Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Signy Research Station

Signy Research Station is located on Signy Island: one of the South Orkney Islands north-east of the Antarctic Peninsula. The British Antarctic Survey have operated a research base here since 1947.  It is a small station with 4 buildings and a summer population of 8.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Songkhla, Thailand

Davis Station, AAT

The postmark says First Day of Issue but the stamps pre-date the postmark by a year and a half. The stamps were issued 6 March 2012 to commemorate 100 years since the birth of Phillip Law, famous Australian Antarctic researcher and explorer, who passed away in April of 2010.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fairbanks, Alaska

More Doctor Who from Cardiff

Stamps with the last three actors to play the part of the Doctor in the BBCs long-running sci fi series Doctor Who. Since the new series is produced in Cardiff it made sense to have this postmarked in Cardiff on the day of the shows 50th anniversary: 23 November 2013. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The First Estonian Satellite

The first Estonian satellite, known as ESTCube-1, was launch into orbit on 7 May 2013. It was designed mainly by students from the University of Tartu over a period of 5 years. It takes images and radios them back to Earth but the Satellite also serves a scientific purpose.  It is outfitted with a solar sail that can be deployed to affect the satellites speed.

This satellite is a nanosatellite and was designed following the CubeSat standard which basically says the satellite has to have a volume of no more than a litre and can weight no more than 1.33 kgs. Several of these cubic nanosatellites can be placed into orbit during a single launch mission making it incredibly cost effective.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mawson's Huts Replica - Hobart, Australia

The Mawsons Hut's Foundation have created a replica of Mawson's Huts on the harbour front in Hobart, Australia. It was officially opened to tourists on December 2, 2013. Australia Post made this special postmark to commemorate the occasion.

Mawson's Huts are a collection of buildings used by the Australian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-14, located at Cape Denison on Commonwealth Bay. For years now, work has been on-going to restore and maintain the huts which are seen as an important part of Australia's Antarctic heritage.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Port Lockroy, British Antarctic Territory

Port Lockroy was a British Antarctic research station up until 1962. It was renovated in 1996 by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust and turned into a museum. They also maintain a post office at the base, and a gift shop. Port Lockroy is one of the most touristed sites in the Antarctic.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Postmark

A commemorative postmark was produced to mark the the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who: the longest running science fiction television series. The BBC broadcast the first episode of Doctor Who on 23 November, 1963.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

TAAF, Kerguelen

Posted aboard the Marion Dufresne during its third rotation of the year and mailed back to me from Port aux Francais, Kerguelen. Details regarding the third rotation are here.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pittpex, Battle of Lake Erie Postmark

The Philatelic Society of Pittsburgh held their annual stamp show Pittpex this year on the 2nd and 3rd of November. A special postmark was produced for the show this year to commemorate the Battle of Lake Erie. It's hard to make out but there is a cannonball shooting from the cannon, just under the bow of the boat on the Lake Erie stamp.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Turin, Italy

A neat cover from Turin, Italy with a pair of stamps from the series "Made in Italy", this year featuring goldsmith arts. And a stamp with a scene of Giglio Island (Isola del Giglio) on it, from the 2009 Tourism series.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Argentina's Marambio Base, Antarctica

This came back to me from Base Antártica Marambio: the largest of Argentina's Antarctic bases. It's hard to make out the postmarks because of the blue ink. The blue envelope do not help either. On the back is a large cachet with an image of a ship and helicopter... but again, in blue ink and somewhat illegible. Next time I'll send a white envelope.

Marambio base is located on Seymour-Marambio Island, off the tip of the Antarctic peninsula and is actually not that far from Argentina. This is a very large year-round base with an airstrip that services over 100 flights a year.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Battle of Lake Erie FDC

The coin in this cover is the US mint's "Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial" quarter. It fits nicely with the Battle of Lake Erie stamp and first-day postmark. Oliver Hazard Perry was a US naval captain who won a decisive victory over British forces on Lake Erie on 10 September 1813 during the War of 1812. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bergschenhoek, Netherlands

From the town of Bergschenhoek, in the Netherlands. There is also a machine cancel from The Hague on the right which appears to be printed twice in two different sizes.  Bergschenhoek sits a few kms east the The Hague, and a few north of Rotterdam.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Loretto, Tennessee - Oktoberfest

A very cute dachshund on this cover postmarked with a commemorative Oktoberfest postmark. 

South Korea - Diplomatic Relations with Mexico

The Gray Whale stamps on this cover from Seoul are the Korean issues of a joint issue with Mexico, commemorating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

South Korea - Slovakia Diplomatic Relations

Stamps and first-day postmark commemorating 20 years of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Slovakia.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sri Lanka - Constellations

This is a pre-paid envelope from Sri Lanka, with lots of 'make up' postage on it using stamps from the Constellations stamp series.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fairbanks, Alaska

Portugalete, Spain

Commemorating the 125th anniversary of the rail line between Bilbao and Portugalete in Spain, this cover came to me with a special postmark on it. The line is only a few kms long but at the time it was a vital travel link for passengers and freight. The stamp on this cover commemorates the International Year or Water Cooperation.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Northern Cyprus

From the district of Gazimağusa in the disputed Turkish territory of Northern Cyprus. The UN does not recognize its independence. In fact, only Turkey recognizes it as a sovereign state. All mail to and from Northern Cyprus is routed through Turkey. Even phone calls and internet traffic.

