Saturday, June 27, 2009

Chinese first day cover from China 2009

In April of this year an international stamp exhibition has been held in China, in the city of Luoyang. At the occasion of China 2009, the Chinese postal administration has issued a set of two stamps and a souvenir sheet. I had the pleasure to receive recently a First Day Cover with both stamps from a philatelic contact. Here it is.
The two stamps on the right side are the one issued on the 10th of April 2009. They picture two nice pots. I tried to get more information about those pots, or vases, but without much success. One thing that you can not see on the scan is that the stamp on the far right side is slightly embossed, at the top of the vase.
A very nice souvenir sheet has also been issued. I recently received it from another philatelic friend in China. It contains a unique and rather large stamp (I think the stamp is around 7 cm high!).

The other stamp that was used on the cover is part to a definitive set of stamps that I already mentioned in a previous article.

The postmark pictures the logo of the exhibition. A nice souvenir to be added to my collection!

The next important International Stamp exhibition organized by the international federation of philately will be held in May 2010 in London. I plan to go there, and if my blog is still alive at this time, I will for sure tell you all about it!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Busy these days...

Just a short post to tell you that I'm to busy these days to be able to write in my blog. I'm currently in Timisoara, Romania, for a professional trip and with very low opportunities to deal with stamps. I hope to be back on line very soon.
I would like also to thank Kapalna and Scott for their recent sendings. I will publish them here in the coming days.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My first cover from Thailand

I'm thrilled today to share with you my first cover from Thailand. Yes, this may be surprising but I never got any mail from this country until Gladdie sent me this letter.

Thank you very much Gladdie, I owe you a nice cover. And sorry to have been so long to publish it on my blog. Surprisingly I had a tough time to find information about the stamps.
The square stamp is a part of a set of four stamps issued on the 6th of April 2009 and picturing various royal hats. The full set has also been issued in the form of a souvenir sheet.

Unfortunately I was not able to find detailed information about the hats pictured on the stamps!
The large stamp on the right side of the cover is part of a set of two issued on the 9th of August 2008 and dedicated to the green peacock (Pavo muticus). The stamps are really beautifull (and large) and they have also been issued in a souvenir sheet that I also find very nice.

I really like peacocks ! I think this is a very nice subject for a stamp.
Finally the last stamp is a definitive one issued in 1996 and picturing a portrait of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the current king of Thailand.

Thanks to this cover I'm now interested to know more about philately of Thailand.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New cover from Qatar

I’m happy to share with you my second cover received from Qatar! Thank you very much Rodel for this sending, I’m really glad to add it to my collection.
Three different stamps are used on the cover. Let’s start by the one which is attached to what I think is the margin of the sheet. It is part of a set of four stamps issued on the 18th of December 2008 to celebrate the National day. Here is the full set.

All stamps pictures part of a famous market located in Doha and named Souk Waqif. This souk is a very ancient one, dating from the time when Doha, the capital of Qatar, was still a small village. People gathered on the banks of the river to sell and buy goods. Because of the water there was not place to sit down on the banks, hence the name Souq Waqif which means “standing market”. The souk has really developed in the 20th century after the country reached some political stability. Heavy works to renovate the souk have been started in 2004 to recover its ancient look. Some modern buildings have been destroyed to show the old ruins that were hidden behind. If you are interested to know more about this place you can click here.
The stamps seem to have been printed in sheet with decorated margins as we can see on the cover. Unfortunately I could not find a picture of a full sheet on the web.

The second stamp is part of a large set of 20 stamps (and two souvenir sheets) dedicated to insects and issued on the 20th of July 1998. The stamp pictures a migratory locus (Locusta migratoria) which is the most common type of locus. Here is a picture of the full set (click also
here if you want to know more).
My first cover from Qatar was already franked with a stamp from this set.
Finally the last stamp is also part of a large set issued on the 26th of June 1999 and picturing old Islamic coins.
I was unfortunately not able to find more information about the coins that are pictured on the stamp of the cover, but here is a picture of the full set.

The postmark from Doha is a bit heavy but seems to have an interesting design.

I would like to take the opportunity of this post to say a big THANK YOU to all the readers, like Rodel, who sent me spontaneously a cover. This is always a great pleasure to find them in my mail box, when I’m back from a hard day of work. And it is always a great pleasure looking for information about the stamps that are used on them. Also a message to everybody who is expecting a cover from me: it will come, don’t worry. I’ know I’m late, but time is running so quickly that I have never the time to do all what I have to do. Sorry of this delay.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vatican stamp and postmark

In my last post I told you about a postcard bearing a stamp from Vatican which was included in the cover from San Marino. Time has come today to share it with you.
First let’s start by the picture side of the postcard.

