Thursday, August 28, 2008

Frogs in fairy tales, folk tales or folk songs (VI)

Our trip through children tales involving frog characters is slowing coming to an end. Our next stop is Ukraine, and a folk tale entitled “The mitten”. This is the story of a young boy who looses his mitten in the forest on a very cold day. Then a mole enters into the mitten to get warm. The mole is followed by a rabbit, a frog, an owl, a badger, a hedgehog, a fox, a wolf, a wild board, a bear, a cricket and a mouse ! With so many animals inside, the mitten explodes into many pieces, dumping the animals in the snow. When the kid comes to get his mitten back, he does not understand what has happened !

I think that this very simple story is a good way to teach children the names of some animals !
This Ukrainian folk tale is pictured on a stamp issued in 2001 about folk tales. The full set contains three stamps printed se-tenant, the mitten being pictured on the one in the middle (with the frog being clearly visible in the centre of the stamp).

The two other stamps picture the tales “Sister Fox and Brother Wolf” (on the left) and “Sirko” on the right.

There are some local variations in this tale. Sometimes the boy is replaced by a grandfather, the story being called “Grandfather’s mitten”, in this case.
This story is also illustrated on a stamp from Bulgaria that I have already shown on my blog, and issued in 1964.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Australian trees

I have realized recently that I haven’t shown so many covers coming from Australia since the beginning of this blog. I have shown some stamps, but only very few covers, even though this is a country that is close to my heart. So let’s correct this mistake by showing this very nice cover that I received two days ago.

The four stamps used on the cover have been issued on the 8th of August 2005. In fact the full set actually contain five stamps, and the subject of the set, as you can see, is Australian trees. Just for completion, here is a picture of the fifth stamp of the set.

The trees species pictured on the stamps are all native from Australia. On the cover, from left to right we can see the following species :
- Moreton bay fig (Ficus macrophylla), a native tree from Eastern Australia which is often used in public parks. It takes its common name from the Moreton bay located in Queensland.
- Wollemi pine that belongs to the genius “coniferus” and not “pinus” as its name could tell us
- Boab (Adansonia gregorii) the only baobab tree that is endemic to Australia
- Karri (Eucalyptus diversicolor) that is native from Western Australia

The last tree pictured on the stamp which is not on the cover is a Snow gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora).

As it is the case very often for Australian stamp sets, the same stamps have been issued in both auto-adhesive and self-adhesive versions. The ones on the cover are the auto-adhesive ones. Here is a picture of the set of self-adhesive stamps, the difference in the design being the grey border which is not present on this second set.

One thing also to mention is the very clean postmark. A bit heavy but still very clean. The cover has travelled in a plastic bag to protect it from any damage. The cancel is the one of the licensed post office of Fairfield Heights, which I think is located in the suburb of Sydney.

This is definitely a great cover.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Farewell Beijing 2008

2008 Summer Olympic Games are now over. Yesterday I have watched the very nice and impressive closing ceremony that put an end to these 29th Olympic Games of the modern era. Two weeks ago, on the 8th of August 2008 was the opening ceremony which was grandiose and breathtaking. As a souvenir, let me show you this cover I got from Alexander, postmarked on the 08/08/08 !

The three se-tenant stamps used on the cover have been issued by Russia on the 15th of April 2008 to celebrate the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. A lot of various sports are pictured in the background of the stamps. And look at the nice and clear postmark !
Thank you very much Alexander for this very nice cover !
France did not do so bad for these games, winning 40 medals (7 gold, 16 silver and 17 bronze) which is more than in Athens in 2004 (even if we won more gold medals in Athens…). So congratulations to the French team. Yesterday I had the idea to look back at the souvenir sheet issued by France to celebrate these games. I wanted to check what sports were selected by French post to be pictured, and to see what were the results for these sports.
First of all, let me show again the souvenir sheet that was issued.

The eight sports that are pictured are : walk, tennis, track cycling, horse riding, judo, fencing, swimming, canoe/kayak. I have the feeling that the sports that were selected are the ones for which we had a probability to get a gold medal. Unfortunately things happened differently.
In walk, our best athlete had to give up because of a leg injury, we did not get any medals at all. The same for tennis and horse riding.
In track cycling we only got silver and bronze medals, but we got a gold medal on BMX (women) and Mountain Bike (men) (each time we got gold and silver medals) !
In judo we only got silver and bronze medals. The same in canoe/kayak.
Only fencing and swimming did we get gold medals, among the sport selected by the French post.
Hopefully we had the good surprise to get a gold medal for Handball (men) – well this is not really a surprise in fact because we currently have one of the best teams of the world ;-). What was more a surprise was the gold medal we got in wrestling. The other sports were we got medals are : archery, steeplechase, boxing, rowing, weightlifting, sailing, shooting, taekwondo and artistic gymnastics.

