Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Just a short post to wish you all a very happy new year. Let 2011 bring you all what you may desire for you, your family and your friends.
And happy collecting in 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

100 years of scouting in Poland

Yesterday I was cleaning the mess on the hard disk of my PC and I found back a scan of a nice cover that I never shared with you so far. So let’s correct this mistake. And thank you Andrzej for this nice sending.
This is a cover from Poland, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the creation of the scouting movement in Poland.

The cover is franked with the EUROPA stamp issued by Poland on the 5th of May 2007. As you can see the commemorative postmark is very nice and seems to indicate that the cover has been transported by balloon.
The Scouting movement was created in Great Britain in 1907 by Robert Baden-Powell. Three years later, the movement was pioneered in Poland by Andrzej Malkowski (1888-1919). Andrzej Malkowski first came into contact with the idea of scouting the year before, while translating Scouting for Boys by Baden-Powell into Polish. The first teams of scouts were established in Lviv in 1910.
Andrzej Malkowski has been honored on a polish stamp in 1991.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cows on mail art

I already had the opportunity to show you some pieces of mail art that I received from my friend Philippe (see here). Here are some new ones adapted to my new topic of collections, the cows.

The first one is rather simple. It simply shows a cow.

The basis of the drawing is a stamp issued by the French postal administration on the 26th of April 2004 in the nature series. The full set contains four stamps and was issued also in the form of a souvenir sheet as shown below.

There is a joke on the cover that you can understand only if you speak French. The text above the cow (“Vache ment bien”) means literally “The cow lies well” (i.e. the cow is a good liar).
But if you write it “Vachement bien” it means “Really nice”. And to illustrate that the cow is a good liar, the bubble indicates “Miaou” the meow of a cat instead of the moo of a cow.

The second item is more sophisticated.

It uses the EUROPA stamp issued by France on the 12th of May 2003. The theme of the EUROPA series in 2003 was the art of poster.

The stamp is a tribute to Raymond Savignac a French graphic artist famous for his commercial posters who often used a pink cow in his posters.

If you look closer to the left top corner you will see another stamp integrated in the design. This is a stamp from 1983, from the touristic series, and picturing Jarnac, a city located in the south west of France.

Now let me explain you the overall design of the cover which is full of humor but easier to understand if you speak French. You can see cows of various colors (red, purple, green, yellow) looking at the poster (the stamp) and looking very surprised (not to say shocked) to see a pink cow.

The last item I wanted to show you is also sophisticated. It gives a sort of explanation of what is the “milky way” (“la voie lactée” in French) as if it was made of milk just coming out of a cow pie.

The cover re-uses the cow stamp from the first cover and also the two stamps belonging to the EUROPA set issued on the 4th of May 2009 and dedicated to astronomy. The stamps, which have also been issued in a souvenir sheet that you can see below, picture Saturn and an exoplanet (i.e. a planet out of the solar system).

I know that these items are a bit out of the pure philatelic world, but I really like them. I like the way Philippe integrates the design of the stamps in the drawing. His creations have always a twist of humor and poesy. I would be proud to be able to do the same; unfortunately I lack the artistic skills for that!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Something different

Yes something different for today. Not a stamp, not a cover, nothing philatelic. But a coin! I recently had the opportunity to meet with a coin collector and we discussed the similarities and the differences between collecting stamps and collecting coins. I must admit that I know nothing about collecting coins or banknotes. During the discussion a question popped into my mind: are there any topical coin collectors? It seems that yes, some numismatists do specialize their collections around one topic. But it seems that the number of topics pictured on coins is much more reduced than on stamps. As you can imagine I immediately wanted to check if there was any coin picturing a frog or a toad (I’m speaking about circulation coins, the ones that are actually used in a country, not the commemorative one that are only issued for collectors). And I found at least one.

This is a coin of one Lats issued on the 7th of June 2010. The obverse pictures the large coat of arms of Republic of Latvia.

The reverse pictures a toad.

The toad occupies an important place in Latvia's natural environment and the popular mentality alike, it is considered to help farmers and bring blessing to households.

