Thursday, 29 April 2010

Cover from Indonesia no. 2

Received today from Semarang, Indonesia, a trio of fantastic stamps presenting emblems and buildings of three Indonesian provinces: Bali, Gorontalo and West Java (Jawa Barat) with a coupon showing the coat of arms of the whole country. The stamps have been taken from a sheet of 11 stamps issued in 2008, followed later on by other two sheets so that all of the 33 Indonesian provinces have been be presented. These stamps from the sheet have the nominal value of 2,500 IDR, but there are also very similar ones with a nominal value of 1,500 which have been issued individually.

The postage is complemented by another 2,500 IDR stamp with buffalo Bubalus depressicornis and orchid Diplocaulobium utile, the animal and flower of the province of South East Sulawesi (Sulawesi Tenggara), taken from a sheet issued in 2009.

Thank you, Shinta, very much!!

Postcard from France no. 5

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A beutiful, almost impressionistic postcard received from France, showing a view of the town of Auvers sur Oise, in the department of Val-d'Oise, not far from Paris, associated with several famous artists, the most prominent being Vincent van Gogh who committed suicide there and found his resting place.

The 0.90 euro stamp (issued on 26 October 2009) is also related to art, since it shows a picture by Jean-Jacques WALTZ, known as HANSI, born in Colmar, Alsace in 1873, famous for his ironic pictures and caricatures. I've visited few galleries in France, but coincidentally one of them, in Riquewihr near Colmar, was dedicated to Hansi, who really caught my attention then.

Unfortunately, this stamp has not been cancelled. I don't know what happens but now almost a third of my incoming mail from all over the world lacks any postal marks...

Thank you, Sylvain!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Cover from Canada

A cover received yesterday from Toronto, Canada, after a seven-day journey. The stamp of 1.70 CDN was issued on 14 April 2010 in 660,00 copies and commemorates 60 years of friendship between Canada and Israel. The concept of the image is very simple, people crossing from the symbol of Canada to that of Israel and vice versa, but I find it brilliant! The self-adhesive joint-issue stamp has a coupon attached with the map of the world and the repeated symbols.

In Israel this stamp was also issued on 14 April 2010.

Thank you, Tristan!

New Czech stamps - April 2010

Issued on 14 April 2010, in the series presenting explorers and travellers, here is Enrique Stanko Vráz (1860 - 1932), traveller and photographer of a mysterious origin, whose name might be only a pseudonym of an unknown nobleman. He travelled all over the world and gathered a huge collection of insects and birds which he donated to the National Museum in Prague. The stamp shows him and a Japanese countryside. Print-run 500,000.


Issued on 14 April 2010, two transcausasian carpets from the collections of Czech museums:

21 CZK - kasim ushag, from Nagorno-Karabakh, 19th century, hand-woven, wool, 191 x 48 cm
24 CZK - celaberd from Karabakh, mid-19th century, hand-woven, wool, 194 x 146 cm

Print-run: 140,000 each.


Issued today, 28 April 2010, the first self-adhesive Czech stamp ever! With a new letter denomination to boot. The small revolution in the Czech stamp production has begun! The stamp is printed in offset, issued in booklets of 10, and shows Fifinka, one of the four characters from a famous Czech children's comics called Čtyřlístek (Four Leaf Clover). The A-letter is domestic rate for postcards and letters up to 50 grams, E (for Europe) and Z (for overseas - zámoří) will follow. All the newspapers and most TV stations have reported on this, and there is a big discussion about the consequences of this move. There are even concerns about the future of the Czech philatelic tradition. I am not so pessimistic, there are still many very nice engraved stamps scheduled for the coming months:-) The state-owned Czech Post has only decided to make stamps more attractive for more people, hopefully.

EDIT: A new website has been launched to promote these new sticker stamps (unfortunately, the text is only in Czech). But new lovely Alfons Mucha stamps can be seen there, to be introduced in May 2010, rates E and Z.

