Monday, 24 January 2011

Postcard from Thailand no. 5

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A superb postcard showing the building of the railway station in the town of Hua Hin (pop. 85,000) in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. This railway station is arguably the most beautiful in Thailand, and the trains run through it to the south of the country and link directly with Malaysia.

The postage of 12 baht is covered by a nice set of four square stamps showing toy speedboats, issued on 5 October 2010 in a series commemorating the International Letter Writing Week.

Thank you very much, Terdsak!!

Cover from Latvia no. 8

Received a few days ago, another great surprise from Oleg. This time with a splendid 0.38 lat stamp depicting the Latvian state emblem, complete with the heraldic animals, issued on 12 November 2010 in a series of three stamps devoted to the centenary of the Latvian Republic.

The rest of the postage is covered with four different coat-of-arms stamps, showing the arms of Zemgale (2010), Staicele (2010), Auce (2007), and Aizkraukle (2006).

Thank you so much, Oleg!! I will get you the new Josef Herčík stamp, and I will try to find the version from the booklet with a coupon attached. All the best!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Covers from Italy no. 19 and 20

Two nice covers received from (and via) Giovanni. Both with a 0.65 euro stamp issued on 2 July 2010 commemorating the 100th anniversary of the death of Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli, Italian astronomer noted for his telescopic observations of Mars and for having detected the markings that he called canali (channels), later misinterpreted as "canals." He showed that meteor swarms travel through space in cometary orbits (Columia Encyclopedia). The planet Mars is also shown on the stamp.

The cover sent from Pisogne (province of Brescia) has a lovely special cancellation from 26 September 2010, commemorating the 60th "festa del fungo e della castagna" (mushroom and chestnut holiday).

Grazie mille, Giovanni!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Postcard from France no. 7

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A lovely postcard received in October 2010 showing a view of Scandola Nature Reserve in Corsica, France, part of the UNESCO WHS: the Gulf of Porto - Calanche of Piana, Gulf of Girolata, Scandola Reserve. Scandola is famous for red cliffs, some 900 metres high, sand beaches, and practically inaccessible grottoes.

The stamp of 0.58 euro, issued on 8 September 2010, commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Alliance Israélite Universelle, a Paris-based international Jewish organization founded in 1860 by the French statesman Adolphe Crémieux to safeguard the human rights of Jews around the world (as Wikipedia says).

Thank you, Marie!!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

New Czech stamps - October 2010

Continuing the overview of the recent Czech stamp production... in the post about September stamps I forgot to mention another new A rate definitive stamp, one of the prettiest issued last year. It appeared on 29 September 2010 and shows a hand-painted postal shield of the Austrian postal administration from the collection of the Postal Museum in Prague, with the texts "C.k. poštovní and telegrafní úřad" and "K.k. Post und Telegrafen Amt", six postal goblins busy about their work and a historic map. Print run unknown.


On 20 October 2010 the Post issued two new stamps in the Technical Monuments series... this time dedicated to bridges: 10 Kč stamp shows one of the newest bridges in the country which is located in Ústí nad Labem on the Labe River (constructed in 1993-1998), whereas the 12 Kč stamp shows the oldest one, in Písek in South Bohemia (older even than the Charles Bridge in Prague). Pity these stamps are rather simplistic, to be honest, I am not too enthusiastic about them:( Print runs: 1,500,000 and 800,000 copies.


On the same day there were also new additions to the Historic Stoves series: 10 Kč - Art Noveau stove from the village of Troubky-Zdislavice in the district of Kroměříž, and 20 Kč - Art Deco stove from the town of Nové Město nad Metují in East Bohemia. Print runs: 1,500,000 and 1,000,000 copies.


The stamp issued in October 2010: Myšpulín the Dog from the Four Clover Leaf comics series in a booklet of domestic-rate self-adhesives stamps, continuing in the tradition of Fifinka issued on 28 April 2010. The rest of the quartet will appear in 2011.

Czech cover no. 4

Even if this is not a nice cover with stamps, it contained a lot of nice stamps, so I decided tom show it here anyway... It came from the philatelic office of the Czech Post in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad) with the Czech stamps I ordered for using on letters I send abroad. Orders are made here after registration from among available stamps, and delivered free of charge if the value of the order is higher than 100 Czech crows (4 euro) for Czech addresses, and higher than 500 Czech crowns (20 euro) for addresses abroad (excellent service!!!)

This cover is "insured letter" (cenné psaní), with VL-number on the red barcode sticker, and the money is collected on delivery (cash on delivery, dobírka = remboursement). Travel time from Karlovy Vary to the opposite tip of the country where I live is 1 day.

