Tuesday, 25 November 2008

New Czech stamp - November 2008 - II.

A stamp issued today, 25 November 2008 - the Czech EU Chairmanship (January - June 2009), print-run 1,000,000 [edited], an offset-printed stamp. There are 30 stamps in a sheet and 30 coupons to go with them.

Postcard from South Dakota, USA

A year ago, on 20 November 2007, I received this interesting postcard from Deadwood, in South Dakota, USA. Deadwood is a small town of 1,830 souls, settled in 1876 after gold was discovered in the region. After the goldrush waned it was more or less abandoned. Now it prospers due to tourism and legal gambling casinos. People like Calamity Jane are connected with its history.

The stamps present a nice combination of the old and new, as the Czechoslovakian flag stamp was issued in 1943 as part of a series dedicated to nations occupied during WW2 and the two self-adhesives (1c - Tiffany lamp and 84c - Yosemite National Park) are part of current series of American definitives.

The stamps are not cancelled by the usual automatic difficult-to-read smudgy print, but by a nice old-fashioned mechanical round postmark. The air-mail label looks Romanian in its origin. Thank you B. for this great surprise!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Cover from Belgium no. 2

On 7 October 2008 I received this nice cover from Thomas, from Ieper, Belgium (sent on 4/10/2008). The bird stamps from the well-known birds definitives series feature: the 5c stamps - wintertaling (sarcelle d'hiver - winter teal) and the 10c stamp - heggemus (accenteur mouchet - hedge sparrow). The large commemorative stamp of 0.60 euro is taken from a miniature sheet dedicated to Renaissance composers (issued on 23 January 2006) and presents Jacob Obrecht (1457/8 - 1505), Flemish composer of sacred music. Thank you, Thomas!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Postcard from China

On 24 April 2008 I received this nice postcard from China (I can't read the postmark, but I presume it was posted in Beijing), sent 10 days earlier. It shows the Lingyan Mountain Villa at the foot of the Lingyan Hill.

The three great stamps are part of two series. The fish stamp (Chinese sturgeon - Acipenser sinensis) was issued on 25 February 2000 in a wildlife souvenir sheet; the two paintings (issued on 14 March 1997) are by Pan Tianshou (1897 - 1971), Chinese calligrapher and painter. The left stamp is called "Sleeping Cats" and the right one "A Corner of Lingyan Brook", and may be associated with the Lingyan in the postcard.

There are two postmarks on the stamps: a red machine one and a black hand-cancellation.

Thank you A.!

Airmail letter from Jamaica

I received this letter back in 1994. It was sent on 29 November 1994 from Christiana, Jamaica, and reached me on 14 December. The 1.10 Jamaican dollar stamp features Giant swallowtail (Papilio homerus), one of the four-stamp series issued in 1994. Thanks N.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Cover from Singapore

I received this lovely cover on 14 November 2008, with two different postmarks of the Singpex, the Asian Internation Philatelic Exhibition held in Singapore on 6-9 November 2008. The postmark cancelling the stamps bears the date 8 November 2008.

The envelope is the first day cover for a series of stamps depicting Cash Crops of Early Singapore (issue date 12/11/2008), however, the stamps stuck on it were issued earlier... the Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin stamp (1st local tariff) was introduced on 22 March 2006 and is part of a series called Undersea World. The two electric tram definitive stamps (30c) were issued in 1997 along with others in a transport series, and the 30c Pearlscale butterflyfish (Chaetodon xanthurus) is from 2001.

My thanks for this great exotic letter go to Nick!

Postcard from Denmark

Today (21 November 2008) I received another mail from Denmark, this time a postcard showing a sunset over the harbour of the city of Aalborg in the north of the country. Aalborg is the fourth largest Danish city with a population of about 120,000. The postmark is not legible, so I cannot say how long this card travelled to me.