What about the stamps issued by your country ? Did they picture sports where your country got medals ?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Frogs in fairy tales, folk tales or folk songs (V)

In my article about The Frog Prince I mentioned another related story : The Frog Princess. This tale, which is also called sometimes Tsarevna Frog, is a Russian folk tale which also involves a human being transformed into a frog. As a lot of those tales, it exists in many versions from several countries.

The story can be summarized as following (click
here is you want to read the full tale). A king has three sons. One day he decides that they are old enough to get married. He asks each of them to draw an arrow and to marry the person who brings back the arrow. The first two sons seem to be lucky : their arrows are brought back by the daughter of a prince or of a general. The youngest one, Ivan, is a bit more unfortunate : his arrow is brought back by a frog ! Of course the poor Ivan is desperate, how could he marry a frog ? But he has no choice, this is the order of his father. Everybody makes fun of him and his strange bride.
Later, the king decides to test his future daughters-in-law. He asked them to sew him a nice shirt and to cook a loaf of bread. Each time the winner is the frog ! In fact during the night, while everybody is sleeping, a beautiful maiden gets out of the frog skin and uses magic to win the test !
The third and last test is a ball. Once again Ivan’s fiancée is the winner : she gets out of the frog skin and dances, enchanting everybody ! Ivan then decides to burn the skin of the frog,. Seeing this his fiancée gets very sad because she has to leave Ivan. It was too early for her to definitely get out of the frog skin !
Ivan then decides to search for his fiancée. Several years later he finally finds her. She is on the verge of marrying another guy. Ivan succeeds in convincing her to follow him and they flee on a magic carpet !

This story is pictured on a souvenir sheet of twelve stamps from Marshall Islands issued on the 26th of April 2002. Each stamp pictures a scene of the full tale, and of course one stamp pictures Ivan getting his arrow back from the frog. Here is the stamp.

Marshal Islands 2002 - Scott #801d

And here is the full souvenir sheet.

Marshal Islands 2002 - Scott #801

In 1984, a souvenir sheet issued by USSR pictures folk tales illustrations. Among the tales that are illustrated, there is the Frog Princess and again we find a stamp picturing the encounter between Ivan and the frog. Here is the stamp (the scan is not very good so the frog is hard to see).
USSR 1984 - Scott 5279b

And the full souvenir sheet.

USSR 1984 - Scott 5279

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Walking down O’Connell Street

As I told you before, last week, I went to Dublin. I wanted to get back the letters I posted to myself from there before writing more in details about this trip in my blog. And then I had to find the time to scan the covers…

So I spent the last three days weekend in Dublin. This was my third time in Dublin (fourth time in Ireland) my last time being in 2006. The weather was really not good : we had a lot of wind, a lot of rain (one Irish guy told me that it is always raining in Ireland, this is why the country is so small : it shrinks !). But I anyway enjoyed a lot this trip (cold and wet weather is a good excuse to have a beer in a pub, isn’t it ? I’m more into Beamish, Murphy’s red or Kilkenny than into Guinness…). Irish people are really nice people. During my stay I visited once again the
General Post Office, a place full of history, located on one of the main streets of Dublin : O’Connell Street. I could take this opportunity to visit the philatelic bureau and buy few stamps to send to myself the two following covers.

The first one is franked with the 2008 Europa stamps that were issued on the 9th of June 2008 by Irish post. To illustrate the theme of the year (letters writing), the stamps picture a boy and a girl writing a letter. The boy writes a letter in English (which starts by “dear”) and the girl in Gaelic (which starts by “A shéan”). A very simple but rather attractive design, I think.

The second letter is franked with a set of stamps issued on the 28th of April 2008 to celebrate the International Year of Planet Earth.

These two stamps are the first round stamps issued by Irish post. They picture hand moulded plasticine sculptures of planet earth by two school children : Conor Reid (for the blue one) and Mohammed Rahman (for the red one), whose names are written on the stamps !

