Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Registered cover from Costa Rica

Last week I had the nice surprise to get a registered cover from Costa Rica, franked with a high number of stamps. This cover comes from an Ebay seller who took the time to put nice stamps on the cover he used to send me my purchase. This is really nice. As the envelop bears stamps on both side I have to show you the recto and the verso.



Before speaking about the stamps I would like to mention the nice rectangular cancel very similar to the ones on the cover I showed few years ago. It makes me wonder if all cancels in Costa Rica are rectangular or if this is only some specific ones.

On the recto side two different sets of stamps have been used. The first stamp, located in the right top corner, belongs to a set of four stamps issued on the 23rd of March 2004 and picturing local flora. As you can see the stamp bears the UPAEP logo. What is a bit surprising is that flora was the subject of the 2003 UPAEP issue and not the one of 2004. Does it mean that Costa Rica was late in issuing this set?
Anyway, the stamp on the cover pictures the Kapok (Ceiba pentadra), a native tree of Central America. This tree has the particularity to produce fibers that are commonly use to fill mattresses, pillows or teddy bears ;-) I did not succeed to find a picture of the whole set of four stamps.
The other stamps on the recto side belong to a set of five stamps issued on the 5th of July 2002 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the creation of the
Pan American Health Organization, part of the United Nations system and serving as the regional office for the Americas of the World Health Organization. PAHO is based in Washington, DC. All the 35 countries in the Americas are PAHO members.
The set of stamps has been issued in the form of a block of four stamps picturing people and one isolated stamp picturing the emblem of the PAHO. Again I would have liked showing you a picture of the full set (mainly to show you the design of the full block of four) but I could not find one on the internet.

Let’s have a look to the recto side.

On the right part, you can see a souvenir sheet of four stamps. It has been issued on the 18th of October 2007 and celebrates the children’s book “Stories of my aunt Panchita” (Cuentos de me Tia Panchita). This book has been written by Carmen Lyra in 1920.
Carmen Lyra (1888-1949) is the pseudonym of the first prominent female writer of Costa Rica, born Maria Isabela Carvajal. She started working as a nurse and then became a journalist. She was involved in the political life of the country and was forced to exile in Mexico in 1948 after the Costa Rican civil war. She died in exile. The Costa Rica Legislative Assembly awarded her the honor of “Benemérita de la Cultura Nacional” in 1976. As another tribute, her image appears in the 10.000 colones bill.
“Cuentos de me Tia Panchita” is here second book (the first one being “En una silla de ruedas” (In a Wheelchair) published in 1918) and is a collection of 23 folk tales. Four of these tales are illustrated on the stamps of the souvenir sheet (clockwise):
- Porqué Tío Conejo Tiene las Orejas Tan Largas (Why Uncle Rabbit’s ears are so long)
- La Mica
- Uvieta
- Tío Conejo y los Caites de su Abuela (Uncle Rabbit and his grandmother’s cat)
If you can read Spanish you can find the text of these stories at:
http://www.guiascostarica.com/panchita/indice.htm

Just to be complete I will add that this set of stamps also includes a large isolated stamp that I show you below.
Finally, on the left side of the cover, you can see the bottom of a stamp sheet containing two times two stamps. Those stamps have been issued on the 10th of December 2007 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Peace Nobel Prize that was awarded to the Costa Rican president Oscar Arias in 1987 for his efforts to end civil wars that were raging at this time in Central American countries.
The stamps picture both sides of the Peace Nobel Prize medal. The front of the medal shows a portrait in relief of Alfred Nobel. His name and the years of his birth and death are engraved along the edge. The reverse shows three naked men embracing one another - a symbol of the international fraternization that Nobel wished to contribute to through the Peace Prize. The inscription is in Latin: Pro pace et fraternitate gentium (For peace and fraternity among peoples).
The stamps are inscribed Esquipulas II, which is the name of the peace treaty signed in August 1987 in the city of Esquipulas that marked the end of the civil war in the area.

As you see the covers contain a very interesting mixture of stamps. What I appreciate is that all stamps are closely linked to the country itself and teach us about the culture and the history of the country, which is not always the case of stamps issued these days…

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