuprina. Krupina is situated in the Banska Bystrica region. The stamp pictures the oldest town building, the Romanesque-Gothic church of the Birth of the Holy Mary, with an old fortification gate in the foreground. The upper left-hand of the stamp features the town’s coat of arms originating from the 13th century.

Just to be complete, one word about the face value of both stamps : T2 100 g corresponds to the postal rate of the 2nd class up to 100 g for domestic service, while T1 50 g corresponds to the rate of the 1st class up to 50 g - domestic service.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Damaged mail from Philippines

Two weeks ago I had the surprise to received a nice cover from Philippines, a country from which I did not get so much mail so far. For any reason, this mail got damaged during the transport, so I had the surprise to receive it wrapped in a plastic bag. Here is a scan of the plastic bag.

In reality the plastic bag is transparent, only the yellow part is opaque and printed on one side only so that you can see the cover inside. The blue border on the picture is in fact a side effect of the scanning. This part is transparent. Here is a tentative translation of the test written on the yellow part :

Customer service
Doing everything so that your mail reaches you, whatever happens.

Our commitment is to do our best to distribute your mail. Whenever it gets damaged during the process, it is our priority to have it distributed to you in the best possible conditions.

This is the reason why, today, you receive this mail in this special envelop, designed to protect your mail damaged or altered by our own service.

We invite you to contact your post office or to connect on our website to get answers to your questions and to collect your suggestion.

This is the first time I receive an item in such a plastic bag. And effectively, the mail it contained had been torn opened on the right side. I wonder how it could happen, by the way.
Now let me show you the cover.

It is a cover coming from Philippines, sent by Ray, a reader of my blog. Thank you very much Ray for the cover and for your very nice letter.
As you see the cover is stamped with an impressive number of stamps.
The butterflies stamps are definitive stamps issued in 2007. They are in fact a re-print of stamps issued in 2005 with a different face value. The stamps picture butterflies that could be found in Philippines (and on which I could hardly find information…) : Delias schoenigi hemeli, Moduza urdaneta aynii, Papilio xuthus benguetanus.
To be noticed that the two 7p stamps belong to a set of ten stamps (issued in the form of a small sheet), each of them having a face value of 7p but picturing a different butterfly. This strange to have so many different designs for the same denomination on a definitive stamp, no ?

The two birds stamps have also been issued in 2007. They picture respectively :

- a black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis), a bird that can be found in South Asia. It belongs to the Orioles family, a family of passerine birds. It takes its name from the broad black eye stripe continuing on the nape. Like other birds from the same family they feed on insects and fruit.
- a barn swallow (Hirundo rustica), which is the most widespread species of swallow in the world. It is a distinctive passerine bird with blue upperparts, a long, deeply forked tail and curved, pointed wings. It is found in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. The Barn Swallow is the national bird of Estonia. The Barn Swallow is an attractive bird which has been tolerated by humans when it shares their buildings for nesting. As one of the earlier migrants, this species is also seen as an early sign of summer's approach

I have now two reasons to keep this cover in my collection : this is a very nice cover from Philippines, and this is an example of damaged mail ! Two in one !

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mills of South Africa

I received only last week the October-December 2007 edition of SETEMPE, the South African post office philatelic magazine. Inside I read about an interesting stamp issue that I would like to share with you.The set contains five stamps and was issued on the 9th of November 2007. The subject of the set is : mills of South Africa.
Why did I find it interesting ? First because I know that some of you, my readers, are interested in mills on stamps. Secondly, the stamp contains a very specific particularity, which is a premiere for the South African post office, and probably a premiere worldwide. But I’ll come on this later.
Some words about the mills that are pictured on the stamps :