The common toad (Bufo bufo) is one of the most common amphibians in Latvia occupying an important place in the ecosystem. For millennia it has also been a farmer's helper because it protects the harvest from bugs and snails. In the popular lore the toad is associated with luck and good fortune. The toad is also associated with fertility: in the ancient Latvian folksongs it carries the water for the beer brewing ritual; its presence helps the harvest. Like the grass snake, the toad was considered to bring blessing to cattle; therefore he who killed a toad risked to have cows go dry and the skin on his hands turn toadlike. By contrast, to circle around a toad three times guarantees good fortune.

Have you ever seen any other coins picturing frogs or toads? And what about banknotes?

Monday, December 27, 2010

The art of engraving

I have always thought that stamps issued by Sweden are very attractive. This is not very surprising since Swedish post is still issuing a high number of engraved stamps (I think that 50% of the stamps are engraved ones) and still uses a lot the recess-printing process. This is rare enough among the community of postal administrations to be mentioned.
The art of engraving has been celebrated on the 286th of August 2010 by a joint issue between Sweden and Ireland. The Swedish part of this issue is a mini-sheet that I would like to share with you for three reasons.

The first reason is that it is beautiful! Look at it.

The second reason is that it relates to one of my collection, as you will see below.
The first stamp on the left side of the mini-sheet pictures a silver bowl from the Viking era. This bowl was found in Rute, Gotland, in 1863 by a farmer plowing his field. Together with the bowl there were several pieces of silver jewelry and coints dating back to 1050’s. The bowl is not displayed at the museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm.
The stamp was engraved by
Martin Mörck.

The second stamp pictures the very impressive armor of King Eric XIV. And because of that, this issue falls into my collection of “famous Eric on stamps”! This is not the first time that Sweden issues a stamp related to this king. You can read here an older post about another stamp issue.
The armor is highly decorated and pictures the Vasa family weapons, shackled prisoners, battle scene and mythological creatures.
This part of the mini-sheet has been engraved by Lars Sjööblom.

The third stamp is a re-print of a stamp from 1975 engraved by the very famous Czeslaw Slania, who has engraved some of the most beautiful stamps of the world. This stamp features the principal dancer Per-Arthur Segerström and leading ballerina Anneli Alhanko in a scene from the ballet Romeo and Juliet from Prokofiev.

This last stamp is the part chosen by Ireland for its own issue that consists in only one single stamp.

The third reason why I wanted to show you the Swedish mini-sheet is because it relates to a very nice Christmas gift that I received from the Swedish postal administration. This is a printing of the engraving of the armor. Look at this beauty!

When I see these stamps I start to have a dream. A dream where all postal administrations decide to reduce the number of stamps they issue each year and to issue only engraved recess-printed stamps! Of course this is only a dream…

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

I would like to dedicate the post of today to the spirit of Christmas and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a merry Christmas if this celebration means anything for you.
For this I have selected a gift that I have received from the postal administration of Finland. This is a large card picturing a very jovial Santa Claus!
Two stamps are present on the picture side of the card. These are the two stamps issued on the 5th of November bu the Finish post and picturing the same Santa Claus and a reindeer, two very popular symbols of Chritsmas.
The other side of the card contains another stamp issued at the same time.

The stamp, designed by the same designer than the two other ones, Tommi Vallisto, pictures the lanscape of Lapland a region of Finland loctaed within the Arctic circle. The stamp pictures the place during Kaamos, the polar night, the night that lasts more than 24 hours!
A very nice gift I think.
Merry Chistmas to all.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cover from Uruguay

In 1810, on the 1st of March, was born Frédéric François Chopin, the very famous polish composer and virtuoso pianist. I don't think I need to detail who he was. Two hundred years later, on the 21st of July 2010, the postal administration of Uruguay has issued a svouvenir sheet to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth. This is this souvenir sheet that one of my philatelic contacts in Uruguay has used to frank a cover he sent to me.

As you see the souvenir sheet is rather colorful and contains two stamps: one picturing a portrait of Chopin (a rather unusual one I must say) and one picturing a piano. The margin of the sheet recalls the date of the birth of the pianist. I must admit that I'm not sure I understand the illustration with the dancers, I'm not so sure that Chopin has written so much music for ballets...