One word about the postmark. It is rather hard to read on the scan, but it looks much clearer in reality. This is a printer cancellation that says : RSA – Never ever drink and drive. There is also another message printed in smaller letters but I can not decipher it (may be the same text in Gaelic ?). Irish post has started to use this cancellation on the 1st of August 2008. This is a part of a program launched by RSA (Road Safety Authority) to increase the awareness of people on the danger of alcohol.

As I was inaugurating my new numeric camera I also took some pictures that I can share with you. Here is a picture of the GPO itself, a very nice building.

Here is a close up of the mail boxes that you can find on the façade of the GPO, from where I posted my letters.

Another mail box, a more traditional one, located in the street, few meters away from the GPO.

All along O’Connell street there were also some moving sculptures picturing walking people. Here are two examples of those sculptures. One is taken just in front of the GPO (of course you don’t see them moving on the picture, but the orange characters are actually walking).

I discovered that these sculptures are part of an exhibition called “Walking Down O’Connell Street” by the artist
Julian Opie. Interesting piece of art !

I will for sure come back to Dublin whenever I can !

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Roses on a cover from Cuba

I’m pleased to show you my second cover coming from Cuba.
The stamps used on the cover belong to a set of six stamps issued on the 25th October 2007 and dedicated to roses varieties. The varieties of roses pictured on the stamp of the cover are :
- 15c : Prima ballerina
- 15c : Alison Wheatcroft
- 75c : Grandmère Jenny

I tried to find some information on those roses, and particularly who were Alison Wheatcroft and Grandmère Jenny they were named after, but I did not succeed in a reasonable time.
The three other stamps of the set picture a Pink parfait (5c), a Fragrant cloud (45c) and a Blue moon. A souvenir sheet has also been issued in this set, bearing one stamp picturing a Rosa highdowensis. Here is a picture of the full set that I found on the web.

I must admit that I’m not really a specialist of roses, I’m always impressed by the very high number of varieties that exist and by the interesting names that are given to these varieties. When I see such roses, it always triggers the same souvenir in my memory : a nice walk in Queen Mary’s garden, in the middle of Regent’s Park in London. A nice place that I like to visit each time I have the opportunity to come to London (which I will do end of October, but very likely there will be no more roses at this time !).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

First day cover from Indonesia

Taking care of the environment is a preoccupation that is more and more present in the mind of people and in the actions of governments. Naturally, this is a subject that can be found illustrated on stamps, as on this first day cover from Indonesia.

This souvenir sheet was issued on the 5th of June 2008 to celebrate the 2008 World Environment Day (WED). The WED is celebrated every June 5th worldwide. The theme of the 2008 WED is : CO2 Kick the Habit, Towards a Low Carbon Economy. This slogan can be seen on the left margin of the souvenir sheet. The idea of the campaign is to change the minds of people, to change their habit in order to reduce drastically the production of CO2, which participates to the greenhouse effect. Both stamps of the souvenir sheet illustrate actions to reduce the production of such harmful gas.
The first one, on the top, pictures President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono riding a bicycle during a campaign held to increase the awareness of Indonesian people on the need to use bicycles instead of cars.
The second stamp illustrates the need to plant more trees, as trees help fighting against production of CO2.
I rather like the nice pictorial first day cancel ! A very nice FDC !

Monday, August 18, 2008

Registered cover from Brazil

I’m back from a rainy and windy three days weekend in Dublin, but I will tell about this later in the week. For today, let’s go to a more sunny country : Brazil.

I received recently a nice registered cover from Brazil. What makes me even more happy is that this is not a cover I got from a circuit of cover exchange, but a cover that an Ebay seller used to send me my purchase. I’m really pleased to see the care he took to prepare a nice cover to send me the item I won. This is clearly not the case of all sellers on Ebay…
The stamp located on the right bottom has been issued on the 23rd of November 2001 for Christmas. It pictures a very traditional Christmas scene.

