Friday, February 29, 2008

New letter from Germany

Through the various cover exchange circuits I belong to, I have had the opportunity to receive several covers from Germany. I have shown some of them here in this blog. Each time I was really impressed by the quality of the cancel on the stamps. I know that these covers were prepared by philatelists and they probably asked specifically for a clean postmark, but still… Here is another example.

The cover was damaged a bit on the top, but hopefully the stamps were not touched. The stamp on the right side was issued on the 16th of January 2003. It commemorates the 1000th anniversary of the foundation of Kronach, a city located in Bavaria. The stamp picture a typical view of the houses and buildings of the town.
The block was issued on the 10th of August 2006. It is a part of a series about sceneries of Germany. This block is dedicated to the Black Forest, one of the most famous area in Germany. It pictures a typical scenery of this area. I think that the design of the block is quite interesting with a square stamp, inside a square drawing with a white border all around.
I really like this cover. I think that both stamps go very well together, and again the postmark is very clean.
My German is rather limited, but I guess that the green mark on the bottom of the cover was put by the sender to indicate to the postal clerk that a clean and neat postmark was requested. I already saw similar indication, but usually on the small piece of paper attached to the cover and that can be removed. This is the fist time I see it directly on the cover. At least the result is very good !

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gastronomy on stamps

Thanks to Benedikt, I got this very nice cover from Iceland that I wanted to share with you.
It is franked with the two stamps issued on the 26th of May 2005 for the Europa issue. In 2005 the theme for the Europa issue was Gastronomy, so Iceland had the idea to issue two circular stamps, shaped as plates of food stuffed with traditional meat and fish Icelandic dishes. I think the result is very nice, I really like them. Those stamps were also issued in booklets. Here are the covers of the two booklets that have been produced.




Just for the record, I would like to show you the stamp issued by France for this gastronomy issue. Personally I think it is ugly. Which is really hard to understand, for a country which considers itself as the nation of gastronomy. I think this subject deserved a nicer stamp !



Back to the cover from Benedikt I would like also to mention the very clean postmark, as on all covers I got so far from this country. It is worth mentioning it.








Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A new cover from Kazakhstan

I recently received a new cover from Kazakhstan, through a cover exchange circuit. This is only the second letter I got from this country. Here it is.
The two se-tenant stamps located on the top right corner have been issued in the 31st of October 2007. These stamps picture animals from the zoo of the city of Almaty. One stamp pictures two zebras and the other an elephant. These stamps have been issued in the form of a souvenir sheet of eight stamps and one label. Here is a picture of the full sheet.


The two stamps located on the left of the two previous stamps have been issued on the 29th of November 2006, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the birth of Mukafali Makataev. The full set contains four stamps. As I do not speak Kazakh ;-), I must admit that I could not find any information about him.
The same for the last stamp that was issued on the 20th of October 2007 for the 100th anniversary of the birth of Maulen Balakaev in a set of three stamps. I could not find any information about him neither.

The stamps have been cancelled with a clean blue postmark, exactly as the
first one I got. It makes me feel jealous when I see those clean postmarks and when I see the dirty ones we usually get in France !





Monday, February 25, 2008

Ancient toys

I really hope that this week will be less busy and disturbed than the last two weeks, I did not have much time to think about stamps…
For today I have selected a cover I received from Spain, with some interesting stamps and also a very impressive rectangular cancel.

The two stamps on the top belong to a set of ten stamps issued on the 2nd of January 2008 and picture ancient toys that can be found in museum.
The stamp on the left side pictures a wafer container that can be seen in the
Toys Museum of Valencia. The stamp on the right pictures a cruise liner from the Toys Museum of Catalunya de Figueres, a museum that contains more than 4000 items and that was inaugurated in 1982.
The full set has been issued in booklet. Here is a picture of the full booklet (including the cover).



These toys stamps belong to a series started in 2006. I don’t resist to the pleasure to show you the 2006 and 2007 booklets.




The last stamp of the cover if a definitive stamp from the King Juan Carlos series.

I was very impressed by the large and rectangular cancel. It reminds me the cancel that can be seen in some mails from South America, but this is the first time I see such cancel from Spain. I wonder if there is anything special with this cancel. Any idea ?








Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Let the force be with you

I’m a big fan of sci-fi, and of course I’m a big fan of star wars, so I was very happy when I got this letter from the USA and I don’t resist to the pleasure to share it with you. Thank you Charles !

