Monday, August 31, 2009

Even more mail art

Today I would like to share with you two new covers that I got from Philippe a creator of Mail art that I already mentioned in my blog.
The first item is a rather funny one.

On the cover an animated cover is climbing up on to a ladder to put itself into a very high mail box. A frog is following on to the ladder. For those who do not read French the translation of what the frog says is: “Hey, this is not your job to climb on to ladders”. In France at least, frogs are known to have the capability to help predicting the weather by their position on a ladder. (In fact frogs are very sensible to the atmospheric pressure and therefore change their position on a ladder according to the change of pressure.).
It is a funny usage of the stamp image, isn’t it?
The stamp which is used on the cover is part of a set of six stamps issued in 1997 that depict the various stages of sending a letter: from writing a letter to receiving and reading it. Here is a picture of the full set.

The second cover is a sort of tribute to Marcel Duchamp and his ready-made art.

Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) was a French artist who, among other things, has created the notion of ready made art, which is the usage of manufactured objects as pieces of art. With this “ready made mailing art” Philippe wanted to show me that you don’t need to have drawing capabilities to create mailing art. For this cover he used ready made frog stickers and I think it gives and interesting result.
Two different stamps are used on this cover. The one that is repeated four times was issued in 1973 for nature protection and pictures storks from Alsace, an area located on the East side of France. I think that nowadays this is harder and harder to see storks on chimneys.
The stamp in the middle was issued in 1981 to commemorate the costal protection agency (
Conservatoire de l’éspace littoral) a public organization created in 1975 to ensure protection of natural areas on the coast. The bird pictured on the stamp is not a stork but a heron.

Thank you again Philippe for these two new covers.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The fairy tales of Charles Perrault

Today I would like to share with you not a cover but a set of stamps. This is a set I just acquired through an auctions website because, as you will see, one of the stamps fits to my topic for collection. This is a set which I’m looking for since quite some time, even though it is not rare, so I’m quite happy to get it.
The full set contains nine stamps issued on the 8th of November 1978 by Monaco and picturing various fairy tales from Charles Perrault.

Charles Perrault was a French author who laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tales. Charles Perrault was born in 1628. After his studies he began a career in government service. Under Jean Baptist Colbert, the finance minister of King Louis XIV, he served as secretary of the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres. He was a major element in what is called in French “La querelle des Anciens et des Modernes “ (the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns) opposing tow types of literature: the Ancients supporting the literature of Antiquity and the Moderns supporting the literature from the century of Louis XIV. Of course Perrault was on the side of the Moderns.
When he lost he job as secretary in 1695 he decided to dedicate himself to his family. In 1697 he published a book, Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals (Hisoires et Contes du temps passé) , which is sometimes better known by its subtitle: Tales of Mother Goose (Les contes de ma Mère l’Oie). This book, published under the name of his younger son Pierre Darmancourt met a very big success. It is in fact a compilation of fairy tales, some of them being derived from pre-existing folk tales. The particularity of the fairy tales from Perrault compared to other authors is that they all contain a moral. Charles Perrault died in 1703 at the age of 75.
Unfortunately Charles Perrault is not pictured on a stamp as far as I know, but his tales are often pictured on stamps, as on this set of Monaco.

Let’s have a look to the nine stamps of the set. The first is dedicated to Cinderrela (Cendrillon).

I don’t think I need to give details on this tale that is widely known all over the world. One of the most famous adaptation of this tale is probably the 1950 animated movie form Disney studios.

The second stamp pictures a tale which is probably less widely known: Puss in boots (Le chat botté).

The tale tells about a cat who, with the help of magic boots, helps his poor master to marry the daughter of a king by making the king believe that his master is rich and wealthy.

The third stamp pictures another very well known tale, Sleeping beauty (La belle au bois dormant).

This tale has also been adapted by Disney studios in 1959, but Sleeping beauty is also a ballet from Tchaikovsky. It is to be noted that there is a difference between the version of Perrault and the tale related in Disney’s movie: in Perrault’s tale the sleeping beauty wakes up by herself whereas in Disney’s movie this is the kiss from the prince that wakes her up.

