Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Island, Nova Scotia 2011

The Christmas Island post office in Cape Breton Nova Scotia cancels Christmas mail with these Christmas cancels in red and green every year. They've been doing this for the past 16 years and receive requests from people all over the world asking that their mail be cancelled with this postmark. They process up to 2000 requests a day during the holiday season. 

Christmas Island is a small rural community: a few homes and businesses spread out along a highway. It's not an actual island although it is on Cape Breton island.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New TAAF Stamps 2011 and 2012

Lots of information about new TAAF issues at

Adelie Penguins
This stamp was available for sale during MonacoPhil, 2-4 December in Monaco and everywhere else on 7 December. It is available in a gummed TAAF issue and is a slightly redesigned France issue that was part of the recent self-adhesive "Overseas" booklet

Crozet Base Anniversary
A pair of stamps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first research station on Crozet Island, on sale 15 December 2011. I like how they show the place being overrun by penguins.

TAAF and Mayotte Joint Issue
This stamp shows the Marion-Dufresne at Mayotte and is scheduled for 30 December 2011. The TAAF issue is a little taller but the Mayotte stamp is a little wider due to the different number of stamps each issuing body includes on a full sheet. What is strange about this stamp is that only two days after it is issued, Mayotte will cease to issue its own stamps. So the question is, will it be valid for postage in Mayotte after 1 Jan 2012? Lots more about this issue at here.

TAAF 2012
Also, details regarding the upcoming 2012 issues have been release which includes the following stamps:

  • Mineral stamp: Diopside
  • Vessel: Marius Moutet 
  • René-Émile BOSSIERE (1.45)
  • Roald AMUNDSEN (1.00)
  • Polar region air transport (sheetlet)
  • Weddell seal
  • Port Jeanne d’Arc (sheetlet)
  • Lepidonotothen Larseni Fish (2.40)
  • Notodiscus Hookeri Snail (0.60)
  • Molloy Base (Kerguelen - 2 stamps, 0.60 each)
  • Foreign Legion and Marine Corp of the Scattered Islands (2 stamps and label)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

Prudhoe Bay (70°19N 148°42W) is a community on the Alaskan North Slope at the end of the Dalton Highway. If you've ever seen the television series "Ice Road Truckers", you've likely seen or at least heard of Prudhoe Bay. Most of the population works at the nearby oil field and only a few people actually live there permanently. A number of businesses that support the oil field, including the General Store that houses the Post Office, are clustered near the airport in what used to be known as the town of Deadhorse. Despite the name, I somehow doubt there have ever been horses in Deadhorse, dead or alive. There is a good article about the name Deadhorse here. Even though the area was renamed to Prudhoe Bay in the 80's, the name Deadhorse persists today.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

No Cape Denison cover this season

Australia Post introduced a new postmark for Cape Denison that was put into use last year. Every summer the temporary post office at Cape Denison is open for tourists visiting the Mawson Huts and Cape Denison. It was unfortunate that I missed out on this as it was an opportunity to get the new Cape Denison postmark in its first year of use. So early last month I stuck some AAT stamps on an envelope and sent it down to Rob Easther in Hobart with the hope that it would get to Cape Denison for the upcoming season. But there is too much ice in Commonwealth Bay this season meaning L'Astrolabe will be unable to get the expedition to Cape Denison. So no Cape Denison cover for me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Polarstern ANT-XXVIII/1 cover

Posted back to me from AWI's research vessel Polarstern during ANT-XXSVIII/1 : the first part of its 2011/12 Antarctic cruise season. OCEANET is a project to measure "aerosol concentration, solar radiation as well as other meteorological and oceanographic parameters", operated by the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (IFT) and the Leibniz Institute for Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR) from the University of Leipzig.

AAT Macquarie Island 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Isle of Man - Europa, SEPAC and Christmas 2011

Not only is this set the 2011 Christmas issue for the Isle of Man but it also includes their forest themed Europa issue (68p) and their scenery themed SEPAC contribution (58p). Painted by local artist Jeremy Paul, the birds featured on the stamps from least to greatest denomination are a Robin, Redwing, Goldfinch, Siskin, Waxwing and the Long-tailed Tit.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

TAAF Joint Issue with St Pierre and Miquelon

A new joint issue for TAAF and SP&M to be issued on 3 November 2011 for TAAF and 8 November 2011 for SP&M. The sheet commemorates the fact that the frigate Forbin passed close to two rare rock formations in French territory: Pointe du Cap Perce on St Pierre in 1978 and L'arche des Kerguelen on Kerguelen Island in 1980.

