Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Year of the Dragon stamps from Australia

I am writing this post from my hotel room in Sydney where I spend very nice holidays.  The weather is warm and nice, even if a little bit cloudy.

Yesterday, Tuesday the 10th of January was the first day of issue of the stamps celebrating the Chinese New year, the Year of the Dragon, issued by Australian post. Of course, as you can imagine, I could not miss the opportunity to visit a post office to try to buy some of the stamps are related products.
As during my last stay in Sydney in 2009, buying stamps (well more exactly buying the stamps you want) in a post office is almost as impossible as in France! I finally found what I was looking for, at the Sydney Philatelic Center, located not very far from my hotel.
I’m not really a big fan of the stamps issued for the Chinese New Year. Very often this is only the occasion for postal administrations to draw money away from collectors. And as usual, Australian post did not hesitate: the number of philatelic items issued for the occasion is really huge! Let’s have a look to what I have seen.

First the stamp set itself.

The stamps show the development of the Chinese character for the Dragon, shown fully in the $1.80 stamp, and the way it is derived from its pictorial representation, shown in the 60c stamp. Paper cut motifs are used to represent the Dragon in the 60c stamp. The Dragon occupies a special place in the Chinese zodiac, being the only mythical creature among them. 

The stamps can also be purchased with decorated gutter.

Then there is the miniature sheet.

The miniature sheet tells the story (in Chinese and English) about the helpful, soft-hearted Dragon who, although expected to win the race because he could fly, only came fifth because he stopped during the race to create rain to break a severe drought and then aided the rabbit, a fellow competitor, by gently blowing him across the river on a raft.

Followed by the now usual zodiac sheetlet.

There is a special gold foil overprinting on the stamps, minisheet and zodiac sheetlet.

You can add on top a stamp pack that can be used as a greeting card.
 On the postal stationeries side you can find a postal card and two pre-paid envelopes.

And I don’t show you the FDCs, the prestige booklet and other miscellaneous items! Ouf!

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