The other stamp on the cover is a very different one. It was issued on the 10th of October 2000 in a set of two stamps that are part of the UPAEP set. Here is the full set.

UPAEP stands for "Unión Postal de las Américas, España y Portugal" in Spanish, a postal union between states from Americas together with Spain and Portugal. The UPAEP contains 27 members: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, USA, Guatemala, Haïti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Salvador, Surinam, Uruguay, Venezuela, Netherland Antilles, Aruba, Spain and Portugal.

Since 1989 some of the members of this union issue a stamp with a common theme (very similar to the EUROPA stamp issue). In 2000 the theme was Campaign against AIDS as you can see on the stamps of Uruguay. In 2000 seventeen members of the organization have participated to this issue.

For the record the theme for 2010 was "National symbols" and in 2011 it will be "mailboxes".

I think that the stamp picturing the "tic tac toe" game against death is rather striking!

To be noticed also on the cover the large rectangular postmark.

Monday, December 20, 2010

When two worlds meet

When I decided to start collection of stamps picturing cows, I quickly thought about how my two main collections would overlap. Said differently: would I find a stamp picturing a frog and a cow at the same time? Without going so far, would I find a stamp picturing a cow and a stamp picturing a frog belonging to the same set? I’m happy to tell you that I already found an example of each case!
I have already shown on my blog a stamp picturing both a frog and a cow (well to be accurate this is an ox). It is a stamp issued by French post in 1995 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the death of Jean De La Fontaine.

The stamp pictures a tale from Jean De La Fontaine entitled “The frog that wished to be as big as an ox”. You can read more about it on my
previous post.
I think this is, so far, the only stamp picturing my two favorite topics at the same time!
I recently found a set of stamps that falls into the second category. A set of four stamps has been issued by Australia in 1996 and picturing illustration from children’s book. All stamps have been issued in gummed and auto-adhesive version.

One of the stamp pictures the cover from the book Animalia, by
Graeme Base.
This book is an alliterative alphabet book. It contains twenty six illustrations, one for each letter of the alphabet. As you can see the cover pictures mainly a lion and there is a small frog in the right bottom corner.
A second stamp in the set pictures an illustration of a book entitled “Who sank the boat” by Pamela Allen. In the boat you can see a donkey and a cow (pretty obvious this is a cow, isn’t it ? ;-) ). I don’t know much about this book. I just know this is the story of a cow, a donkey, a sheep, a pig and a little mouse that decide to go on a boat. If you have read it I would be happy to get some information.
Just to give you a complete view, the other stamps of the set illustrate the following books: “John Brown and the midnight cat” by Jenny Wagner and “Greetings from Sandy Beach” by Bob Graham.
These two examples are the only ones I know where my two philatelic worlds meet. If you ever see other cases then drop me a mail!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cover from Honk Kong with lenticular stamp on a souvenir sheet

(I’m back from a one week trip to Shanghai from where I could not update from there because of the internet access control. It seems that I still suffer from the effects of the jetlag… Sleepy in the evening and waking up much too early in the morning…)

I recently purchased from an Ebay seller who lives in Hong Kong a souvenir sheet for my frog stamp collection and I got the nice surprise to see that he used various stamps and a souvenir sheet to frank the cover. I decided to share it with you.
I don’t show you he front of the cover because it does not contain anything interesting except my address, but here is the back side.

The two small stamps are part of a set of sixteen definitive stamps issued in December 2006, a very nice set for bird stamps collector. One of the stamp pictures a Collared scops owl (Otus lettia).

The second one pictures the White bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster), a bird that is the emblem of the state of Selangor, one of the thirteen states of Malaysia.

The larger stamp belongs to a set of four issued on the 21st of October 2010 entitled “Hong Kong in my eyes” and illustrated with drawings from children. I unfortunately could not find a clear scan of the full set.

But the reason why I wanted to share with you the cover was the souvenir sheet. First because this is pretty rare to have a full souvenir sheet used to frank a cover. But also because this sheet contains a lenticular stamp, a stamp with a “moving effect”. This does not give a very nice result on the scan, but the stamp picture a locomotive which is moving from back to front when you move the sheet.

