Saturday, April 21, 2012

Stamp News Australasia

When I was in Australia, in January, I had the opportunity to read the current issue of « Stamp News Australasia », the main philatelic publication of the southern hemisphere. When I came back to France, I decided to subscribe to this publication as it is impossible to find it here in France. So since February, I receive every month the latest issue. Here is the cover of the April issue that I got recently.

Why do I speak about it today? Because I would like to tell you something surprising about it.  I am a subscriber of various philatelic publications that I received from various places in the world. Usually I receive the paper with a plastic cover. Sometimes I got them wrapped in a paper cover (such as Topical Times the publication of the American Topical Association). But none of them are franked with real stamps as you can imagine. But when I get Stamp News Australasia, it is in a large cover franked with stamps! Yes. Here is the example of the last one I got, bearing not less than fifteen stamps!
This is so exceptional that I though it deserved being shared here in this blog. I do not know how many peple have subscribed to this publication, but I’m really impressed that they take the time to use real stamps on their mailing…
As usual, I have spent some times finding information about the stamps used on the cover. Some of them gave me a hard time as they don’t have any indication of the year of issue, but I succeeded in identifying all of them.
Let’s starts by the 1 AUS dollar stamp located in the left top corner. The stamp has been stuck upside down. It is part of a set of three stamps issued on the 14th of September 1988 to celebrate the summer Olympic Games of Seoul.  The stamp pictures the Rhythmic Gymnastics, a discipline that has been added to the Olympic Games in 1984 in Los Angeles. The stamp pictures one of the five objects used in the Rhythmic Gymnastics, the hoop (the four others being the rope, the clubs, the ball and the ribbon).
The next stamp on the right is part of set of five stamps issued on the 28th of Sepetember 1994 dedicated to Australian Zoo animals. The stamp pictures the Asian elephants. The full set has been issued in the form of a souvenir sheet. This souvenir sheet has been overprinted for several philatelic exhibitions. You can see the full sheet and the overprinted versions on my website at
Below the two previous stamps is a block of four of the stamp that I had the hardest time to find in my catalog. It is part of a set of four stamps issued on the 24th of October 1979 about Sport fishing. The stamp pictures the surf fishing.
Below the block of four, you can see a pair of a stamp that is part of a set of four stamps issued on the 19th of August 1981. The full set pictures fungi. The stamp on the cover pictures the Armillaria luteobubalina, commonly known as the Australian honey fungus.  This mushroom, identified only in 1978, is responsible of a disease that attacks eucalyptus tree. This mushroom is edible but must be cooked to remove the bitter taste.
Then you can see a block of six stamps on the right part of the cover. This stamp has been issued on the 20th of January 1982 to celebrate the Australian day which is celebrated on the 26th of January.  I find the design of this stamp rather surprising.
The last stamp is a stamp from the Australian Antarctic Territory (stamps from ATT are also valid for postage in Australia). It is part of a set of five stamps issued on the 20th of July 1988. The set is about environment conservation and technology. It pictures hourglass dolphins and a boat called the Nella Dan.
Also to be noticed on the cover the large postmark from The Patch post office. The Patch is a small village located in the suburb of Melbourne in Victoria State.
It was really a pleasure to get this cover and I really salute Stamp News Australasia for still using real stamps on their mails. After all, this should be the same for all philatelic publications, don’t you think so? If a philatelic newspaper does not encourage using stamps by showing the example to be followed, this is a pity…

Monday, April 16, 2012

100th anniversary of the zoo of Riga

Just when I finished publishing my previous post I discovered that Latvia has just issued a nice frog stamp! It is part of a set of three stamps issued to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Riga zoo.

Here are the stamps that have been designed by the artist Ludis Danilans.

The stamp with a face value of LVL 0.35, intended for mailing a regular letter within Latvia, features the king of the animals, the lion. Lions have always a lot of success in zoos. It is sometimes considered to be the symbol of Riga as golden lions holding a shield are also depicted in the current coat of arms of Riga

The stamp with a face value of LVL 0.55, intended for mailing a regular letter within the European Union, depicts an animal which is less common : a kiang. The kiangs of Riga Zoo been part of its collection since 1957. Up until 1980 they were the only members of their species in zoos outside China. 

Finally, the stamp with a face value of LVL 0.60, intended for mailing a regular letter to any country outside the European Union, displays a tree frog. The European tree frog was included in the stamp series because of the project initiated in 1988 by the specialists of Riga Zoo for the restoration of this amphibian species in Latvia. 

The small sheet contains also a label with postal value picturing the zoo entrance.

A first day ceremony has been held in the zoo. Here is a picture of the FDC of the set.

The frog stamp has also been issued in the form of a booklet for the World Philatelic Exhibition held in Essen, Germany.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

At last… a 2012 stamp picturing a frog!

I was becoming impatient. Already April is there, and I hadn’t found any stamp issued in 2012 and picturing a frog. I was worrying for my frog stamp collection! And I finally found one, almost by accident. Ok, as you will see the frog is not the main subject of the stamp, but still, it will fit into my collection.
The stamp belongs to a self-adhesive set issued in the form of a souvenir sheet. It was issued by South Korea on the 22nd of February 2012 as the second issue of the “Korean-made characters series”. Here is a picture of the full sheet.

The sheet is dedicated to Pucca, a famous Korean character of animated movies. Pucca is the youngest daughter of the owner of a Chinese restaurant. One day, on her way to Suga Village to make a delivery she comes across Garu and falls in love with him at first sight. The animation “Pucca” tells about the love story between Pucca and Garu, who is very focused on martial art training in an effort to fulfill his late father’s will.