- Colesberg Horse & Mill located in Colesberg, Northern Cape. In the Northern Cape, horse mills could be found in almost every farm, to cope with lack of water or wind. Once a working Horse Mill of the farm, Sewefontain in the Colesburg district, this mill has been recreated into an old coach house.
- Mosterts Mill located in Cape Town, Western Cape. This is undoubtedly the best known Dutch-style windmill in South Africa. The mill was built in 1796. In 1889 the mill was sold to Cecil John Rhodes, then the Prime Minister of the Cape. He had the old farmhouse redesigned. Today, Mosterts Mill is a major tourist attraction.
- Witpoort Watermill located in Stoffberg, Mpumalanga. This mill was to play a small but vital role in the Anglo-Boer/South African War because it kept the Boers fed for the duration of the war. British forces ordered the mill dynamited but fortunately only the coarse grinder was destroyed. After a drought in 1963 the water powered mill was changed to tractor power. This reduced milling time significantly. The mill was electrified in 1986 which speeded up the process even more. Today, the attractive, red roofed mill house with its steel overshot wheel is a fascinating historic addition to what is now a privately owned sporting estate and nature reserve.
- Dwars Rivier Watermill in Cederberg, Western Cape. It is a watermill powered by the Dwars Rivier in 1893. Cedar wood from the area was used in building the mill, which had a wooden overshot wheel of the compass type which was easy to transport and consisted of four cedar wood spokes mortised into the axle.
- La Cotte Watermill in Franschhoek, Western Cape. This watermill was built early in the 18th century. According to a photograph taken early in the 20th century, the mill had a wooden overshot wheel and two different gables - one rectilinear with a false chimney and the other hipped. It was thatched and built from a combination of stone and clay bricks. There is a shuttered opening under the hipped gable from which the miller could reach the hatch in the launder to open and close it and so regulate the speed of the water.
Now what is the particularity of the stamps ? You can not see it on the picture, but on the left side of each stamp, in addition to the name of the mill, the GPS coordinates of the mill are written ! The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a fully functional Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). Utilizing a constellation of at least 24 medium Earth orbit satellites that transmit precise microwave signals, the system enables a GPS receiver to determine its location, speed and direction.

The idea from the South African post office was a person who owns a GPS receiver would be able to locate each mill and visit it while on holiday. I agree that this is not so useful, but it’s funny no ?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Mail from Malaysia

The last weeks I received two letters from Malaysia sent by readers of my blog. In order to thank them I would like to share with you those covers. The first one is stamped with a recent stamp issue picturing Malaysian bridges.

This set of four stamps was issued on the 28th of February 2008. They picture famous bridges of Malaysia. From left to right and top to bottom :

- Merdeka bridge : it is a major bridge in Malaysia upon the Muda river. It was opened in 1957 when Malaysia as Malaya gained independence, hence its name (Merdeka meaning Independence in Malay)
- Kota bridge : it is the first double-decked bridge in Malaysia. It is located in Klang, Selangor. The old bridge, opened in 1961, was closed to traffic in the '90s and a new one is located beside of the old bridge
- Sungei Segamat Bridge : it was built in 1933
- Victoria Bridge : it is the oldest railway bridge in Malaysia, situated in Karai, at the state of Perak. Its construction started in 1879 and it was officially opened in 1900.

I know that some of my readers collect bridges on stamps, so I’m sure this issue will interest them !

Here is the second cover.

First thing to notice is the frog stamp, of course. It is extracted from a souvenir sheet that I have already presented here.
The second stamp pictures a famous tower from Malaysia : the Petronas twin tower. The stamp belongs to a set of three stamps and one souvenir sheet issued on the 30th of August 1999 and dedicated to this tower. I could not find a scan of the two other stamps and of the souvenir sheet, sorry for that. The Petronas twin tower has now become a trademark of Malaysia and more precisely of Kula Lumpur. If you want to learn more about it, you can check
the wikipedia article. This twin tower is no more the tallest building on earth, but it remains the tallest twin tower. It has appeared already on a relevant number of stamps issued by Malayisan post. I wonder if it has been pictured on a stamp from another country. Any idea ? (nothing to win here ;-) ).

I would like again to thank the senders of these covers, and also to thank all people who send me cover from their country so that I can show them here, on my blog. Thanks a lot.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Canadian cover from 1933

I recently received this cover as a gift from some friend and I wanted to share it with you. This is not so common for me to share with you such an old cover.

