Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Letters from Romania

Romania is a country where I go regularly for my job since now several years. I go to Timisoara at least three times per year and can you imagine that I never took the time to go to a post office to check the stamps that they sell and to send some covers ? What a shame. Hopefully I have the opportunity to get mails from various contacts who live in Romania. This is the case of the two letters I want to show you today.

The first one illustrates a subject that is not really in season : Christmas.

The stamp was issued on the 3rd of November 2007 in the form of a souvenir sheet containing eight stamps and a label. Here is a picture of the full sheet.

As you see the cover is franked with a band taken from the middle of the sheet, so containing the label. Every year, Romfilatelia (the company that edits Romanian postage stamps) issues a stamp for Christmas. The 2007 issue pictures the Birth of Jesus Christ and the label pictures the Annunciation. The two icons used for the design of this stamp belong to the Scaune church located in the centre of Bucharest. This church was built 400 years ago, in the location of the butchers´ district that used to cut meat on large wooden blocks commonly known as "chairs" (Scaune). The church has ever since been known as the Butchers´ and Soap makers´ Church, or the Scaune (Chair) Church. The name of the painter who realized the two icons used on the stamp and label is unfortunately not known. Neither the date when they were painted.

The second letter I received is illustrated with a completely different subject.

The stamps used on the cover are part of the series issued by Romfilatelia since several years and picturing potteries. The stamp on the left was issued on the 24th of November 2005 together with six other stamps. This set is the third part of the series called Romanian Pottery. Here is a picture of the seven stamps.

The stamps picture the following items :

- RON 0.30 : ceramics items from Leheceni Bihor, this is the one on the cover
- RON 0.50 : ceramics items from Vlădeşti, Vâlcea
- RON 1.00 : wedding pitcher from Curtea de Argeş, Argeş
- RON 1.20 : ceramics dish from Vama, Satu Mare
- RON 2.20 : ceramics dish from Bârsa, Arad
- RON 2.50 : ceramics item from Corund, Harghita
- RON 14.50 : pitcher from Valea Izei, Maramureş

The second stamp of the cover was issued on 10th of August 2007 together with three other stamps. This is the first part of a series about Pots and Cups. Here is the full set of four stamps.

The stamps picture the following items :

- RON 1.40 : a pot handcrafted in Horezu (Valcea)
- RON 1.80 : a cup made in Baia Mare (Maramures) this is the one on the cover
- RON 2.90 : a cup made in Oboga (Olt)
- RON 7.70 : a pot handcrafted in Baia Mare (Maramures)

All those items are part of the collection inherited by the Romanian Peasant Museum.

I rather like these stamps picturing traditional potteries, even though I think the whole series contain too many stamps (I showed here only a small part of the whole series) !

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