Saturday, April 30, 2011

My first cover from Turkmenistan

(I’m writing this blog post from the Air France lounge in Paris airport, waiting for my flight to Shanghai where I will spend another very busy week.)

Yesterday I had the surprise to receive my first cover from Turkmenistan! This adds on country to the list of places in the world from where I got mail. It is a pity that the stamps on the cover seem to have been spoiled (cut ? or damaged during the transport?) but the cover contained some mint stamps that arrived in a good shape and that I will share with you also in this post.

But first here is the cover.

The stamp on the far right is part of a set of two souvenir sheets issued on the 6th of April 2007 as a tribute to the first president of Turkmenistan. Here is a picture of both souvenir sheets that contain several stamps picturing the president.

The other stamp used on the cover is part of a set of three stamps issued on the 2nd of July 2009 and picturing animals from Turkmenistan. A copy of a mint version of the set was included in the cover, here it is. I’m not very sure to be able to name the exact species of the animals that are pictured.Inside the cover there was also another set of seven stamps, issued at the same time that the previous one and also dedicated to fauna. Here it is.

I must admit that this is the first time that I see stamps from this country. What is striking when you look at them is that they do not bear any denomination but they bear letters : A, G, D, K…

I don’t know how the system is working to determine the rate which is associated to each letter. I could not find any useful information on the internet on this, so if you know something about it, let me know. Thanks.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A frog on new souvenir sheet from Canada

On the 21st of April 2011, the Canadian postal administration has issued a nice souvenir sheet to celebrate the international year of the forest. This souvenir sheet contains one large stamp and pictures a vertical panoramic view of a forest. Here it is. The picture is a bit small (it comes from Canada port website, as I don’t own yet the sheet) but if you look closely to the right side of the sheet you will see what triggered my interest in this issues. On the right side are pictured animals that could be found in the various layers of the forest and on the level of the floor is pictured the silhouette of a frog! I also read that if you hold the sheet in front of light you can see the silhouette of nocturnal animals. I’m now impatient to get this new item for my collection.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cover from Argentina

I’m back from a very intensive week in Shanghai. Obviously not intensive enough as I have to go back there next week! This is good for my frequent flyer program but a bit tiring for my body. Hopefully May will be full of holidays for me, and then I will be able to have some rest.

When I came back from Shanghai I had the pleasure to find my mailbox full of mails. Among various interesting covers there was this cover that I received from Argentina. It was sent by Viviana (thank you very much Viviana), who maintains a very nice blog :

The stamps used to frank the cover are part of a booklet issued on the 26th of July 2008 for young philatelists. The objective of the booklet is to encourage young people to start collecting stamps. The stamps are illustrated by popular kids’ tales. The stamps used on the cover are illustrating the tale “Mamarrachos por carta" from Ricardo Marino that tells about a monkey who falls into a mailbox!. The stamps have been issued in booklet pane.

The other booklet panes are part of the set.

And four single stamps complete the issue, giving twenty differents stamps for this set!

The cover is cancelled with large circular postmarks, as often seen on cover from Argentina.

Thank you again Viviana. As soon as I can I will send you a cover from France!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Off to Shanghai for one week

I'm on my way to Shanghai for a one week business trip. Will be back next Saturday. I won't be able to update my blog while in China. See you in one week then.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Frog shaped souvenir sheet issued by Namibia

End of March, the postal administration of Namibia has issued the first frog shaped souvenir sheet! This is not the first time a souvenir sheet having the shape of an animal is issued, but this is the first time one is issued with the shape of a frog. The souvenir sheet contains four stamps intended to be used on postcards. Here is the item (this is not an actual scan of the sheet, since I haven’t yet found it, but this is a picture coming from the Namibian post website).

The frogs that are pictured are all frogs coming from Africa. Clockwise, the species that are pictured are:

- the Long Reed frog (Hyperolius nasutus)

- the Bubbling kassina (Kassina senegalensis)

- the Tandy's sand frog (Tomopterna tandyi)

- teh Angolan Reed frog (Hyperolius parallelus)

The sheet itself pictures a giant bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus)

Rather impressive, isn’t it? I would even say a little bit eccentric, no? I wonder how many postcards are going to be franked with these stamps…

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Trojan horse, revisited

I can not resist to the pleasure of sharing with you the latest mail-art cover that I received from my friend Philippe Charron. He has revisited the well known legend of the Trojan horse, replacing the horse by my newly favorite animal the cow, and replacing the legendary city of Troy by the French city of Troyes! And here is the result.

When I found this cover in my mail box, after the first “wow” marking my positive surprise and after the first smile acknowledging the humor behind the design, came a question mark: where is (are) the stamp(s)?

I did not find them at the first glance as they are very well hidden in the design. Did you find them?

If you look closely to the top right of the cover you will see that the cover is franked with a set of four identical stamps as the one pictured below.

This stamp was issued in 1978 and pictures the Hotel de Mauroy, a historical building that is now a museum, located in the nice city of Troyes.

Obviously you need to be good friend with your postal clerk when you are a mail-artist. I’m not sure that mine would accept postmarking manually a cover on which I have transformed the stamps in such a way!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Foog on UK souvenir sheet

This year is celebrated the 50th anniversary of the creation of the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature, formerly known as the World Wildlife Fund), the world’s largest independent conversation organization. At this occasion, several postal administrations have planned to issue stamps to commemorate the event. Royal Mail (UK postal administration) is no exception. On the 22nd of Mach it has issued a set of ten stamps and one souvenir sheet.

The souvenir sheet, that contains four stamps, is dedicated to animals from the Amazon rainforest. Thank you Adrian for helping me getting the sheet that I’m glad to add to my frog stamps collection.

Each stamp pictures the emblem of the WWF, the famous panda. This symbol was chosen at the creation of the WWF in 1961, when Chi-chi a panda was moved from the Beijing Zoo to London Zoo.

The stamp in the left top corner (first class rate) also pictures the Europa symbole. The theme for Europa stamp issues of 2011 is “forest” and Royal Mail takes this opportunity to cover this at the same time than the WWF anniversary.

The stamps picture endangered animals from South America. Clockwise the species that are pictured are:

  • a Red-faced spider monkey (Ateles paniscus)

  • a hyacinth macaw (Anodorhyncus hyacinthinus)

  • a Poison Dart Frog

  • a jaguar (Pathera onca)

The Poison Dart Frog is, as you can imagine, what is interesting for me in this souvenir sheet. Poison dart frog is in fact the common name of a group of frogs in the family Dendrobatidae that are native to Central and South America. They have brightly colored bodies mainly to warn potential predators that their skin is covered with a toxic substance. The toxicity of the substance varies strongly from one species to another; In fact dart frogs do not synthesize their poison but gather the chemicals from ants, mites and other preys. This is why these frogs do not carry any poison when breed in captivity. The “poison” of some species is used sometimes fro medicinal purpose. The name “poison dart frog” makes a reference to the fact that the skin of those frogs could be used by South American Indian tribes to poison the tips of their blow darts. In fact they are using different species of frogs.

The issue from Royal Mail also contains a set of ten stamps that you can see below, picturing the following species: African Elephant, Mountain Gorilla, Siberian Tiger, Polar Bear, Amur Leopard, Iberian Lynx, Red Panda, Black Rhinoceros, African Wild Dog and the Golden Lion Tamarin.

What I find a bit surprising is the big difference in the design between the stamps and the souvenir sheet that are anyway part of the same issue. Surprising, no?

When browsing the web I also found that one of the first day cancel used for this sisue pictures a frog. Here it is.

I actually did not see any FDC yet with this postmark but I rather like it?