Monday, October 27, 2008

No time for stamps...

As you may have noticed I haven't updated my blog since ages. I currently have no time for stamps and I regret it. I hope I will be able to come back to all of you on this blog in few days. Sorry for that.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Frogs carousel

I’m on the good way to get back on track and to be able to update my blog more regularly. Today I would like to share with you a very nice postcard I received from Lenka. Thank you very much Lenka for this nice surprise.
First of all here is the picture side of the card, a nice frogs carousel !
My knowledge of Czech language is rather limited so I’m not really able to tell you what the small text means. I would be happy to get some information about this.
Here is the recto side.

As you can see on the right border, the postcard is franked with a stamp attached to two labels. This set is a part of a souvenir sheet that I have already
mentioned some months ago in my blog. The stamp pictures a couple of kingfishers (Alcedo athis), while the upper label pictures a set of Greylag gooses (Anser anser).

As you can imagine I’m particularly interested in the bottom label that pictures a couple of Green frogs (Rana esculenta, which is now called Pelohylas kl esculentus). This species of frog is also called commonly the Edible frog because it is the type of frogs that is used for food, as in France, where frog’s legs is a famous meal (By the way French people have the reputation to eat frogs, mainly among English people, but I must say two things : first we are not the only ones, I saw frog’s legs served in a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai, and secondly this is not so common to eat frogs in France !).
What is interesting on this label is that the male is pictured with its two vocal sacs inflated : such vocal sacs are present in almost all frogs species. It is used by males to emit a sound to attract the females. Sometimes the vocal sac is unique and located under the head, but for the Green frog there are two small sacs located on both sides of the head.
There are no so many stamps that picture a frog with inflated vocal sacs, even though this is a very specific characteristic of this animal.

The other stamp located on the card is part of a souvenir sheet issued on the 19th of June 2002 and picturing endangered butterflies species. Here is a picture (I know, it is small, I did not find a bigger one, sorry) of the sheet.

The stamp on the card pictures the scarce Large Blue butterfly (Maculinea teleius).

Also to be noted, the very nice postmark from Praga 2008, a philatelic exhibition that was held in Prague from the 12th to the 14th of September 2008. If you want to know more about this event, you can check the
official website.
I don’t know anything about the two other blue postmarks, if Lenka has any information I will be happy to get it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chinese birds

Several weeks ago (I should even say several months ago…) I have received a letter from China through a stamp exchange circuit. The cover contained a very nice souvenir sheet that I will show you, but first I would like to show you the cover because it is franked with an impressive stamp.

The long stamp that you can see on the cover is 120 mm long ! It is part of a set of four stamps and one souvenir sheet issued on the 5th of September 1993. This long stamp is in fact extracted from the souvenir sheet. I was not able to find a scan of the complete souvenir sheet and/or of the four other stamps of the set. If somebody has one I will be happy to post it here.
The subject of the set is a place called “the Longmen grottoes”. The Longmen Grottoes, also called Longmen Caves, are located 12 km south of present day Luoyang in Henan province, China. The grottoes are densely dotted along two mountains: Xiangshan (to the east) and Longmenshan (to the west). The Yi River flows northward between them. Along with the Mogao Caves and Yungang Grottoes, the Longmen Grottoes are one of the three most famous ancient sculptural sites in China. The grottoes contain 2100 niches, more than 100,000 Buddhist statues, some 40 pagodas and 3600 tablets ! It is the most impressive collection of Chinese art dating from 316 to 907 and it represents the zenith of stone carving in China. The area was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in November 2000.
The stamp on the cover pictures the ancestors worshipping temple.

I don’t think this long stamp is very frequent on cover, because few people actually accepts to destroy a souvenir sheet to take out a stamp. It is a pity that the sender has put an air mail label on the stamp itself.

The second stamp on the cover is a definitive stamp that I have already shown in a
previous post.

Now let me show you the souvenir sheet that was included in the cover.

Nice isn’t it ? It has been issued on the 28th of February 2008 and pictures Chinese birds. The species that are pictured on the sheet are :
- The Formosan magpie (Urocissa caerulea)
- The Tibetan bunting (Emberiza koslowi)
- The Cabot’s tragopan (Tragopan Caboti)
- The Snowy-cheeked laughing thrush (Garrulax sukatschewi)
- The Golden pheasant (Chrysolophus pictus)
- The Biddulph’s ground jay (Podoces biddulphi), which is, by the way, the same bird than the one pictured on the definitive stamp used on the cover I showed above.

I think this souvenir sheet is nice, mainly when you like stamps picturing birds, like me. I wonder if those stamps will be seen very often used on covers…

Thursday, October 09, 2008

First cover from Vietnam

Just a short post today to show you my first cover from Vietnam. Thank you very much for this cover.

The two stamps on the cover belong to a set of four issued on the 15th of March 2008 to celebrate the Beijing Olympic Games. Here is the full set.

I rather like the shape of the stamps, which is a bit unusual. Vietnam won only one medal during the games, a silver medal in men weightlifting, which is not one of the sports chosen to be pictured on the stamps....