The long rectangular stamp is a more recent one because it has been issued in 2008 (sorry I could not find the exact date of issue…) to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of João Guimarães Rosa. João Guimarães Rosa (1908-1967) was a Brazilian novelist who is often considered as the greatest Brazilian novelist born in the 20th century. In parallel with a diplomatic career he has written several novels, the most famous one being Grande Sertão : Veredas (The Devil to Pay in Backlands) sometimes compared to the Ulysses of James Joyce.
The stamp reproduces a photograph of Guimarães Rosa in the early 60’s when he was elected to the Academia Brasileira de Lettras (Brazilian Academy of Letters) (he died of a heart attack just three days after assuming his position in this academy for the first time, after four years of postponement). In the lower right corner of the stamp is pictured the symbol of infinity that Guimarães Rosa had chosen to finish his books as an end point that suggests a never ending story. The background picture evokes Cordisburgo, his home town, and the conflict between Good and Evil, with the blue cow-boy and the red bull (this conflict is in the center of his novel “Grande Sertão : Veredas”).

The souvenir sheet is also an issue from 2008. It commemorates the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in Brazil.
At the beginning of the 20th century, coffee was the main export product of Brazil. Brazilian farmers, looking for manpower, tried to attract immigrants from Europe. After a first wave of immigrants from Italy, the Brazilian government signed, in 1907, a treaty with the Japanese government, allowing Japanese immigration to Brazil. The first immigrants, fleeing poverty in their country and hoping to become quickly rich, arrived in Brazil in 1908 to work in coffee plantations. As you can imagine reality was different from what they had dreamed about : hard work and low salaries were waiting for them… Nowadays Brazil is the home of the largest Japanese population outside Japan.
The margin of the souvenir sheet pictures some elements of the Japanese culture : paper lanterns, fireworks, traditional clothing, traditional musical instrument, cherry blossom (the symbol of Japan). Grains of coffee can also be seen, to symbolize the fact that Japanese immigrants came first to work in coffee plantations.
The first stamp pictures the ship Kasato Maru, which brought the first immigrants from Japan in 1908. Originally a Russian vessel used as hospital ship, the Kasato Maru became a Japanese ship after the end of the Russian-Japanese war. It became a passenger vessel carrying immigrants to Hawaii in 1906, and to Peru and Mexico in 1907. On the 18th of June 1908, after a 52 days trip from the port of Kobe, the Kasato Maru arrived in Brazil, in the port of Santos, carrying 781 persons (165 families). It marked the beginning of a continuous flow of Japanese immigration to Brazil.
The stamp also pictures a map of Brazil, and the letter C for centenary.

The second stamp pictures a piece of Origami (the traditional Japanese art of paper folding), a crane, one of the most famous model in Origami (there is a legend that says that if you fold one thousand cranes, your wish will be granted !). The stamp also pictures the flags of Japan and Brazil and again the big C for centenary.
The anniversary of the start of Japanese immigration in Brazil has already been commemorated in the past by the Brazilian post. On the 18th of June 1958, the 50th anniversary was commemorated by the issue of this stamp, whose design is hard to decipher.

On the 18th of June 1988, the 80th anniversary was commemorated with a stamp picturing the Kasato Maru together with a Japanese family in traditional clothes.

Seeing this, I can only guess that the souvenir sheet was issued on the 18th of June 2008 to match the exact anniversary of the arrival of the ship…

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Two covers from India

My crazy week is reaching to an end (tomorrow is a bank holiday in France, and I’m going to spend this three days weekend in Dublin, Ireland). Today I would like to share with you two nice covers I received from India very recently.The first one is a commemorative cover.

It commemorates the 125th anniversary of the GPO (General Post Office) of Shimla, located in the north of India. On the back side of the cover there is a small explanation that I copy here :

The General Post Office, situated on the Mall Shimla is one of the oldest Post Offices in the country. The building known as Conny Cottage was purchased from Mr. Peterson, Manager of the Shimla Bank in 1883. Mr. F. Dalton is believed to have been the first Postmaster. Mr. L.G. Pigott was the last English Postmaster till December1946. Mr. A.K. Hazari became the first Postmaster of Indian origin on 01.01 .1947.
The three-storied, mainly wooden, structure is a nice example of English hill architecture. Prior to acquisition for the Post office, the building had some exclusive shops of European tailors like Engelbad & Co. and Coutts & Co. Some portion of the building, damaged by fire in the year 1972, was renovated, maintaining the original facade. In the year 1992, the GPO was declared as one of the Heritage Post office Buildings in the Country.

As you can see the cover pictures a photography of the GPO building. The commemorative cancel is really beautiful. Thank you very much J.Jyoti for this cover !
One word about the stamps. I
already wrote about the one on the top right corner. The other stamp is a part of a set of definitive stamps issued in 2000 (this one was issued on the 20th of November 2000) related to natural heritage. The stamp pictures a tiger and mentions the Sundarban Biosphere Reserve, which is a natural reserve created in 1989 which contain an area dedicated to tigers. If you want to know more about this reserve, I invite you to check this beautiful website

The second cover is coming from
Mansoon and is a first day cover.

