Saturday, 31 January 2009

Cover from Portugal no. 3

Cover received on 20 October 2008 from somewhere in Portugal. Due to the weak printed cancellation I cannot read the date either.

But the set of stamps is impressive. A pair of oxen with a carriage (carrocao) is depicted on the smaller black-and-white definitive issued on 30 March 2007. The two unusually coloured larger stamps are taken from one of the 3 sheets issued on 14 June 2007 in cooperation with the Portuguese Ministry of Culture, which show 7 wonders of Portugal (21 stamps in total!) - these two are: Ruins of the Roman settlement in Conimbriga and Batalha Monastery (Portuguese UNESCO World Heritage site). My cup of tea. Thank you, Joao.

Postcard from Zlín, Czech Republic

Postcard of the city of Zlín, the seat of the region where I live, called Zlínský kraj (there are 13 regions in the CR + the capital of Prague). The front of the card shows the towerhall and the main square plus the coat of arms of the region (top), the coat of arms of the city (bottom) and coats of arms of all the remaining towns in the region. In my opinion, for us coat-of-arms lovers, this is the best line of postcards published in the Czech Republic nowadays (the publisher's catalogue with the production covering almost the whole of the CR can be found: here. Luckily, they can be bought almost everywhere. It would be nice to collect them all, sent from the place they show...

Zlín is known here as "Bata City", because the world-famous shoe company was founded here, and now the main avenue bears the founder's name (Tomas Bata Avenue), as well as the local university.

The single 10 CZK stamp was issued on 19 December 2007 (print-run 700,000) on the occasion of our country's entering the Schengen Area, the zone of free movement of people within the European Union. Evropou volnou cestou means something like "freely within Europe". Since the postcard was dropped into a letter box on a Sunday, it was cancelled a day later by an automat using those ugly black waves.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Cover from Moldova

One of my rarer letters received on 23 September 2008 from Chisinau, the capital of Moldova (sent on 18/9/2008). The postage of 4 lei is covered by 4 different stamps, in a crazy mixture covering space and wells...

The Yuri Gagarin stamp is from 2001 and commemorates the 40th anniversary of the first man in space. The 85 bani stamp features Phylloporus rhodoxantus, a mushroom I am sure sure if it is edible or not (issued on 23/4/2007, in 800,000 copies)... The 60 bani stamp shows a woman in a 19th century costume of Sfirsitul (14/4/2006, 200,000 copies), and the smaller definitive issued on 26/2/2008 with a print-run of 1 million presents a roofed well from the Riscani Region.

Thank you, Andrei:-)

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Postcard from Slovakia no. 4

Only now, 28 January 2009, have I received my first postcard from Bratislava, Slovakia's capital. It shows a view of the Castle and St. Martin's Cathedral across the Danube. The single 0.66 euro stamp is part of the previously mentioned series of the new Slovak definitives with the euro denomination (issued on 2/1/2009, print-run 1,000,000) and features a detail of the portal of St. Egidius church in Ilija near Banská Štiavnica.

Thank you, Jano.

Postcard from Oklahoma, USA

A new postcard from the USA, from the state of Oklahoma showing its War Memorial Park in Muskogee, home of the USS Batfish. It was sent from Tulsa, OK, on 20 January 2009 and reached me in 8 days. It bears two interesting commemorative stamps, both issued in 2009. The 200th anniversary of the birth of E. A. Poe is remembered by the stamp issued on 16/1/2009, and the sesquicentennial of Oregon’s statehood by the stamp issued on 14/1/2009. The rest of the postage is covered by the American clock from the current definitive series.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Postcard from Belgium

A postcard received on 27 January 2009 from Antwerpen (sent on 22/1/2009), just beautiful on both sides. The front shows the castle at Durbuy, province of Luxembourg, in the Belgian Ardennes. Durbuy claims to be the world's smallest town (population 10,500).

The two 46 eurocent stamps are taken from a miniature sheet called This Is Belgium, issued on 19 November 2006. And if this really is Belgium, it must be great:-) The first stamp shows a tomato stuffed with small shrimps, the other one the trappist beer from Orval (which I proved and is delicious).

Thank you Gerda for this excellent publicity of your country!

Monday, 26 January 2009

Finnish independence cover

Received today, two very nice embossed and gilded stamps from Finland (letter sent on Friday, 23 January 2009 from Turku), from a brand new series (issued on 22/1/2009) dedicated to the men who helped Finland to reach its independence 200 years ago; they are Alexander I, the emperor of Russia (1777-1825), Georg Magnus (Finlandised as Yrjö Maunu) Sprengtporten (1740–1819), Gustaf Mauritz (Kustaa Mauri) Armfelt (1757–1814) and Carl Erik Mannerheim (1759–1837). I can only guess who is who since the portraits are accompanied by names only on the rest of the souvenir sheet out of which the stamps were taken.

Thank you Paivi.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Registered cover from the Czech Republic no. 3

Another nice registered letter from my own country (yes, I do sometimes like to buy interesting philatelic material at online auctions). This one sent from Hazlov in the westernmost part of Bohemia on 21 January 2009 and received one day later.