As you can see the cover bears two large stamp picturing Obi wan Kenobi and a X-wing star fighter from Star Wars, a series of movie that I do not need to present ;-) These stamps belong to the following souvenir sheet issued on the 25th of March 2007.



The three other stamps are definitive stamps belonging to various series. The one on the complete right is the star definitive stamp issue in the 7th of June 2006.
The one located at the left of the star stamp belongs to a series started in 1986 about great American. The full set contains 28 stamps. This one, picturing Father Edward Joseph Flanagan, has been issued on the 14th of July 1986. Father Flanagan (1886-1948) was a priest of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. He was the founder of what is one of the most famous orphanages. Currently known as Girls and Boys Town, the orphanage was originally called Boys Town and is located in Nebraska. The campus is not just an orphanage, but now a center for troubled youth. A move calles Boys Town was produced in 1938 about the life of Father Flanagan. Spencer Tracy won an Oscar for his role as Father Flanagan.

The last stamp of the cover is also a definitive one, issued on the 19th of November 1999 and picturing an American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), a sort of small falcon widely found in Americas.

It is hard to read on the scan, but the stamps are obliterated by a slogan, that is a quote :
“Let us dare to read, think, speak and write” – John Addams 1755”
John Adams (1735-1826) was one of the leaders of the independence movement. He served as Vice President of George Washington and became the second president of the USA.
The slogan also mentions a website
poweroftheletter.com which hosts a competition organized by USPS around the premiere of a movie about Adams.

A very interesting cover as you can see !

Monday, February 18, 2008

When was he born ?

Last Friday, I showed you a cover from Algeria. This is a registered cover used by Abel to send me some stamps, souvenir sheets and FDC. Among the various items included in the cover there was this souvenir sheet.

It was issued on the 15th of December 2007 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abd-el-Kader. The three stamps included on the souvenir sheet picture portraits of Abd-el-Kader, at different periods of his life. For those who don’t know him, he was an Algerian political and military leader who led the struggle against the French invasion in the middle of the 19th century. He is often referred as a national hero. When I saw this souvenir sheet, something disturbed me but I could not really explain what. Then a little bit later, I remembered that French post is going to issue a stamp, in the coming days, to celebrate the same event. Here is a picture of the stamp (sorry it is very small).




Now here is what disturbed me : for the French post, Abd-el-Kader was born in 1808 and for the Algerian post he was born in 1807 ! Strange, isn’t it ? I also think this is a pitty that both postal administrations did not synchronize together on this matter. They could even have issued a joint issue…

Friday, February 15, 2008

A second letter from Algeria

End of last year I showed you the first cover that I received from Algeria. Today, here is a short post showing you the second one I received, still from Abdel. (Thanks Abdel for the cover and the rest. I’ll send you soon the stamps you want). This cover is registered and is franked with some fauna and flora stamps.



The two large stamps of the cover have been issued on the 15th of September 2007. The animals pictured on the stamps are : Stripped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) and Red fox (Vulpes vulpes). Both species are endangered.
I think that hyena on stamps is no so common, because it is not such a popular animal. Fox is a bit more common.
The two small stamps picture a Rosa odorata and belong to the definitive series about roses issued on the 7th of September 2004.

To be noticed also the red cancel (even though it is too heavy) : red cancels are not so common, I think.



Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sent without address !

Who would be stupid enough to post a letter without any address ? you may think. Well… me ;-). But I didn’t do it on purpose, it was an accident. Here is the story. As I explained in a previous articles, I have attended to the first day ceremony of the artistic booklet from France. For this, I had prepared several covers to be sent to some of my friends, philatelic contacts and blog readers. As I’m a lazy guy, I had prepared some printed labels with the address, instead of writing the address manually. Unfortunately, somewhere between the desk of the postal clerk who cancelled the stamps, and the mail sorting centre, one of the label dropped, leaving the envelope without recipient’s address. Hopefully, I had put my address on the back of the cover so the letter was sent back to me, with a huge red mark on it. Here it is.

