Monday, February 28, 2011

La Fête du Timbre (II)

Better to warn you: I'm pissed off!
Sorry to be rude, but I am. On Saturday I wrote a post about "La fête du timbre" and I told you that I took this opportunity to send to myself some covers from the event.
Tonight, when coming back home I found them in my mail box. The first one pleased me a lot. This is the cover with the twelve stamps of the booklet.

Not bad, ins't it? The cancel is not really a "first day" cancel but a commemorative one for the event.

But look at the three other ones.

Why did they get this ugly wavy mechanic cancel on top of the nice postmark?
I'm furious. I mean, the only way in France to get a FDC (or commemorative cover) sent through the postal service is to participate to the first day ceremony. You can get a first day cancel after the ceremony but then you can not have the cover sent through the postal service, or it must be enclosed in another cover. And now here is what you get!
This is the last time I do this sort of exercice!

By the way if you wonder why I made two covers with the strawberry stamp (one with the full souvenir sheet and one with the stamp only) it is because, as I explained in my post, the souvenir sheet is so hard to stick on a cover that I destroyed it at my first attempt! I could save the stamp anyway. And I can tell you I was not the only one to have this problem.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

La Fête du Timbre

Today (and also tomorrow) is held in France an event organized by the French postal administration called "La fête du timbre" that I could translate as "the stamp feast". At this occasion various philatelic events are organized in several cities. This is also the occasion for the French post to issue new stamps and to run first day ceremonies.

Despite the heavy rain I woke up early this morning to participate to the one of Paris. After queuing for 40 minutes outside (and therefore becoming completely wet) I could enter the place and buy few stamps that I'm going to share with you today. I also sent to myself some covers to get the "first day of issue" cancel. I will show them to you when I receive them later this week.

The whole event is around protection of the environment as you will see. The first stamp that is issued at this occasion is a stamp re-suing the design of French definitive stamps, the very famous Mariane. The left side of the stamp is written "Let's protect the Earth" and shows a hand planting a plant.

The second issue is a souvenir sheet containing one stamp. The subject of the souvenir sheet is the strawberry.

This souvenir sheet has several particularities. The first one is that it is scented. It smells... guess what? The strawberry, of course. The second particularity is that it is also printed on the verso, as you can see on the picture below.

Two other things to mention, less positive this time. The first one is that the souvenir sheet is extremely difficult to stick on a cover. This is because on the verso, the printed part is not gummed. And finally let's note the very high face value: two Euro! This is huge.

I also bought the philatelic document of this issue (because I found it rather nice). Here is the cover of the document.

It is very large so I can not scan the inside without spoiling it. It contain a copy of the souvenir sheet with the cancel of the ceremony, a printing proof of teh stamp and a text giving some information about the event.

Another issue is a booklet of twelve stamps on the topic of nature preservation.

The cover of the booklet is made of recycled paper. And the stamp are printed on coton paper (!) which gives them a relative thickness.

The last issue is, for me, a gadget. This is a presentation pack of ten “stamps”. Here is the cover.

The stamps are pre-personalized stamps. Five of them contains actual seeds that could can sow to grow a plant.

The small black dots that you see on some of the stamps are the seeds, that are maintained in a small plastic cap. This is not a first as I think Netherlands was the first country to issue stamps with seeds (I think the technology was different, the seeds being incorporated in the paper). I wonder how many people are going to actually sow the stamps? And how many people are going to use these stamps on cover? I guess none!

To conclude, let me show you also a card that I got as a gift. This is a pre-stamped card re-using the Mariane stamp.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Two new Eric on stamps

If you follow since a long time you know that I have a parallel collection of stamps picturing people who have the same first name than me : Eric. In fact this is more a virtual collection because I do not try to buy the stamps I find but at least I try to get of scan of them. And this is not a collection on which I work very deeply but at least when I look at new stamp issues I always try to see in any fit in this category. And I recently found two new stamps issued by Norway that picture two different Eric. In fact these are two Erik to be exact, as it is the Nordic form.

The stamps belong to a set of four stamps issued on the 20th of August 2010 to celebrate 50 years of Television in Norway.

One of the stamp is dedicated to “Entertainment”.
On the left side of the stamp is pictured Erik Tangevald Diesen (1922-1999) a Norwegian revue writer and television personality who is regarded as the founder of television entertainment in Norway.
The other persons pictured on the stamps are Dan Borge Akero, Ivar Dyrhaug and Anne Grosvold.

Another stamp is dedicated to television icons.

The third person from the left is Erik Erikssonn Diesen (1926-2004) a Norwegian journalist, artist, author, film actor, folk singer! He was one of the most well known and popular television figures in Norway for the 20th century.
The other persons on the stamp are Arne Scheie, Ingrid Espelid Hovig and Ragnhild Saelthum Fjortoft.