The 26 CZK postage consists of 2 engraved Jan Hus stamps issued on 16 June 2002, accompanied by 3 coupons with the mystical symbol of a heart in flames. Jan Hus (around 1371-1415), an important religious reformer, was burnt at stake for his "heretical" views. The stamp was designed by Oldřich Kulhánek who also designed the current Czech banknotes. The other commemorative stamp with the one-legged skier (5.40 CZK) was issued on 30 January 2002 for the Salt Lake City Paralympic Games.

The two capricorn stamps (18/11/1998) were part of the 12-piece zodiac series, and the brown village stamp of 0.60 CZK is an engraved definitive issued on 22 March 1995.

Postcard from Mexico no. 2

A postcard of the city of Morelia in the Mexican state of Michoacán, one of the 29 Mexican sites on the list of the UNESCO World Heritage. Built in the 16th century, Morelia is an outstanding example of urban planning which combines the ideas of the Spanish Renaissance with the Mesoamerican experience. The card was sent on 8 January 2008 from Ciudad Lázaro Cárdenas in the same state of Michoacán and reached me after more than a month on 11 February 2008.

The large stamp issued on 27 November 2007 features Mariano Otero (1817-1850), one of the promoters of the "Juicio de Amparo", a Mexican court specialising in defending the contitutional rights of citizens. In the stamp there is also a small reproduction of a mural called Alegoría del Supremo Tribunal de Justicia.

Gracias Alberto!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Cover from Indonesia

My first cover from Indonesia, with five stamps! It was sent from the city of Semarang on 30 December 2008 and reached me on 9 January 2009. Unfortunately, I was not able to find any information about the stamps, only that the triple flower/greeting stamp was issued in 2001, and the cartoon stamps below (2003) depict traditional Indonesian games (lomba tradisional), which are quite similar to those we play here:-)

Friday, 23 January 2009

Postcard from Slovakia no. 3

In August 2008 I received this nice postcard of the Slovak town of Myjava (Trenčín Region, 10 km from the Czech border, 12,000 inhabitants) and its International Folklore Festival. The stamp was sent from the town of Stará Turá.

I didn't know the Slovak post had ever issued a self-adhesive stamp, but looking at this 20 SVK Olympic stamp there can be no doubt about it. Digging deeper, I discovered that on 5 November 2004 the Slovak post issued a whole booklet with 6 souvenir sheets commemorating the Slovak medallists at the 2004 Athens Olympics. This one is celebrating the gold medalists Pavol and Peter Hochschorner (canoe slalom). There are 60,000 copies of each souvenir sheet.

As far as I know the Czech post has never issued any self-adhesive stamp.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Flags of Our Nation cover from the US

Three US state flags on this letter sent on 15 December 2008 from Wisconsin. On 16 June 2008 the USPS issued the first 10 self-adhesive stamps in a projected series of 60 pieces (2 ten-stamp sets each year through 2010). The flags on this cover belong to Alabama, Arizona and Alaska. A real treat for us collectors of geography-related stamps:-) Thank you Candy!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Cover from Croatia no. 2

Received on 19 January 2009, sent on 16 January 2009 from the town of Nedelišce in northern Croatia. A beautiful envelope with a religious motif, covered with stamps and coupons from the stamp-sheet commemorating the 700th anniversary of the foundation of the monastery of St. Clare in Split. The stamp was issued on 16 September 2008 in 300,000 copies, in sheets of 25 stamps and 5 coupons.

The total value of the two stamps is 5.60 kuna, the sticker at the back of the letter adds 4.40 kuna to make up the total of 10 kuna (twice as much as the previous letter I received from Croatia). Thank you, Tomislav!

Postcard from India no. 3

This postcard from India is of an earlier date. I received it on 5 November 2007 from Hampankatta, Mangalore in the state of Karnataka (zip 575001). It show a statue of a dancer in the Chennekesawa Temple in Belur (Karnataka).

The Rs. 5/- stamp was issued on 2 October 2007 as part of a series dedicated to the centenary of Satyagraha (non-violent resistance), developed by Mahatma Gandhi. The Rs. 3/- definitive is part of the already mentioned VIII Definitive Series of the Indian post (2000) and shows a smooth Indian otter. Thank you, Praveen!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

New Czech stamp - January 2009 - II.

Issued today, a new stamp in the ongoing stamp-on-stamp series called Traditions of the Czech Stamp Design, dedicated to rediscovering past masters of stamp design and engraving. The current stamp reproduces a stamp from 1960 made by Anna Podzemná (artist) and Jiří Švengsbír (engraver). It is issued in 840,000 copies, a part of which can also be found in booklets where 4 out of 8 stamps are accompanied by a coupon with a floral motif.

International Polar Year stamps from Russia

On 13 January 2009 I received another great letter from Astrakhan in Russia (sent on 6/1/09). This time the cover features a sheet with the last year's Russian International Polar Year stamps (issued on 28 August 2008, in 200,000 copies). The stamps, apart from the photos of ships, together make up a map of the North Way - a connection of the east and west of Russia by the sea (navigable only during summer).

The small fox definitive of 1 ruble was issued one day later (29 August 2008) along with 14 other stamps as part of the fifth issue of definitive stamps of the Russian Federation. The other definitive with the logo of the Federal Postal Service of the Russian Federation is from 1998 and part of the third issue of standard postage stamps of the Russian Federation (1/1/1998).

Alex, thank you again!