Monday, 26 April 2010

New Czech stamps - March 2010

There were three new stamps issued in March, two of them planned, one added unexpectedly, more or less.

The 10 Kč engraved "Easter" stamp, issued on 10/3, shows the typical Czech *pagan* celebration of spring (not to do much with the Christian festivities). The boys carry a huge willow (osier) rod with which they beat young girls and get ribbons and coloured eggs to put in their basket... Print-run: 7,750,000.


Date of issue: 10 March 2010, print-run: 73,000, an engraved stamp in an offset-printed sheet dedicated to the prominent Czech romantic poet Karel Hynek Mácha (1810 - 1836), author of May. Born in Prague, Mácha loved to roam the castles and ruins in northern Bohemia... nowadays called "The Mácha Country".


Here is the relatively unexpected addition to the issue plan, a 10 Kč stamp celebrating the two gold medals and one bronze won by Martina Sáblíková at the Vancouver Olympics. The really interesting thing is that the speedskater is nowhere to be seen:-) It has been a policy of the Czech Post not to show living personages on stamps, which, however, will change soon, due to a small "revolution" in the Czech stamp production about to take place in the coming months, there was even a feature about it in today's newspapers, more info soon.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Cover from Japan

A lovely surprise received a week ago from Hiroshima, Japan, a cover with a set of six commemorative stamps from the 1970s! I wish it were possible to use such old stamps also here:-)

On the right, the 15 yen stamp, issued on 14 October 1971, commemorated the European trip of Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako (28/9 - 15/10 1971). The brown 20 yen stamp was issued on 25 February 1975 and shows a Class D52 steam engine, also called "Degoni" built by the Japanese Government Railways. In 1975 there were 6 steam-engine stamps issued in total (see below).The other steam engine here on the envelope (Class C62) was issued on 14 October 1972 for the centenary of the Japanese railroad system, together with the neighbouring stamp showing the inauguration of railway service, by Hiroshige III.

The 15 yen equestrian stamp commemorated the 25th National Athletic Meet in Morioka, held on 10 - 16 October 1970 (stamp issued on 10/10/70) and apart from the horseman shows the volcano Mt Iwate towering over Morioka and Paulownia. The last stamp is a painting by Kunimasa Beido, issued on 17 June 1974, for the centenary of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. Thank you. Asuka, for this interesting trip to the Japanese philatelic past:-)

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Postcard from Brunei

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A postcard from Brunei, sent on 24 January 2008, showing Kampong Ayer, or the Water Village, according to wikipedia: "an area of Brunei's capital city Bandar Seri Begawan that is situated in the middle of the Brunei River. 39,000 people live in the Water Village. This represents roughly ten percent of the nation's total population. All of the Water Village buildings are constructed on stilts above the Brunei River... People have lived in Kampong Ayer for over 1300 years. Antonio Pigafetta dubbed it the "Venice of the East" when the fleet of Ferdinand Magellan visited." in 1521. Truly impressive!

The 50 sen stamp is part of a 1985-1986 series of definitives showing the portrait of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Cover from Italy no. 5

Another treat from Italy, from Giovanni! The centenary of the Alfa Romeo company is commemorated by these two elegant stamps with a coupon. The left-hand stamp shows Alfa Romeo 24 HP from 1910 and the right-hand stamp the brand new Alfa Romeo Giulietta from 2010. The letter was sent from the post office in Milano Isola, with the first day cancellation (20 March 2010).

The stamps have been issued as part of a highly collectable "Made in Italy" series, begun in 2004 with Italian brand-shoes. More info here.

Grazie, Giovanni, come sempre:-)

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Cover from Latvia no. 3

Another great cover from Oleg, sent on 10 December 2009 from Riga. And two of my favourite topics! The 0.35 lat stamp commemorates the 90th anniversary of the Latvian railways with a very tasteful picture of the steam engine "Kurland" (issued in 2009). The two coats of arms are part of an ongoing series presenting Latvian towns and regions, in this case Smiltene (2006) and Daugavpils (2005).

