Monday, January 26, 2009

Good bye Sydney….

Yes, I’m back from my three weeks holidays in Sydney. I had a fabulous time there. Weather was great, and I just LOVE Sydney. To bad that I had to go back to France and to work! I travelled with Singapore Airlines and I was lucky enough to fly on the Airbus A380 between Sydney and Singapore. What an amazing plane! So silent, so smooth…

As you may have seen I did not update my blog so much during these holidays. I will try to go back on the tracks of a daily update from now on.

In my last post I explained that my first experience to get some stamps from a post office in Sydney was not so nice. Hopefully the second and the third have been much better and I could find people who took the time to explain me all what was available in term of stamps and philatelic products. This post is dedicated to one of the most recent stamp set issued by the Australian post: the Year of the Ox issue.

Before I come to this, let me share with you two pictures I took in Sydney. Two pictures of mail boxes. The first one shows the traditional mail box that you can see in Sydney. The mail boxes are red, as in a lot of countries! The yellow ones are dedicated to express mail.

I also found a different mail box in the area of the Rocks, which is the oldest part of the city. Here it is.

On the 8th of January, Australian post has issued a set of two stamps to celebrate the beginning of the Year of the Ox. As usual for such issue, the stamps are inscribed Christmas Island, but they are valid for postage in the whole country. One of the stamps pictures the calligraphic symbol for the Ox and the other pictures a pictorial derivation. Here are the two stamps.

As you can imagine, I used those stamps to send a cover to myself. Here is what I found in my mail box, once back home.

As you see, the cancel is unfortunately not very nice, but it still makes a good souvenir.

In the post office where I bought those stamps, you could also buy them in the form of gutter pairs. What is a gutter pair? The gutter is the band of paper that separates two blocks of stamps in a stamp sheet. Usually this band of paper is unprinted, but some postal administrations, such as Australian post, print some information, or design, on this margin. Then it makes sense to collect two stamps separated by a decorated gutter. Here is an example with the $1.65 stamp: here the gutter pictures the well known traffic light, used as a check that no color is missing from the printing.

For the 0.55c the gutter is a pictorial one, as you can see on those two examples.

It seems that gutter pairs are rather famous among stamp collectors in Australia. I don’t remember having seen such printed gutters from another country. Do you know any other countries where you can find such decorated gutters?

The two stamps have also been issued in the form of a souvenir sheet. Here is the presentation pack in which this souvenir sheet is sold.

The souvenir sheet contains both stamps. On the border of the sheet a text is written in Chinese and in English. Here is a transcription of the text:

The Ox is patient and loyal, tender and caring. Laozi, a prominent thinker in ancient China, discouraged with the political climate, journeyed to the wilderness on his faithful Ox. Before he left he was asked to write down his knowledge. In the company of his Ox, Laozi wrote Daode jing, the most important book in Taoism.

This presentation pack is in fact designed to be used as a greeting card to send you best wishes to your friends. A pre-stamped envelope has also been designed to send this card. Here is a picture of this envelope.

Here is also the FDC of the souvenir sheet. (If someone is interested I have one to give away for free. Just write to me).

Just to close the topic, I also found a pre-stamped postcard on the same subject. Here is a picture of the recto and verso of the card.

Add to these a prestige booklet and a silver ingot picturing the 0.55c stamp and you will have a pretty good idea of all the items available from Australia post for this Year of the Ox issue!
Happy Chinese new year !


Anonymous said...

Hi Eric,
Good to have you back!! Nice to know that you enjoyed your holidays....must be hard to come back to the cold temperatures of Europe !!

Another country which issues stamps in gutter pairs is Åland. All their stamps except booklets are issued in gutter pairs and pretty ones too !

Their website is...

Warm regards,

Gecko said...

Woohoo! My home country!

Your blog was recommended to me by Google Reader, I'm so glad I've found it!