Saturday, December 19, 2009

US McMurdo Station Antarctic Cover

Received this cover back from McMurdo station today. This American base is located at 77° 51′ 0″ S, 166° 40′ 0″ E (south of New Zealand) on the southern tip of Ross Island on the shore of McMurdo Sound. It is the largest base in the Antarctic and can support over 1200 residents.

US McMurdo Cover 2009

The mailing address I used to get my cover to the post office at the base was “McMurdo Station Post Office, PSC 469 Box 700, APO AP 96599-1035”. Because this was an APO the postal rates to and from Canada were the same as they would be mailing to and from the continental US.

Photo Credit: Gaelen Marsden and Wikipedia

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Denmark Roskilde Labels

This year, Post Denmark held its annual “Stamp Forum” in Roskilde, November 6-8. A special franking label was produced and only made available at the show or through advance mail order from Post Denmark. The label features an image of the Roskilde Cathedral and was available in sets of four with values of 5.00, 5.50, 8.00 and 9.00 DKK. Also available was a special exhibition postmark.

Denmark Roskilde Labels

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Miscellaneous Stamp News

On 1 December 2009, a TAAF stamp will be issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Antarctic Treaty System.

Mexico has issued a pair of "Preserve the Polar Regions and Glaciers" stamps: $13.00 and $10.50 pesos featuring images of the glaciers on Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl and Citlaltépetl. The stamp pair is available in a limited issue sheetlet of eight.

The Canadian National Philatelic Center 25th Anniversary Cancel

The Canadian National Philatelic Center celebrated their 25th Anniversary on 1 October 2009. A special cancel was created to mark the occasion. I mailed in my cover to be cancelled with a Canadian Inventions 2009 Five-pin bowling stamp on it as 2009 was also the 100th Anniversary of Five-pin bowling. The cancel was applied by hand and I think they did an excellent job it.

Canada NPC 25th Anniversary

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Active Post Offices in the Canadian Arctic

Last month I got this cover back from Eureka Nunavut and I was pleased to not only see a pictorial cancel but also a cachet. There is another similar cachet on the back of the cover. Eureka is known as the garden spot of the Arctic because the area is home to more plants and wildlife than anywhere else on Ellesmere Island.

Over the past few months I've received a number of covers from post offices all across the Canadian Arctic. I've assembled the best of them and put images of them on a page here. Also on that page I've included a google map that shows all of the Canada Post outlets located above the Arctic Circle.

Eureka Nunavut Cover

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall Issues from Luxembourg

Some new stamps from Luxembourg issued 16 September 2009. The souvenir sheet commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Luxembourg Federation of Philatelic Societies. The stamp images on the stamps are heavily embossed with lots of detail. The Railroad series commemorates 150 years of railway use in Luxembourg. And finally, Luxembourg’s first SEPAC issue.

75th anniversary of the Luxembourg Federation of Philatelic Societies
Luxembourg Railroads
Luxembourg SEPAC

Friday, September 25, 2009

Butterflies and Landscapes of Liechtenstein

The Butterflies set was issued 9 September 2009 and is the first stamp issue designed and produced entirely in Liechtenstein. When I received these stamps I figured the must have been printed on heavier paper. But they came with an insert that explained how to remove the stamps from the backing paper which refreshed my memory – these are self-adhesive. Unlike any perforated self-adhesive issues I’ve encountered, these separated from one another with ease. However there is no split across the backing paper so freeing individual stamps once separated from a stamp pane may be difficult.

Liechtenstein 2009 Butterflies

16 September 2009 also saw the release of the second SEPAC issue from Liechtenstein. The new issue resembles the first SEPAC issue in size, theme and value (1.30 CHF). The new stamp features the Chapel of St. Mamerta in Triesen.

Liechtenstein 2009 SEPAC 2

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Preserve the Polar Regions Update

After acquiring the Aland Preserve the Polar Regions and Glaciers issue I realize I now have all of the officially recognized stamp issues from this series. I’ve compiled a list with images of each stamp issue and placed it here. This last one gives me a total of 37 countries. India was suppose to issue a commemorative earlier this year as well but apparently it has been delayed until December 19th of 2009. Other countries that were suppose to produce stamps for this series were Mexico, Paraguay and Uruguay but I’ve not been able to find any information about these.