Thank you, Oleg! The Czech train is about to depart to Riga too:-)

Postcard from Ukraine no. 3

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A postcard received a few days from Ukraine, showing the Trinitarian Church in Kamianets-Podilskyi (Ukrainian: Кам’янець-Подільський), Khmelnytskyy region, in southwestern Ukraine. Interestingly, the coat of arms has a very similar sun symbol as the one used on the Argentian flag presented in my previous post.

The stamps here are definitives with handicraft objects with the year 2010 (in the tiniest of prints immaginable:) - the blue and red vessels, and 2008 - the decorative tile.

Thank you, Tanya!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Cover from Argentina no. 3

A fantastic cover sent on 5 April 2010 from Villa Nueva, Province of Córdoba, Argentina, with the set of stamps from this year's UPAEP series dedicated to the national symbols. The two Argentinian stamps, issued on 27 March 2010, feature the national coat of arms and the flag. I really love these stamps!

Thank you, Germán!!

If there anyone in other UPAEP countries willing to send me a cover with this year's issue, please contact me. I 'll be happy to send you a nice cover from the Czech Republic in return.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Cover from Russia no. 11

A lovely colourful cover received from Yuri, in St. Petersburg, sent on 6 April 2010.

The se-tenant sheet with three 7-ruble stamps and a coupon with verses by Nikolai Gumilev (1886 - 1921) is dedicated to the beauties and importance of forests, and was issued on 12 September 2008.

There also two interesting definitives, a 0.10 ruble hare from the fifth issue of definitive stamps of the Russian Federation (29 August 2008, 15 values) and the self-adhesive Kazan kremlin (from the sixth issue of definitive stamps of the Russian Federation (1 October 2009, 12 values).

Thank you, Yuri!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Postcard from Croatia

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A great postcard sent on 6 April 2010, showing an aerial view of Vukovar in eastern Croatia, in Vukovar-Syrmia County (županija). Vukovar has approximately 30,000 inhabitants and is the largest Croatian river port (on the Danube).

The 3.10 kuna stamp was issued on 15 March. together with 3 other stamps, in a series dedicated to the Croatian etnographical heritage (for the previous stamps in this series from 2009 please see my earlier Croatia post). The stamp was issued in 3 million copies and shows a traditional pattern from Međimurje, northern Croatia.

Thank you, Goran!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Cover from Cyprus

Received in January 2010. A nice airmail cover with a 51 eurocent stamp from a series dedicated to neoclassical buildings in Cyprus (issued on 2 October 2007), with the 2 eurocent contribution to the Refugee Fund. Thank you, Nasia!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Cover from Argentina no. 2

A spectacular cover received a few months ago from Óscar, San Luis, Argentina! The six stamps and two black and white complements are dedicated to sheep, presenting six various ovine races typical for the Argentinian production. They are: Merino, Romney Marsh, Corriedale, Hampshire Down, Lincoln and Frisian. The minisheet was issued on 22 August 2009 in 80,000 copies, and it was accompanied by a first day cover which Óscar sent me as well, complete with the corresponding postmarks. The letter itself was sent on 14 December 2009 from San Luis. The rest of the postage for the 23 gram registered letter is marked by a 23-pesos sticker.


Monday, 12 April 2010

New Czech stamps - February 2010

Issued on 10 February 2010, a single stamp dedicated to the Winter Olympic Games held in Vancouver. For the image the author chose a figure of a speedskater, abstractly representing the phenomenal Martina Sablikova (no living personalities can be depicted on Czech stamps with the exception of the president). The 18 CZK rate is designated for sending mail up to 20 grams outside Europe. Print-run 600,000.


10 February 2010 also saw the issue of the stamp commemorating the Vancouver Paralympics, here the event is guided skiing. Print-run 500,000.


And another international event commemorated on the stamps of the Czech post is the Shanghai Expo which will be held from 1 May to 31 October 2010. The stamp inside this distinctive, offset-printed sheet shows the Czech pavilion. Print-run 70,000.