The stamps have been issued on the 2nd of August 2008 and picture the Aldabra Giant Tortoise (Geochelone gigantean), the largest tortoise of the world. This is the first hexagonal stamps issued by India, the idea here being to copy the design of the carapace of a tortoise. Those stamps have been issued in souvenir sheets also.
Look at the very nice first day cancel that pictures also the tortoise.
I have always been fascinated by these animals, so I’m very happy to have received this nice cover. Thanks a lot !

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Europa stamps on a cover from Russia

Just a short post, in the middle of this crazy day, just to show you a nice and colorful cover I got from Alexander. Thanks a lot Alexander !

The cover is stamped with the Europa stamp issued by Russia on the 5th of May 2008. The subject of 2008 Europa stamps is “letter writing”. The Russia stamp pictures a letter at three different period of time : an old letter with a seal, a standard cover with a postage stamp and a well known icon to symbolize the reception of an email or a SMS. Nice idea. And nice cover !

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Returned to sender, unknown addressee

Some times ago I have shown you a letter that was returned to me because it was sent without address. In the same spirit, I recently got back a letter I sent to Japan because the addressee seemed to be unknown. At the end it gives a letter with an interesting collection of cancels so I decided to share it with you. Here is a scan of the recto and verso of the cover (as usual click on the picture to see it bigger).

On the recto, on top of the French postmark you can see two small round red cancel containing a Japanese letter (any idea what these cancels are ?) , one large red cancel indicating in RETURN UNKWOWN in English and Japanese, and a blue one, indicating the same but this time in French (RETOUR INCONNU) ! On the verso we can see the cancel of the Japanese post to indicate the date of return. This letter took several months to reach me back !
One word about the stamps I used on the cover. They picture the famous Harry Potter. This is a stamp issued last year for “La fête du timbre”. Here, this a version of the stamp that you hardly see on cover : this is a self-adhesive stamp, se-tenant with a label, coming from a pre-personalized souvenir sheet. Here is a picture of the full sheet.

You hardly see those stamps on cover because the price of the souvenir sheet is much higher than the total of the face value of the stamps. Therefore these items are mainly issued for collectors, not as real postal item.

Monday, August 11, 2008

My first cover from Armenia

I’m thrilled ! Why ? For two reasons. First of all I have received last week my first cover coming from Armenia ! The second reason is that it is coming from a regular reader of my blog, who sent me a very nice message. Thank you very much for this ! (It’s a pity you did not give me your address, I could have sent you back a cover from France).
Here is the cover.

Now the difficulties begin ;-). I must admit I had quite a hard time gathering information about the stamps. Such a hard that I could not clearly identify the second large stamp from the left. It seems to have been issued in 2008, but that is all I could find out. When was it issued exactly ? What does it picture ? I could not find any information.

The other large stamp, the one on the far left was easier to identify. It has been issued on the 27th of October 2007. The stamp pictures a traditional musical instrument : the kamancha which is a bowed string instrument related to violin. It is held like a cello, as we can see on the background of the stamp.

The three other stamps, the small ones are definitive stamps. I could not find the exact date of issue on these three stamps. In 2007 four similar stamps were issued but with different face value or colors. There is something that surprised me : in this set issued in 2007, there is one stamp with the face value of 50, which is also pink, as the one on the cover. But whereas the color of the one on the cover is pale pink, the one of the stamp issued in 2007 is a vivid pink. I wonder why two versiosn of the same denomination exist. Can somebody help me ? For reference, here is the stamp issued in 2007.

Those definitive stamps picture a portrait of Tigran the Great. Tigran II was a king of Armenia (from 95 to 55 BC), who made of Armenia, for a short period, one of the strongest state in the area. He is sometimes referred as the king of kings. His portrait also appears on coins.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Fauna stamps on Russian covers

I recently received two different covers from Russia franked with nice and interesting fauna stamps. I decided to show them together.Here is the first one.
The three large stamps have been issued on the 1st of October 2007 as a set picturing rare animals. The dark color of the stamps is rather unusual and striking and I like the diamond shape. Those stamps have also been issued in the form of a souvenir sheet. Here is a picture of the sheet I found on the web.