To complete the view here are the two other stamps dedicated to Children’s TV and Comedy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Business trip in Romania

I’m currently in Timisoara, Romania, for a short business trip. I haven’t been there since two years now and already I think a lot of things have changed. I hope I will have some time to walk around and try to find a post office to buy some stamps and send covers. I will let you know if I can.
But in the mean time I browsed the internet to see what type of stamps was issued by Romanian postal administration. There is a website dedicated to philately that contains a lot of interesting information both in English and in Romanian:
Well, what I could see is that there seem to be a lot of stamps issued per year. I’m not sure that all of those stamps will ever see a cover… A lot of stamps seem to be issued to appeal to topical collectors with fauna or flora.

I was also curious to see if there is any stamp issued related to Timisoara, the city where I am. And I found one. A stamp issued on the 15th of July 2003 to celebrate the Romanian postage stamp day and commemorating 100 years of organized philatelic activities in Timisoara.
Indeed the first Romanian philatelic association was created in 1903 in Timisoara.

The blazon that is pictured on the stamp is the part of the coat or arms of Timisoara, as far I could guess.

The denomination of the stamp (5000 L) seems high, but it is in “old lei”. The current money of Romania is the “new leu” (the plural is lei). In 2005 the money changed from the old leu (ROL) to the new one (RON) with an equivalence of 10000 ROL = 1 RON.

And to finish I could not resist showing you this souvenir sheet issued in 2003 picturing reptiles and amphibians from Romania.

Two frog species are pictured: Green tree frog (Hyla arborea) and European common frog (Hyla temporaria). Two reptile species are also pictured: European green lizard (Lacerta viridis) and European copper skink (Ablepharus kitaibelii).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

First cover from Estonia fully franked with Euro stamps.

Since the 1st of January 2011 Estonia is a new member of the Euro zone. It has changed its money from “kroon” to euro, seven years after its entry in the European community. This is the 17th states that become member of the Euro zone. Of course this has triggered a change on the stamps issued by Estonia, as shown on this registered cover that I received recently. It is fully franked with stamps that are in euro. So this is a first for me that I’m glad to add to my collection.

The stamp picturing a coin was issued on the 1st of January to celebrate the adaption of the new money. It pictures the national side of the “one euro” coin from Estonia (for those who don’t know, the euro coins have a side having the same design for all the countries, and a side that bears a different design for each country). As you can see the map of Estonia has been chosen for the design of this national side.

The other stamps of the cover have been issued on the 3rd of January and are part of the definitive series.

The euro denomination has been used on an Estonian stamp for the first time in 1999 on the stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the council of Europe.

Starting with 2006, all Estonians stamps have been issued with a denomination in kroons and euro as shown on this stamp issued on the 4th of January 2006 to celebrate the Europa Stamps Golden Anniversary.

Stamps bearing a denomination in kroons will still be valid for postage until end of 2013.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A new cover from Argentina

For today's post, I have selected a cover that I received recently from Argentina. I want to share it with you because it was franked with a stamp that triggered my curiosity.
Here is the cover.

The red stamps are part of the definitive series. They were issued in 2000 and picture element of the Mapuche culture.
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They are composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage.
The 2$ stamp pictures a Kultrún, a tribal drum. It can be used in two ways: held in the hand and played with a drum stick or resting on the floor and played with two sticks. In the Mapuche world, the Kultrún represents half of the universe or the world as a semi spherical shape, in the patch are represented the four cardinal points.

The 50c stamp pictures a vertical loom used by women to make clothes. The stamp that triggered my interest is the one located on the far right. It was issued on the 24th of September 2008 in a set picturing sceneries of Argentina. The stamp pictures Mina Clavero a touristic place loacted in the province of Cordoba.

When I saw the stamp I immediatly wondered why there was a large UP in the bottom left corner. After some research I found out that this stamp was part of a category called "Sellos de Unidades Postale" (hence the UP) meaning stamps of postal units. I found out that those stamps are not sold directly by the post of Argentina but by outsourced postal units. I guess it means that you can not find them in post offices, but you can buy them in some shops or boothes.
What I did not understand is why these stamps need to be marked in such a way to be differentiated from the others? Do they have a different postal usage? It does not seem so as they can be mixed with other normal stamps. Anybody knows?

Also to be noticed is the very large circular cancel!

Friday, February 04, 2011

New FDC postmarked on the 9th of May 1966

A short post to share with you an Indian FDC that I received from Vijay. This FDC is postmarked on the 9th of May 1966, the day of my birth!

The stamp on the FDC commorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Gopal Krishna Gokhale. Gokhale was born on the 9th of May 1866 (just 100 years before me) in a rather poor family in India. He anyway received an English education and was part of the firt generation of Indians to receive university education. He became a member of the Indian National Congress and founded the Servants of India Society. Through the Society as well as the Congress and other legislative bodies he served in, Gokhale promoted the independence from the British Empire.To achieve his goals, Gokhale followed two overarching principles: avoidance of violence and reform within existing government institutions. He became one of the political leaders during the Indian Independence Movement against the British Empire in India. Gokhale is also known to be a mentor of the very famous Mahatma Gandhi. Gokhale died in 1915.

Thanks a lot Vijay. My own sending is on the way to you, just mailed this morning.