And happy collecting in 2011!
Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
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
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
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 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
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!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
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.
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
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.
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.
Friday, December 17, 2010
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
(I’m writing this blog post from the air-france lounge in
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
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
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!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
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.
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).
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.
Friday, November 12, 2010
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
These items can be classified in various types depending on the location where the frog is pictured.
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 ;-).
Monday, November 01, 2010
- 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
The name cinderella comes from the fairy tale character who looked like a princess though she was a poor neglected girl.
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).
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 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.
If you ever see another cinderella picturing a frog, don't hesitate to write to me!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
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
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.
Here is the FDC for the souvenir sheet:
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