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:
http://en.expo2010.cn/
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.




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