The three animals that are pictured on the stamps are (from left to right) :
- the European bison (Bison bonasus), which is smaller than its American cousin
- the snow leopard (Uncia uncia) which has the particularity that it can not roar !
- the oriental stork (Ciconia boyciana), whose scientific name is a tribute to Robert Henry Boyce

All those three animals are endangered, hence the WWF logo on the left side of each stamp.

The two other stamps of the cover are definitive ones. The one on the top was issued in 2003 and pictures the Gatchinsky palace and a statue of the emperor Paul I. I already mentioned the stamp on the bottom in a previous

The second cover also bears a set of very nice fauna stamps.

This set was issued on the 29th of August 2006 and pictures fauna of the Sakha Republic, which is a federal republic of Russia, whose capital is Yakutsk. Each stamp pictures a different animal with its baby. A very charming set of stamps. It was also issued in the form of a souvenir sheet that I show you below.

The animals that are pictured are :
- the Ross’s gull (Rhodostethia rosea) whose common name is a tribute to James Clark Ross (1800-1862) a British naval officer
- the Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus)
- the polar bear (Ursus maritimus)
- the horse (Equus caballus)
- the reindeer (Rangifer tarandes) also called the caribou in North America

I rather like the two sets used on these covers, I must admit. I had the chance to mint versions of these stamps few months ago through an exchange circuit, but I did not expect seeing them actually used on a cover. That was a nice surprise (so many fauna stamps are issued to please collectors and are never seen on covers !).

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Frogs in fairy tales, folk tales or folk songs (IV)

Let’s continue our exploration of stamps picturing frogs in children tales. After the characters of the tales from Grimm Brothers, from HC Andersen and from Jean De La Fontaine, the next one to mention if Jeremy Fisher, the frog character created by Beatrix Potter.
Helen Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) was an English author but also an illustrator and mycologist. She is well known for her children’s books which featured animal characters. She has published 23 children’s book, the first one being published in 1902 and featuring her most famous character Peter Rabbit.I don’t think she actually appears on a stamp, but her picture can be seen on the cover of a prestige booklet dedicated to her and issued by Great Britain in 1993.

Great Britain 1993 - Scott #BK158
(To be noted that even though the price of £6 is written on the cover, the booklet was sold for £5.64 the total amount of the face values of the stamps it contains).

In 1906, Beatrix Potter published “The Tale of Jeremy Fisher”, a book that tells the adventures of a frog, Jeremy Fisher, that goes fishing for minnows for supper but finally gives up after a succession of unforeseen events (such as being swallowed by a trout and spat out again !).
Jeremy Fisher appears on a stamp issued by Great Britain in 2006 has a part of a common stamp issue with USA about children’s tales.

Great Britain 2006 - Scott #2334
He also appears on a stamp from the isle of Man, also issued in 2006.

Isle of Man 2006 - Scott #1171d
This stamp is a part of a souvenir sheet illustrating various tales of Beatrix Potter and picturing also a portrait of the author in the margin of the sheet.

Isle of Man 2006 - Scott #1171

Tales from Beatrix Potter are widely known and have inspired several movies (animated or not) or theatre plays. Her illustrations are also very well known and can be found on various objects for children. I personally own a music box that pictures Jeremy Fisher fishing ! A very nice item !

Another famous frog character is Mr Toad, created by Kenneth Grahame in his book “The wind in the willows”.
Kenneth Grahame (1859 – 1932) was a British writer. He was born in Edinburgh (Scotland) but quickly moved to England. He started his career as an employee of the Bank of England in 1879, but he retired after the publication of his book “The wind in the willows” in 1908. This book had such a big success that it made his fortune.
The book tells the story of four main animal characters : Mole, Ratty, Mr. Toad and Badger.
Mr. Toad is wealthy. He often wears tweed suits. He is the owner of Toad Hall,. He is impulsive and self-satisfied. He is prone to obsessions for things that he quickly becomes bored with and drops.
Mr. Toad is pictured, together with Mole, on a stamp from Great Britain issued in 1979 for the International Year of Children.

Great Britain 1979 - Scott #1482

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Frogs from Netherlands

I haven’t much time today but I would like to show you two sets of items I got recently related to frogs.