The souvenir sheet is part of a wide set of six stamps and two souvenir sheets issued on the 28th of September 2010 to commemorate the centenary of the railway service in Hong Kong. I could not find a good image of the stamps, but each of the six stamps picture a different type of train used in the railway service in Hong Kong over the age. One of the souvenir sheets contains the six stamps and the second one is this sheetlet containing only one stamp with the lenticular effect. The result is really nice, much nicer than on the scan where you can only see a blurry image.

The train pictured on the stamp is the steam train that began to run upon the commencement of railway services in Hong Kong along the track of the section within Hong Kong of the Kowloon-Canton Railway, from Tsim Sha Tsui to Lo Wu, on 1 October 1910. The steam engines from the early days were gradually replaced by diesel locomotives from the 1950s onward until they were all retired from service in 1962. The building at the upper part of the stamp is the Hong Kong Railway Museum. The six background colours of the sheetlet represent the six train models used in different periods, setting off the silhouette of the changing cityscape of Hong Kong over the past century - a rural community evolving into a metropolis filled with skyscrapers.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Stamp sheet from Mexico

(I’m writing this blog post from the air-france lounge in Paris airport because I’m leaving in few hours to Shanghai for one week.)

I have been quiet on this blog these last days because I’m rather busy preparing an update of my frog stamps website. I’m spending hours scanning, looking for information about the stamps and the frogs and putting this into web pages. While doing this I came through an impressive stamp sheet that I decided to share with you.

This is a sheet of twenty four (yes, 24!) stamps issued on the 2nd of October 1996 by Mexico and dedicated to the protection of endangered species. The stamps picture a huge number of animals, too many to list them all. I did not even try to count them. Have a look to this.

Pretty impressive, no? Any topical stamp collector specialized in any type of fauna on stamps would find satisfaction with this sheet, don’t you think so?

You will ask me: where is the frog? Not obvious at first glance. Look closer to the stamp located on the bottom left corner, the stamp picturing a tapir, and you will see a frog in the background. This is the very photogenic red-eyed tree frog.

I have a funny anecdote about this stamp sheet. When I started collecting stamps picturing frogs, I retrieved from the ATA (American Topical Association) a checklist, a list of all stamps picturing a frog (well after some times I realized the list was not complete but it was a very good starting point). In the list there was a reference of stamp from Mexico issued in 1996, without much additional information.

Several years later I came across the stamp sheet on an auction website and found it quite striking, even though the scan was not so clear. I decide to bet on it because I always love stamps picturing animals and wanted to get a copy of this sheet. I won it for a reasonable price. When I received it at home, I looked at it more closely and discover the frog that I hadn’t noticed on the scan! So the stamp that the ATA list was mentioning was in fact part of this stamp sheet!

I know what some you will think (and you are right): how many of those stamps have actually been used on a cover? This is the sort of issue that is targeted for philatelists and that your hardly find on actual mail. But still, I think this is an interesting item for my collection.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Postmark from Germany (II)

This post is a follow up of my the previous. Together with the nice cover I shared with you yesterday I also received a large cover bearing nice stamp and a very interesting postamrk. The cover is so large that I could not scan it in one shot so I decided to show you only the stamp parts. Here they are.

First let's say a word about the stamps. They have been issued in January 2010 in a series issued "for the welfare" dedicated to fruits. Each stamp bears a surtax and pictures the now usual "plus" sign, the five points cross. But what is to be noticed about these stamps is that they represent a first time for the German post : they are scented stamps! They smell after the fruit they picture (you have to rub the stamp to free the perfume).

Four fruits are pictured on the set:the apple, the strawberry (my favourite fruit), the lemon and the blueberry. I think the stamps are rather simple but very beautiful.

The postmark is also to be noticed. In fact it is similar to the postmark from this postcard that I received from another contact.

The postmark is one of the five postmarks used during the international stamp fair held in Sindelfingen at the end of October. If you look closely to the postmark that you will see that it pictures various animals, among which there is a frog! I almost missed it the first time I saw it.