It is a cover sent from Canada in 1933. More than the stamp, this is the postmark which is interesting for me, and this is the reason it was given to me.
But first let’s speak about the stamp. It is a 1 cent definitive stamp issued in 1930 and picturing King George V. As far I could see the 1 cent George V exists in two colours : orange and deep green, the one on the cover. The deep green version also exists in two types (two dies) but I could not yet find out which one it is. I have to check better.
The letter was posted from Crapaud, P.E.I. This is why it is interesting for me, because Crapaud is the French word for Toad ! So it fits into my frog and toad collection !
I must admit that I had no idea what P.E.I was, so I made some research. It stands for Prince Edward Island, that is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, located just off the eastern shore of Canada in the gulf of St. Lawrence. After being a French possession (it was called St. John’s island at this time), and then a British one, P.E.I joined the Canadian confederation on the 1st of July 1873. P.E.I was named after Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent (1767-1820), the fourth son of King George III and father of Queen Victoria.
The main city of P.E.I is Charlottetown, which hosted in 1864 the first conference of the process leading to the Articles of Confederation and the creation of the Canadian state in 1867. This is why P.E.I is sometimes referred as the “Birthplace of confederation”.
Crapaud is a village located in the centre of P.E.I. It was named so in 1842 in reference to a river of toads (Rivière aux Crapauds) located near the village. If somebody knows where I could find more information about the cancel on the cover and the “postal history” of Crapaud, I would be very happy to hear from him/her. Thanks !

Monday, April 07, 2008

Frog on a Swedish mini sheet

(First of all, the correct answer to my question raised last week on Canadian stamps has been found by Kalpana (see comment on last post). She will receive a surprise soon from me.)

Since 2004, the eight postal administrations of Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Aland and Finland have started a common stamp issue related to Nordic mythology, called Top of the World of Stamps.. This joint issue is divided in three parts, each time it takes the form of a souvenir sheet. These sheets have been issued in 2004, 2006 and 2008. If you are interested to get more information on this joint issue, there is a website dedicated to it at third and last part of this joint issue is related to Mythical sites. The Swedish post has issued, on the 27th of March, the following mini sheet called “Journey to Blåkulla”.

You probably understood why I’m interested in this souvenir sheet : it pictures a frog on the border ! Thank you Eric to have drawn my attention to this, I hadn’t noticed the frog before !
Blåkulla (which means Blue Mountains) is a mythical place were witches were supposed to hold a Sabbath at Easter, with the Devil playing a central role. During this Sabbath, everything was done backwards as a sign a blasphemy : for example witches rode backwards on farm animals, as shown on one of the stamps. The Devil is also shown on the sheet as a large bat. The frog, which is more probably a toad is also very often linked to witches.
The idea of Blåkulla itself goes back to the time when in Europe a witch-hunting hysteria was culminating : in the 16th and 17th century. At this period, many women were accused of witchery and were put to death.
The real location of Blåkulla is not known. It is sometimes associated to ‘Blå Jungfrun’ (The Blue Virgin) an island that was also originally called Blåkulla, but the name was too dangerous to say it out loud ! The island of Blå Jungfrun continues to provoke superstition. Some believe that bad luck will befall anyone who takes stones from the island !

A rather frightening stamp issue, isn’t it ?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Canadian cover

I recently purchased some stamps from a stamp dealer on Ebay and when I received the stamps, I discovered that the seller had used a nicely stamped cover to send them. What a very nice surprise.

At first glance it may not be obvious, but the stamps on this cover do have a point in common. Which one ? They were all issued in 1982 ! It can not be an accident, I guess the sender took the time to select them.
Let’s start by the smallest one, located on the left side of the front raw. This stamp is a part of a definitive series issued on the 19th of October 1982 and picturing artefacts illustrating various aspects of the Canadian life from the 18th and 19th century such as hunting, agriculture, domestic labour, and recreation. The stamp on the cover pictures a wooden bucket.
The stamp located on the right top corner has been issued on the 13th of April 1982 and commemorate Terry Fox. I had no idea who he was, some research on the Internet led me to this very impressive story. Terry Fox was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on 28 July 1958. He had a strong desire to play for his junior high school basketball team, although he was not really tall enough and lacked the natural ability for the game. But he was always noted for his determination and made the team through hard work. In 1976, he escaped from an automobile accident with a sore right knee. Early in March 1977 the knee rapidly deteriorated. A bone specialist diagnosed cancer and amputation became mandatory. The night before doctors amputated his right leg, Terry Fox received a copy of a magazine describing a one-legged runner. That night Terry Fox decided to run across Canada.
He began training in February 1979 and ran every day. On April 1980 he started his run, the Marathon of hope, raising money each time he crossed a city. Terry Fox died on 28 June 1981, having raised more than $23,000,000 for cancer research !