As an answer to my post related to the frog prince pictured on stamps, Adrian has sent me the stamp and the souvenir sheet from Netherlands that I mentioned in my article and that I was missing ! Thank you very much Adrian for this. Here is the stamp and the souvenir sheet issued on the 11th of November 1980 by Netherlands.

The second item I wanted to show you is coming from Cees. As an echo to the French personalized stamp that I showed you here, he sent me a personalized stamp from Netherlands, picturing the top of the head of a frog. Thank you very much for this very nice stamp, Cees. Now I’ll try to get a nice personalized French stamp picturing chicken ;-)

Cees also used two of this stamp on the cover he sent me. Here is a picture of the cover.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Lighthouses from Germany

I recently received two very nice covers from Germany that happen to bear the same stamp. They have been sent by two different persons, so this is quite a funny coincidence. The first cover is in fact a First Day cover. Here it is.

The two stamps located on the left top corner belong to the flowers definitive stamps series. They were issued in 2005 and picture a tulip and a crocus.

The square stamp on the right top corner was issued on the 3rd of July 2008. It is a part of a set of two stamps about lighthouses. The lighthouse pictured on the stamp is the one located on the North Sea Island Amrum. It was put into operation in 1875. Its light is located at a 63 m height which makes it the highest on the German North Sea coast. In 1952 it was painted in red and white as it appears today. The lighthouse was operated manually until 1984 when an automatic control was put in place. Here is a picture of the second stamp of the set. It pictures a lighthouse located in Warnemünde, on the Baltic sea.

I let you admire the very nice first day cancel on the cover !

The same stamp was used by Kapalna who sent me this very nice cover, including some very nice frog stamps. Thank you so much Kapalna !

The second stamp on this cover was also issued on the 3rd of July 2008, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Lovis Corinth. Lovis Corinth (1858-1925) was a Germain painter whose work realized a synthesis of impressionism and expressionism. The stamp pictures two paintings from Corinth, separated by his signature. On the left side of the stamp is pictured a painting dated from 1902, Self-portrait with a model. On the right side is pictured a painting realized in 1910 and entitled Morning sun.
I did not know this painter, but as I searched for some information about him, I could see several of his paintings and I must admit that I really liked them !

The cover if not a first day cover, but look at the very clean postmark from Stuttgart ! I’ve very impressed ! This is impossible, in France, to get such a clean cancel in a post office out of a philatelic bureau !

Friday, August 01, 2008

Alexandre Dumas in Georgia

I have recently received my second cover from Georgia. It was sent, once again, by Kathuna. Thank you very much for this very nice letter, Kathuna.To frank the cover she looked for something related to France. She found a very interesting souvenir sheet. Here is the cover.

The souvenir sheet was issued on the 23rd of September 2002 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Alexandre Dumas.
Alexandre Dumas (In France we call him “Alexandre Dumas, père” (père = father) to differentiate him from his son, Alexandre Dumas, fils (fils = son)) was a French writer (1802-1870). He is very well known for his numerous historical novels such as : The Count of Monte Cristo, The three musketeers, Twenty years after, The Vicomte de Bragelonne. Several of his novels have been adapted for the cinema. The 200th anniversary of his birth has been the subject of stamps from other countries : France (of course), but also Monaco and Romania.

There is one sentence written on the left border of the souvenir sheet that explains why Alexandre Dumas would appear on a stamp from Georgia : the sentence says “A.Dumas - Voyages dans la Georgie” (A.Dumas : travels to Georgia; to be completely correct the sentence should in fact say “Voyages en Georgie”.)
Effectively, in 1858 A.Dumas has visited Russia and the Caucasus. Once back in France he has written about this trip in a book called “Voyage au Caucase” (Travel to Caucasus, sometimes called simply “The Caucasus”) published in 1859.
I have read parts of this book and particularly the part where he describes his travel to Georgia ! There is a section where he speaks about a dinner he had in Tiflis, a typical Georgian dinner according to him, with salads (herbs and roots) but also a huge quantity of wine ! He explains that, in order not to shock his hosts, he had to drink a big quantity of Georgian wine (several bottles !), wine from Kakheti, even though he usually only drinks water ! It reminded me about the
first post I wrote about Georgia on this blog. May be I should try Georgian wine ;-)

One word about the two other stamps of teh cover : the one in the middle was issued on the 29th of December 2005, for the 2006 Soccer World Cup that was help in Germany (not a very good souvenir from French people ;-). The other stamp was issued on 20th of June 2003 and is a stamp for the youth.