Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cover and souvenir sheets from Thailand

I initialy thought that this week would be a bit quieter than the previous ones but I was wrong... Anyway I decided tonight to make a break and to spend some time on stamps and my blog.
For today I have selected a cover that I got from Thailand. This is the second one I get from this country.

As you can see, the cover is franked with a mini sheet of ten stamps, quite impressive! This stamp has been issued on the 17th of March 2008. This is a message stamp, symbolizing love with this big red heart through which a man and a woman hold hands. But the second part of the franking is also interesting: this is an ATM picturing a very nice elephant family (click on the picture to see better the cover and the ATM). Very cute I think. I know that some of my reders are big fan of ATM and I'm sure that they will appreciate this cover.
Inside the cover, I found a set of very nice souvenir sheets. I selected two to share with you.
The first one is a souvenir sheet issued on the 10th of January 2009 to celebrate the National Children's Day.
The National Children's Day is a celebration that has been initiated in 1955 to celebrate youth and to encorage young people to respect the values of their nation. Since 1963 the National Children's day is celebrated the second Saturday of January. The postal administration of Thailand issues stamps at this occasion since 1960. This year, the set contains eight stamps and pictures the story of Phra Abhai Manee.

Phra Abhai Manee is a major work composed by Phra Sunthorn Voharn (1786-1855), also known as Sunthorn Phu, a famous Thai poet. His main work is this long narrative poem containing 24500 lines. Phra Abhai Manee is a young man who is banished by his father because he prefers to learn how to play flute than receiving the education of a prince. The poem tells about the adventures he lives after leaving home with Sri Suvan his brother.
The souvenir sheet pictures seeveral characters of the poem (from left to right and top to bottom):
- Sri Suvan the young brother who learns about fighting
- Phra Abhai Manee himself, playing flute
- a mermaid who at one point in time becomes Phra Abhai Manee's wife and gets a son, Sud Sakhon
- Pisua Samudr, the sea giantess who gets enchanted by the flute of the hero and emprisons him in her cave. He finally gets married with her and gets a son, Sin Samudr, from her
- Sud Sakhon, the son of the hero and the mermaid
- Phra Chao Ta, an old hermit who takes care of Sud Sakhon
- Chee Pleuay the naked fakir
- Nang Laveng a princess who also becomes one of Phra Abhai Manee's wife

It gives a rather nice sheet, I think.
The second one I have selected has been issued on the 5th of June 2009 and is dedicated to one of my favourite flowers: orchids.

I will not give you the name of all those orchids, because they are quite complex,but some of them, have been named after members of the royal family.
This cover and these sheets gave me an interesting glimpse of Thai philately!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

First cover from Vatican City

It is almost two weeks since last time I have written in my blog! Two weeks of silence... this is almost a record since I have started this blog I think. And I feel sorry about that, but last week I have followed a very intensive training in a very nice castle but with an Internet connection so slow that I did not dare trying to access to my blog. I wonder how they could call that a high speed Internet connection! And this week was full of one word: work, work, WORK… No time to think about stamps. I hope this will improve in the coming days and weeks. I missed writing to you and reading other philatelic blogs…

Today I’m happy to share with you the first cover that I received from Vatican City. I have already published a post about a postcard stamped with Vatican stamp, but this is the first time that I get a cover posted from the holly City and that has traveled through the postal system. Here it is.

The nice postmark is a commemorative cancel celebrating the 80th anniversary of the convention for the enforcement action of the postal service. Vatican City has been officially created as an independent state on the 11th of February 1929. It is recognized by UPU since the 1st of June 1929. This 80th anniversary of the creation of the state has been a subject for various stamps issued this year by Vatican post.
The postmark pictures the coat of arms of Vatican City (the two crossing keys). But I could not identify the second emblem which is pictured below the coat of arms.
The stamp located on the right corner is a part of a set of four stamps issued on the 16th of September 2004 and dedicated to the Contemporary Religious Art Collection of the Vatican Museum. The stamp on the cover pictures “Still life with bottles” by Girogio Morandi.
The second stamp is a part of a wider set issued on the same year. The full set contains fifteen stamps and was issued on the 3rd of June 2004. The set is dedicated to Euro. Here if a picture of the full set.

Each stamp of the set pictures the flag and the national face of a one Euro coin. As you may know, the one Euro coin has a common face which is the same in all countries and one face which bears a national emblem. In 2004 fifteen countries were part of the Euro zone, as illustrated with this set: the initial eleven nations (Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Portugal), three micro-states that have economical link with one of these nations (Monaco, Vatican City and San Marino); the last country included in this set is Greece that has joined the Euro zone in 2001.
Since then more countries have joined the Euro zone: Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta and Slovakia,.
As you noticed the sender of this cover had the good idea to use the stamp picturing the French flag and Euro coin.
In this cover I had the pleasure to find a nice postcard that I would like to share with you also.
The photo side pictures a detail of the last judgment, the very famous fresco painted by Michelangelo on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.

This very impressive work was realized by Michelangelo in four years between 1537 and 1541. It pictures the second coming of Christ and the apocalypse. At the time of its creation the painting triggered a scandal because of so many naked people displayed in a religious place! Genitalia of the characters have been later covered by the artist Daniele da Volterra.
To be noted that Michelangelo has included a self-portrait: he has painted himself as Saint Bartholomew.

