Monday, August 29, 2011

Registered cover and stamps from Iraq

I have been rather busy these days and I was not able to update my blog since almost two weeks. What a pity. At last I found some free time tonight to write this post.

Today I would like to share with you a registered cover I received from Iraq and also some mint stamps from the same country. The cover arrived rather damaged from the transport in the postal service, some stamps being torn, but I decided to share it with you anyway as it is quite rare for me to receive mails from this country. The cover is quite large so it did not fit into my scanner. But let me show you the picture.

The first thing that you can notice is the part of a stamp sheet that has been used to frank the cover. A mint copy of the full sheet was included in the cover so I’m able to show you the complete thing.

The sheet contains eight different stamps. The set was issued on the 28th of June 2010 and pictures prehistoric fauna. The sheet is rather impressive, but I must admit that this is not really the type of stamps I would have expected from Iraq. Together with the sheet, two additional large imperforated stamps have been issued. Here they are.

These two items are rather strange for me. I don’t know if they should be used as normal stamps?

Not less that eight different stamps have been used to frank the cover. From left to right and top to bottom, here are some details on the stamps.

The first one was torn during the transport, so here is an image of the stamp.

This stamp is a part of three stamps issued in 2009. The set celebrates the FIFA Confederation Cup organized in South Africa in 2009. Brazil has won this international soccer competition and it was the first participation of Iraq.

The second stamp is also torn. Here is a proper image

The stamp is part of a set of 2007 stamps picturing birds. The one which is just below on the cover also belongs to the same set. The stamp on the top pictures Pin-tailed sandgrouses (Pterocles alchata) while the second stamp pictures the Olive Bee-eater (Merops superciliosus). The full set contains eight stamps.

The two next stamps on the cover belong to a set from 2007 picturing personalities from Iraq. The full set contains four stamps.

The first stamp on the second row is part of a 2007 set containing one stamp and one souvenir sheet and dedicated to flora. The stamp on the cover pictures violets.

The square stamp gave me some hard time for identification. I finally found out that it is part of set of three stamps celebrating the national reconciliation.

The last one is part of a set of stamps picturing musicians. The stamp is also torn in the corner. Here is the stamp as it was issued, se-tenant with another stamp.

The cover bears two different postmarks, the second one picturing the map of Iraq.

Finally here is another set of stamps issued recently by Iraq which is now part to my frog collection. The set was issued in 2010 for the year of the biodiversity. It contains four stamps and a souvenir sheet.

The souvenir sheet pictures a frog in the border, hence my interest in this issue!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A very nice FDC from USA

As promised, no frog, no toad today… only a mockingbird ;-)

I have received a very nice FRC from USA some months ago already but I never took the time to search for information on the stamp and the postmark. I spent some times yesterday to correct this mistake and I’m happy to share with you my findings.
First let’s have a look to the cove itself.

The stamp used on the cover was issued on the 28th of April 2011 by the American postal administration (USPS). This is the 17th stamp in the “Legends of Hollywood” series and pictures Gregory Peck (1916-2003).
I guess I don’t need to tell you who Gregory Peck was! He started his acting career on stage and made his first movie in 1944 (Days of glory). He has played in more than 60 movies. He reminds me my childhood, when I was watching some of his movies on the familial black & white TV, such as “Moby Dick” (1956), “The Guns of Navarone” (1961) or the very nice “Roman Holidays” (1953).

A first day ceremony of this stamp was held in Monroeville, Alabama. The postmark on the cover is the one from this first day ceremony.
Monroeville is a city located in the Monroe County. This city is famous for being the hometown of Harper Lee an author who won in 1961 the Pulitzer Prize for her novel “To kill a mocking bird”. The novel, published in 1960, is based on an event that took place in 1936 in her hometown when she was 10. It tells the story of a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman. It is a story about injustice, racism and has become a classic of the American modern literature. The mockingbird mentioned in the title is used in the novel to symbolize innocence (hence the bird on the postmark).

In 1997 the city of Monroeville has been designated by the Alabama legislature as the literary capital of Alabama (see the postmark), because several other famous writers were born or have lived there (e.g. Truman Capote)

In 1962, “To kill a mocking bird” became a movie. I’m sure you guess who played the main role? Gregory Peck! The picture used on the stamp is a picture from the movie, with Peck playing Atticus Finch, the advocate who defends the black man falsely accused. Peck won an Oscar for this role in 1962 (this is the only Oscar he received, despite having been nominated five times during his career). The movie also won two other Oscars, an award in Cannes festival and several Golden globes. The movies has been shot in Monreoville, partly in the Monroe County house which is also pictured on the postmark.

Now you see the link between the stamp and the postmark. I must admit that I do not remember having seen this movie (and I surely did not read the novel) but all what I found about it while preparing this post, made me feel like repair this omission.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Toad postmark from Germany

I know, I know. This is the third posts in a row about frog and toads. I swear that next post will cover a different subject ;-) Bu today I really wanted to share with you the very nice cover I received from Uwe from Germany. Thank you very much Uwe.

Here is the cover.

The very nice postmark on the cover celebrates the well known festival of Bayreuth that is held from the 25th of July until the 28th of August. The ugly toad pictured on the postmark comes from the opera “Das Rheingold” (The Rhine gold), the first of the four operas that constitutes Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungeng (The Ring of the Nibelung). Why a toad? Because in this opera, Alberich, a Nibelung dwarf, is transformed into a toad.