The fourth stamp pictures the tale entitled Donkeyskin (Peau d’âne). The tale tells the story of a king who is desperate after the death of his very beautiful wife that he loved more than anything else. Before dying his wife made him promise that he would not marry with another woman who is less beautiful than herself. Pushed by his people he tries to find another woman that he could marry but he hardly finds any as pretty as his former wife. Except his daughter! To escape from this unnatural marriage she flees from her home hiding herself under a donkey skin. She then takes shelter in a farm where she lives, always wearing the skin to hide her beauty.
Sometimes later a prince of the area starts searching for a wife. In order to decide who will marry him, he triggers a competition, asking all the young girls of the area to cook him a cake: he would marry the girl who has made the better cake. In the cake he selects he find a nice ring, which has been lost by the girl who has cooked it. The prince starts searching for the girl who has the fingers delicate enough to wear this ring. And as you can guess, he finally finds out that the ring fits perfectly on the fingers of Donkey skin. She then reveals here beauty and they get married!
The fifth stamp is also for a tale that is widely known I think: Little Red Riding Hood (Le petit chaperon rouge).

In Perrault’s version the little girl is eaten by the wolf whereas in the version which is usually known (and told to kids before they go to sleep ;-) ) she is saved by the woodcutters.
This is this tale that has inspired to Tex Avery the character of Red, the sexy girl pursued by a very excited wolf!

“Blue beard” (Barble bleue) is the tale pictured on the sixth stamp.

This tale tells the horrible story of this wife who discovers that her husband, Blue beard, has killed all his previous spouses and keeps their bodies in a closet. Hopefully there is a happy ending for the wife!
Because of the way he has treated some of his wives, the King Henry VIII is sometimes referred as the English blue beard!

The seventh stamp shows “Little thumb” (Le petit poucet).

This is the story of a couple of faggot-makers who has seven children, al boys, but they are so poor that they can not feed them anymore. They decide to bring them into the forest and to abandon them, hoping they would be rescued in one way or another. The tale then tells the story of the youngest boy called Little thumb because of his small size, who rescues his brothers from the fate of being eaten by an Ogre.

“Riquet with the tuft” (Riquet à la houpe) is the subject of the eighth stamp.

Riquet is a young prince who is very ugly. At his birth a fairy offered him a gift to compensate his ugliness: he would be very intelligent and he would be able to give wit to the person he would love the best. The story also tells bout a princess who is very beautiful but very stupid. And she also got a gift from a fairy: she would make the man she loves very beautiful. You guess what happens. Riquet meets the princess, he falls in love so she becomes intelligent and she falls in love so Riquet becomes beautiful!

Finally, the last stamp is the reason why I bought this set. It pictures a tale called “The fairy” (Les fées) or sometimes Diamonds and Toads.

This is probably the tale which is the less known in the set. At least I did not know it before.

The story is about two sisters: one is a nice girl and once is a nasty one. The nasty one is, as often in fairy tales, the preferred daughter of her mother and the nice is obliged to do all the dirty tasks in the house. One day the nice daughter goes to the well to take some water. There she meets a fairy who asks here for some water. The nice girl is… nice so she gives some water to the fairy. In exchange the fairy offers to the young girl a gift: each time she would say a word, diamonds and precious jewels would come out of her mouth. When her mother sees what happened to her daughter, she sends her other one to the well so that she gets the same gift! But as the other daughter is a nasty one, she says to the fairy that she can take her water herself. Then the fairy also gives to the second girl a gift, but a different one: each time she would say a word, a toad or a serpent would come out of her mouth! Seeing that the mother gets furious and asks the nice girl to leave their own, putting responsibility of what happened to her sister on her shoulders. Then fleeing from home, the young girl meets a prince who is seduced by her gift and he takes her to his castle to marry her.

You understand why I wanted this stamp, for the toads pictured on it ;-)

But I am also very pleased by the full set because I think these are very beautiful stamps. Much nicer than a lot of stamps that are issued these days…

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two covers from Brazil

I don’t know if I have already said it in my blog but I like cooking (hey this is quite normal since I’m a French man ;-) ). I don’t know if I’m a very good cook, but I’m always interested to learn about gastronomy in other countries. As a consequence I like when I see stamps related to gastronomy as the ones put on this cover I received from Brazil.

The two se-tenant stamps on the cover have been issued on the 24th of March 2000 and picture a regional meal: the Moqueca. The Moqueca is a traditional Brazilian seafood stew consisting mainly of fish, onion, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro and chili pepper cooked slowly with no water added.
There are two regional variants of this stew: the Moqueca Capixaba (pictured on the left stamp) from Espírito Santo state in the Southeast, and the Moqueca Baiana (pictured on the right stamp) from Bahia state in the Northeast.

