Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Registered cover from Namibia

One month ago I wrote a post about a frog shaped souvenir sheet issued by Namibian post. As you guess, I was eager to get it for my frog stamp collection. As I do not know anybody in Namibia, I decided to try to order it from the website of the Namibian post.
After a long wait, and some mail exchange with the responsible of the philatelic service, I finally got my order! It gave me the occasion to receive my first cover from Namibia! Unfortunately it is not franked with stamps, but still, this is the first time I get mail from this country. So I decided to share it with you.

And just for the pleasure here is a scan of the sheet I received.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

800th anniversary of the cathedral of Reims (II)

Just a short post to share with you the two covers that I sent to myself as mentionned in my previous blog post.
Nice result !

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Xi'an International Horticulture Expo 2011 (II)

During my stay in Shanghai I wrote a post about the stamps issued for the Xi’an International Horticulture Expo.
I would like to share with you the following presentation pack, which is more a sort of book, dedicated to this issue.

The book contains blocks of four of the stamps issued for the occasion. It contains also three first day covers: one for each of the stamps of the set, and one for a personalized stamp with a label reusing the logo of the expo.

Monday, May 09, 2011

800th anniversary of the cathedral of Reims

I spent last weekend in Reims, the capital of Champagne, where has started the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the building of the cathedral. (I already wrote about this cathedral and its representation on stamps in an old post).

This celebration was the occasion for the French postal administration to issue a new set of stamps and to run a first day ceremony, which was the main purpose of my trip. (I know, I have written in a previous post that I would never again participate to such ceremony, but, well, this one was the occasion to go in a city that I really like and to have the opportunity to drink some champagne ;-) So I did not hesitate.)

We had a wonderful weather and there were a LOT of people for the occasion. The cathedral was free of any scaffolding, which did not happen since a long time. Here is a view of the front of the cathedral and a close up on its mist famous statue, the smiling angel, which has really become a symbol of Reims.

The first day ceremony was held in the palace of Tau, a palace located near the cathedral. Here is the entrance of the palace that led to the place where the ceremony was held.

The palace of Tau takes it name from its shape which looks like a T (in Greek the letter TAU). The palace is the place where the Archbishop of Reims is living. The palace was the place where the Kings of France were spending the days prior to their coronation in the cathedral (almost all kings of France have been crowned in the cathedral of Reims). The cathedral and the palace of Tau are a UNESCO world heritage site since 1991.

Here are people queuing in front of the booth of La Poste to buy stamps and get their covers postmarked with the first day cancel.

Here are people busy sticking the stamps on their cover.

And finally here is the mail box where you had to put your covers to be sure they would go through the postal service without additional ugly postal cancellation.

On the booth you could buy the block issued by the French post to celebrate the anniversary: a nice block of two round stamps, picturing two details of the stained glasses of the cathedral.

You could also buy the engraving of the stamps.

Additionally, the French post has issues a philatelic souvenir, re-using both stamps. Here is the cover and the souvenir.

And finally you could also purchase the philatelic document, containing a canceled version of the block, the engravings of the stamps and a text about the issue. Here is the cover of the document.

I sent two covers to myself (and also to some of you, my readers), I will show them here on my blog when I get them.

Beside the booth of the postal administration, there was a booth of the association of the “friends of the cathedral”. They were selling mint first day covers or maximum cards such as those two ones.

As if it was not enough, the French post has also issued two sets of ten pre-stamped enveloped illustrated with ten different picture of the cathedral such as this one.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

History of France (II)

Several months ago I promised, here on this blog, to show some old French stamps that I like. I started by showing you the three first stamps of a series initiated in 1996 and dedicated to the history of France. And due to lack of time, or I don’t know what, I did not show you any other stamps of the series. While sorting out pictures on my hard disk I found out the scan of the following stamps of the series and I decided that it was time to share them with you.

The three first stamps of the series issued in 1966 can be seen
here. In 1967, there other stamps have been issued in the series. Again the three stamps are dedicated to three former rulers of France, three former kings to be precise.

The first one pictures the election of the first king of France of the Capetian dynasty, Hugues Capet.

Huges Capet (939-996) was elected King of France on the 3rd of July 987 which started the largest and the oldest Europe royal house, the house of Capet.

The second stamp is rather impressive. I really find it beautiful. It is dedicated to Philippe Auguste (1165-1223), also known as Philip II of France who was king of France from 118à until his death.

The stamp pictures the king during the Bouvines battle that took place in 1214. I remember that when I was a stamp collector, I was really impressed by this stamp.

The last stamp of the 1967 issue is dedicated to Louis IX of France (1214-1270).

Also known as Saint Louis, he became king of France in 1226. He is the only king of France who has been canonized (he was canonized in 1297). The stamp pictures a very famous scene, Saint Louis rendering justice under an oak in Vincennes where he lived. Saint Louis is very often pictured in this situation. To be noted that he has given his name to a lot of places in the world, among others let’s mention the city of Saint Louis in the USA!

The series has continued for several years so I will have the pleasure to show you some others in future posts (I will try not to wait so long for next time!).

Monday, May 02, 2011

Xi'an International Horticulture Expo 2011

Last time I came to Shanghai, my attention was triggered when, going back to the airport, I saw a funny red statue on the right side of the road. I wondered what it was, but as my Chinese is rather limited ;-) I could not ask to the taxi driver. Here is a picture of the statue I saw (the picture is from the web, this is not a picture of the actual statue I saw but another copy located somewhere else).

As you know, I am curious and I kept in mind a note to try to find out. Yesterday, when I arrived in Shanghai I spent some time trying to get some information about the latest stamp issues from China. And by this, unexpectedly, I found the meaning of the red statue!

On the 28th of April 2011, the Chinese postal administration has issued a set of two stamps commemorating the International Horticulture Expo 2011 that is held in Xi’an from the 28th of April until the 20th of October.

Xi’an, the capital city and political, economic, and cultural center of Shaanxi Province, and one of the sub-provincial cities of the People’s Republic of China, is situated at the center of the Kuan-chung Plain, south of the Weihe River and north of the Qinling Mountains. You can learn more about the Horticulture Expo on the official website.

Here are the stamps.

The left stamp pictures the emblem of the expo. The emblem of the expo is a
pomegranate blossom. It embodies a series of "concentric-ring" petal shapes of increasing complexity. Each of the rings have a polygonal shape that corresponds to an important Chinese principle.

- The innermost polygonal shape of the pomegranate blossom is the triangle, which looks like the Chinese character meaning "people". And people – together with nature – are the two bearing pillars of the expo's central theme.
- The second ring is a four-sided polygonal shape – a quadrangle – that symbolizes the ancient city walls of Xi'an.
- The next polygonal one is a pentagon, symbolizing the five principles of “fengshui” that represent balance and harmony in all human endeavors.
- The final, or outer polygonal shape, is the hexagon – the characteristic shape of the snowflake – the snowflake being one of many forms that water takes, water in turn being the basis of all life on planet earth.

The second stamp pictures the mascot, which is the statue I saw! The mascot is a stylized human-like figure whose oversized head is a pomegranate that ends in a shock of "hair" – a flower, albeit, a flower that looks like a daisy.

A mystery has been solved ;-)