Both issues are 1.10€ and apart from the names of the territories on the stamps and the order of the names on the sheet, the two issues appear identical. 70,000 sheets for the TAAF issue and 64,000 for the SP&M issue. The fact that the rate is 1.10€ makes me wonder if TAAF postal rates for international small letters has increased from 1.00€.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ross Dependency 2011 - Race to the Pole

New Zealand Post will be issuing Ross Dependency stamps for 2011 on the 2nd of  November. The set will consist of 5 issues commemorating Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott's separate journeys to reach the South Pole in 1911


Sunday, September 18, 2011

South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands - Frozen Planet

A new commemorative issue for South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands. Frozen Planet is a new BBC nature series that documents life in the extreme environment of the polar regions. Some of the footage was filmed in South Georgia. This issue date for this set was 15 September 2011 and consists of a set of 4 stamps and a souvenir sheet. See more here

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New TAAF issue for September 2011

The Orre House in St Pierre, Reunion. It is the current residence of the TAAF prefect and is listed as a historical site. Print run is 65,000 copies and this stamp is to be issued on 19 September 2011. You can see the actual house here

Friday, August 12, 2011

Uruguayan research station Artigas

The Uruguayan Antarctic Institute operates Artigas Base on King George Island. It has a maximum summer population of 60 and resides in an ice free zone on the island. King George Island is home to several research stations owned by different nations.

I sent this cover to the base through Punta Arenes, Chile back in September. And I put Chilean stamps on the cover and asked that it be sent back through Frei Base and Correos Chile. It came back in good shape. The back is covered with past Artigas cachets with the one for the season that just ended is on the front.

I sent another cover to Artigas through the IAU in Montevideo with the hopes that it would get down there and back within a year through Correo Uruguayo. For that I had to put Uruguayan stamps on the envelope. I'm looking forward to getting that one back.

Mailing addresses can be found here

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Centenary of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition

New AAT stamps coming out 2nd August to start a series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the AAE. The plan is to issue a set of 5 stamps each year leading up to 2014. The first Australian Antarctic Expedition left Hobart in December of 2011 under the command of Douglas Mawson and returned in February 1914.

I like the AAT issues but find acquiring them to be rather expensive. I like to order stamps from the Australia Post stamp shop but shipping is rather expensive and Australian stamp issues tend to go off sale not long after issue so I can never justify the shipping cost for the few issues I want that are available to purchase. But I think I'll find a way to get these. Maybe use them on a cover to one of the bases or something.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Eureka Nunavut Maxi Card

I had to try. And actually, despite a little slip that messed the cancel up a bit the post master did an ok job. It isn't smugged, it's straight and it's well placed. But looking at it now, I have to say I'm not crazy about that stamp. I should have waited for Canada Post to issue something better. I didn't want to use a bigger stamp though and the self-adhessives are so much easier to place. Maybe I'll try again someday when they get a new cancel.

After looking at this postcard a bit, it seems obvious to me now that it is not a real image. Polar bears are solitary animals. They don't spend time together, lying around on the ice. If you look at the bear on the left, clearly he was "added" to the image. He's sitting on the ice yet it looks more like he's sitting in a hole. It was probably an image of a bear sitting in the snow and someone photoshopped him out and onto this image. It's a shame really. as it doesn't add to the image. And now that I know it's fake I can't look at this card without seeing how obvious it is. 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Korea Preserve the Polar Regions 2011

Another "Preserve the Polar Regions and Glaciers" issue, this time from South Korea. These stamps were issued on 3 June 2011 as a setenant pair in sheets of 20..

Thursday, June 2, 2011

French Andorra Europa 2011

This is a self adhesive stamp made with a paper that has a simulated wood grain. At least I think it is simulated. Could it be real wood? It's very thick yet flexible and the ink applied to it is also thick and shinny. It would have been interesting if the stamp was actually made from a wood veener.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

TAAF Gentoo Penguins

Here's a 1.00 € TAAF stamp featuring Gentoo penguins (Manchots papous) paired with a label dedicated to Pierre Bignon to be issued 15 June 2011. I believe this is being issued for the 84th FFAP (Fédération Française des Associations Philatéliques) conference being held earlier that same week in Metz.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Another cover from Frei Base

This one is a bit better than the last one I received as the cachets were placed on the front this time. But otherwise, it's the same. I believe the top left cachet represents Teniente Luis Carvajal Villaroel Antarctic Base on Adelaide Island. The middle one is for the Villa Las Estrellas Kindergarten (yes, the town has its own kindergarten school)

Monday, May 9, 2011

TAAF Kerguelen Cover

I don't remember sending this but I must have done it late last year shortly after the "Espace Champeret" stamp was issued. I used one gummed and one self adhesive on this envelope. Nice of the post master, Mr Jacques Zadorozanyj, to date it 4 Nov 2010 - the issue date of the stamp.