In the Moqueca Capixaba olive and soy oil are used instead of palm oil, while coconut milk is not used. The stew is cooked in a traditional clay pot made with black clay and mangrove tree sap.
The Moqueca Baiana is more influence by African cuisine and contains palm oil, coconut milk, shrimps and crab.

If your country has issued stamps picturing traditional meals I would be happy to hear from you, I’m gathering material for a future article on the subject.

The third stamp on the cover deals with a completely different subject. It is not obvious at first glance, but this is a Christmas stamp issued on the 19th of November 1998. The stamp pictures the church of Our Lady of Fatima located in Brasilia; more precisely the right part of the stamp pictures an outline of the sanctuary. It has a very uncommon triangle roof that looks like a nun’s hat.
The right part of the stamp pictures tiles that cover the walls of the church. These tiles have been created by Athos Bulcao (1918-2008) a Brazilian painter and sculptor. I have had the opportunity to see some pictures of his work for this church and I must admit it is very nice.

I have a second cover coming from Brazil to share with you today. I selected this one no really for the stamp but for a postal marking on which I would like to get some feedback from the readers of my blog. Here is the cover.

The stamp has been issued on the 7th of February 2009 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Helder Pessoa Câmara (1909-1999) the archbishop of Olinda and Recife. On the stamp he is pictured in front of the church of the Frontiers in Recife (which is now a memorial for him) and with a peace dove symbolizing his fight for peace.
But what triggered my interest on this cover is the marking DH that you can see in the right bottom corner. I could not find what it means and why it was put on the cover. Does anyone have any explanation for this? If yes, please let a comment or send me an email.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The charter of philately

In April of last year was held in France, for the first time, an important colloquium around philately called “Les Etats Généraux de la Philatélié”. This colloquium was initiated by the president of the republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, who is also a philatelist!

During this colloquium, all the main actors of French philately could meet, discuss, and try to identify ways to develop further our hobby. The results of this meeting have been highly discussed in philatelic publications, some people being disappointed by the poor results that have been reached, and some others being already very satisfied that this meeting could exist in the first place. I must admit that I did not really follow closely the discussions on my side.
As a first follow up of this meeting, a charter, the 2009 charter of philately, has been co-signed by three main entities:
- the French postal administration, La Poste
- the French federation of philatelic associations (FFAP)
- the employers’ federation of stamp dealers and philatelic experts (CNEP)

These three entities are grouped inside one unique entity called ADPhile, the association for the development of philately.

Why do I mention this today? Because end of last week I received this charter, sent by La Poste to all its subscribers (I guess), in the form of a postal stationery. In fact this is a sheet on which is printed the charter. The sheet is folded to give it the size of an envelop. On it a copy of a stamp is printed. Here is a scan of what I got.

I’m not going to tell you all the details of what s inside the charter. I think that what is more important is the actual result we should see in the coming months and years. In summary the charter recalls the definition of a postage stamp and defines four categories:
- definitive stamps (our stamps picturing Marianne)
- commemorative stamps issued to celebrate and event or to pay tribute to a person
- personalized stamps
- stamps used for writing, a category where can be found auto-adhesive stamps used by the large public to write. I guess this category covers the message stamps that are so often criticized in France.

What seems surprising in this definition is that it seems to make a difference between stamps issued to be collected (the commemorative ones) and stamps issued to be used on mail! This sounds a bit strange, what would be the interest to collect commemorative postage stamps if they are not intended, in a first place, to be used on mail?

In France, as in a lot of other countries (if I believe what I read in various international philatelic publications) stamp collectors do complain about the high number of stamps issued by La Poste and by the poor relevance of some subjects illustrated on French stamps. The answer of La Poste seems to be this idea of issuing stamps for collectors and stamps to be used on mail. Not sure this is what all expected!

The charter also lists the commitment of the three signatories to help developing philately.
If you are interested I can provide you a more detailed translation of the charter.

Now let’s come back to the item I received. The printed stamp is a copy of a stamp issued on the 7th of April 2008 and picturing a view of the harbor of La Rochelle. Here is a picture of the original stamp.

La Rochelle is a city located in the southwestern France and a seaport on the Atlantic Ocean. This is a very nice city that I had the pleasure to visit some years ago.

