Thursday, March 19, 2009

2009 TAAF Stamps

I received some stamps from LaPoste the other day which included the first "batch" of TAAF stamps for 2009. They always release most of their TAAF stamps for the year on January 1 and then another issue at the end of every quarter for the rest of the year.

I love collecting stamps from the Antarctic colonies, particularly TAAF. I just wish it was a little easier to get them. You can't buy them online from LaPoste. Unless you're in France and can't buy them in person. you have to do it through their catalog which is published every quarter. A simple email will get this sent to you. I think you can fax in your order but I've never tried. So every quarter (which is usually how often I buy stamps from France) I'm filling out an order form and mailing it over there. Sometime it takes up to a month to process. But the stamps are packed well (free shipping for orders over 40 euro) and are sent by registered mail. Of course, knowing a bit of French helps but the order form is multi-lingual. The catalog is not though.

The only problem I find with the catalogs is that they don't always print images for every stamp from the territories (St Pierre & Miquelon, Monaco, Wallis & Futuna, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Mayotta, French Andorra) so sometimes you just have to know what you want. And just because it isn't in the catalog doesn't mean they don't have any stock remaining. When it comes to the territories, because they only devote a few pages to them, they typically only feature the latest issues. That certainly doesn't mean you can't take a chance something not in the catalog though.

I recently discovered LaPoste makes their monthly philatelic news publication, Philinfo, available online (just click "Philinfo en ligne" in the side bar then the image of the Philinfo magazine that appears on the right). All you need to do is register to gain access to it. It includes information about all the stamps and philatelic products to be issued in that month. Only problem is, they don't appear to make previous months available. And you can't download it.

NOTE: You must now pay a subscription fee to view Philinfo online

These are some of my favorite stamps from January 2009 TAAF issues:

TAAF 2009:Pétrels
TAAF 2009:Algologie - Biologie des espèces

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

AAT: Preserve the Polar Regions and Glaciers

I've been trying to track down all of the countries producing stamps this year as part of the "Preserve the Polar Regions and Glaciers" theme. So far, I've been able to come up with the following: Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Faroe Islands, Switzerland, Austria, France, French Andorra, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Peru. I've heard there are 30 to 40 countries and I've only got 22 here. I guess I'm missing a few
Australia has issued there contribution to the series as an Australian Antarctic Territory issue, the third AAT release in something line the last 6 months.
AAT: Preserve the Polar Regions and Glaciers

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Canada 2010 Winter Olympic Games Souvenir Sheets

The winter games are coming to Vancouver next year. I would love to have the time and money to go and take in a few events but the kids are a little too young to get much out of it. Besides, I think going to see the games in a "foreign" country would make for a more exciting experience.

The Royal Canadian Mint has been cranking out coins to celebrate the event for the past year and a half and we're still a year away from the event. Fortunately Canada Post has exercised a little more restraint and only recently started to produce stamps commemorating the event.

Recently, they have been producing souvenir sheets of definitive stamps which I think is a nice way to introduce definitives into the collections of those who would otherwise shy away from them. It also means stamps that would normally be available only as adhesives in booklets and rolls are now available in a gummed and perforated format. I'm sure in the future, used version of these gummed stamps, even though they are definitives, will be worth much more than their self adhesive cousins.

Sports of the 2010 Olympic Games Stamps
The first sheet released by Canada Post on 12 January 2009 was the "Sports of the 2010 Olympic Games". The 5 Permanent domestic rate stamps on this sheet are also available as self adhesives in booklets of 10 and 30. The stamps feature images representing 5 of the Winter Olympic Games: ice sledge hockey, snowboarding, freestyle skiing, bobsleigh and Curling.

Vancouver 2010 Winter Games Mascots and Emblems Stamps
The second sheet released on 12 February 2009 was the "Vancouver 2010 Winter Games Mascots and Emblems". The five stamps in this sheet include a pair of Permanent domestic rates stamps features the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games emblem and the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games emblem. The three mascots of the games, Miga, Quatchi and Sumi, are also featured on the US, International and Oversized rate stamps respectively. These stamps are available in rolls and booklets in the adhesive format.
The release of this sheet was delayed to coincide with the one year countdown and release of the $1.15 Oversized stamp that features the mascot of the Paralympic Games, Sumi.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Iceland - Poles and Glaciers

Iceland Post has released their issue for the 2009 Preserve the Polar Regions and Glaciers joint issue. What's interesting about this sheet is the use of a thermally sensitive ink to mark the extent of the current Northern polar ice cap as it is today. But when heated to a temperature equivalent to body temperature, the red lines fade to show where the ice cap will remain in 2100. The sad reality is that the ice will likely melt much faster than predicted. A more complete image would have also shown the shorelines receding as the ice metls and the water levels rise.

Iceland - Poles and Glaciers

New Zealand - Preserve the Polar Regions and Glaciers

New Zealand - Preserve the Polar Regions and Glaciers

Monday, March 9, 2009

Liechtenstein Europa 2009

Received an order of stamps from Liechtenstein today. I love getting stamps from this little country: very prompt service and very professional. In my order was the latest Europa issue. They did a great job on this one. The stamp has a foil holographic finish that gives it an iridescent shine when tilted in the light. Beautiful. It would be a shame to stick it on an envelop. But as good as it looks, I don't think I would vote it "the best Europa" stamp for 2009. Not yet anyways. There are still lots more countries to put out there Europa issues. It's a good looking stamp but does it capture the theme?

Liechtenstein Europa 2009 Astronomy Stamp

Friday, March 6, 2009

Europa 2009 - Astronomy

This years EUROPA theme is Astronomy. 2009 has been designated the International Year of Astronomy by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and UNESCO. I guess the idea is to bring awareness to the impact of astronomy and other sciences on all of our lives. The first countries to issue EUROPA stamps in 2009 were Sweden (29 Jan 2009) and Greenland (19 Jan 2009) with Jersey, Liechtenstein and Denmark close behind.

Sweden Europa 2009 Astronomy
Greenland Europa 2009 Astronomy