Saturday, June 18, 2011

Frogs from Singapore

I haven’t been very active on this blog these last days because I have been quite busy with my new blog and with the preparation of the covers for my “frogs of the world” challenge. Thank you very much for those who already proposed to help me on this. Covers are going to be sent soon. Also I was supposed to spend the whole week in China for business trip but Air France did its best to prevent me from flying to Shanghai: on Saturday after hours of waiting my flight was cancel without any satisfying backup proposed by Air France. So I cancelled the whole mission, but my professional schedule is therefore a bit disorganized.

Few days ago, I received a registered cover from Singapore and it reminded me that I did not share yet on this blog the stamps I recently bought from Singapore Post for my frog stamps collection. I would like to close this gap with this post.

But first let me show you the cover that bears four stamps (and an impressive number of cancellations…)

The two similar stamps on the right side are part of a set of six stamps issued on the 9th of March 2010. This set is an invitation to remember the joy of childhood by picturing playgrounds. Here is a picture of the full set, coming from the website of Singapore post.

In fact this picture is extracted from the brochure announcing the issue. Interestingly the stamps on the brochure seems to be inscribed “2009” whereas the final stamps are inscribed 2010. Probably the issue of the set has been postponed…

The two other stamps are part of a set issued on the 13th of April 2011 and picturing the fauna and flora that can be found a round a pond. The set contains ten stamps. I recently purchased the presentation pack of this issue. Here is the cover of the presentation pack, when it is folded. I like this cover, and not only because it contains a frog ;-)

And here the presentation pack unfolded, with the ten stamps inside.

Two stamps picturing flora are on the top raw. They picture respectively (from left to right):

- the fragrant water lilies (Nymphaea odorata)
- the water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)

I have always liked water lilies. I think they are really nice.

On the second row, the stamps picture respectively (from left to right):

- the white collared kingfisher (Todirhamphus chloris)
- the diving beetle (Cybister rugosus)
- the common redbolt (Rhodothemis rufa)
- the orange-tailed marsh dart (Ceriagrion cerinorubellum)

On the third row the stamps picture:

- the black marsh terrapin (Siebenrockiella crassicollis) also known as the smiling terrapin
- the white breasted water hen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)
- the common green frog (Rana erythraea)
- the common asian toad (Bufo melanostictus)

As you can imagine, the two last stamps are the one that triggered my interest.

The set also contains a souvenir sheet that I also bought in a presentation pack. Here is the cover of the pack.

Here is the sheet.

I also bought the FDC of the issue.

Note the nice frog on the first day postmark.

Here is also a FDC that I received from Velu (Thank you very much Velu), together with a piece of paper where the postal clerk has tried the postmark several times. It gives an interesting item for my collection.

I had the opportunity to read an article written by Eric Kong who designed the stamps and the sheet. It was very interesting to see how, to design the set, he used his childhood memories, when he was used to walk around ponds and observe the flora and the fauna of such places. He explained how he could play with the green frog or how he could run after the water hen. I really like when you can get the testimony of the designer of a stamp. I think it gives an interesting viewpoint on the issue and helps understanding how the stamps have been created.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Frogs of the world challenge: a call for help

This post will take the shape of a call for help, help for a (sort of) mail-art project that I just initiated. I called it “frogs of the world challenge”. Here is the idea. My challenge is to receive from as many countries as possible, a cover that I designed in the following way:
- the cover is illustrated with a drawing of a frog, decorated with the flag of the country
- below the frog is written “frog” in the language of the country

As you can imagine I have already started sending such covers to myself during some of my trips. Here are the two first examples that I sent to myself, one from China and one from Wales. I also took a picture of the mailboxes in which I posted the cover.

I should get one soon from Romania and Ireland thanks to help of some friends.

If you want to help me in this project, here is what you should do. Contact me by
email and send me:
- your postal address
- the translation of the word ‘frog” in the language(s) of your country
- if you have a specific topic that you collect, let me know also

I will send you a letter from France that will include a cover I will have designed in the model show above, but adapted to your country. The only thing you will have to do it to put a stamp on cover and send it back to me.
If you could take a picture of the mailbox from where you sent the cover it is even better.
Of course I will pay for the stamp (I can send you mint French stamps in exchange if you are interested or other things. Just tell me what you would like).