Aland 2009 Preserve the Polar Regions

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My First SEPAC Issues of 2009

On 16 Sept 2009, a number of the postal administrations participating in SEPAC (Small European Postal Administrations Cooperation) issued their second part of the initial SEPAC three part series featuring “Beautiful Corners of Europe”. The first of these issues to come my way was from Aland. It consisted of two stamps. A domestic rate stamp featuring Föglö and a European rate stamp featuring Saltvik. This scenery series from Aland has been on-going for some time now, prior to its inclusion into the SEPAC “Beautiful Corners of Europe” series.

Aland 2009 SEPAC

This year, 12 countries are participating in the series

Faroe Islands
Isle of Man

San Marino is sitting out. In 2007 both Luxembourg and San Marino did not participate in the series.

Falkland Islands Charles Darwin Commemorative

This year is the birth bicentennial of Charles Darwin. He was born 12 Feb 1809 and several postal administrations have issued stamps to commemorate the occasion. This is also the 150th anniversary of his work “On the Origin of the Species” which first went on sale in November of 1859. It’s interesting to note that the concept of natural selection which is commonly accepted today as… common sense, was considered highly controversial when first proposed by Darwin.

On 23 April 2009, the Falkland Islands issued this beautiful commemorative set. It honors Darwin and his visit to the Falklands in 1833 and 1834 during his famous world-wide scientific expedition aboard the HMS Beagle. I didn’t think much of this set until I saw it against the blue background. Very well done.

Falkland Islands 2009 Charles Darwin

Monday, August 10, 2009

Two Covers from Norway

These are two covers that were retuned to me from Norway today. Tromsø located at 69°40′N 18°56′E is the largest city in North Norway. Ny-Ålesund located at 78°55′N 11°56′E on the island of Spitsbergen in Svalbard, Norway is one of the worlds Northern most settlements.

Tromsø Cover

Ny-Ålesund Cover

Friday, August 7, 2009

Azerbaijan’s Preserve the Polar Regions and Glaciers Issue

Sometimes countries issue stamps featuring popular themes just as a way to attract collectors and generate revenue. Small countries issuing stamps featuring US presidents or space missions for example. So I though this might be a similar case with Azerbaijan’s “Preserve the Polar Regions and Glaciers” issue. But I was very wrong. Apparently they sent an expedition to Antarctica that reached the South Pole 26 January 2009 and have plans to build a base on Antarctica someday as well.

Azerbaijan 2009 Preserve the Polar Regions and Glaciers

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cover from Svalbard

Received this cover from Svalbard Norway today. It was post marked "Tempelfjorden". The Tempel Fjord is about 60km East of Longyearbyen. In the winter a schooner, the Noorderlicht, remains in the fjord icebound and acts as a tourist stop for people on dog sled or snow mobile tours out of Longyearbyen. On the ice next to the ship is a mail box where tourists can mail post cards. Apparently the mail is transported back to Longyearbyen by dog sled, hence the "Polar Dog Mail" cancellation mark.

I received this cover in July when the ship is not frozen in the ice. Was my cover post marked at Tempelfjorden? Not likely. My guess is that it was actually cancelled in Longyearbyen since that's where I originally sent it to.

Tempelfjord Svalbard cover

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Demarks Old Maps and Labels

The latest series of stamps to be issued by Post Denmark features old maps of Denmark. Originally to be released on 10 June 2009, it was delays to 17 July 2009 which coincided with the international conference on the history of cartography held in Copenhagen from 11 to 17 July 2009. The rates of these issues was also increased from what was initially expected.

Denmark 2009 Franking Labels

The series consists of four stamp issues. A 12.00 DKK stamp featuring the oldest preserved map of Denmark by Marcus Jordan from 1585. The first printed map of Denmark dating from 1570 is featured on the 18.00 DKK stamps. In 1650 Danish cartographer Johannes Mejer presented Frederik III with the map featured on the 6.50 DKK stamps. And finally, the over sized 5.50 DKK stamp features the first official map of Denmark published in 1841 by the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences.

On 10 June 2009, Post Denmark released their 2009 franking labels. The theme of these labels is Danish hydro-electricity. When ordered from Post Denmark they come as a set of four with values of 5.00, 5.50, 8.00 and 9.00 DKK. But you can also order them in any value you like from 0.25 up to 99.75 DKK. As far as franking labels go, I found the designs of these to be quite appealing.