Also on the back are cachets from Jeorome Perronnet , chief geophysicist ,and Kevin Coustaut, an ornithologist, both currently involved with research on the the island.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva

This is the back of a letter I got back from Frei base recently. Nothing special on the front. At least that's where I think it came back from. I seem to remember there was another Chilean base or something down there I sent letters to. Another place that routes it's mail through Frei, like most other bases in the area.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Halley Research Station

Halley 5 is a British Antarctic research station. The main buildings of the station stand on tall stilts that are raised occasionally to keep the buildings from being buried beneath the snow and ice. The base has a staff of 16 in the winter and around 70 in the summer.

I sent this cover and another down there in December of 2009 and you can see it was just cancelled two months ago. I must have missed the end of the 09/10 season. There was nothing on the back of this envelope. The other cover from Halley looks pretty much like this one.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

New TAAF stamp for 2011

A new TAAF stamp to be issued 1 April 2011 - Osiris: Southern Patrol. This is a reprint of a 2006 issue, this time with a face value of 0.60€

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Preseve the Polar Regions and Glaciers beyond 2009

Just when you thought it was over... At the end of 2009, India issued what I thought would be the last issue of this series. But in November of 2010, Uzbekistan issued a single stamp with the crystal logo on it. And then early in 2011, Serbia issued a small stamp sheet with a pair of stamps also baring the crystal logo. The most recent (that I have seen) is this pair of stamps from Belarus. issued on 11 February 2011. What I like most about these stamps isn't so much the stamp issue itself, but the phlatelic website for the Repiblic of Belarus. Some detailed information about these stamps can be found there.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Neumayer Station

This letter came back to me from The Alfred Wegener Institute of Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany. It was sent down to Neumayer Station III where the stamp in the left corner was applied (or so I was told). It was cancelled aboard the research icebreaker RV Polarstern before coming back to me through 'regular' postal channels.

Neumayer III is a modern research base and has only been in operation for a couple of years. It sits on the Ekström Ice Shelf which is moving towards the ocean at a rate of 200m per year. Six meter tall hydraulic stilts keep the base above the accumulating snow. Here is a webcam shot of the Neumayer III.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

SANAE - South Africa

The South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) operates a base on the Antarctic Peninsula, currently SANAE IV. Summer population can reach 100 and the overwinter staff numbers about 10. The program is serviced by the S.A. Agulhas. Even though this cover was brought down to SANAE by Agulhas and the cancel says "Antarctica - Waterfront", I'm quite certain it was really cancelled in Cape Town. Agulhas is scheduled for retirement in the Spring of 2012.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chilean Base Bernardo O'Higgins

This was cancelled at O'Higgins on 7 November 2010 and again at Frei Base on 22 November 2010.  O'Higgins is an older base, located at the tip of the Antarctic peninsula. It is a year round base with a winter staff of about 16. The German Aerospace Center has a receiving station here to pick up data sent from satellite sensors over the Antarctic region. You can find some good webcam image here

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dumont d'Urville again...

Another letter back from TAAF the other day. This one I sent down near the end of 2009. It was cancelled 25 February 2010 and just got back to me this past week.

Friday, January 14, 2011

TAAF Cover - Dumont d'Urville Station

I mailed this around August or September of 2009. It was postmarked on 7 Feb 2010 and got back to me yesterday: 13 Jan 2011. How's that for a delay. It must have missed the last of the outgoing trips at the end of the 2009/10 season and had to overwinter at the base, waiting until the 2010/11 season to finally be mailed out.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chilean Base Captain Arturo Prat

Arturo Prat is the oldest of the Chilean Antarctic bases and up until a few years ago, was staffed year round. Now it is a seasonal base used for atmospheric and weather research. This letter was cancelled in Punta Arenas: a Chilean port town in the Strait of Magellan from which a large number of Antarcitc bases and research operations are serviced.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rothera Research Station... again

Another letter received today from Rothera. There were six stamps in the "50th Anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty" set and I used three for these two covers to Rothera. I used the other three stamps for another BAS station but I can't recall which - I believe it was Halley.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rothera Research Station

I mailed this to the Philatelic Bureau in Stanley (Falkland Islands) in December of 2009, just after these stamps came out. Guess it took a good year for my letter to make its way down to Rothera and be processed for return. It was cancelled there a little over a month ago.

Rothera is the main British Antarctic Survey base, located on Adelaide Island at the tip of the Antarctic peninsula. It is a year round base maintained by a staff of over 100 in the summer and 20 in the winter. The base has a runway and is serviced by 20 round trip dash 7 flight from Stantley each year.