So let’s see what will happen in the coming years to see if the stamp issuing policy of the French post improves in he direction which is expected by stamp collectors. In the mean time this charter makes an interesting collectable item ;-)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Butterflies on Turkish covers

For the post of today I have selected two new covers coming from Ahmet and therefore nicely illustrated. They are both picturing the same topic: butterflies.

Both covers are franked with a different butterfly stamp belonging to a set of four issued on the 5th of June 2009. The complete set was issued as a souvenir sheet. Here it is. (It is a nice item for butterfly stamp collectors, isn’t it? I think the theme of butterflies is one of the most common among topical collectors).
From left to right the stamps picture the following species:
- A Black-veined white (Aporia crataegi)
- A Wall brown (Lasiommata megera. It seems there is an error on the stamp where the scientific name is written as Lasiommate megera. Or may be both are accepted, I don’t know).
- A Brown Argus (Plebeius agestis)
- A Common brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Both covers also bear stamps from another set. They belong to a 2009 definitive series picturing Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938), born Mustfa Riza, was the founder of the Republic of Turkey and its first president. He received the second name Kemal (meaning perfection or maturity) from his teachers in recognition of his academic excellence), and he was nominated Atatürk (father of the Turks) on the 24th of November 1934.
The full set contains ten stamps picturing Atatürk at various ages.

A large amount of stamps have been issued by Turkish post and picturing Atatürk. And the fact that, more than 70 years after his death, the Turkish post still issues definitive stamps picturing his portrait shows how important he still is for the Turkish people!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bicycles on a Russian cover

After some covers that I received from the readers of my blog, here is a nice cover I got from the CCCC and which is coming from Russia.

The cover if franked with three large stamps that belong to a set of four, issued on the 11th of December 2008 and related the history of bicycle. In fact on the cover you can see the bottom left corner of a souvenir sheet, containing a central label. Here is a picture of the full sheet.

The very first vehicle having two wheels and that could be linked to a bicycle appeared in 1817. It was invented by the German Baron Karl von Drais, and from him it took its name of Draisine (in Englich) or Draisienne (in French).
Since then a lot of modifications and innovations have been made in the. The set of stamps picture four different types of bicycles (from bottom left corner, clockwise):
- a collapsible military bicycle, model “Leitner” from 1917
- a racing bicycle from 1938
- a ZiCH-1 bicycle from 1946 (this is the stamp that is not on the cover)
- a B-22 woman bicycle from 1954

Each stamp pictures also a detail of the vehicle in the top right corner.
The cover also bears a small stamp that is part of a definitive series issued on the 29th of August 2008. The full series contain fifteen stamps grouped in five set of three stamps. Each set of three stamp pictures a different animal: hare, fox, lynx (this is the one on the cover), elk and bear.
The large circular cancel from the city of Izhevsk (Иже́вск) is rather clean. It gives at the end of nice cover, don’t you think?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Few days ago I have shown a stamp from Libya picturing a frog fossil. I recently got a postcard - a postal stationery - from China picturing a similar subject. Here are both sides of the card.

The printed “stamp” is rather usual one for item of this type from China, but my interest is more on the picture side, as you can imagine. The card pictures a very rare frog fossil called Callobatrachus sanyanensis. It is a frog of the family Discoglossidae, so called because of their fixed disk-like tongue. This fossil dates from the cretaceous meaning between 146 and 65 Millions of years ago. I don’t understand the legend on the card that speaks about early cretaceous (which is ok) but giving a date of 1.25 Millions years. Is it a mistake?
This fossil was found in the Liaoning province, a province located in the North East of China. 120 Millions years ago this area was a forested lakeside filled with diverse wildlife, surrounded by volcanoes that would periodically erupt, killing animals but also covering them with a fine powder of volcanic ash that would protect their bodies. This is the reason why this area is very famous for its fossils, for instance, this is the area where the link between birds and dinosaurs has been discovered.
On the address side, the grey drawing above the legend is the logo of the IVPP, the institute of vertebrate paleontology and paleoanthropology belonging to the Chinese Academy of Science and located in Beijing.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A nice surprise from Estonia

Last week I have shown covers that I received from readers of my blog. The cover I selected for today is another example, which additionally falls into one of my collections, the one about famous Eric pictured on stamps! Thank you very much for this sending!

A very impressive collection of air mail labels on the left side, isn’t it?
Let’s have a look to the two stamps located on the right part. They belong to a set of four, issued as a souvenir sheet on the 8th of August 2008. Here is the full sheet.