And I find here another great stamp! It was issued on 29 March 2006 as one of the two Danish stamps in the Norden series of Nordic Mythology 2. It features a nice set of mythic beasts: two mares (at the top), a ghost horse in the middle, a goblin and a troll next to it, and two werewolves at the bottom. The stamp looks a bit crazy in its colouring, but is charming in its own way. Thank you N.!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Letter from Denmark

I love surprises and like the feeling of discovering what the postwoman brought me in the great lottery of unexpected mail. Today (20 November 2008) I found in the mail-box this letter from Denmark (stamped 18/11/2008 - superfast Scandinavian delivery). Leaving aside the Christmas postal labels, I became mesmerised by this weird photo by Krass Clement on a stamp issued on 27 August 2008, in a Danish photo-art series. I didn't know this Danish photographer, but this picture of his is a winner for me. As the Photography Encyclopedia says, "his work is close to the street and the decisive moment, melancholic, voyeuristic, nocturnal, and confrontational." I find echoes of the German expressionism there, Kafka and David Lynch, things which resonate in me. And then there is the person opening the door...

Thank you Ch.!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Postcard from Sweden

On 13 November 2008 I received this nice postcard from Sweden. It shows the forest district near Jokkmokk (north of the Polar Circle), part of the UNESCO-protected Laponian area.

The beautiful stamp shows the ketch Gratitude from a series dedicated to sailing ship issued on 15 May 2008. It was engraved by Martin Morck. The hand-cancellation is a bit on the simple side and does not contain much useful information, but even this is a real postal operation.

Thank you M.!

Postcard from the Netherlands 2

I received this postcard on 18 August 2008 from Rotterdam, the Netherlands (sent 12/8/2008). It shows one of the Dutch UNESCO sites - the Beemsterpolder in the west, created in 1612, in fact a plain reclaimed from the sea, drained by means of windmills. It has preserved intact its well-ordered landscape of fields, roads, canals, dykes and settlements, laid out in accordance with classical and Renaissance planning principles.

The two stamps are part of a 1995 summer series dedicated to seniors and their mobility (70c + 35 c and 45c + 100c). The first one (stamp-in-a-stamp) shows a letter sent to Holland from Indonesia (featuring an Indonesian stamp), the other one a couple of grandparents and their grandson in a zoo in front of a zebra.

Thank you J. for this one!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Megacover from France!

Another treat from Eric! The souvenir-sheet dedicated to Prague, complete with a great postmark of the first day of issue, the 7 November 2008. The four stamps show Malostranská věž (Tour du Petit Coté - Lesser Town Tower), orloj (Horloge astronomique - Astronomical clock), Pražský hrad (Le Chateau - The Castle), and kostel Panny Marie před Týnem (Église Notre-Dame de Týn - The Church of Our Lady of Týn). I myself live 300 kms from Prague, but all these places are very close to my heart, and it is very pleasant to see them depicted on French stamps:-)

AND, then there is the large 1.33 euro stamp featuring a picture by Honoré Daumier, 19th century French painter and caricaturist. The stamp is minutely engraved and catches in detail faces and postures of eager people queuing in front of a theatre box-office. The stamp is simply amazing, a vivid illustration, a small piece of art, also accompanied by the postmark of "le premier jour".

Thank you very much, Eric! I keep returning to this cover to savour the beauty of it.

Letter from Cuba

Letter received on 16 June 2008 after 47 days of travelling from Cuba. (The letter is postmarked on the rear - the barely legible, and unscannable, machine postmark says: GERENCIA CAMBIO INTERNACIONAL, date: 30.04.208 - CORREOS DE CUBA).

The first stamp shows photos of turkeys, from the 2006 series "Aves de Corral" (farmyard birds). The other one commemorates the 30th Anniversary of the OPEP Fund (Organizacion de Países Exportadores de Petroleo) for International Development and shows the waste treatment plant "María del Carmen" and was issued in 2006 as well. Unfortunately, I was not able to find more information concerning these stamps.

Muchas gracias, L.!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Postcard from Kazakhstan

On Friday, 14 November 2008, I received this panoramic postcard from the Central-Asian Republic of Kazakhstan. It was sent from Almaty on 8/11/2008 and thus reached me in 6 days. The breathtaking view is of the canyon of the Charyn River, some 200 kms east from Almaty. The influence of winds and water shaped the sandstone rocks to fanciful shapes so that parts of the canyon are called the Valley of Castles, the Devil's Gorge and the Ghosts Gorge.