Postmarks from Germany (I)

I would like to start this post with a big THANK YOU. Thank you to Kalpana for the letters (with the nice postmarks I'm sharing with you today), for the stamps and for the philatelic papers (this is very good to help me practicing my German which is not so good)! I got them all more than one week ago but I could not find time until now to scan them and write about them.
As you will see Kalpana has adapted already to my new topic for collection (Cows) without forgetting my old one (Frogs) as you will see in my next post.

Here is the first cover that I received, with a very nice postmark picturing a pig and a cow (click on the picture to see a zoom).

The pictorial postmark celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute which is the German national research center for animal health. The insititute was founded in 1910 by Friedrich Loeffler (1852-1915) a German bacteriologist who, among other things, discovered the organism causing diphtheria (Corynebacterium diphtheriae) and the cause of foot and mouth disease (Aphthovirus).
On the 7th of October 2010 a stamp was even issued by the German postal administration to celebrate the same anniversary.

I received a second very nice cover.

Here the postmark celebrates the 20th anniversary of the National association of philately from Mecklenburg-Vorpommem. Mecklenburg-Vorpommem is a federal state in northern Germany. The postmark pictures a part of the coat of arms of the state that is reproduced below.

The large coat of arms of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is used by the parliament of the Land and the superior state authorities. It shows a shield divided into four sections. In its upper right and lower left section there are bullheads on a golden background. The bullheads represent the former grand dukedoms of Mecklenburg, i. e. Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The red griffon on a silver background in the upper left section stands for Vorpommern. In the fourth section the Brandenburg eagle refers to the close historical link between Pommern and Brandenburg.

Both covers bear the same stamp, a stamp issued in September 2008 that I already mentionned in a
previous post thanks again to a sending of Kalpana.
These two covers are my first postamrks for my cow collection!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The game of the frog

11As an echo of my last post I would like to show you today a pre-stamped envelop that I bought recently on an auction website and that I received yesterday. This is a pre-stamped envelop from France that belongs to a series dedicated to traditional games of the north of France. This envelop is illustrated with a game called “the game of the frog” or “the game of the barrel”.

This game is a very old one. The objective of the game is to throw small objects (stones, coins etc) into one or several holes made in a piece of wood placed on top of a barrel. After the 19th century a frog was often added on one extremity of the piece of wood, giving to the game its name “the game of the frog”. If you could succeed throwing the object into the mouth of the frog then you could win much more points. The frog was sometimes replaced by other sculpted animals, even by human heads. It seems this game is rather famous in the north of France, but it is played in other places in the world such as in South American where the game is known as “sapo” (toad) or “rana” frog.

The printed stamp on the envelop reuses the design of a stamp that is part of a set issued in 1993. This set contains “greeting stamps” illustrated by comics author. The stamp used on the cover contains the greeting “Good luck” and was designed by Mezzo. Here is a copy of the original stamp (the scan comes form the excellent website Phila Echange).

Three main differences between the original stamp and the printed stamp:
- the mention of the date of issue (2003) has disappeared.
- the mention “republique française” has been replaced by “France”
- and finally the printed stamp contains the mention phil@post which is the name of the company in charge of printing stamps for the French postal administration

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Frogs on postal stationeries

My collection of philatelic items picturing frogs does not contain only stamps and postmarks but also postal stationeries: pre-stamped envelops or postal cards, aerogrammes…. I recently scanned a bunch of such items and decided to share some with you.
These items can be classified in various types depending on the location where the frog is pictured.

The first type is the most interesting one: this is the case when the frog is pictured on the printed stamp and when this printed stamp re-uses the design of an actual stamp.
Here is an example of a pre-stamped postal card from United States of the America re-using the design of a 1996 stamp from the “endangered species” series and picturing a Wyoming toad.

As you can see both the picture part and the stamp part of the card uses the same design.
The second type is when the printed stamp pictures the frog but does not really correspond to an existing postage stamp.

Here are two examples, one from Austria (card) and a very nice one from Australia (envelop).

Then the third type, which is the most common is when the frog is only pictured on the side of the envelop or on the picture side of a card but not on the printed stamp.
Here is an example of a card from Germany (card).