This set commemorates the birth centenary of Adamson-Eric.
Adamson-Eric (1902-1968), born Erich Carl Hugo Adamson, was an Estonian artist specialized in applied arts. He studied arts in Berlin and the in Paris before coming back to his native Estonia. His pieces of applied art are unique, in a style close to art deco, but are still usable objects, as the plate pictured on the set of stamps. A
museum dedicated to Adamson-Eric is now opened in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.

The two other stamps on the cover are definitive ones, as you guessed probably. The one on the right was issued in 1993 and the one of the left in 1996: same design, same denomination but only a slight change in the color of the background.
These stamps picture the coat of arms of Estonia which is a golden shield with three slim blue leopards (or lion). The full version of the coat of arms also includes oak branches along the side of the shield. This design is inspired from the coat of arms of Denmark which ruled Northern Estonia in the 13th century. The coat of arms was initially adopted in 1925 until Estonia got occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940. It was finally re-established in 1993 after the independence of Estonia was proclaimed.

The cancellation of the stamps by the Estonian post is rather clean. What I do not really understand is the presence of a cancel from the French post in the middle!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A postcard carried by balloon

Today I have selected an item that I got recently and which is a bit unusual. Here it is.

This is a commemorative postcard that has been carried by balloon! My knowledge of German language is rather limited but I was able to find out that it commemorates the 95th anniversary of the association of stamp collectors of Graz.
The large cancel also mentions a 25th anniversary but I was not able to find out of what? Also what I don’t know is if the balloon flight was organized for the purpose of this celebration?
And what is the meaning of each mark that you can find on the card. If anybody can help, this will be great.
You surely understand why I got this card: it is because it bears a frog stamp. This is a stamp that I showed already in my series about frogs in fairy tales. The stamp was issued on the 29th of June 1981 and pictures a child drawing illustrating a tale from the Grimm brothers: the frog king. You can read the story here on
my website.
The stamp pictures the scene at the beginning of the tale when the princess meets the frog near the well.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cover puzzle from Turkey

I already showed you on my blog some decorated letters that I received from Turkey (see here and here). They were all coming from Ahmet who likes to send and receive covers that he has decorated himself.
Recently I had the surprise to receive, on the same day, not one but four covers coming from him. And as you will see, there is a reason behind this. But first let’s have a look to the covers.

I have already spoken about the definitive stamp located on the far right, but let’s speak about the two other ones. The one in the middle is part of a set of five stamps issued on the 27th of July 2009 (so the cover is somehow a first day cover!) commemorating the 70th anniversary of the ministry of transportation. Here is the complete set (sorry the picture is rather small, it is coming from Turkish postal administration website).

The stamp located on the far left of the cover is part of a set of four stamps issued on the 8th of August 2008 to commemorate - you guessed it - Beijing Olympic Games.

To be noted that in Beijing, Turkey has won, among others, a gold and a bronze medals in wrestling, a silver medal in weightlifting, a silver and a bronze ones in taekwondo : so three of the sports illustrated ave brought medals. Not bad!

The second cover bears the same set of stamps, while the third one bears a block of four of the Beijing stamp.

Here is the fourth one.

The new stamp on this cover is part of a set of two stamps, issued on the 16th of July 2009, and commemorating the 400th anniversary of the birth of Katip Çelebi (1609-1657) an Ottoman scholar. His best known work is a bibliographic encyclopedia, written in Arabic that lists more than 14500 books in alphabetic order. It is said that he died peacefully while drinking a cup of coffee (may be I should of stopping drinking coffee ?). Here is a (small) picture of the complete set.

As you have noticed, each cover is decorated by a part of a drawing. Put together, the four covers make a sort of puzzle (and easy one of course, with only four pieces) picturing a very nice rose. Here is the picture of the four covers put together.

On Ahmet website you can see other examples of similar puzzle. I think this is a very good and very nice idea! Thank you Ahmet for this!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A new cover from Moldova

Yesterday I shared with you covers from Slovenia that I got from a reader of my blog. Today I have selected again a cover sent by a reader and coming from Moldova (thank you very much for this sending, but you did not give me any address so that I could send you back a cover in return).
I’m particularly thrilled by this cover because it contains two frog stamps, well not exactly one frog stamp and one label with a frog. Here it is.

I have already described the frog stamp located on the left side in a previous post and I have also shown the souvenir sheet from which is extracted the stamp and the label on the right.
The last stamp is also a very interesting one. It is part of a set of two stamps issued on the 23rd of May 2008 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first stamps issued by Moldova, the famous bull heads. Here is a picture of the full set.

