Monday, October 25, 2010

Cinderella

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.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Stamp magazine

Just a short post to tell you that if you have the opportnity to read the November issue of Stamp magazine (the best philatelic publication in UK) you will see an interesting artcile about a frog stamp collector !
I let you guess who he is ;-)))
I'm very proud.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rugby, rugby, rugby

As you know, if you follow my blog since a long time, I’m a big fan of rugby. I’m not practicing myself but I really enjoy watching a good game. Newt year will be the 2011 Rugby World Cup (it is held every four years) and it will be hosted in New Zealand, one of the very important nations in the rugby world. I will not be able to go there (I have been able to attend to the final in 2003 in Australia and in 2007 in France) but I will for sure follow on TV as much as possible.
I also try to collect stamps related to rugby, but I do it less seriously than I do for frogs (or cows now ;-)). I guess next year will be the occasion for several countries to issue rugby related stamps.
Already in 2010 New Zealand has issued three sets of stamps related to rugby. Yes three! Only one is directly linked to the World Cup itself, but still. I just received those stamps and wanted to share them with you.

The first set was issued on the 9th of June 2010 to commemorate the centenary of Maori rugby. Maori players have had an important role in the history of rugby in New Zealand. One Wirihana is the first Maori known to have played in an organized rugby game in 1872. On the 21st of May 1910, the first official New Zealand Maori team played (and won) its inaugural game against Rotorua sub-union. The set issued to commemorate this anniversary contains two stamps and one souvenir sheet.
Here are the stamps.
The stamp on the left side pictures the jersey that has been designed to commemorate the Maori rugby centenary. The jersey is black adorned with Maori imagery printed in dark black ink. The black color reminds everybody that this is from the darkness, the nothing, that all things were created. The complex design of the jersey is illustrated with several items of the Maori mythology. The central figure located on the front of the jersey is Tanerore, the god of haka, who is the guardian of the Maori rugby and who represents the warrior spirit of the person wearing the jersey. The back of the jersey is illustrated by the Beginning, the separation of Ranginui (the sky father) and Papatuanukiu (the earth mother). The creation of the world is the basis of the haka, the traditional dance that the Maori rugby team uses at the beginning of any game to impress the other team. This haka is different from the one of the New Zeland team, the All blacks, with their famous “Kamate, kamate”.
As you can see, this jersey is full of symbols that should inspire anyone who wears it to play a rugby game!

The second stamp pictures the centenary logo with a ball shape representing the circle of life. In the heat of the ball is the silver fern, the symbol of New Zealand rugby.

The set also contains a souvenir sheet, containing the previous stamps and illustrated with an actual picture of the first Maori Rugby team.



Here are the nice FDC of this issue.




A second set of stamps has been issued by New Zealand post on the 4th of August 2010 to pay tribute to the current All Black, the national New Zealand team that has reached an unrivalled winning percentage since the first test against Australia in 1903.
The set contains two black stamps and one souvenir sheet, all picturing the silver fern. This distinctive emblem was adopted by the New Zealand Rugby Football Union in 1893. Originally it was a graphic representation of the native ponga fern (Cyathea dealbata). It has been modified through the years.


The FDC is also fully black with a silver postmark which is quite nice.



Finally on the 9th of September, New Zealand has issued a set of two stamps and one souvenir sheet related to rugby, this time in direct link with the Rugby World Cup. The stamps picture the official logo of the World Cup that you can find on all official product issued by the RWC (Rugby World Cup organization).




The 2011 Rugby World Cup will be the seventh tournament since its creation in 1987 where the All Black won the first cup, beating France in the final game 29 to 9 at Eden Park, the very famous stadium located in Auckland, New Zealand. The nations that have organized the world cup are :
- 1987 : Joint organization between Australia and New Zealand. The cup is won by New Zealand.
- 1991 : England, the cup being won by Australia
- 1995 : South Africa, and the cup is won by South Africa (May be have you seen the very good movie Invictus, from Clint Eastwood, that tells about this victory)
- 1999 : Wales, and the cup is won by Austtralia
- 2003 : Australia, and the cup is won by England
- 2007 : France, and the cup is won, once again, by South Africa
Let’s hope France will make a good performance in 2011, but I have some doubt that we can wee the tournament.
In 2015 the Rugby World Cup will be hosted by Japan, quite a premiere since Japan is not one of the BIG nations of rugby.