The first in the row of definitive stamps is dedicated to the poet M. Makatayev, and was issued on 29 November 2006, with print run of 5,160,000.

The swallow ("Bird of the Year 2007") stamp was issued on 15 November 2007, print run 3,519,000.

And the coat-of-arms stamp (Karagandy City) appeared on 10 December 2007 in the amount of 5,400,000 pieces.

My thanks go Jo for adding this new country to my collection.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Retro cover from Italy

Oh no, this letter is not from the 1970s, but sent and received in November 2008, or more specifially sent on 4/11/2008 from Belluno (Veneto) and received here in the Czech Republic on 13/11/2008.

The two EUROPA stamps from 1970 (L. 50 and L. 90) represent the sun composed of 24 interwoven fibres - 1 for each 1970 CEPT member. The large lion stamps (L. 50) was part of a series dedicated to saving the city of Venice (salviamo Venezia, 1973), and the letter stamp (stamp-in-a-stamp motif) from 1968 reminded people of the use of the postal codes (the stamp is repeated as the cancelled stamp on the letter).

I hope the postal workers were not confused by the Czech name of my country on the envelope;-)

Thank you very much, L.!

Postcard from Mauritius

On 15 August 2008 I received this nice postcard sent on 24 July 2008 from Nouvelle France in Mauritius. It shows the mountain of Le Morne jutting into the Indian Ocean in the southwest of the island, proclaimed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, and used as a shelter by runaway slaves, maroons, through the 18th and early years of the 19th centuries.

Interestingly, the 2007 stamp commemorating the arrival of Manillal Doctor in 1907 is also connected to the fight of the local oppressed classes against tyrants, as Manillal Doctor, an Indian lawyer, was sent by Mohandas Gandhi (later Mahatma Gandhi) to Port Louis in 1907 to organise the indentured labourers who had no say in politics and no civil rights.

Thank you W. for this historic excursion!

Friday, 14 November 2008

Five-stamp cover from Bulgaria

On Wednesday 12 November 2008 I received this great letter from Sofia, Bulgaria (sent on 7/11/2008). It features the total of 5 stamps from 3 various series.

The airplanes were issued on 27 April 2007 in a series dedicated to the history of Bulgarian air forces (0.10 leva - DAR 3 - Garvan, 0.35 leva - DAR 9 - Siniger), print run 20,000 each.

The flowers (0.10 leva - Saponaria stranjensis and 0.35 leva - Trachystemon orientalis) are part of the Plants of Strandja Mountains (southeastern Bulgaria) series issued on 28 July 2006 in 2 tete-beche blocks of 4 stamps in one sheet, with print-run of 12,500 sheets.

The kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) with the value of 0.10 leva, with the eagle Aquila chrysaetos on the border, is part of the protected Birds series issued on 11 September 2007 in the amount of 20,000 pieces.

Well, an exemplary presentation of one's country:-) Thank you L. for this letter.

Postcard with a matching stamp from France

Today I received this nice postcard of the UNESCO listed centre of Le Havre in Normandy. The city suffered massive damages in bombings in September 1944 and had to be rebuilt, which job was carried out by the famous French architect Auguste Perret (1874-1954), using concrete and applying his bold and fresh ideas.

The modern town hall is represented also on the stamp issued this year. The other round stamp has a rather cryptic text "Je suis sport" ("I am sport"). The card was hand-cancelled on 10 November 2008 in St. Pierre du Perray in the départment of Essonne near Paris. Thank you very much S.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Time-travelling cover from France

France in its many aspects is presented on this great cover sent on 2 June 2008 from Saint-Etienne. The distant mammoth era can be seen on a stamp taken from a miniature sheet dedicated to prehistoric animals. The traditions are represented by the pink letter-writing EUROPA 2008 stamp with the motif of a plume and the stamp with the bridge over the Rhone in Lyon rebuilt in homage to the fallen in WW2 and the two small denomination Mariannes. The stamp with the heart commemorates the 20th anniversary of the first heart transplantation in Europe which took place in 1968. All this complemented by special postmarks of the philatelic burean of the St Etienne Grand Poste. My thanks go to Eric!