Monday, 30 November 2009

Postcard from Hungary no. 3

A multiview postcard received from northern Hungary, showing the major sights of the historic town of Esztergom in Komárom-Esztergom county (30,000 inhabitants). Its cathedral, Esztergom Basilica, is the largest church in Hungary. The blue 200 forint stamp is related to religion as well, as it shows the impressive interior of the synagogue in Szeged. The stamp (along with one other) was issued on 25 September 2008 in 200,000 copies. The smaller stamp is a 10 forint definitive from 2001, part of a series dedicated to furniture. Thank you, Dóra.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Postcard from Austria no. 1

A postcard we sent to ourselves from a trip to Vienna to see the city centre and the pre-Advent Market beneath the spires of the Rathaus. As usual, I found a minute to send back home a card, but had to hunt for a stamp because the newsagents in the city don't sell any. Invariably, I was sent to the post-office... which I luckily found, but as it was Saturday afternoon, the big philatelic counter was closed. Finally, I managed to buy a Christmas stamp, issued on 9 November 2007 and showing an icon from St. Barbara Church in the centre of Vienna, in fact a stone's throw from the central post-office. I dropped the card in an ordinary post-box in a street near Hundertwasser houses, and am surprised that it did not receive any automatic treatment and was cancelled by hand (if I did this here in the Czech Rep., the stamp would be "killed" by ugly black wavy lines of automatic cancellation). Apart from all this, I am really looking for further visits, Vienna definitely has its charms:-)

Vacances cover from France

A letter sent on 15 May 2009 from Caen in Calvados department, featuring 3 red self-adhesive stamps taken from a "Vacances" booklet issued on 14 May 2009. I think that the rooster, door knocker and poppy should evoke holiday moods. They are pretty. All use domestic rate for light letters: lettre prioritaire 20g. There is also a brown Marianne of 5 eurocent to complement the postage. Thank you Sophie!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Cover from Aland no. 3

Another EUROPA cover sent from Aland, this one on 21 May 2008, using an interesting, minimalist stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Scout movement (issued on 9 May 2008, with print-run of 300,000). I feel the stamp is printed using a special technique but I can't find any more info about it now. The rest of the postage is covered by a smooth snake stamp of 0.05 euro issued on 2 January 2002, in a series with a newt of 0.70 euro. Thank you Liisa again!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Postcard from Germany no. 2

A postcard showing one of German UNESCO World Heritage sites, Monastic Island of Reichenau, on Lake Constance, in the state of Baden-Württemberg. There are traces of a Benedictine monastery, founded in 724, plus churches of St Mary and Marcus, St Peter and St Paul, and St George from the 9th - 11th centuries. The self-adhesive stamp from 2008 is dedicated to the island as well, showing its panorama and details from its rich historic heritage. The rest of the postage is covered by 20 eurocent flower definitive, marigold. The card was postmarked in Briefzemtrum 59 - Hamm. Thank you, Maren!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Cover from Brazil no. 5

One of my older letters received in March 2008, with a set of 6 stamps from a 24-piece sheet dedicated to the marine life, issued in the project Expo 98: International Year of the Oceans (on 22 May 1998, print-run 300,000), the rest of the postage is made up by 4 definitive self-adhesives from the 2002 series dedicated to musical instruments and 2 "costureiras" from another definitive series (2005) showing various professions. The letter was postmarked in Rafael de Barros, Sao Paulo. Thank you, Cinthia!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Postcard from Greece

A postcard of and from Rhodes, the most easterly Greek island in the Aegean Sea, near Turkey. The medieval Old Town of the City of Rhodes has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The 0.10 euro stamp showing a scene from "The Mermaid and Alexander the Great" is part of a 5-piece series dedicated to legends and fairy tales, issued on 16 December 2008. The 0.60 euro stamp shows five dancers from a huge definitive series of Greek dancing tradition (2002). Thank you, Liisa:-)

Monday, 16 November 2009

Cover from Belarus no. 4

A new letter received today from Raman in Belarus, with the complete set of two stamps in the EUROPA project from 2004 when "Vacation" was the theme (stamps were issued on 4 May 2004, with a print-run of 120,000). I find them very pretty. One shows a man who is mushrooming, the other a man gone fishing, both presumably favourite pastimes in Belarus (and here in the Czech Republic too - mushrooming is one of the top summer activities for majority of the locals:-). The pictorial envelope from 2008 agitates against smoking with a slogan "Young ecologists against smoking". Thank you!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Cover from Salon Philatelique d'Automne, France

Received today a great cover sent from the 63rd Salon Philatelique d'Automne, held in Paris from 5 to 8 November 2009. Thank you, Eric, you made my day, also with the great postcard!!!

There are two commemorative ATM stamps accompanied by two refined postmarks made especially for that occasion. All of them are explained in this Eric's post. I will just add that this letter didn't travel directly to the Czech Republic, but made a stop in Bratislava, Slovakia, as can be seen from the third postmark in the middle.