Here is another one from USSR (envelop).

If you did not see it already one of the foxes is playing with a frog, which is rather small on the scan I agree ;-).
There are even cases where the postage paid is not indicated via a printed stamp as on this example of pre-paid envelop from Australia that could be used only to send Xmas greetings and that pictures the very famous Kermit the frog!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Triangular stamps on a cover from Pakistan

Triangular stamps are not so common. I like them; I think this is an interesting shape for a stamp. So I’m happy today to share with you a cover that I received recently from Pakistan, posted from Islamabad, and bearing a set of four triangular stamps.

The four triangular stamps have been issued on the 23rd of March 2009 to celebrate the national year of environment. Each stamp pictures a national emblem of Pakistan. From left to right and top to bottom you can see:

- The jasmine (Jasminus) a type of shrubs and vines belonging to the olive family with around 200 different species! The stamp pictures probably the common jasmine (Jasminum officinal) which is the national flower of Pakistan
- The deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara) that is a species of cedar native to northern Pakistan and also the national tree of the country
- The Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar) which is an Eurasian upland game bird in the pheasant family and the national bird of Pakistan
- The Markhor (Capra falconeri) a species of wild goat that is found in central Pakistan which is also the national animal of Pakistan. To be noted the corkscrew-like horns of this goat.

Three other large stamps are used on the cover. Starting on the far left is a stamp issued in February of this year to celebrate the first edition of the Youth Olympic Games held in Singapore from the 14th to the 26th of August 2010. There were 26 sports presented during these games. Pakistan won only one medal, a silver one, in hockey after being defeated 2-1 by Australia in the final.

The stamp on the right is part of a set issued on the 26th of August 2002 to commemorate the world summit on sustainable development (WSSD) held from the 26th of August and the 4th of September in Johannesburg. The full set contains two stamps.

The last stamp on the cover was issue on the 9th of September 2009 (09/09/09 ! nice date) to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Philippines. The stamp pictures the flag of both countries. I thought that this stamp was a part of a joint issue but I could not find any stamp issued by Philippines on the same subject…

Monday, October 25, 2010


Today I would like to write about something different than usual. I would like to talk about cinderella. No, I’m not going to speak about fairy tales, but about the object for collection which is commonly called a “cinderella”.
What is it? Well it seems that it is easier to define what it is not! A Cinderella is everything that looks like a stamp but which is not valid for postage. There is a wide variety of cinderellas: local stamps, telegraph stamps, railway stamps, revenues/fiscals, forgeries, bogus and phantom issues, Christmas, Red Cross and other charity seals, registration labels, advertisement and exhibition labels and many other items...
The name cinderella comes from the fairy tale character who looked like a princess though she was a poor neglected girl.

Some people have specialized into collecting such items, I even know at least one club the Cinderella Stamp Club that gathers people sharing this interest. Of course this is not philately, as philately focuses only on valid postage stamps, but still, it could be interesting for topical stamp collectors to have a look to what exists in this area for their topic.
If I wanted to write about this subject it is because I recently came across several labels that picture one of my favorite subjects: frogs!
I first found two advertisement labels issued by the same company: Aecht Franck. Aecht Franck was a producer of chicory coffee and coffee flavorings. The company was founded in 1828 in Germany. In 1943 the company merged with its largest competitor Kathreiner to Unifranck, but the brand remains until 1971, when the company was bought by Nestlé. The company expanded already in the late 19th century, with factories in Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Croatia. The company produced a lot of advertising and trade cards/stamps.
The first one that I found uses the reference to fairy tales. It makes a comparison between “the most famous in kids’ world” (the fairy tale “The Frog King”) and “the most famous in the housewives world” (the coffee from Aecht Franck).

The stamp pictures a scene from the fairy tale written by Grimm brothers where the frog brings back the ball to the princess at the beginning of the tale (you can read more about this tale in
one of my previous posts).
The second label shows a frog drinking the coffee with a lizard and a grasshopper. The text below the image explains that Aecht chicory is the finest addition to any coffee beverage.

