Saturday, 31 October 2009

Postcard from Thailand no. 2

A truly exotic (at least for me) postcard received yesterday from Bangkok. It shows a twilight view of the local Chinatown, very impressive!

The stamps are the complete series of World Enviroment Day stamps issued on 5 June 2008, urging people to take care of the Earth (print-run 1 million each). Of interest is also the postmark with the year 52, i.e. 2552, since the Buddhist calendar started with the birth of Buddha 543 earlier that the Christian one.
Thank you, Apichati!

Friday, 30 October 2009

Cover from Belarus no. 3

Cover sent from Minsk, Belarus, on 21 October 2009. The envelope is in fact a piece of postal stationery issued by Belpost in 2009 with a pre-printed stamp of "A" rate (currently 260 rubles), for sending light letters within Belarus. The 600 ruble stamp showing turtle Emys orbicularis was issued on 12 March 2003 in a series called "Reptiles of Belarus", the 30 ruble definitive is petunia from the 12th set of Belarusian definitives (27/5/2008). Interestingly, the total postage amounts to 890 rubles, which is 0.21 euro or 5.65 Czech crowns, i.e. 3 times cheaper than sending a letter of the same size the other way.
Thank you, Raman!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Cover from Peru no. 2

A crazy idea came true... sand and small seashells sent from the Pacific coast in Lima, Peru, to be placed in our garden... packed in this lovely, sort of old-fashioned envelope with a view of Machu Picchu. The duplicate stamp of 8.50 nuevos soles was issued on 29 December 2006 and commemorates the 75th anniversary of the first philatelic exposition of Peru featuring a triangular stamp from 1931 commemorating it at that time. Unfortunately not cancelled, but the other postmarks confirm it having passed through the Czech customs in Prague. Postage amounting to 17 Peruvian Nuevos Soles, which is almost 4 euros. Thank you, Alyssa!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Postcard from Malaysia

In fact just an addendum to the previous post. A fresh card received on Friday from Penang, Malaysia, showing a larger image of the Malacca stamp. The commentary on the card tells that the red house (Stadhuys) was built in 1650 as the official residence of Dutch governors and their oficers, and nowadays houses the Historical and Etnography Museum. Thank you SL Liew!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Cover from Malaysia no. 3

Still riding the latest UNESCO wave, I'd like to show here this beautiful cover from Malaysia, sent on 9 April 2009 (oh, I notice there are so many lovely covers which I haven't covered yet after so many months:o) The two se-tenant stamps show the major sights of Malacca and Georgetown (Penang), Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca (inscribed in the UNESCO list in 2008), places mingling the Malaysian heritage with the Dutch, Portuguese and British influences. The stamps were issued in April 2009 and are complemented by two other se-tenants, showing the Mulu National Park and Kinabalu Park. Thank you, Kow Siew Lan!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Cover from Egypt

A cover received yesterday from Egypt. The two stamps on top with the common tab are dedicated to the latest (2005) Egyptian UNESCO World Heritage site Wadi El-Hitan (Valley of Whales) in the Western Desert of Egypt, containing fossil remains of the earliest, and now extinct, suborder of whales, Archaeoceti. The stamps were issued in 2008... and I, er, don't know anything more about them; the same goes for the other large stamp from 2009 with the bespectacled man, unfortunately I cannot read Arabic and the site of the Egyptian Post is not of much use with the current stamps. The rest of the postage is made up by two definitives of 10 and 30 piastres drawing on the Egyptian rich cultural heritage. Thank you Farah for this beauty!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Cover from Russia no. 8

Another beauty from Alex, in Astrakhan, Russia! A cover sent on 6 May 2009 with a huge miniature sheet commemorating (along with four other stamps shown above) the 150th anniversary of the New Hermitage, one of the five buildings of the Hermitage complex in Saint Petersburg, opened in 1852 as the first public museum in Russia. The stamp features a picture by Luigi Premazzi "The New Hermitage" from 1861. The rest of the sheet is embossed (chandeliers, tables and chairs) and looks impressive. Issued on 15 February 2002 in 150,000 copies.

The other two stamps are part of a series dedicated to the 60th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War (1941-45) and show documentary photos from those days (issued on 5 April 2005). I commented upon other two stamps from this series in an earlier post. The rest of the postage of 22.5 rubles is made up by three 0.50 ruble wolf definitives on the back of the cover. Thank you, Alex!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

New Czech stamps - October 2009

A set of four new engraved stamps with reasonable values issued on 14 October 2009. The first stamp commemorates the 175th anniversary of the first production of the Czech National Anthem "Where Is My Home?" in 1834 (by composer František Škroup and playwright Josef Kajetán Tyl). The stamp features the symbols of the Czech statehood: the Czech lion and a lime twig.


In a series dedicated to historic stoves there are two new stamps covering the Empire period (approx. 1810, from Castle Litomyšl - Czech UNESCO World Heritage site), and the more sober Biedermeier period (approx. 1835, from Castle Vyškov).