Denmark 2009 Old Maps

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Captain Robert A. Bartlett

Canada Post issued this stamp in sheets of 16 on 10 July 2009. It commemorates Captain Robert Bartlett and the 100th anniversary of his attempt to reach the North Pole. He had accompanied Robert Peary on three attempts at the pole and it was during the third attempt that his expedition reached a latitude of 87°48' N. This was farther North than any explorer had gone before him.

Canada 2009 Bartlett

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Matariki 2009

Typically when I receive mailings from New Zealand Post they come in postage paid envelopes without stamps or cancels. But this latest mailing was stamped with and cancelled on the day of issue of the $2.00 Matariki 2009 Hei-tiki stamp issue. It was a very interesting way of marketing the issue and also very effect since here I am writing about it.

New Zealand Post Cover

Matariki 2009 - $2.00 Hei-tiki

The Māori are the indigenous peoples of of New Zealand. And this year their new year, Matariki, was celebrated on 24 June. To mark the occasion, New Zealand Post issued a set of stamps featuring various Māori hei-tiki: decorative pendants worn around the neck by the Māori. These decorative pieces have become the icons of Māori art. The hei-tiki featured on my $2.00 stamp is 160 years old and held by the Museum of New Zealand.

The stamp series consists of six self-adhesive issues, each featuring a different hei-tiki. There was also a souvenir sheet issued featuring the same six stamps in a gummed format.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Jan Mayen Cover

Jan Mayen is a small volcanic island in the Arctic Ocean between Greenland and Norway and even though it is part of the Kingdom of Norway, the closest part of Norway is some 1000 km away. There are no civilian settlements on the island but the Norwegian Armed Forces mans a research station there year round. It took a couple of month to get my cover cancelled (slow delivery or perhaps a slow post office) but only two weeks to get it back to Canada. The cancel turned out perfect. I used a pair of Preserve the Polar Region stamps from the Norwegian souvenir sheet. I didn’t want to remove them from the sheet but I wasn’t too sure how the cancel would look against its grey background so out they came.

Jan Mayen is located at 70°59′N 8°32′W putting it just above the Arctic Circle.

Jan Mayen Cover

Jan Mayen Cancel

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Over the past month I've received a few covers from fellow European collectors:

Eric from France sent me this cover with several recent engraved stamps. I've always liked stamps produced this way and LaPoste does a really good job with them.

Adolf from Germany sent me a cover featuring a stamp that commemorates the Luther memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg. It was cancelled at the International Stamp Show in Essen (May 2009).

Andre from Portugal sent along a cover bearing some stamps from Portugal's "exotic fruits" series. I really need to get back to Portugal for a visit some day soon.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New San Marino Issues

The 2009 Europa issues from San Marino were recently issued (8 May). With San Marino stamps I either like them or hate them but I’ve enjoyed the last few Europa issues, including this one. I also liked the “Sammarinese Ceramists“ set issued 20 Feb 2009. It’s a series of three stamps that commemorates/brings awareness to the production of ceramic art in San Marino. So far it is my favorite San Marino issue of 2009.

San Marino Europa 2009 Astronomy

Sammarinese Ceramists

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ross Dependency South Magnetic Pole Flyover Cover

On 17 January 2009, New Zealand Post sent 2500 Ross Dependency 2008 British Antarctic Expedition FDCs on a flight over the South Magnetic Pole. It was a commemorative flight, marking the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the South Magnetic Pole by Douglas Mawson, Edgeworth David, and Alistair Mackay. However there is some doubt that they actually found the correct location.

Ross Dependency South Magnetic Pole Fly Over Cover

The occasion is marked on the FDC with a special cachet on the lower left. The stamp series on this envelope was issued 5 November 2008 to mark the anniversary of Shackleton's Nimrod Expedition: the British Antarctic Expedition. The $2 stamp in this series commemorates Mawson, David, and Mackay's discovery of the South Magnetic Pole.

