Friday, December 28, 2012

Alfred Faure, the Crozet Islands, TAAF

From Alfred Faure in the Crozet Islands, posted from aboard the Marion Dufresne. This was sent to me by a team from Belgium's National Botanic Garden who were headed down to Crozet to carry out  some research. Their cachet and signatures are on the front of the cover.

The other interesting mark on the cover is that of the team heading to Kerguelen to catalog items of historical importance: "Inventaire du patrimonie des TAAF".

An interesting side note for this cover. The Marion Dufresne ran into some rocks on its way to Crozet on 14 November 2012. Everyone was evacuated and the ship had to be temporarily repaired. It was decided that the Marion Dufresne should return to dry dock for permanent repairs so they had to end the rotation early at their first stop in Crozet.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Churchill, Manitoba 12-12-12

Churchill is a town in the Canadian province of Manitoba. It sits in the far north of the province on the shore of Hudson Bay. Under 1000 people call Churchill home. The climate is sub-arctic. There are no roads connecting Churchill to the rest of the province but they do have railway service and an airport.

They have lots of polar bears, hence the title "Polar Bear Capital of the World". There are special tour buses in Churchill that travel out on the tundra, allowing tourists to safely get close to and observe the polar bears that come to the Churchill area every Fall.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Project Mercury, 50th Anniversary of Third American to Orbit Earth

The postmark on this cover commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 3rd American to orbit the Earth. Wally Schirra completed 6 orbits aboard the Project Mercury "Sigma 7" space capsule on 3 October 1962. His total flight time was 9 hours and 13 minutes.

Friday, December 21, 2012

North Pole, Alaska 12-12-12

North Pole is a city of over 2000 people in Alaska. It's a few kilometers east of Fairfax along the Richardson Highway. When children in the United States write letters to Santa Claus, this is where they end up. The post office in North Pole responds to those letters and uses the North Pole postmark on the envelopes.

I like the "Earthscapes" stamps. There were 15 stamps in the set that was issued by USPS on 1 Oct 2012. They feature satellite imagery of natural, urban and agricultural landscapes from around the United States. Also on this cover are a couple of local post "labels" which are not officially stamps. There is mention of one of the labels on this cover here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Island, Nova Scotia 12-12-12

Saitama, Japan

This came to me from Ageo in Saitama-shi, Japan. It has a pair of "Letter Writing" stamps on it that were issued in July of this year. Very nice.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

South Korea, New Year's Greetings - Year of the Snake

This cover posted from Gwanghwamun post office in Seoul, South Korea, has a pair of newly issued New Year's Greetings stamps on it and was postmarked on the day of issue: 3 Dec 2012. Both of these stamps feature a glow-in-the-dark highlight.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

M/S Mary Arctica

This was sent back to me from the M/S Mary Arctica from Cape Town, South Africa, while on its way to Belgium's Princess Elisabeth research station in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. The Mary Arctica is an ice hardened cargo vessel, owned and operated by Greenland's Royal Arctic Line A/S.  

M/S Mary Arctica webcam image:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wolvega, The Netherlands

From Wolvega in The Netherlands, postmarked at the post office at Van Harenstraat 32.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Kenya 10-11-12

From my friend Bhavin in Nakuru, this nice cover with a recently issued strip of Professor Wangari Muta Maathai stamps on it. Maathai was a Kenyan environmental and political activist and was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. She passed away in 2011.

What made this cover even more interesting was the date in the postmark: 10-11-12. Nice touch. Thanks Bhavin.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Le Salon philatélique d'automne 2012

I see my friend François has recently made the trip to Paris for the 66th fall philatelic exhibition. Thank you for the cover François.

Bürgel, Germany

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Plattsburgh NY - War of 1812

The Battle of Plattsburgh took place on land and water (Lake Champlain) between 6 and 11 September 1814. It was an American victory and the last time the British would attempt to invade the United States before the war ended in December of 1814.

Hyllinge, Sweden

The History of Alderney Harbour

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Patna, India

A cover from Patna, on the south bank of the Ganges. Happy Diwali.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Space Shuttle Endeavour - Final Mission Station

After the US ended their space shuttle program, it was decided that the four remaining shuttles would be donated to museums to be put on display. Endeavour was given to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. It was flown from Florida to LAX on top of a jumbo jet which is an amazing thing to see in itself. But the real challenge was getting the shuttle from the airport to the science center: 12 miles away. That part of the journey started at LAX on 12 Oct and it took two days to transport the massive shuttle, with its 78 foot wing span, through the streets of LA.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sveagruva, Norway

Sveagruva is a mining settlement on Spitsbergen island, 60km south of Longyearbyen. It is the largest coal mine on the island and employs over 300 people who all live in Longyearbyen. Nobody permanently lives in Svea and yet, they have a post office there. The animal on this faded postmark is a muskox.

Monday, October 29, 2012

USA - USS Constitution

To commemorate the war of 1812, on 18 August USPS issued a stamp featuring the USS Constitution. The Constitution is the worlds oldest commissioned navel vessel. It was built in Boston Massachusetts and launched in 1797.

On 19 August 1812 the Constitution was involved in a battle with the British HMS Guerriere. The Constitution was victorious and the Guerriere was so badly damaged that is was set a fire and abandoned at sea. From then on the Constitution became know as "Old Ironsides" because it was said that many of the shots fired on the Constitution could not penetrate her hull, as if they were made of iron.

The Constitution was retired from active service in 1881 and designated as a museum ship in 1907. Recently she was taken out to sea to sail under her own power to mark the 200th anniversary of her battle against the Guerriere.