I will display the covers I will get in a dedicated blog that I’m setting up around mail-art.

A big thank you in advance to all who accept to help me in this project.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

First day cover from USA

I have received through the CCCC a very nice fist day cover from the USA that I would like to share with you today.

The two large stamps have been issued on the 12th of April 2011. These two stamps are the first part of a series that will run through 2015 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. Two stamps are going to be issued each year.
Both stamps on the cover picture battles that took place in 1861 at the beginning of the war. The one on the right side commemorate Fort Sumter battle. Fort Sumter that is located in South Carolina was the place of a battle that marked the beginning of the American Civil War in 1861. The stamp is a reproduction of a “Currier & Ives” lithograph, circa 1861, titled "Bombardment of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor."
The one on the left side pictures the First Bull Run battle that was fought on the 21st of July 1861 and was the bloodiest battle in American history up to that point. The stamp is a reproduction of a 1964 painting by Sidney E. King titled "The Capture of Rickett’s Battery."
The stamps are issued in the form of a souvenir sheet containing twelve stamps (six of each design) as shown below on the picture coming form USPS website.

The first day ceremony was held in Charleston, SC. The postmark design, which features a shield containing stripes, a single star, and the date "1861." Was inspired by corps badges and military insignia.
To be noted that both stamps are “forever” stamps, i.e. with no denomination and valid forever for a one-ounce letter (forever stamps have been introduced in 2007 in USA for definitive stamps and have been extended to commemorative stamps this year only).

The last stamp on the cover is part of the American Design series. It was issued in January 2003. The same design was reused in 2006 and 2010. The stamp features an artistic rendering of a banjo clock. Constructed of brass and steel, the banjo clock depicted on the stamp was made by Simon Willard (1753-1848) a famous clock maker.

Monday, June 06, 2011

A nice cover from Poland

Still very busy despite a very nice four days weekend that has run so quickly...

For today, just a short post to share with you a nice cover I received from Poland. A nice cover for bidrs stamp collectors.

The cover is franked with the top of a souvenir sheet containing eight stamps that has been issued on the 31st October 2003. The full sheet was included in the cover.

The stamps picture an endangered bird, the osprey (Pandion haliaetus). Each stamp bears the WWF logo in the bottom left corner. A nice sheet I think.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

A French stamp with a cow, a FDC and a mail-art puzzle…

(I haven’t bee very active on this blog in the last two weeks, sorry for this. But I have been very busy and some personal issues have eaten all my free time preventing from taking care of my stamps. Hopefully now everything is back to normal.)

On the 16th of May 2011, the French postal administration has issued a stamp that falls into my collection of cows on stamps! This stamp commemorates the 250th anniversary of the creation of the first veterinary school in the world.

The first veterinary school has been created in 1761 in Lyon by Claude Bourgelat (1712-1779). The portrait of Bourgelat is pictured on the stamp with a cow in the background.
To be noticed that this stamp has been designed by Sophie Beaujard and has been engraved by her father (who has created the current French definitive stamps), hence the presence of the two names in the right and left bottom corners!

My friend
Eric has participated to the first day ceremony of this stamp issue and has sent me a First Day Cover bearing the very nice first day cancel and also the signature of Sophie Beaujard the designer of the stamp. Thank you very much Eric for this very nice cover.

As you can see, the French post, once again, didn’t respect this philatelic item and has spoiled it with an ugly mechanical cancellation. The same thing that happened to me earlier in the year (read here). The same has happened to Eric (read here). What a pity.

This stamp has inspired by friend Philippe Charron, the mail artist I have already mentioned several times on this blog. He has sent me a mail-art puzzle, made of six pieces. I have received one piece every day, and only after the 6th day I was able to enjoy the full drawing. It was not easy to scan and to present in one picture but here it is.

Nice, isn’t it? Each piece of the puzzle is a sort of postcard franked with the stamp os today’s post.
The drawing is around a word play that only works in French. In French a milk cow is said “une vache à lait” (vache=cow, lait=milk). “Lait”, when pronounced, sounds that the beginning of “Lettres”, the French word for “letters”. So Philippe transformed the “vache à lait” into a “vache à lettres” (a letter cow), picturing a cow that produces letters and words instead of milk. Don’t know if my explaination is very clear, but it does not prevent from enjoying the work of Philippe!