In the catalogue I came across the very first stamp issued in the Czech Republic (20 January 1993):

The nominal value is still quoted in Czechoslovakian crowns (3 Kčs), now sold for the equal amount in Czech crowns... I will try to use this stamp on cover to see whether the system will accept it, and will show the result here.

Cover from Italy no. 18

Another lovely surprise from Giovanni, special cover with a 0.65 euro stamp from a sheet of 4 issued on 5 May 2010, commemorating, according to wikipedia, "the Expedition of the Thousand (Italian: Spedizione dei Mille) was a military campaign led by the revolutionary general Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1860. A force of volunteers defeated the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, leading to its dissolution and annexation by the Kingdom of Sardinia, an important step in the creation of a newly unified Kingdom of Italy". The set of stamps is part of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Italy's unification (2011).

This stamps shows a scene when the volunteers from northern Italy reached Sicily at the town of Marsalla (sbarco a Marsalla).

Apart from that, there is a nice special postmark from the town of Valdobbiadene near Treviso, in Veneto, in a winemaking region (home of Prosecco Conegliano-Valdobbiadene), which is mentioned also in the postmark: "brinda la vita" - "toast to life".

Grazie, Giovanni!!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Cover from the USA no. 6

A cover with more stamps from the fantastic series of Flags of Our Nations. This time, taken from the set no. 3, issued on 6 August 2009. The flags belong to the states of Massachusetts and Maryland. The cover was sent from New Jersey, but unfortunately the machine cancellation is not very legible.

Thank you, Ron!!

Cover from Thailand no. 3

A great cover received in December 2010 from Terdsak in Phetchaburi (central Thailand). The cover features a 15 baht stamp from a series devoted to the Chinese New Year celebrations. The original version, issued on 1 February 2008, has the nominal value of 5 bath, and the stamp used here is an overprint. The postage is complemented by two 1 baht definitives with the portrait of King Rama IX, the world's longest-serving current head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history.

The enclosed postcards shows views of Phra Nakorn Khiri, Holy City Hill, overlooking the town of Phetchaburi.

Thank you very much, Terdsak!!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Postcard from Chile

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A lovely postcard received a few days ago from Santiago de Chile showing Bellavista Hill in Valparaíso, in central Chile, one of the its most important seaports and the seat of the National Congress of Chile. Since 2003 the Historic Quarter of Valparaíso has been on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

The postage of 310 pesos is covered by a 290 pesos Christmas stamp (issued on 26 November 2010) and a se-tenant duo of definitive stamps from 2008 showing typical Chilean characters, organillero (organ-grinder) and palomita (not sure about this one, heh, maybe popcorn vendor?, my dictionary does not help me:)).

The print-run of the Christmas stamp was 50,000. Out of curiosity, I checked the print-run of the last year's Czech Christmas stamp, which was... 15 million pieces! Mind-boggling difference, especially since the population of Chile is 17 million, and of Czech Rep. 10 million. The explication might be the tradition of sending greeting cards which is very strong here, but still...

Thank you, Hernán, for this beauty!!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Czech cover no. 3

Here is one of the new September 2010 stamps used on cover, with two coupons, the one with the postal submarine delivering mail being attached to only every ninth stamp.

New Czech stamps - September 2010

Still catching up to finish the presentation of the new Czech stamps of 2010:-) (because two new stamps for 2011 are already out...)

On 1 September, the Post issued this lovely sheet with fauna and flora of the South Moravia Biosphere Reserve, with stamps showing butterflies, a hoopoe, a grasshopper and a lizard, along with a set of coupons. Print-run: 70,000.


On the same day, a new sports stamp was also issued, dedicated to the FIBA World Basketball Championship. Then with the rate of 17 Kč for sending postcards and light letters to Europe. But on 1 September the rate changed... and 17 Kč went up to 20 and 18 Kč for overseas increased to 21 Kč.


September also saw new additions to the definitive series of flower stamps, widely used here: anemone, tulip and iris.


There were also three new stamps with letter denominations. PRO FILATELIA A rate stamp with a boy and a girl looking at stamps (9 stamps with 12 coupons in a sheet), PRO FILATELIA E rate stamp with a boy and a stamp (9 stamps and 12 coupons in a sheet, 9 repeated, 3 unique), and the Four Leaf Clover comics characters which had been available until then only as self-adhesives in booklet. Now there is the whole gang as a regular A rate stamp, again issued as 9 stamps and 12 coupons (3 of them being unique).


And on 29 September there were two new additions to the Personalities series, with Arnold Branald, author of children's book and a playwright, and Karel Zeman, film-maker and graphic designer, hugely popular for his breathtaking film adaptations of Jules Verne novels, using sets painted in the style of Victorian illustrations (mainly engravings by Gustave Doré). More about him also here.