Thursday, July 29, 2010

Canadian souvenir sheet

Sorry for this long silence. I had planned to update my blog last week, but I was in Shanghai for a short business trip and I could not access blogger from there due to the internet access restrictions. And then, beginning of this week, I was quite busy writings an article for a philatelic publication.

Photography is a hobby that I’m very fond of. When I was younger I could spend hours walking in Paris with my camera taking all sorts of pictures and then I could spend nights in my tiny bathroom transformed into a darkroom to process my black & white photographs. At this time numeric photography did not exist or was at its very beginning. At one point in time I even thought of starting a stamp collection about photography. But I finally never made it, thinking that may be mixing two hobbies was not a good idea. But I always keep an eye on stamps that picture artistic photography. And stamps picturing wildlife photography is even more interesting for me. So you can imagine my pleasure when I saw this souvenir sheet, issued by Canada on the 22nd of May 2010.

The souvenir sheet contains five stamps. The stamps picture photographs that have won a Wildlife Photography contest organized in 2009 by Canadian Geographic in partnership with the Canadian Museum of Nature. The contest was organized around five categories (from left to right and top to bottom):
- Birds, winner Martin Cooper
- Mammals, winner Ben Boulter
- Amphibians, Reptiles and Insects, winner Julie Bazinet
- Urban wildlife, Mark Bradley
- Junior photographer, Wing Tam (15)

The border of the souvenir sheet pictures the photographs of the runners-up and has you could guess I was very excited to discover a picture of a frog (a bullfrog). This picture was taken by Samuel Lapierre who was runner-up in the “Amphibians, Reptiles and Insects” category. I think he should have won ;-)

You can find all the photographs of the winners and runners-up of the 2009 and 2008 editions of this contest on the website of Canadian Geographic. There are really beautiful and I think this was a very good idea to gather them on such a nice souvenir sheet.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bulgarian First Day Cover

If you read regularly my blog since a long time you probably know that I do not collect only frog stamps but I also collect stamps that have been issued in 1966 the year of my birth. I'm also looking for cover cancelled on the 9th of May 1966 the day of my birth.
I already shared on this blog a FDC from Poland postmarked on this day. I'm glad to share with you another finding : a FDC from Bulgaria.
The stamp was issued to commemorate the 6th Trade Union Congress. A very simple FDC that I'm happy to have found, almost by accident.
I'm always looking for cover that have actually gone through the postal service, FDC or normal cover. I you own any I would be interested to hear from you.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Frogs on postmarks (II)

I was recently discussing with a friend who is not a philatelist and not interested in stamp collection about my collection of frogs on stamps. He was quite surprised that I could find so many stamps picturing a frog. He said he had never seen one before on mail he could have received so far (I’m not that surprised ;-) ). He was even more surprised when I told him that my collection included also postmarks! He could not believe that some postmarks exist picturing a frog. So I showed him my collection and then I thought it could be a good idea to share some of them with the readers of my blog. This post only contains a part of my collection of postmarks. I did not have yet the time to scan all the ones I have.
As you will see there are two types of cancel in my collection: first day cancel, usually associated to a stamp picturing a frog also, or commemorative ones, celebrating an event which sometimes has no real link with the frog itself!

First of all I just recall a former post that I wrote on the same subject and in which I showed two nice postmarks,
one from Great Britain and one from United Nations.
And another one in which I presented a
nice red cancel from Japan.

Here is a spectacular postal cancellation from India, containing a “Protect the environment” slogan and picturing not only a frog but also three other animals.
Nice one, isn’t it?

The next cancels are coming from the same country: United States of America. Pictorial commemorative cancels are quite common in USA. Some of them are very large and I have seen a very impressive number of cancels containing frogs. I have selected four of them.

The first one is from Biddeford, Maine, where every year is held a Franco-American festival called
La Kermesse whose logo contains a frog.

It seems this is the first pictorial postmark that was used in Biddeford for this occasion.

The second done comes from Conway, Arkansas, where is held every year the
Toad Suck Daze festival, a music-art-and-food festival. It was first organized in 1982 and is held on the first weekend of May. One of the attraction of the festival is the Toad Races. The celebration of this festival has been the object of a lot of different postmarks such as the one below.

The two last ones are coming from Sacramento, California. I did not find much information about the Frog Day or the Frog Exhibit Day. I

Here are two other examples coming from Australia this time.

Some background information first: October is the stamp collecting month in Australia. Every year a subject is selected as the topic of a set of stamps and/or souvenir sheets. The purpose is to draw the attention of children to philately and stamp collecting, so the subject is selected among the subjects that children like. In 1999 the topic for the Stamp Collecting month was “Small pond”. Stamps and souvenir sheets have been issued picturing the common inhabitants of small ponds: a kingfisher, a dragonfly and several types of frogs. This month is also the occasion of various stamp exhibitions that are often commemorated via nice postal marks.
This was the case of SWANPEX 99, a philatelic event held in East Perth on the 23rd and 24th of October 1999. At this exhibition you could purchase cover franked with a set of six postal labels overprinted SWANPEX 99 picturing koalas and kangaroos (these labels have been used for the first time for another exhibition, AUSTRALIA 99 held in Melbourne between the 19th and the 24th of March 1999. They were re-used for other exhibitions therefore you can find them with various overprints.)
These covers could be purchased with cancel that re-use the kingfisher and frog theme.

Another event was the APTA STAMP & COIN Show held from the 8th of October until the 10th, where a frog cancel was also available.

Finally here is a postmark from Peru commemorating the World Day of Wetlands on the 26th of March 2003. Again a frog is used to symbolize wetland and its inhabitants.

Above were examples of commemorative postmarks, but as I said at the beginning, the frog cancels are sometimes first day cancellations. Here is a first case coming from the Czech Republic: the first day cancellation of a stamp issued from a souvenir sheet that I presented in a
former post.

Below are other examples of first day cancels that picture a frog.
A round cancel from Slovenia.

A square cancel from Austria.

And my favorite one, a rectangular cancel from Mozambique with a small frog inside.

My collection also contains postmarks from France and Netherlands that I did not scan yet.

To finish I would like to share with you another type of postal mark, a meter stamp from Korea which contains a frog in its design.

If you have any information on one of the cancellations I have shown in my post I would be very happy to hear from you.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Cuban birds

I received recently a letter from Cuba, a very simple one, and I decided to share it with you. As you will see it has nothing very exceptional but I selected it because of two reasons:

- I rarely receive letters from Cuba. I think this is the third one only in the four years of existence of this blog
- it is now less and less common to receive a letter with a clean and neat cancellation

So here is the cover.

As I said the cancellation is rather clean, a simple round postmark which cancels cleanly the stamp.
A third reason why I selected this cover is that it is franked with a stamp picturing a bird and even if this is not my topic of collection I do like birds on stamps. I think this is a rather nice and colorful topic.

The stamp is part of a set of eight stamps issued on the 22nd of May 2008. Here is the full set.

From left to right and top to bottom, the birds that are pictured are:

Cuban Tody (Todus multicolor)
Cuban Solitaire (Myadestes elisabeth)
Cuban Green Woodpecker (Xiphidiopicus percussus)
Cuban Trogon (Priotelus temnurus)
Cuban Parakeet (Aratinga euops)
Zapata Sparrow (Torreornis inexpectata)
Bee Hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae) , which is the smallest living bird on earth!
Cuban Vireo (Vireo gundlachii)

The particularity is that all those birds are endemic to Cuba. There are so many contries that issue stamps picturing subjects that have no real link with their culture or environment that it could be underlined.