Monday, June 25, 2012

Canada / Guernsey Joint Issue - War of 1812

This new joint issue from Canada Post and Guernsey Post kicks off the Canada Post series to commemorate the war of 1812. This war between the British and United States was fought between June 1812 and Feb 1815. In the end, both sides declared victory and the war helped to bolster a new sense of unity and nationality in both nations. The British loyalists in Canada took great pride in having successfully defended Canadian borders from an American take over.

This first issue in the series features Guernsey born Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, the "Hero of Upper Canada" and War Chief Tecumseh, leader of the Shawnee people. The two led a successful campaign to capture Fort Detroit in August 1812. Both men would later die on the battlefield: Brock at the Battle of Queenston Heights on 13 October 1812 and Techmseh at the Battle of the Thames on 5 October 1813.

The next pair of stamps in the series will be issued in 1813 and will feature Laura Secord and Lieutenant Colonel Charles de Salaberry.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

More from the Salon du Timbre

I received this cover from François who must have made a trip to the Salon du Timbre in Paris this past week. I wanted to send myself a cover with this label on it but I didn't get a chance to. This label features key people from French history: Louis IX, François I, Henri IV, Louis XIV, Napoleon and General de Gaulle. Thank you François!

I also received this postcard that I had sent myself from the Salon. It was a postcard we bought at Disneyland and we happened to have it handy at the Salon so I stuck a newly issued "sports" stamp on it and mailed it back to myself. It's postmarked with the first day of issue postmark. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Vardø and the Transit of Venus

Norways eastern most town, almost as far east as Murmansk in Russia, and further north. This town of 2000 is known for its radar tracking station Globus II. The original claim was that the station was for tracking space debris but a storm blew the dome off the thing and everyone noticed it was pointed at Russia. The site is in a prime location for gathering intelligence on missile installations.

Vardø was also the place where Hungarian astronomer Maximilian Hell observed the transit of Venus in 1769. In Europe at that time, the transit was taking place at night so to be able to witness the event, it was necessary to travel north of the arctic circle were the sun was still visible at night. From Vardø it was possible to witness the event in its entirity. Hell's observations allowed him to make an incredibly accurate estimate of the distance between the Earth and Sun. More accurate than anyone else had made at the time. The transit occurs twice, 8 years apart, every 122 years. It happened in 2004 and just recently on June 6, 2012.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Salon du Timbre 2012

Over the past week I've been on vacation with my family in Paris. And lucky for me, a large philatelic exhibition was being held in Paris during my stay: the bi-annual Paris Salon du Timbre. We went on a Tuesday and the place was packed with school children. I have never seen so many school children crowded into a space like that. It was chaos. So much so that my own children couldn't enjoy any of the exhibits available for children.

I bought a few stamps for myself, including the latest TAAF issues: the CNES strip and a joint issue with Monaco that were both issued on 9 June 2012, the opening day of the exhibition. I also acquired the Kerguelen sheetlet that was issued at the end of March.

There were a number of other postal authorities represented at the show but the one I was most interested in was Correios Brazil as I was able to purchase the 2011 UPAEP mailbox issue. Stamps from France I can buy anytime, but I don't get many chances to purchase stamps from Brazil.

At the back of the exhibition area were the LISA ATM label machines. I purchased a few examples of the labels made specially for the show. I like the Musee d'Orsay label but not the other two so much. The printing on the label covers the faces on the label image and that doesn't seem right.

Originally, when I learned the show was going to be on during my visit, I had plans to make up covers and maximum cards and spend lots of time exploring the exhibits and doing... philatelic stuff. But this trip was about my family so I had to put the hobby aside and focus on their needs. After a couple of hours we left to do something "fun". But I am glad I had the opportunity to attend the Salon du Timbre and I look forward to doing it again some year. Preferably on a day that is less crowded.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Grimsey, Iceland

The arctic circle runs through the the island of Grimsey. It's the northern-most inhabitable part of Iceland. Home to less than 90 inhabitants who share the island with huge flocks of sea birds. There are no wild mammals on the island: not even a mouse. And only the occasional polar bear bothers to swim ashore.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rota Island, USA

There is a post office on Rota Island; the Southern most island of the US part of the Mariana archipelago. Covering an area of about 85 sq-km and with only 2500 residents, Rota is the smallest and least populated of the three permanently populated islands in the territory.