The red mark is a bit hard to read because the rubber stamp has moved while it was applied on the cover. It lists, both in French and in English the various reasons why the letter could not be distributed to its recipient. Here is a transcription of what is written on the red mark:

RENVOI A L’EXPEDITEUR
RETURN TO SENDER

Non réclamé
Unclaimed

Adresse inexistante
No such address
(This is the choice which is selected)

Adresse incomplete
Address incomplete
(NB that I would have written Incomplete address…)

Parti sans laisser d’adresse
Moved without address

XXXX (I can not read the French part)
No such post office

Refusé par le destinataire
Refused by addressee

Inconnu
Unknown

I do not remember to whom this letter was sent. But at least I got an interesting cover for my collection ;-).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New issues from Sweden

Sweden is a country that has a very interesting stamps issuing policy. The number of stamps issued per year is rather reasonable, and an important part of them are recess-printed. This is why some years ago I decided to subscribe to the new issues from Swedish post, and I would like to share with you some of the stamps I received few days ago.The first stamp is a tribute to the very famous film and theatre director Ingmar Bergman, who died last year.

This stamp was issued on the 24th of January, together with a souvenir sheet (with one stamp). I don’t think I need to introduce Ingmar Bergman, he is one of the most famous Swedish personalities. The stamp is based on a photograph and I find it extremely nice. The souvenir sheet which was engraved by Martin Mörck is also very beautiful (sorry I forgot to scan it…).
On the same day, the Swedish post has issued three stamps picturing insects.



On this picture you can see the coil stamps picturing ladybugs, a bumble-bee and ants. The ladybugs stamp was also issued in a standard version (see the different perforation) and in a souvenir sheet. I think these stamps are very simple but very nice. They have been design by Jenny Burman a web designer who is making her debut as a stamp designer. A nice debut, isn’t it ?
The last stamps that I wanted to show you have also been issued on the 24th of January. They commemorate the 300th anniversary of the birth of the historian and author Olof von Dalin, who became also the tutor of the future King Gustav III. Olof von Dalin (1708-1763) was an innovator of the Swedish language, a skill that he used in the publication of the periodical entitled Then Swänska Argus (The Swedish Argus). The design of the stamps are directly extracted from this periodical that was published between 1732 and 1734. The left stamp pictures an illustration on the title page of the very first issue of this periodical. The second stamp depicts a D, the first letter of Sagan om hasten (The tale of the horse) a story published in the periodical.


Some other stamps were issued on the same date, a set of four picturing dogs. But I think you got the idea : have a look the Swedish post website and you will be able to make your own opinion about the stamps produced by this country. You may have understood it, I’m a big fan !







Tuesday, February 12, 2008

First cover from Mexico

Sometimes, buying stamps on Ebay brings you some good surprise. I know that sometimes it also brings bad surprise, but today I would like to be positive. I have recently bid on a set of frog stamps from Mexico. Stamps that I’m looking for since two years, that are not really expensive, but still hard to find. The seller was located in Mexico, so when he sent me the stamps, I had the surprise to receive a nice registered cover franked with nice stamps. The first cover from Mexico in my collection !

As you see on the cover, the registration fee is fully covered by the stamps : the label stuck by the postal clerk on the left side bears a face value of 0. The label is here only a proof of when and where the registered cover was posted. Now let’s speak about the stamps.
The two identical stamps on the top were issued in 2004, on the 11th of August to be exact. They celebrate the 100th anniversary of the FIFA, the international federation of football association, an event that has been celebrated on stamps by a lot of countries in the world.
The large stamp located below gave me some hard time to find some background information. Because I do not speak Spanish, the Mexican post website did not help me so much. But here is what I could gather. This stamp belongs to a set of five stamps printed se-tenant, issued on the 5th of September 2007, and celebrating the centenary of Torreon, a city of the Caohuila area. Here is a picture of the full set, sorry it is rather small but this is all what I could find.

The first stamp, the one on the cover, pictures the advent of railroad to the city of Torreon. The other stamps picture various places form the city : the Church of Guadeloupe, the theatre "Isauro Martinez", the Christ of the Noas and a monument of Torreon that I could not clearly identify.
The two last stamps of the cover are issued from a sheet of fifteen stamps issued on the 11th of October 2007. Here is a picture (again, a bit small) of the full sheet.


It commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Francisco Gabilondo Soler (1907-1990) a Mexican composer and performer of children’s songs. The characters of his songs were small animals, as illustrated on the souvenir sheet. One of his most famous character was Cri-cri, a cricket. Francisco Gabilondo Soler even recorded his songs under the same of Cri-cri El Grillito Cantor (Cri-cri the little singing cricket).