The two other stamps belong to a set of five stamps, issued in two steps, to commemorate CANADA’82. CANADA’82 was the Seventh International Philatelic Youth Exhibition held in Toronto between the 20th and 24th of May 1982. This was the first time that the Youth Exhibition was held out of Europe. The complete set of stamps contained five stamps : two were issued on the 11th of March, the three others on the 20th of May. The five stamps were also issued in the form of a souvenir sheet. Here is a picture of the souvenir sheet taken from the
Canadian post on line archive. To be noted that this souvenir sheet is only the second one issued by Canadian post !

As you see the theme selected for this issue was stamps on stamp. It was the occasion to picture some old and nice stamps.
Let’s have a look to the ones put on the cover. The one located on the front raw, was part of the first step, issued in March. The stamp pictures a ten-cent definitive stamps issued on the 1st of June 1935 and picturing a Royal Canadian Mounted Police constable on horseback. This mounted police was organized in 1873. First known as the North West Mounted Police, it extended to the Northwest Territories. The term Royal was prefixed to the title in 1904, and in 1920 the name was changed to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Here is a picture of the original stamp issued in 1935, still from the same source.

The second stamp on the cover is part of the May issue and pictures a very famous Canadian stamp : the bluenose. It is considered by some as the most beautiful Canadian stamp, and I must say that I’m not far to agree with this. If you are interested to know more about the ship pictured on the stamp and about the stamp itself, I let you check this web page that will give you a lot of details. Here is a picture of the original stamp issued in 1929.

Part of the Bluenose design was re-used in 1998 for a stamp celebrating William James Roué, the designer of the ship.

I think that it was a good idea to choose old nice stamps to be illustrated on a modern issue in order to trigger the interest of young collectors.

By the way, this CANADA’82 stamp issue is a sort of “premiere” for Canadian post. A first in term of stamp design. Any idea why ? The first email with the good answer will win a surprise ! (don’t I sound like
Michael with this competition stuff ? ;-) ); Answer will be published next Monday.

Just to conclude, note also the very nice rectangular postmark on the cover. Very nice isn’t it ?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A new Japanese cover

(I’m very sorry that I was not able to update my blog more regularly these last days. Since my trip to Shanghai, few weeks ago, my professional life has become crazy and I haven’t much time to think about stamps. I also have tons of emails that I should answer to. And also tons of mails to send. Sorry for being so late, if you are waiting something from me. It should be better starting next week. This week I still have a three days trip to Stuttgart, and then my tour is completed… until next time !)
(I would like to take opportunity of this short post to thank all the people who have sent me recently some nice covers, postcards or others. This is very nice and I’m very happy. As I said at the beginning, my answers should come soon now !)

I recently showed, in a previous post, a cover coming from Japan and bearing some old stamps. Few days ago I received another one, from the same sender. Again the cover is stamped with rather old stamps, which is a nice idea. Here is the cover.

The two first stamps, starting from the left, belong to the same set. A set of three stamps issued on the 20th of April 1971 and commemorating the centenary of the first Japanese postage stamp. The stamps picture a mailman and a railroad post office. The third stamp of the set (not on this cover) picture a young girl putting a letter in a mail box. The first Japanese stamps was effectively issued on the 20th of April 1871. It pictures two dragons facing the indication of the face value. I could find a picture of this first stamp. It seems that there are a lot of forgeries of this stamp, so if you own it, take care.

The last stamp of the cover is a more recent one. It was issued on the 30th of September 1996 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Community chest, a worldwide charity organisation. The red feather pictured on the stamp is actually the emblem of the Community chest.

This is not the first time (and surely not the last one) that I show a cover from Japan. I regularly receive some very nice ones through the Asian Covers Collector Club that I belong to since now more than one year…