At the top of the stamp the word Juli (July in German) seems to indicate that there should be twelve labels in the series, one per month. But I think only this one pictures a frog.
The third label I found was also produced by a coffee company : Kaffee Hag. In the early 20th century, this company has issued a huge set of labels (and also associated albums) picturing coat of arms of various cities. The one that I found is from the city of Pilsting in Bavaria.

The stamps of the series have been designed by the artist Oto Hupp, hence the O and H in the bottom corners of the image.
The back of the label contains some written information.

First the number of inhabitants of the city (1073) according to the 1910 census. Then the description of the coat of arms (Wappen) : a green frog on a red background.
I was not able to decipher the text that is above the number of the label (449). Then there is an ad for the Coffee Hag.
This series is a nice one for people interested in heraldic on stamps.

If you ever see another cinderella picturing a frog, don't hesitate to write to me!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My first cover from Lebanon

I'm happy to share with you the first cover I received from Lebanon.

Unfortunately I did not find much information about the stamps used on the cover. They have both issued in 2010. The one that is used three times on the cover belongs to a set of three stamps about old mansions and houses. This is the only thing I could find. But this is anyway one country more in my cover collection!

If you have any information on those stamps I would be happy to hear from you.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cover, FDC and souvenir sheet from Philippines

I have been sorting stamps and covers all over the weekend and I found some items that I did not share with you yet due to lack of time. Today I have selected a cover I received from Philippines from Raplh together with a set of FDCs and souvenir sheet. Thank you again Ralph for this sending.

Let’s start by the cover first.

The cover is franked with definitive stamps issued on the 15th of June 2010 picturing Philippines Marine Biodiversity. These two stamps are part of a set of three that is pictured below.

From left to right, the animals pictured on the stamps are:

- Yellow seahorse (Hypocampus kuda) also known as the common sea horse. This species of sea horses come in many clors including yellow, orange, brown and even black! I must admit that I like sea horses and I have even thought, some years ago, about starting a stamp collection about them.
- Giant clam (Tridana crocea)
- Scarlet-fringed flatworm (Pseudoceros ferrugineus) whose nice and bright colors are used to warn predators of their toxic properties

These three stamps are part of a wider set of definitive stamps issued all along the year.

As you can see on the cover, the stamps are cancelled with an impressive postmark announcing an event organized by the Philippine Tuberculosis Society (Quezon institute). Unfortunately the design of the postmark is mixed together with the design of the stamp, making it difficult to read.
Still it makes a very nice cover for my collection that contained so far only one letter from Philippines.

Ralph included in this cover two nice FDC of a set issued on the 25th of March 2009 and picturing a very famous topic among topical stamp collectors: minerals.
The full set is made of a block of four se-tenant stamps and one souvenir sheet. Here is the FDC for the block of four.

The minerals that are pictured are:
- Quartz
- Rhodochrosite
- Malachite
- Nickel

Here is the FDC for the souvenir sheet:

The minerals that are pictured on the sheet are:
- Cinnabar
- Gold
- Copper
- Magnetite
And sulphur (or sulfur) is pictured on the border of the souvenir sheet.
I do not really know much about minerals, being more attracted by living creatures, but those two items are rather nice anyway.
Finally Ralph also sent be a souvenir sheet that was issued on the 9th of November 2009 to commemorate the National Stamp Collecting Month and featuring Children games.

he souvenir sheet contains four stamps and two imperf ones. Each stamp illustrates a Children game:
- Taguan, also known as Hide and Seek
- Sipa, the national game of Philippines where the ball is made of a round lead with paper cut into strips through its center. The aim of the game is to kick the ball repeatedly without having it touch the floor
- Saranggola or kite flying
- Bangkang papel, or paper boats. By the way I just realize that this stamp would qualify for my quest of stamps picturing Origami, even though paper boats are probably the simplest expression of Origami!
- Paluan ng Palayok, a popular game during fiestas where children try to hit a clay pot which is full of goodies including candies
- Luksong lubid, a game of jumping over a rope
I’m sure that when you read this list you realize that a lot of these games (may be all of them) are also played by Children in your countries. At least this is the case in France. Interesting to see that there are not so many differences between games played by Children in different countries.