One last point to mention on the cover is the nice rectangular postmark !

Monday, February 11, 2008

Shanghai

As I have written here on my blog, several weeks ago, I have been to Shanghai for a professional trip. This trip was short so I could not find the time to do what I had planned : to find the General Post Office of Shanghai and see if I could buy stamps. But I still was able to purchase some stamps, when leaving. At the airport, I could purchase a very nice stamped book dedicated to Shanghai : this very luxurious book includes all stamps issued by China and picturing something related to Shanghai. I think it is a very good idea ! I could not scan the cover of the book because it is much too big. But I selected a souvenir sheet from it to share it with you.


This souvenir sheet has been issued, together with six stamps, on the 21st of September 1996. The souvenir sheet pictures the towers and buildings of Pudong, as seen from the Bund. Pudong is a district of Shanghai that, since its development that has started in 1990, has emerged as the China’s financial and commercial hub. The river that you see on the souvenir sheet is the Huangpu river, from where Pudong takes its name (Pudong meaning East of (Huang)pu). In Pudong you can find the Shanghai Stock Exchange and a set of impressive towers, that are illuminated during the nights, giving a fantastic view when you walk on the Bund, the road located on the verge of Huangpu river.
One of this tower, that we clearly see on the stamp (the one with the big spheres), is the Oriental Pearl Tower. This is a TV tower. Its construction started in 1991 and was completed in 1995. It is 468m high, and features eleven spheres, big and small. The tower has three observatory levels and a revolving restaurant.
This very specific tower is often shown as a symbol of Shanghai in movies: you may have seen this tower in Fantastic four (Rise of the Silver Surfer) where it is shown twice : once when the Fantastic four try to catch Dr. Doom and once when the Human Torch pushes Dr.Doom into the Huangpu river ! The tower also appears in Mission Impossible III and in Godzilla – Final wars.

This stamped book dedicated to Shanghai made me feel like starting a collection about stamps picturing Paris, or related to the history of Paris. If I find the time (and the money ;-) ) may be I’ll start this new collection.


Friday, February 08, 2008

Sorry... no time

Yes, I'm sorry that I have no time to write in my blog these days. Too much work. I should be back on line next monday ! Until then enjoy your stamps.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Year of the rat, one last time

These days are crazy at work. I just have no time to think about stamps or to update my blog. So only a quick post today. To stay in the mood of the celebration of the Chinese new year, here is a cover I received from my friend in China.
This is a first day cover of the stamp issued by China post for the celebration of the year of the rat. The stamp has been issued on the 5th of January. A rather cute stamp, don’t you think ?

One word about the two other stamps. The one located on the left belongs to the birds definitive series of 2002 that I have already mentioned several times here in my blog. The stamp pictures Ala Shan Redstart (Phoenicurus alashanicus) an endemic bird from China. The other stamp pictures a Golden Kaiserihin (Teinopalpus aureus) a butterfly from China and Vietnam. This stamp was issued on the 25th of February 2000 and belongs to a souvenir sheet of ten stamps and two labels about wildlife. This souvenir sheet is really impressive, I have it in my collection, but unfortunately I forgot to scan it. I will try to show it in a future post because I think it is worth sharing it with you.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Alpine skiing souvenir sheet from Finland

It seems that the usage of moving images on stamps is becoming a trend that more and more postal administrations are following. Last year I have presented the rugby stamp issued by France and also the lenticular stamps issued by Australia. Ireland, Netherlands and Switzerland have also already issued stamps using such techniques. Is there anybody who has a complete list of countries that have issued moving stamps so far ?
Now this is the turn of Finish post. This time it is not only on stamp but a full souvenir sheet that is issued. Here is a scan of the sheet I have received (note that the problem with lenticular stamps is that they are not so easy to scan).



If you want to see the stamps “moving” check on Finish post website where they put an animation of the stamps. The souvenir sheet was issued on the 24th of January 2008 and celebrate Alpine skiing. The overall result is rather impressive. Due to the printing techniques, the stamps and the souvenir sheet is rather thick. It seems this is the first souvenir sheet of this size which is issued mixing the 3D and lenticular techniques.
I wonder if those stamps will be seen very often on mail going through the postal service…