It pictures the very impressive cathedral of Milan (called Duomo di Milano in Italian). The construction of this very nice church started in 1386 and was not completed (at least for the outside part) before 1577, when the edifice was consecrated as a church. I have already been to Milan for a professional trip but unfortunately I did not have any time to visit the city. Next time I will go there I will for sure visit the cathedral!

Now let’s have a look to the recto side of the postcard.

The main reason why I wanted to show you this postcard is the postmark. It is a postmark used by Vatican post during a philatelic event held in Milan from the 27th to the 29th of March 2009. As you can see the postmark pictures the very specific façade of the cathedral of Milan which is pictured on the postcard.

The stamp put on the card is a part of a set of three air-mail stamps issued on the 11th of July 1978 to celebrate the 10th World Telecommunications day. Here is a picture of the full set.

In the right top corner of the stamps are pictured the coat of arms of the State city of Vatican.

These arms can be described in the following way. The crossed keys of gold and silver symbolize the keys of the kingdom of heaven promised to Saint Peter. The tiara represents the three powers of the Supreme Pontiff: Sacred Orders, Jurisdiction and Magisterium, in other words: his functions as "supreme priest", "supreme pastor" and "supreme teacher". The gold cross surmounting the triple crowns symbolizes the crucifixion of Jesus.

This is my first philatelic item from Vatican, so I’m pretty happy about it, even though this is not (yet) a cover coming from there through the postal service.

Monday, June 08, 2009

First cover from San Marino

My scanner is now back in service and my internet connection at home is now fully operational (I’m now using the fiber optic). Just in time, because I have a set of “premieres” to share with you this week, such as the item of today, my first cover from San Marino received last week.

The two stamps located on the far right side belong to a set of eight stamps issued on the 16th of January 2002. This set, entitled “colors of life”, is the first set of stamps bearing a denomination in Euro only (In 1998 San Marino has started issuing stamps bearing a double denomination in Lira and Euro). Here is a picture of the full set.

Each of the eight stamps features a dominating color:
- the white of some cute little rabbits (€ 0,01)
- the purple of a San Marino sunset (€ 0,02)
- the red of a cactus plant, the Aechmea fasciata of the family of the Bromeglaceas (€ 0,05)
- the yellow of a field of grain (€ 0,10)
- the blue of an aerial view of an alpine landscape (€ 0,25)
- the green of rain-soaked olive branches (€ 0,50) (the actual stamp looks much greener than on the scanned image)
- the brown of a flock of sparrows (€ 1,00)
- the pink of life, delicately represented by the face of a newborn baby (€ 5,00)
A rather colorful and nice set of stamps, isn’t it? The idea of using a dominating color for each different stamp was to help the user to distinguish the different denominations "at a glance".

Before speaking about the third stamp, let me give few words about the history of San Marino. San Marino is a “micro-state” located on the Italian peninsula. It is often referred as the oldest republic in the world, because its constitution is almost the same since its creation. The legend around the creation of the state speaks of Marinus the Dalmatian, a stone cutter, who settled a Christian community on the mount Titano, fleeing from the persecution against Christians. The official date of the creation of this community is kept as the 3rd of September 301. In 313, Marinus became the owner of the land where the community was living. In 366 Marinus died, his last words are said to be “I leave you free from the other men”. The community has then expanded, fighting through the years for independence. San Marino is still an independent nation that lives mainly from tourism. It became a member of the United Nations in 1992. Philatelic sales are an important source of revenue for the micro-state.

On the 14th of November 2000, a set of twenty stamps has been issued to commemorate the 1700th Anniversary of the foundation of the Republic. The stamps have been issued in the form of five booklet panes of four stamps. The third stamp of the cover is part of this set that is pictured below.

One of the booklet panes is dedicated to San Marino, founder and protector. The four stamps reproduce four images of the Saint in the following order:
1) A detail from a painting by Francesco Manzocchi di Forl (1502-1574) which is kept at the State Museum
2) A painting from the 15th century believed to have been done by Ghirlandaio
3) A painting from the school of Guercino kept at the State Museum
4) A "San Marino in glory" by an unknown artist from the 18th century kept at the Government Building. This is the stamp which is on the cover.

The subjects of the other panes are:
- Freedom, the highest good for oneself and others
- From a community of free men to a State
- Ancient institutions that face the future
- The people of San Marino, the dynamism of tradition

Another thing to be noticed on the cover is the very nice postmark. It was used during a philatelic event in San Marino and it celebrates the participation of the small state to the international exhibition that will be held from the 1st of May to the 31st of October 2010 in Shanghai. If you are interested to get more information on Shanghai 2010 you can check the official website:
The postmark on the cover pictures the spectacular China pavilion, also called the Oriental crown, which is still under construction in Shanghai. A computer generated image of this pavilion can also been seen on a stamp issued on the 8th of May 2009 by San Marino and entitled “Towards Expo 2010 Shanghai”.