Here is the other side of the cover.

It bears a stamp belonging to a set of three, issued on the 17th of September 2008 and dedicated to Saint Paul. Here is a picture of the full set.

Paul of Tarsus also called Paul the Apostle was together with Saint Peter and James the Just the most notable of early Christian missionaries. He never met Christ alive, but it is said he had a vision of resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus, leading to his conversion. The three stamp of the set pictures three main step in Saint Paul’s life: the conversion, the predication and the sending to jail.
Again, a nice postmark has been used on the card. This postmark pictures a portrait of Saint Paul and commemorates the closure of the year of Saint Paul that spread from mid 2008 to mid 2009.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My first 090909 cancel

(I have been REALLY busy this week so I had no time to write in my blog. I do regret it. I hope next week will be better).

I missed the previous interesting dates such as the 07/08/09 so I decided that this time I would not miss the chance to get a cancel dated on the 9th of September 2009 (09/09/09). The best way was to send a cover to myself: here it is.

You can click on the picture to see better the cancel which is clearly 090909! I'm happy!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

WWF Pre-paird posctards from Czech republic

I just received a set of four WWF pre-paid postcard that I bought on an aunctions website for mt frog collection and I would like to share it with you. The set contains four postcard issued in 2005 by Czech republic to celebrate the "day of WWF". Each postcard is illustrated with a nice drawing of an endagered animal.
The first one picture a butterfly, the Apollo (Parnassius apollo), also called sometimes "big eyes" because of the coulor of its wings.

The second one is the one that fits into my collection.

It pictures an Edible frog (Pelophylax kl. esculentus, the name Rana esculenta is the former scientific name) also called European frog. It is a rather common one. When you hear that French people eat frogs legs you have to know that these are frogs from this specis (hence its name by teh way).

The European crayfish (Astacus fluviatis or Astacus astacus) is pictured on the thire one.

And finally the fourt one pictures a Roslaia longcorn (Roslaia alpina).

Except the Edible frog, all the species pictured on these cards have a conservation status of "Vulnerable" meaning that they are endangered. This is not really the case of the Edible frog, which has a status of lower criticity.

Anyway this gives a very nice item to be put in my collection !

Thursday, September 03, 2009

To be or not to be… pictured on a stamp, that is the question.

The debate around what should be and what should not be pictured on stamps seems to run is several countries, not to say in all countries. As a member of the American Philatelic Society, I receive, once a month, the American Philatelist, the very good philatelic publication of the APS. I like reading the letters of readers to the editor. In one of the last issues, a reader was complaining about the policy of USPS (the postal administration of the USA) to choose the subject pictured on stamps. This reader was particularly focusing on one of the latest issue, the one dedicated to the Simpson family. As a coincidence, I received recently from my friend Gael a FDC with one of this stamp. Here it is.

The stamp pictures Bart Simpson and the pictorial postmark picture Homer, his father. The full set, issued on the 7th of May 2009 contains six stamps picturing Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Here is a picture coming from USPS website.

I guess you all know the Simpson family, so no real need to introduce them. May be I can just say they appeared on TV for the first time in 1987 and they are now famous all over the world.
I must admit that I like the Simpson family (I have a mug at home with Bart’s head on it and a key ring picturing Bart!). And I must say that for me they represent a part of the American culture. Therefore I’m not shocked to see them pictured on USA stamps, even though I agree with the author the letter that there are probably a lot of famous American people who deserve a philatelic tribute, or even a lot of events that could be commemorated on stamps. I also think that USPS wants to issue stamps that appeal to a large public and in this sense the Simpsons stamps are a good idea. There are a lot of other subjects pictured on American stamps that are more questionable…
One word about the cover sent by Gael. As you can see it mentions the National Postal Museum. In fact, on the 18th of July, the NPM has devoted a complete day to the Simpsons. The first 1000 visitors could receive a free FDC with one of the Simpson stamp cancel with a first day postmark.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Frog on a new souvenir sheet from Czech Republic

Some postal administrations do have the very good idea to publish on their website pictures and information about future stamp issues and not only about past issues. This is the case of the postal administration of Czech Republic. I visited its website yesterday, a bit by accident, and I discovered that tomorrow is going to be issued a souvenir sheet that will fit into my frog stamp collection.
Here is the picture of the souvenir sheet to be issued on the 2nd of September 2009. A rather nice sheet, isn’t it?

The souvenir sheet celebrates the bio diversity of the Krivoklátsko region. This area was proclaimed a UNESCO biosphere reserve on the 1st of March 1977. Two thirds of the area are covered with forests. The formation and the preserved character of the whole area have been highly affected by the Berounka River.
The souvenir sheet contains four stamps and four labels that picture various endangered species. As the picture of the souvenir sheet is rather small it’s hard to identify clearly all the species that are pictured. The only thing of which I’m quite sure is that the frog pictured on the label in the bottom right corner is an Agile frog (Rana dalmatina). This is a type of frog that rather long legs, which allow it to jump further than other similar frogs - they have been known to jump up to two meters in distance!

Now I have to find a way to get this new issue for my collection!