I'm really happy with the way this maximum card turned out. It's a fairly old card and quite a bit smaller than modern postcards so I was rather limited when it came to placing the stamp and postmark. The postmark was placed exactly where I wanted it and it's quite clear, even with all the 'noise' in the image caused by the mast rigging. This was my first time requesting first day postmarks from the USPS and I'm very pleased with the results.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

France - Fête du Timbre

Stamp Day in France: 118 cities participated in the festival held 13-14 October including Nantes which is where this cover was postmarked. These stamps were issued 13 October and the theme this year was fire.  Merci François!

Faroe Islands - Sea Anemones

I've always liked stamps featuring images of marine life. I recently acquired this set from the Faroe Islands that was issued earlier this year and shows sea anemones that can be found in the waters around the islands.

Friday, October 26, 2012

USA - Timberline Lodge, Oregon

Three postmarks on this cover. The obvious one is the postmark commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Timberline Lodge near Government Camp, Oregon. Another in red ink is the Government Camp postmark (97028). And the third is the Portland Oregon spray-on machine cancel.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Kenya - Pillar of Vasco da Gama aerogram

Another great Kenyan aerogram from my good friend Bhavin. The stamp image on this one is of the Pillar of Vasco da Gama in Malindi which commemorates the landing of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama at Malindi in February 1498. On the back is an image of Fort Jesus in Mombasa.

It got a little crunched up in the mail somehow but is fine otherwise. Nice clear postmarks though. 11-10-12 Thanks Bhavin!

Wild cats from Brazil

Some fauna stamps from Brazil: a Moorish Cat and an Ocelot and a cute little Leporinus macrocephalus which would make a tasty snack for one of those cats.

USA - Great Film Directors FDC

This is a first day cover for the Billy Wilder stamp that was part of the Great Film Directors set issued 23 May of this year. Also on the cover is the John Huston stamp. US Forever stamps are good for domestic postage which is currently $0.45. The current USPS rate to Canada is $0.85 so another forever stamps was necessary. 

Friday, October 12, 2012


This cover from Bermuda was posted at the main mail processing center in St George's. Apparently it's the oldest continuously inhabited English town in the new world.  It's the hub for mail processing on the island, located right next to the airport.

UPAEP Mailboxes

More UPAEP mailbox stamps from last year. I particularly like the Peruvian stamps.

Dirty cover from Hopen, Norway

This is from the meteorological station on Hopen Island (part of the Svalbard archipelago). This cover had a rough journey. At some point is was soaking wet and started falling apart at one end. But somehow it managed to find me.

Bhubaneswar, India

This cover from Bhubaneswar has a pictorial postmark but the ink isn't quite right and it's hard to make out. Bhubaneswar has a rich architectural heritage so I'm going to guess the postmark is perhaps the Lingaraj Temple? Difficult for me to say. Otherwise, it's a great postmark.

Lake Clear, New York

Lake Clear is a little town in New York state, a little over 100km south of the Canadian border and the city of Conrwall, Ontario. The sender of this cover has a mailer's postmark permit which allows them to cancel their own mail with their own postmark and add it to the mail stream.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

TAAF - Kerguelen and the Marion Dufresne

I received this today from the TAAF sub-antarctic island of Kerguelen. It was recently carried there (and probably back again) by the Marion Dufresne during its second rotation of the year.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kenyatta International Conference Center, Nairobi

This aerogram from Kenya features an image of the Kenyatta International Conference Center in Nairobi. And the stamp at top-right is of the UN offices at Nairobi which includes a green building that is carbon neural, using solar panels to generate all of its energy needs.

Thanks for sending this to me Bhavin. It was much appreciated. I rarely receive aerograms like this.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Baltimore - War of 1812 Postmark

This commemorative postmark from Baltimore commemorates the War of 1812 and the American national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, which started life as a poem written during the war. The poem was written by Francis Scott Key who, while being held captive, witnessed the British attack on Fort McHenry on September 13, 1814. He literally saw a small American flag that was flying above the fort survive an overnight bombardment and he decided to capture the imagery in a poem he titled "The Defence of Fort McHenry". This would later turn into the American national anthem.

Between June 13 and 19 of this year, a festival was held in Baltimore to honor the anthem and the war. The plan is to make this a three year celebration, with further events planned for 2013 and 14.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

AAE Centenary Numismatic Cover

Stamps from the second issue in Australia Post's four part AAE Centenery series. This time a numismatic cover was issued that includes 3 of the 5 stamps and a $1 Sir Douglas Mawson coin.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Germany, Polar Post Exhibition Postmark

Thank you Martin, for this cover with the Polar Post Exhibition 2012 postmarks on it. The exhibition was held in Schwarzenberg on the 8 and 9th of September 2012.

Monday, September 17, 2012

South Africa, The Transit of Venus

This scan doesn't do the stamp justice. The lettering on the stamp is done with redish-orange metallic print which looks great. I assume all the graphics on the sheet around the stamp explain how the transit of venus is used to calculate the distance between the earth and sun.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

1812 Bicentennial: Fort Howard, Maryland

The postmark on this cover commemorates the 200th anniversary of the war of 1812. On September 12, 1814, a decisive battle was fought against the British. The had landed a large invasion force at North Point with plans to take over nearby Baltimore. But they were met by American forces who delayed the attack on Baltimore, giving the Americans time to prepare for and successfully defend it.

Defenders Day is a holiday in the state of Maryland to commemorate the battle at North Point. Today, Fort Howard occupies the original battle site. They re-enact the battle every year and this year they did so on September 2.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Christchurch, New Zealand

This was postmarked in Christchurch and the postmark has an image of the Christchurch Cathedral on it. Despite surviving several earthquakes in the past, the last big one to hit Christchurch in 2011 seriously damaged the cathedral and the decision was made to demolish the entire structure and build a new one.

The stamp on this cover is a round kiwi definitive. New Zealand Post has been producing this for a number of years now. Different colours and denominations are used every year.