An impressive building, isn’t it?
The stamp pictures the Pudong skyline, a district in the city of Shanghai, one of the landmarks of Shanghai that includes the Pearl tower or also the Shanghai World Financial Center, known as the “bottle opener” due to its unique shape. The picture in the left top corner of the cover also pictures this area of the city.

Inside the cover there was a nice postcard stamped with a stamp and a postmark from Vatican, but I will show it in a next post.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Frogs from PNG

I still could not find the time to fix my scanner so I’m still not able to show you new covers or stamps that I got recently. I think that everything should go back to normal during the weekend. Hopefully.

In the mean time I just discovered that Papua New Guinea has issued on the 18th of February 2009 a set of stamps dedicated to frogs. I found the pictures on the postal administration website and I decided to share them with you. The pictures are a bit small, but it gives you already a good idea.

The full set contains four in the form of a block and two souvenir sheets. There is also a stamp pack.

It is not the first time that Papua New Guinea issues stamps picturing frog. A set of four was issued in 1968 already. But I have the feeling that this new issue will not be seen very often on mails…

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Would you like a dessert?

It seems that postal administrations have decided to encourage my greediness. After the chocolate stamps from French post, I have received recently a set of stamps from Australia, entitled “Not just desserts”, and picturing deserts that are famous in Australia.

The first one pictures a desserts that is famous not only in Australia but in a lot of other countries I think. This is the Peach Melba.

This very classic dessert is made of vanilla ice cream combined with two summer fruits: peaches and raspberry sauce. It has been invented in 1892 by the French chef August Escoffier to honor Dame Nelie Melba (1861-1931) an Australian soprano. It is said that in 1892, Nellie Melba was performing in Wagner’s opera Lohengrin at Covent Garden. A dinner was given by the Duke of Orléans to celebrate her triumph. For this occasion Escoffier created this new dessert that he displayed on an ice sculpture of a swan, which is featured in the opera. At this time the dessert only contained the peaches and the vanilla ice cream. Escoffier added the raspberry purée later. The stamp pictures a close up of the dessert and a portrait of Dame Nellie Melba.

Another dessert that I have already tasted is pictured on a second stamp: the pavlova.

This is a meringue dessert with a crispy crust and a soft inner. It is named after a Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova. It is believed that the dessert has been created by a New Zealand chef during a tour of the dancer in Australia and New Zealand. The dessert is traditionally decorated with whipped cream and fresh fruit (raspberries for instance).

The two other desserts are probably less widely known. One is a sponge cake in the shape of a cube, coated in a layer of chocolate icing and desiccated coconut and named Lamington. It is usually served as two halves filled with a layer of cream or jam.

This dessert is named after Charles Cochrane-Baillie, 2nd Baron Lamington who was the governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901. The exact origin of this naming is not very well known and various stories exist.
The last stamp pictures ANZAC biscuits

These are sweet biscuits made using rolled oats, flour, coconut, sugar, butter, golden syrup among other ingredients. They appear to be a variation of a Scottish type of biscuits. They are so called because it is said they were made by Australian and New Zealand women for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers during World War I. The ingredients used to make the biscuits do not spoil easily and therefore they can be kept during long military actions.

I must admit that I did not know the last two ones. While writing this post I was wondering what we could select as typical French dessert to be put on a set of stamps? Tarte Tatin (Sisters Tatin’s tart)? Paris-Brest? There are so many wonderful desserts in France (how do you think I got my love handles ;-) ?)…
What about your country, do you have any typical dessert? I would be happy to hear from you about that.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Erik Balling on a Danish stamp

My list of stamps picturing people named Eric (or Erik, Erick, Erich) is growing little by little. I’m happy to be able to add one more, a stamp issued last year by Danish postal administration.

This stamp is part of a series initiated in 2007 and dedicated to famous Danish people. It belongs to a set of four issued on the 27th of August 2008.
Eric Balling (1924-2005) was a Danish TV and film director. He created two of Denmark's most popular TV-series: Matador and Huset på Christianshavn. His film Qivitoq (1956) was presented at the Cannes film festival of 1957 and was nominated for an Oscar.

I could not find so much information about this stamp therefore I do not really know what is pictured on the left side. I guess these are characters from a movie or a TV series directed by Erik Balling.

The other stamps of the set picture Halfdan Rasmussen (1915 –2002), a Danish poet, Bodil Kjer, (1917- 2003), a major Danish actress and Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen (1946-2005) a Danish jazz bassist known for his impressive technique.

I think that these stamps are pretty nice, a nice tribute to people they celebrate.