I think a little more could have been done to make the cover special. Perhaps having them individually numbered would have been enough. It's a nice cachet - well done. But it's a first day cover for a stamp series that was issued 5 November 2008. I think it would have been more significant if the stamps had been cancelled on the day of the flight instead. Even so, it is a nice FDC and will find a good home in my collection.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Stamps from Belgium

I received these stamps from a fellow collector in Belgium: Preserve the Polar Regions and Europa 2009. The Polar Regions sheet was issued 9 March 2009 and features Belgians Alain Hubert and Dixie Dansercoer who walked across the Arctic from Russia to Greenland in 106 days in 2007. The Europa sheet was issued 6 April 2009 and this copy was signed by the stamps designer: Thierry Mordant - an extra touch that I really appreciate. Thank you Thomas!

Belgium 2009 Preserve the Polar Regions
Belgium Europa 2009 - Astronomy

Monday, May 11, 2009

Still Looking for Davo Preserve the Polar Regions Album

I’m still not able to find anything on the Davo website about this album but the recent issue of Greenland Collector does have a small advertisement with pricing. Apparently with all stamps included it sells for €95.00 and without stamps, €37.50.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

BAT Recognizes 100 Year of Naval Aviation

The Royal Navy celebrates 100 year of aviation on 9 May 2009. This dates marks the 100th Anniversary of the first naval order for an air ship. A number of British Commonweatlh nations and territories are issuing stamps to commemorate the occasion. I believe the British Antarctic Territory was the first (1 January 2009) with a set of 4 stamps and a souvenir sheet. The stamps feature the Westland Lynx (10p), the Fairey Seafox (10p), the Westland Wasp (90p) and the Supermarine Walrus (90p). The £2souvenir sheet features the Mayfly: the first airship purchase ever made by the Royal Navy. The contract was awarded to Vickers and it took two years to design and construct. But it was never put into use. The ship was damaged beyond repair on its first test flight.

British Antarctic Territory 2009 - 100 Year of Naval Aviation souvenir sheet

British Antarctic Territory 2009 - 100 Year of Naval Aviation

Friday, April 24, 2009

New Stamps from Switzerland

Here are a few of the new issues from Switzerland, valid after 8 May 2009:

Switzerland 2009 European Wildcats
Switzerland Europa 2009 Astronomy
Switzerland 100 Years Pro Patria

The first is a self adhesive issue that features the European Wildcat. The second is the Swiss Europa 2009 Astronomy issue which features glow in the dark orbits and planets. And finally, a souvenir sheet commemorating 100 years of the Swiss Pro Patria Foundation.

Barry's Bay Ontario Żurakowski Park Cancel

This is a cancellation I recently received from Barry’s Bay Ontario. The stamp is the Canadian “First Flight” stamp issued on 23 February 2009. It commemorates the first flight of the Silver Dart on 23 February 1909 at Baddeck Bay in Nova Scotia. It was the first controlled powered flight in the British Empire.

The cancellation was made by the Barry’s Bay Post Office. The CF-105 Arrow was a delta winged fighter jet developed in Canada by Avro Aircraft Limited between 1953 and 1959. Janusz Żurakowski, a Polish born fighter/test pilot, was the chief development test pilot for Avro at the time. He was the first to pilot the CF-105 and several of its variants before the program was abruptly cancelled. He retired with his family to Barry’s Bay Ontario and lived there until his death in 2004.

A park in Barry’s Bay named after Janusz Żurakowski is also home to the 1/3 scale CF-105 Arrow monument featured on this cancellation.

Barry's Bay Żurakowski Park Cancel

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Greece: Preserve the Polar Regions and Glaciers

A nice little sheet from Greece with a pair of circular stamps.

Greece 2009 Preserve the Polar Regions

Norway's Preverve the Polar Regions not quite circular

Norway issued a "Preserve the Polar Regions" sheet in February of 2009 and it consisted of a pair of 8 Kr stamps. One stamp had UV sensitive print that showed the ozone layer coverage of the Earth and the other was printed with a foil embossing technique. They look very nice. But what confused me was the perforations. They are perforated as square stamps but the globe graphic in each stamp is perforated as a circular stamp. However the 8 Kr and Norway labeling is not within the circular perforation boundary so I can't consider them circular stamps.

Norway 2009 Preserve the Polar Regions

Here are some of my favorite recent circular issues:

France 2008 Je Suis Sports
British Antarctic Territory 2007 International Polar Year
Ireland 2008 Year of the Planet
Iceland 2005 Europa Gastronomy