From left to right and top to bottom, the characters pictured on the stamps are:
- Ssoso who comes down from Shaolin Temple where he was training in martial art
- Abyo, Garu’s best friend
- Pucca herself
- Garu
- Ching, Pucca’s best friend
- Bruce, Abyo’s father who is a policeman
- Ho-oh a chef of a bracnh of Pucca’s father restaurant
- Santa a frind of Pucca
- Nini aother friend of Pucca
- Woo-Whu another chef

If you have a closer look at the second stamp, teh one picturing Abyo, you can see a frog in the background!

Launched in 2000, the character “Pucca” has created a sensation. Projecting the image of a strong woman who aggressively pursues her love, Pucca succeeded in attracting the interest of female customers in their 20s and 30s in the character market which used to be dominated by lower-aged customers, and successfully created a new trend. Pucca also advanced into overseas markets after making contract with world-renowned companies like Walt Disney and Warner Brothers. Now Pucca has grown into a world-famous brand that sells its 3,000 or so products in 150 countries around the world.
On top of the stamps, the souvenir sheet contains various stickers that can be used for decoration.
Let me also show you the first souvenir sheet of the series, issued in 2011 and dedicated to another Korean-made character: Pororo the little penguin.

I got the “Pucca” souvenir sheet on an auction website and I would like to share with you also the nice cover used by the seller to send me the item. The cover is a bit larger than my scanner therefore it appears a bit truncated.

As you can see, the sender used a nice set of stamps on this registered cover sent from Korea.
On the top you can see the top of a stamp sheet containing a stamp issued on the 22nd of April 2009. The stamp belongs to a set of two stamps celebrating “Asia becoming one through stamps”. The set is illustrated by children’s drawings, here is a picture of the second stamp of the set.

The sender also used several times the same pair of stamps to frank the cover. This set of two stamps was issued on the 9th of March 2012 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Colombia. This set is part of a joint issue with Colombia and features the representative crops of the two countries: ginseng for Korea and coffee for Colombia.

To be complete let’s mention the small stamp that is part of the definitive series. I could not find the exact date of issue of this one.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Simple and nice cover from Japan

Some people don’t like when they receive a cover franked with “old” stamps (by old I mean stamps that have been issued more than 10 or 20 years ago). They consider that a modern cover should be franked only with recent stamps to be interested. I even got some comments on this blog in this direction. I have a different opinion. As far as stamps are still valid for postage, I do not see why they should not be used on a cover. This is the case for the cover received from Japan that I have chosen to share with you today. This is a very simple cover, but I find it really nice. And it is franked with stamps that have been issued more than twenty years ago.

Here is the cover.

It looks simple but nice, isn’t it?

The stamp on the far right was issued on the 5th of December 1983 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of universal declaration of human rights.  The very well known declaration was adopted on the 10th of December 1948 by a United Nations assembly held in Paris. The 35th anniversary has been celebrated by other postal administrations but I’m not completely sure I understand the choice of the design for the Japanese stamp. Anybody knows?

The next stamp on the left was issued on the 19th of May 1984. It is part of a long lasting series about the National reforestation campaign (I think the first stamp in this series was issued in 1971)
The stamp pictures a cedar forest and the Sakurajima volcano.

The next stamp was issued on the 19th of February 1984 to celebrate TSUKUBA’85 the international exposition that was held in Tsukuba from the 17th of March to the 16th of September. This world’s fair gathered 111 countries and received more that 20 millions visitors. The theme of the exposition was “Dwellings and surroundings – Science and Technology for Man at home”. This was the third world’s fair organized by Japan after Osaka in 1970 and Okinawa in 1975 and before Nagoya in 2005.

The stamp pictures Cosmo Hoshimaru, the official mascot of the exposition.

It was designed by Maki Takagaki, a junior high school student and was chosen through a nationwide competition. I think the mascot is pretty cute, no?

Finally the last stamp is a definitive stamp that I already presented in my blog.

At the end of the day, it gives a very nice cover I think.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Nice frog maximum card from Mount Athos

Some times ago I shared with you a nice set of stamps from Mount Athos including a frog stamp. Today I would like to share with you the very nice maximum card I received. Thank you Spyros for this sending. 

The card reuses the same design that the stamp and bears a very nice gold postmark!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Farming in Australia

On the 20th of March, the Australian postal administration has issued a set of stamps that appealed to me as one stamp fits to my cow stamp collection. The set contains five stamps and is celebrating different farming industries.

The first stamp is dedicated to the dairy industry and pictures very nice cows.

Dairy industry is a major rural industry in Australia after beef and wheat industries. Australia also produces a lot of different type of cheeses (I had the opportunity to taste some of them when I was there). Two species of cows are mainly found in Australia: the Holstein Friesian and the Jersey cow. I think this is the last one that is pictured on the stamp. 

The second stamp pictures the pinapple, which is orignating from South America but is cultivated now in Queensland and New South Wales. It has been introduced in Brisbane in 1838.

The third stamp pays tribute to the wine industry. 

Australia is among the top 10 wine growing countries. Shiraz, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon are the grape varities that are the most cultivated in Australia.

Sunflowers are pictures on the fourth stamp. Originating from North America, they are grown mainly in Queensland and New South Wales. The seeds are used in the oil industry.

The last stamp pictures apple trees. I guess the apple type that is pictured here is the Pink Lady which is highly cultivated in Australia. 

The set of stamps is available in a presentation pack that I found very nice.

Here is the official FDC and the maximum card.