The 18 Kč stamp (overseas rate up to 20 grams for postcards and letters) is dedicated to Barbora Markéta Eliášová (1874 - 1957), first Czech woman traveller to go around the world, with a huge interest in Japan. In the stamp she is depicted with the Fujiyama and in kimono.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Postcard from Prague, Czech Republic

When in Prague last week, after some three years, I sent myself this postcard showing the frozen and snowy Charles Bridge (as if I knew that there would be unexpected October blizzards overnight leaving much of the country and the still green tres and fields under snow). The main post-office is now (9-31 October 2009) using a special postmark commemorating the 10th anniversary of the reconstruction of its building in Jindrisska Street, so I posted this greeting there, using two current flower definitives and a 6.50 Kč stamp from 2004 (26 May) showing the pagan god of Radegast, patron of the Beskydy mountain range in the eastern part of Moravia. The statue of the god stands on Mount Radhost and was made in 1929 by sculptor Albin Polasek. Besides Radegast, the stamp bears the logo of the European Stamp Exhibition which was held in 2005 in Brno.

Cover no. 2 from Germany

Received today from Frankfurt am Main (17), a lovely pictorial cover with two commemorative stamps dedicated to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The 65c stamp (issued on 12 July 2007) shows a palace in Riga, Latvia along with two statues. The same stamps were issued in 2007 also in Latvia.

The larger 145c stamp was issued on 7 May 2009 and depicts five of the Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg (Saxony-Anhalt). This stamp is also part of series of stamps dedicated to German UNESCO World Heritage sites issued this year by the United Nations in Vienna, Geneva and New York.

Thank you very much, Gabriela:)

Monday, 12 October 2009

Registered cover from the Czech Republic no. 4

Received today a registered letter sent from Říčany near Prague, from a lady with whom I won some stamps in an online auction, who was kind enough to use commemorative stamps on her letter to me (unfortunately, even philatelists these days prefer in quite a large number not to bother with stamps and leave the task of marking the postage to post-office clerks who will always resort to using those handy but ugly stickers, which is used here only to complement the postage and show the registered number).

Well, of these two commemoratives, one has already been commented upon in these pages (the 17 Kč stamp with a tab celebrating the past and not very successful Czech Chairmanship of the EU, issued on 25 November 2008). The 12 Kč portrait stamp (issued on 18 June 2008, 2 million copies) has a special significance for me, since the man depicted in it, geologist/traveller/explorer Ferdinand Stolička (1838-1874), was born within a stone's throw from where I live, in the middle of a forest, in a cottage of a gamekeeper, now standing on the edge of a frequented cyclepath. A street parallel to ours even bears his name. After studying in Vienna, Stolička mapped the Eastern Alps and Dalmatia, and as a paleontologist of the Indian Geological Institute he researched the Himalayas and the Karakoram. The other stamp in the last year's series shows orientalist and geographer Alois Musil (1868-1944).

Cover from Italy no. 2

Another fine cover with this year's Europa stamp, this time from Italy, sent on 8 October 2009 and received today. The stamp shows the astronomical satellite "Agile" of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), launched into orbit on April 23, 2007. Thank you, Gosia!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Cover from Norway no. 2

Another fine cover from Norway and the town of Borgheim, sent on 25 May 2009 and received a few days later. The righthand stamp is a dream come true for collectors of stamps related to towns and cities. The Porsgrunn stamp has it all: the coat of arms and representative images from the city's history; in this case: the barge "Dionne" pointing to Porsgrunn's shipbuilding tradition, the Custom House which played important role in the city's birth and perfume bottle commemorating the local china factory. The stamp was issued on 27 April 2007 with a print-run of 1 million pieces.

The bluish A Innland stamp (same as the Porsgrunn stamp, i.e. A-priority domestic rate of 7 NOK) was issued on 12 April 2008 in the series Important Anniversaries and is dedicated to poet and playwright Henrik Wergeland (1808-45), prominent figure in the Norwegian letters and culture. The postage is complemented by a 2 NOK definitive. Thank you, Renate!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Postcard from Estonia

In May 2009 I received also this great card showing a "white night" in Tallinn - the time when the whole sky stays luminous even at midnight, with the brightest nights being those ten days before and after the summer solstice. This specific picture was taken at 1.21 a.m. Very interesting. Astronomical phenomena are covered also on the fine stamp from the EUROPA project, issued on 5 May 2009, along with another stamp showing the cell structure of the universe. Thank you Susa!

Cover from Portugal no. 5

Received on Monday 5 October 2009 and sent on 1 October 2009 from Coimbra - Mercado is this lovely cover with two appetising dishes from the series of six stamps and a souvenir sheet issued on 5 June 2009 in Portugal. The series is called Sabores de Lusofonia and if I am not mistaken, it means tastes of Portuguese-speaking countries. One stamps shows a meat-dish(?) "Leitoa num ar de sarapatel" (from Brazil), the other one "Bebinca das Sete Colinas" (from India). Fantastic! Thank you, Rodrigo'