Uwe used two nice stamps on his cover. The small one is part of the definitive flower series and pictures a marigold.

The larger one has been issued on the 7th of July 2011 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the publication of the tales about Till Eulenspiegel. Till Eulenspiegel is a character from German folklore, an imaginary figure who appears in a cycle of tales that were popular in the Middle Ages. In the stories, Till is presented as a fool who plays jokes on his contemporaries. The earliest printed edition of these tales is from 1511.

Literally Eulenspiegel means “owl mirror” two symbols that are often used when picturing the character, as it is the case on the stamp also. On the stamp Till is pictured together with a lot of “objects” that he uses for his tricks to fool other people.

The stamp was issued in small colorful sheets.

This anniversary was also celebrated with the issue of a coin.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Irish animals definitive series

To stay in the « frog » topic, I would like to share with you my latest acquisition. This is a set of eight self-adhesive stamps issued bu Irish post on the 21st of July 2011. This set if part of the definitive series about Irish animals and marine life and is the second one in the series (the first set was issued on the 8th fo September 2010).

Each stamp of the set contains a pictures on an animal, and, overall, the stamps look more like labels from automatic machines than like actual stamps, don’t you think so?

Nevertheless I find this series rather attractive and the fact that the second issue contains a frog stamp re-enforces my interest.

Here are the eight stamps of the set.

From left to right and top to bottom the animals that are pictures are:

- the green huntsman spider (Micrommata virescens)

- the beadlet anemone (Actinia equina) which is a common sea anemone

- the elephant hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor), a moth that takes its name from its large size

- the squat lobster (Munida rugosa) which, despite its name, is more a crab than a lobser

- the European goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

- the cuckoo wrasse (Labrus mixtus)

- the red deer (Cervus elaphus)

- the European common frog (Rana temporaria)

Interestingly the European Common Frog has long been thought to be an entirely introduced species in Ireland; however, recent genetic analyses suggest that particular populations in the south west of Ireland are indeed indigenous to the country.

I will soon travel to Dublin for a three days weekend to attend a rugby test match between France and Ireland. I will for sure try to send some covers using these very nice stamps…

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Would you like to be my valentine?

Strange title, I know ;-) But it has to do with the item I have selected for today’s post.

I already explained in this blog that one of the funny thing when you are a topical (or thematic) collector, and when your open your collection to all philatelic items, is that you sometimes find unusual and interesting items. Some years ago I have decided to include postal stationeries into my frog collection, and today I would like to share with you one of the latest I got.

The item is a lettergram, issued by Australian post. A lettergram was a service provided by Australian post at the end of the 80’s or beginning of the 90’s that allowed you to send a telegram through the postal service. If I understood well, you had to call a specific number and dictate your message. Then the message was printed and put in a cover sent through the postal service. To mark some specific events (birth of a new baby, anniversary, etc etc) the Australian post has issued decorated covers to be used for this service. This is the case of the item below, who
is a lettergram and a valentine card at the same time.

Here if the front side.
It’s not so easy to se on the scan, but there is a rectangle “window” that lets appear the address of the recipient when the message is put in the cover. The cover is not made of paper, but of a thick cardboard and looks more like a greeting cards.
The printed stamp is not really a stamp but just a logo to indicate the postage paid.
When you open the cover you see this.

You understand why it goes into my frog collection ;-)
Again it’s hard to see, but on the left part you can insert the message to be sent.

On the back side there is nothing else than the logo of Australian post and the phone number that should be called for the lettergram service.
I think the Australian post discontinued the service in 1993. I do not know for how long it was opened and how many types of similar items were available. If you have any information on this I would be happy to hear from you.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

News from the Frogs of the world challenge

As promised some times ago, I would like to give you an update of my challenge called “Frogs of the world challenge”. So far, thanks to Nasia, Henderica, Claire, Melissa, Adrian, Andryi, David and George, I was able to get frog covers from twelve countries: Australia, China (PRC), Cyprus, Canada, England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Scotland, Taiwain, USA and Wales.

Some more are on their way from India, Romania and Ireland.

Here is, for instance, the one I got from Taiwan and sent by George.

It is nice, isn’t it? George had the nice idea to post the letter on the 14th of July, the “bastille day”, i.e. the French National day. The main purpose of the challenge is not really a philatelic one, but I can not prevent myself from speaking about the nice stamps George used on the cover (by the way all senders have taken care of using nice stamps when sending me back the frog cover and I would like to thank them all again for that).

The four stamps used by George have been issued on the 26th of August 2009. This set is part of a series about Children folk rhymes. Previous stamps in this series have been issued in April 1998, April 1999 and April 2001. Each stamp of the series pictures a Children popular song. The ones on the cover are: Little girl and her doll, Train, Thunder shower, Kingdom of dolls. I like the stamps of this series; they are really colorful (by the way one of the stamps of the 1998 issue is part of my frog stamp collection!). It is a pity that I could not find details on the songs that are pictured on the whole series.

My complete collection can be viewed here.

If you want to help me in this challenge, then it is simple: drop me a mail and I will give you all the details.