The Principality of Moldova has issued its first set of stamps on the 15th of July 1858, on year before it merges with the Principality of Wallachia to form the modern Romania. The set contained four stamps (27, 54, 81 and 108 parale) that you can see on the 2008 stamps.
Even though these stamps are known as the bull heads, they actually picture the head of an Aurochs, the emblem of Moldova. These stamps had a rather short life duration which explains why they are now philatelic rarities.
These two stamps have also been issued in the form of a booklet. Here is a picture of the booklet cover and pane.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I feel Slovenia

As I already wrote here, one of the big pleasures of maintaining a blog is when you get direct feedback from your readers. From time to time I receive mails (snail mails ;-) ) from reader who write to me just to say how much they enjoy reading my blog. This is always a very big pleasure for me when it happens. Sometimes I even receive gifts from them; I’m really thrilled by the kindness of all these people!

The covers that I share with you today are a very illustration of this. Thank you very much Gordana for sending them to me. It took me some times to publish them here on my blog, I’m must admit, but finally here they are.

Here is the first cover that I received.

The stamp located on the left of this first stamp has been issued on the 27th of March 2009 and pictures a cornflower. The cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) is a flower which is rather common in Europe. In ancient folklore, cornflowers were worn by young men in love; if the flower faded too quickly, it was taken as a sign that the man's love was not returned (this is why it is sometimes called the Bachelor’s button). The blue cornflower is the national flower of Estonia since 1968, and is part of the national flowers of Germany . In France it is the symbol of the 11th November 1918 armistice.

Still going towards the left, the heart shaped stamp is a message stamp issued on the 30th of January 2009. It is entitled “the kiss” and is a cute way to send one to your correspondent! Note the way Slovenija is written on the stamp, with love highlighted in red. A similar trick can be seen on the next stamp.

The last stamp was issued o, the 29th of May 2009 to illustrate the Slovenian brand: I feel Slovenia. It seems that Slovenia is still often confused with other countries, not recognized or mistakenly placed and valuated. In 2006 the Government Public Relations and Media Office estimated that Slovenia needs a representative image (a slogan, logo and brand) to increase its recognition. This brand is “I feel Slovenia”, written in English (to be understood by everybody in the world) and in two colors so that “I feel love” is highlighted. Slovenia is the only country that contains the word Love in its name! A nice idea, isn’t it?The heart shaped bread pictured on the stamp reinforces this idea of love!

Inside this cover I had the very great pleasure to find stamps and other nice covers as this pre-stamped cover commemorating the 80th anniversary of a kindergarten (if I understood well, my knowl

A very nice postmark, looking like a painting that I think we all did when we were young, putting our hand in painting and then on a piece of paper. Cute!

I was thrilled when I saw the next cover that was also included in this sending: a FDC bearing frog stamps and a very nice frog cancel!

I already presented this issue on my blog in an older post.

Later, Gordana sent me a new cover, with a funny frog on it.

On this cover we can find again the “I feel Slovenia” stamp that I described above. The other stamp is coming from a souvenir sheet issued on the 26th of September 2007. Here is a picture of the full souvenir sheet.
It pictures a White water-lily (Nymphea alba L.) which is the only species of water-lily that can be found in nature in Slovenia. This sheet is part of a wider set including also three stamps dedicated also to aquatic flowers. The other stamps of the set picture a Yellow pond-lily (Nuphar luteum), a common frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae L.) and a fringed water-lily (Nymphoides peltata).

Once again, thank you very much for this sending, and thank you very much to all the readers who take the time to send me a nice letter or postcard!

Friday, August 07, 2009

A new cover from Slovakia

I already had the opportunity to write in this blog all the good things I think about stamps issued by Slovakia. The cover I received recently (thank you Milos!) is no exception.

First of all the envelop is in fact a pre-stamped cover with a 10 Sk stamp printed on it. This cover was issued on the 14th of June 2008 to celebrate the participation of Slovakian postal administration to “Planète Timbre”, the stamp fair in Paris organized by French post. I already mentioned this on my blog when I told you about my visit to the booth of Slovakian post.