Kovilj, Serbia

Kovilj is a village in northern Serbia. This cover was originally a first day cover for the 1980 Yugoslavian minerals stamp issue. Serbia was one of the socialist republics that made up the former republic of Yugoslavia.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Toronto's First Post Office

The Canada Post location at 260 Adelaide E in Toronto is Toronto's first post office. It was built in 1833 in what was at the time known as the Town of York. It was the town's fourth post office. But when the Town of York was incorporated into a city in 1834, this post office became the first post office of the new city, which had changed it's name to Toronto.

This post office is still in operation, providing full mail services. It is also a postal museum and small library. They have a few special postmarks available that can be used on outgoing mail.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Carnivorous Plants of Australia

Apparently Australia is home to 187 recognized species of carnivorous plants.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hasle-Rüegsau Covered Bridge

Another cover from Hasle-Rüegsau, Switzerland. The postmarks on this cover show an image of the covered wooden bridge near Hasle that crosses the Emme river. It is a Swiss heritage site and apparently the largest covered wood span bridge in Europe at almost 60m in length. It was built in 1839 and moved in the 1950's so a modern replacement bridge could be constructed in its place.

Friday, October 25, 2013

AdMail from New Zealand Post

Ad mail from New Zealand Post rarely has an actual stamp on it. But this latest mailing, advertising their upcoming "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" stamp set, had a nice little gem on the cover. It's a stamp featuring "Radaghast", a stamp from last years "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" stamp set.

Radaghast was played by British actor Sylvester McCoy; famous for being the 7th actor to play the part of Doctor Who during the 1980's. Nice to see him here, with the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who just a month away.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ascension Island

From the Ascension Island Philatelic Bureau. I used to purchase mint recent-issue stamps from lots of different philatelic bureaus but now, rarely. They also sell recent issues from South Atlantic "neighbours" St Helena and Tristan da Cunha. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fort McHenry Quarter Launch

This is a coin cover I made using a Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine quarter from the US mint's America the Beautiful quarter dollar series. A special postmark to commemorate the launch of the quarter was made available at the time. It got a little wrinkled coming back to me through the mail but turned out ok. The background image on the small A1 size envelope was taken from a c 1814 lithograph by John Bower which depicts the Battle of Fort McHenry.

The coin and postmark show what the fort looks like during the annual Defenders Day celebrations. The fireworks going off over the fort represent the "rockets red glare" that would have been lighting up the skies over Fort McHenry on 13 September 1814 during an attack by the British, towards the end of the War of 1812.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


The postmark on this letter from India commemorates the Nandankanan Zoological Park in Bhubaneswar Odisha. The stamp was issued on 26 March 2013 during the (Bhubaneswar) District Level Philatelic Exhibition: BHUPEX 2013. The stamp on this cover was issued 16 March 2013 and commemorates the 125th anniversary of Malayala Manorama: the third largest newspaper in India.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Hasle-Rüegsau, Switzerland

Hasle-Rüegsau is actually two different places, a few kilometers north-east of Bern, Switzerland. The towns of Hasle and Rüegsau sit on opposites sides of the Emme river. 

The two towns, as well as other surrounding hamlets and villages, are served by a central train station and post office which go by the designation Hasle-Rüegsau. Both are in Hasle, across the road from one another.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fairfield, Australia

This letter with Christmas Island stamps on it came to me from Fairfield, Australia: a suburb of Sydney. Over two thirds of the people living in this suburb were born outside Australia making it is one of the most culturally diverse communities in the country. Very similar to the Toronto suburb I live in.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New Zealand, Matariki 2013

This cover from New Zealand has a pair of stamps from the 2013 Matariki issue from New Zealand Post.  Matariki is the Māori new year and also the Māori name for the Pleiades star cluster whose rising signifies the Māori new year. For the past few years, New Zealand Post has produced an annual stamp issue to commemorate Matariki.

The theme for this year's stamps is "Koru":  a spiral pattern used in Māori art to symbolize rebirth. The pattern is derived from the unfurling leaves of the silver fern. Both Matariki stamps on this cover display a variation of this spiral pattern.

USA, Battle of Lake Erie

A first day of issue postmark on the new USPS "Battle of Lake Erie" stamp. The stamp was issued on 10 Sept 2013 to coincided with the 200th anniversary of the battle. The Battle of Lake Erie was the largest naval battle of the war. The Americans were victorious over the British and this victory allowed them to maintain control of Lake Erie for the duration of the war.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Adelaide, Australia

This came to me from the suburb of Payneham in the north-east of Adelaide, Australia. I was surprised to see the $3 stamp, thinking it was a bit much for international mail, but on the Australia Post website I see that International Airmail for letters up to 50g is $2.60. Postcards are $1.70.

By comparison, in Canada the international letter rate is $1.85 CAD (currently $1.93 AUD).  In the US the international rate is $1.10 USD (currently $1.19 AUD). Makes Australian postage rates look expensive, but it could be worse. The most expensive international letter rate I know of is Norway: 15kr for a 20g letter, which is equivalent to $2.75 AUD. I guess letter rates in Canada aren't so bad after all. Wish I could say the same for parcel rates.

St Pierre and Miquelon