Postcard from Thailand no. 3

Another superb postcard from Apichati in Thailand, showing a stone Buddha's head covered by tree roots in Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand founded in 1350, in 1991 designated a UNESCO World Heitage site.

The complete set of four stamps, issued on 7 October 2009, shows 4 horse-drawn carriages used in the reigns of King Chulalongkorn and King Vajiravudh. They are: 4-wheeled dog cart, postillion landua, C spring Phaeton and glass state coach. Thank you!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Cover from USA no. 4

Received last week from Columbia, South Carolina. Two self-adhesive commemorative stamps from a series of 4 issued on 9/9/09, dedicated to the Thanksgiving Day parades, including a lively marching band, large balloons of favorite animals and popular characters, and crowds of delighted onlookers. The rest of the 98 cent postage is covered by a 10c definitive from 2003. Thank you, Amanda!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Cover from Latvia no. 2

Great cover received from Riga, Latvia! Two stamps on the right, issued on 7 January 2006, are taken from a block of 4 stamps dedicated to the 50th anniversary of EUROPA stamps in Europe. This event is commemorated in the top stamp by reprinting the Latvian EUROPA stamp from 1998 (festivals), in the bottom stamp by reprinting the Latvian EUROPA stamp from 1997 (legends). The 0.22 lat stamp on the left has curiously nothing to do with balooning, but with the 15th anniversary of mobile telecommunications on Latvia (issued in 2007). The two definitives show animal coats of arms of the towns of Kurzeme (issued in 1996) and Auce (1999), my favourite topic!

Thank you very much, Oleg!

Friday, 6 November 2009

New Czech stamps - November 2009

New stamps issued on 4 November 2009, the last set of stamps to be issued this year in the Czech Republic.

The 14 Kč stamp commemorates 17 November 1938 and 1989, important dates in the Czech modern history. 1939 - outburst of Nazi terror aimed against students (raids on campuses on 17/11/1939) and 1989, the beginning of the Velvet Revolution with a student demonstration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1939 events. Stamp printed in offset.


Engraved Christmas stamp, with the domestic tariff for postcards and light letters, gathering the typical Christmas symbols: a fir twig, mistletoe, and a cosy cottage in a snowy countryside.


In the series "Works of Art from the Czech Galleries" there is a 24 Kč large engraved stamp (by Miloš Ondráček) with a reproduction of painting "Canal Lock in Loret) by Alfred Sisley (1839-1899), and a 26 Kč stamp (engraved by Václav Fajt) reproducing painting "An Alley" by Czech painter Alfred Justitz (1879-1934), influenced by Cézanne and cubism. The miniature sheet with the 34 Kč stamp presents the monumental and most populat painting "Oldřich and Božena" by František Ženíšek (1849-1916), member of the generation of the Czech National Theatre and the National Museum. As usual, the stamp is engraved (Bedřich Housa), the rest of the sheet is printed in offset.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Postcard from Egypt no. 2

Zvětšit mapu

Another impressive greeting from Egypt! A pyramid in Giza (UNESCO WHS) with a roaming camel under a fan of sunrays. Plus, a set of two commemorative stamps issued in the event of Postech 2008, the second global postal conference focussed on next generation technology held on 16-18 November 2008 in Sharm El Sheikh, combining the world of ancient pharaohs with cutting-edge technology. The other two stamps are definitives from a set issued in 2002. Thank you Farah again!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Postcard from Luxembourg no. 2

Postcard of the medieval Castle Bourscheid in the district of Diekirch in north-eastern Luxembourg. The 0.90 eurocent stamp (issued in 2006) features the Grand Duke Henri, and has been cancelled by a machine postmark commemorating the 40th anniversary of founding the Piusverband, national federation of church choirs in the the Grand Duchy Luxembourg.

Thank you, Alice!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Registered cover from the Czech Republic no. 5

An interesting cover received from Jaroměř (Královehradecký Region - East Bohemia) on Friday 30 October 2009. The envelope bears two vending machine stamps (ATM). To be honest, I have been aware of the existence of these stickers/stamps only marginally, since I have never seen any in regular postal use. As far as I know, there are only a few (6?) machines located in the whole country (in main post-offices in major cities) and they are used mainly by philatelists and collectors. They are definitely not used by common customers of the Czech Post. In total, there have been only 4 different stamps issued since March 2000 when the machines were introduced for the first time. The first stamp from 2000 (Au1) is featured here (Castle Veveri in Brno, the value of 23 CZK was introduced in 2001) as well as the third one (Au3 from 2005) showing the Castle Jindřichův Hradec with the Vajgar Pond. The value of 11 CZK was introduced only in 2006 along with three others (see the picture).

Both the stamps have been hand-cancelled, and all the necessary data of the registered regime are mentioned on the sticker below them.

Thank you, Jiří!