The large stamp is really a nice once. It is part of a set of three stamps issued on the 28th of November as part of the Art series. The stamp pictures Saint Catherine, painted by Simon Vouet.
Simon Vouet (1590-1649) was a French painter born in Paris. He lived a part of his life in Italy and his work is mainly divided into two different periods: the Italian (between 1612 and 1627) and the French one (from 1627 until his death). This painting of Saint Catherine is one of the last ones of his Italian period. At this time he was strongly influenced by painters such as Caravaggio. The painting pictured on the stamp is part of the European art collection of the Slovak National Gallery. In 1907 the painting was thought to have been the work of an Italian painter from 17th century. However in 1977 an expert researcher from the Slovak National Gallery was able to show that in fact this master piece should have been attributed to Simon Vouet.

The other stamp is part of a definitive series issued early this year on the 2nd of January 2009. The stamp pictures the church of Svätuše, a Romanesque church built mainly in bricks that was reconstructed in the second half of the 15th century.

This stamp has the particularity to be one of the first stamps issued by Slovakia with a denomination is Euro, as all stamps issued by this country since the beginning of the year.

A very nice cover, don’t you think so?
Inside the cover, I found a souvenir sheet that Milos sent to me.

This souvenir sheet has been issued on the 15th of June 2009 to celebrate the inauguration of Ivan Gasparovic into his second electoral term as president of the Slovakian republic. Born in 1941 he was first elected in 2004. The stamp pictures a portrait of the president. It is covered with gold foil, hence this dark aspect on the scan. The label on the left pictures the coat of arms of Slovakia that I already described here. The label on the right pictures the flag of the president which reuses the same design.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

New cover from Venezuela

I recently received a new cover from Venezuela and, as for the first one, I got some difficulties to find information about the stamps. Anyway here is what I could gather. But first let me show you the cover.

The three stamps on the cover are part of a set of ten stamps issued on the 3rd of November 2006 to celebrate the Engineering faculty (Facultad de Ingeniería) that is a part of the Central University of Venezuela (Universidad Central de Venezuela, or UCV in short). The campus of this university located in Caracas is full of architectural and artistic works that are shown on the set.
The stamp on the left bottom corner pictures the school of Metallurgical Engineering and of Science of Materials. In front of the building there is a sculpture from Harry Abend (born 1937), a Polish born sculptor who lives in Venezuela.
The stamp on the right top corner pictures the school of Geophysics and the last one pictures a part of the
library of the faculty. In fact the stamp pictures a stained glass from Alejandro Otero (1921-1990) a Venezuelan artist who decorated this library.

I was able to find a (very) small picture of the full set, the sheet of ten stamps. Here it is.

As you can see, the small label that is put in the top left corner of the cover is coming from the right corner of the sheet. Ipostel is the name of the Venezuelan postal administration.
The stamps are rather dark and the design is quite hard to read because, as you can guess on the picture, they have in the background a grey design that represents the logo of the university.
The postmark on the cover is rather traditional for a cover coming from South America: a blue rectangular cancel.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Canadian singers on a cover

I have already written about my former colleague, Gael, who now lives in the USA. She recently had the opportunity to spend few days in Halifax (Canada) from where she sent me this very nice cover.
The cover is franked with four stamps that have been issued in July 2009 as part of a series entitled Canadian recording artists. Each stamp pictures a famous Canadian artist who has recorded albums in Canada. The four singers on the cover are (clockwise): Robert Charlebois, Stompin’Tom Connors, Bryan Adams and Edith Butler. I must admit that I only knew Robert Charlebois and Bryan Adams! Together with these four stamps, a souvenir sheet having the shape and the design of a record has been issued.

Booklets having the same sort of design have also been issued.

If you look closely to the stamps, you will see that beside the portrait of each artist there is a flower shaped logo. This is the insignia of the Order of Canada, each artist of the set being a member of it. The Order of Canada is a civil honor that has been created in 1967 to match the centennial of the Canadian Confederation. Edith Butler was nominated Officer of the Order of Canada in 1975, Stompin’Tom Connor in 1996, Bryan Adams in 1998 and Robert Charlebois in 1999.
The insignia of the Order of Canada is pictured on a stamp issued in 1977 to celebrate its tenth anniversary (picture coming from Canadian post archive website).

This issue is the second part of a series initiated in 2007 with four other artists. The same type of design, a record shaped sheet, had been chosen at this time for the souvenir sheet.

With these issues Canadian post does not seem to follow the same rule that is followed by French Post or other postal administrations, which is to issue no stamp actually celebrating living people. I wonder if this is an exception…