With these three sets issued in 2010 about ruby, I wonder how many stamps New Zealand is going to issue next year!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Shanghai Expo 2010 and something more

I can not believe that it is already two weeks ago the last time I wrote in this blog. So many things happen in these last two weeks: I went to Shanghai for a short business trip (three days only) an also to Stuttgart, also for professional reasons. And I had a huge amount of work to do… And no time to take care of my stamps and my blog. Too bad.
Today I would like to write about this short trip to Shanghai. Can you imagine that since its official opening, I have been to Shanghai already twice without any free time to visit the Expo. This is really a pity. I could just the Expo site from the taxi driving me from the airport to the hotel and back to the airport. On the other hand I have been told that there are so many people visiting the Expo that you have to queue four hours before visiting one pavilion.
Some of my colleagues in China who know that I’m interested by postage stamps and who also know that I could not visit the Expo had the very nice idea to offer me a presentation pack containing a set of stamp and souvenir sheet about the Expo. I would like to share it with you today.
First of all here is the cover of the presentation pack, which is more like a book in fact, of the size of an A4 sheet.

Four stamps issued on the 21st of January 2010 are included in the pack. It contains one instance of each single stamps and one block of four of each stamp. On each page there is also a small text giving information about the subject of the stamp.
The first stamp pictures the Expo Center that integrates among other functions the press center. Through extensive usage of new energy, technology abd materials, the Expo center can be considered as a green building.



The second one pictures the very nice and very popular China pavilion, one of the landmarks of the Expo. The main structure of the pavilion is called the crown of the East and is inspired by the concept of an oriental crown. Its roof is made of traditional “dougong” which are interlocking wooden brackets that were widely used between 770 and 476 BC (the Spring and Autumn Period). The pavilion represents the taste and spirit of Chines culture.



The third stamp pictures the also very nice Performance center where live performances can be seen.

Finally the fourth stamp pictures the Theme pavilion which is reusing the concept of paper folding for its design.


Inside the pack there is also one souvenir sheet containing one large stamp. The sheet pictures an aerial view of the Expo site.


As you can see these stamps do not picture actual pictures of the site but computer generated images.
This set is the third set of stamps issued about Shanghai 2010 and it commemorates the 100 day countdown of the opening of the Expo.
On the first of May 2010 another stamp has been issued to celebrate the opening of the Expo.



On all stamps can be seen the logo of the Expo.


This logo is inspired from the Chinese letter meaning “world” and represents three persons hands on hands like a family.

During my last stay in Shanghai, if I could not visit the expo, I nevertheless decided to try a new experience. I went to a Post office to send a letter to myself. With some difficulties (my Chinese is very limited ;-) ) I succeeded to explain to the postal clerk that I had a letter to be sent to France. I was expecting that he would show me stamps but instead he took my cover and asked me to pay. I left the post office a bit disappointed because I was sure I would get the letter with a printed label as it would happen in France now.
Finally, few days after I came back to France I was surprised to receive this letter.




Not only I got the cover with stamps, but with four stamps! Surprising that that guy took the time to stick four stamps on my cover, no ? It seems that he had some difficulties to make them all fit on the cover!
The stamps are belonging to a set of four stamps issued on the 15th of January 2008.
The set pictures woodblock New Year Pictures of Zhuxian Town. Zhuxian town is located in the Henan Province. The production of woodblock New Year painting began in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and reached its prime in the middle of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Zhuxian Town's woodblock New Year painting is a representative of the folk art in the Central Plains and has had far-reaching influence on the New Year paintings of other regions. The names of the stamps are "Door God," "Sanniang Teaches Her Son," "Back from a Fruitful Trip" and "Legendary Heroines."


Something else to be noted, the stamps seem to be printed on a paper that contains some textile fibers! I could not really find information on this feature, so if one my readers has some more details on these stamps I would be happy to hear from him (or her).