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Olympex 2008

I know, I know, Beijing Olympic games are over since almost two months now. But I have received so many interesting items and I’m so late in updating my blog that I will write about this event still in several posts.
Today I want to share with you a postal card I received from my Chinese friend who lives in Beijing. As you will see, this card is related to Olympex, the philatelic and numismatic exhibition that takes place every four years, in the same location than the Olympic Games.

Here is the recto of the card.
I guess you recognize them, they are the Fuwa, the mascots of the Beijing 2008 games. They are five, like the five Olympic rings, and each of them bears the color of one of the ring. From left to right the mascots are :
- Beibei, the fish, who symbolizes prosperity. Among the Fuwa Beibei is known to be gentle and pure.
- JingJing the Panda, symbolizes happiness. He makes children smile.
- Huanhuan the Olympic Flame, who is the big brother. He symbolizes the passion of sport
- Yingying the Antelope carries the symbol of heath and strength
- Nin, the swallow who brings good luck wherever she flies

If you put together the first part of their name you get “Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni” which means “Welcome to Beijing” !

Now here is the verso.

The printed stamp pictures the now well known emblem of the Beijing 2008 games. But what is more interesting, the left part of the card contains four pictorial cancels that were available during Olympex 2008. This exhibition was held between the 8th of August and the 18th of August in the Beijing Exhibition Centre. The cancels located on the top left and the one on the bottom right pictures the logo of the exhibition. Here is a picture of the official logo.

The logo adopts the visual elements of traditional Chinese culture. It is a round jade plate with a hole in the center that is surrounded with clouds. The clouds represent the auspiciousness and the round jade plate means perfection. The "O" shape of the logo is also the first letter of OLYMPIC EXPO, effectively enhancing its visual cognition.

The cancel located on the right top corner pictures the façade of the Beijing Exhibition Centre where the expo has taken place.

An interesting souvenir, isn’t it ?

If you want to know more about the expo you can check its website :

Monday, October 06, 2008

FD postal mark on a cover from Lithuania

(As you probably noticed I was not so successful in updating my blog last week than in the previous weeks. This time this was not because of too much work, but because I was in the countryside for a training and my internet connection did not work. I had prepared several posts but I could not published anything ! I'm back now, so everything should be back to normal).

I recently received a cover from Lithuania who appeared to bear an interesting postal mark. Here is the cover.

First, let's say a word about the stamp. It belongs to a set of two stamps issued on the 26th of July 2008 to celebrate the Olympic Games of Beijing. The stamp on the cover pictures the women marathon. The second stamp of the set is dedicated to Laser radical. Here it is.

Lithuania won fives medals during the Olympic games in Beijing : three bronze medals and two silver medals. Among the two silver medals there was one in Laser radical, so this was a good choice for a stamp ! But Lithuania did not win any medal at the women marathon.
The reason why I wanted to show you this cover is not really the stamp but the postal mark FD that you have probably noticed. FD means “Fausse Destination” that could be translated into “Wrong Destination”. It is applied when the mail has reached a wrong destination and could not reach the addressee. In this case, if possible, the mail is put back into the postal service to reach the correct address. This is what happened here. On the back on the cover there is another postmark from another city Garches, showing that the mail reached Garches and then somebody sent it back to Montrouge where I leave. I do not really know why the letter was misrouted.
This FD postal mark exists in different forms. This one is the one I have seen the most often.
Some people have specialized into collecting such postal marks. Not so easy to get this one on a mail addressed to yourself ! So an interesting item at the end !
In the cover there were some stamps including this interesting souvenir sheet of four stamps issued on the 6th of September 2008 and picturing an endangered species of bird : the European roller (Coraccias garrulus).

The stamps have also been issued as single stamps. Here is a picture of the full set.

You know that I like stamps picturing birds, so I was really happy to get this set.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Frog on new stamp from Hungary

To stay in the mood of frog stamps I would like to tell you about a new issue from Hungary.

In order to develop the interest for stamp collecting among young people, Magyar Posta has started to release a new series of stamps entitled PHILAVILLAGE. The complete series will contain a total of 12 stamps, issued in 6 steps. The special feature of this issue is that the stamps can be bought as part of a six-part board game. The six playing sheets make up a fun game for children to learn about stamp collecting.
The stamps show the busy lives of the inhabitants of PHILAVILLAGE. On the first two denominations, issued on the 6th of June, we can the hairdresser and baker.

On the third and fourth denominations, issued on the 20th of June 2008, we can meet the village photographer and optician.

On the 10th of July, the fifth and sixth denominations have been issued picturing the police and the ice cream seller. And here comes the frog, as a policeman !

The seventh and eighth stamps have been issued on the 2nd of September and picture the village school and museum. I could not yet find a picture of the stamps.
The last stamps of the series should be issued before the end of the year. When I get the pictures of the six remaining stamps I will post them here.

I think this is a rather good idea to draw the attention of kids on stamps. Unfortunately, on these days of video games an internet, I’m not so sure that this is really working ! At least this is worth trying