Monday, November 30, 2015

Kaliningrad, Russia

Sent from Kaliningrad, Russia. Kaliningrad is the administrative center of the Kaliningrad Oblast. It's a Russian enclave: a little part of Russia between Poland and Lithuania that has no land connection with the rest of country.

This is a first-day cover postmarked in Moscow of a joint stamp issue by PCC member countries commemorating winter sports. Specifically, hockey. PCC (Региональное содружество в области связи) or Regional Commonwealth in the field of Communications is "an organization whose mission is to carry out cooperation between new independent states in the field of telecommunication and postal communication based on their free will, principles of mutual respect and sovereignty."

Friday, November 27, 2015

Miskolc, Hungary

The two stamps on the right are interesting. The actual stamps are just regular domestic rate postage stamps. But the attached labels commemorate services offered by Magyar Posta. The label on the top stamp (issued June 2014) advertises automated parcel terminals. And the label on the lower stamp (issued Oct 2015) commemorates the 125 anniversary of the Hungarian registered mail label.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Latvian Architects

The stamp on the right is from a set commemorating Latvian architects. This stamp commemorates the masters of Latvian Art Nouveau: Jānis Alksnis, Eižens Laube and Konstantīns Pēkšēns. It's part of an ongoing series called "Republic of Latvia - 100", which will continue up to the 100th anniversary of the Latvian Republic in 2018.

Skien, Norway

These stamps were issued in 2014 to commemorate the 1914 birth of Thor Heyerdahl: famous Norwegian adventurer and ethnographer. He sailed across the Pacific Ocean in 1947 in a hand-built raft (stamp on the left) to demonstrate that it would also have been possible for ancient cultures to travel similar distances. In the 1950's he headed an expedition to Easter Island to study the origins of the people of Rapa Nui (stamp on the right).

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Alofi, Niue

Niue is a small island nation of 1200 in the South Pacific, 2400km northeast of New Zealand. The people of Niue are New Zealand citizens. It is a self-governing state but has a free-association with New Zealand. They manage their internal affairs but New Zealand represents their foreign interests, somewhat. Niue stamps are produced by New Zealand post.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Täby, Sweden

Täby is a suburb of Stockholm. The postmarks on this cover imply that it was the location of the 2015 Norida stamp exhibition held at the end of October but the event was actually moved to nearby Upplands Väsby. The Täby Park Hotel, where the event was suppose to occur, was re-purposed to house asylum seekers from Syria and Iraq.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Kyoto, Japan

The pictorial postmark depicts Tō-ji temple in Kyoto. I like the little shrimp tempura picture on the margin of the food stamp. Cute.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Royal Mail's Star Wars stamps

Royal Mail issued these Star Wars stamps on 20 October 2015. Each stamp is printed with an overlay that is only visible under UV light. I've seen images of some of the stamps but decided to pull out my UV lamp and have a look for myself. On some of the stamps this invisible print is very difficult to see. It shows up best on stamps with a white background. The stamps printed with the new movie logo show up quite well though.

Characters from the upcoming "The Force Awakens" movie: Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren, are printed with the new movie logo.

Characters who were part of the rebel alliance: Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, are printed with the Alliance Starbird.

Darth Vader, the Emperor and the Stormtrooper are printed with the Imperial Crest.

Boba Fett is printed with a Manalorian Crest. This is the same emblem that appears on the upper left corner of the character's chest armor.

And finally, Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi are printed with the Jedi Order logo.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Ludhiana, India

Ashoka the Great was the emperor of a territory that stretched over most of modern-day India, between 269 and 232 BC. He was a Buddhist and promoted the expansion of Buddhism throughout his empire and beyond.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Easter Island, Chile

Isla de Pascua : Easter Island. Home of the Moai. Out in the Pacific Ocean, 3686 km from Chile. Almost as far as Hawaii is from California. This came to me through the one and only post office on the island in Hanga Roa.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Scott Base, Ross Dependency

I'd like to think this was mailed back to me from Scott Base. It has a base postmark at the top left that is a day earlier than the Agency postmark on the stamp. The base is active and the switch over from winter to summer crew occurred earlier this month. At one time the Agency was processing all base philatelic requests and I imagine they still are. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Discover Science - Netherlands

Dutch stamp series featuring basic classroom science experiments. The two stamps here demonstrate light refraction and electrochemistry. These stamps have a Chameleon Code embedded in them, similar to a QR code, that a special app can read and use to unlock on-line content.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

TAAF - Crozet

Sent from the Marion Dufresne during its last rotation through the TAAF islands of the Indian Ocean. This was sent back to me through the island of Crozet.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

India : Women Empowerment

From India. Full set of stamps on the envelope produced by India Post for the first day cover. It's a nice envelope: works well with the colourful stamps. I can't make out the place name on the postmark on the front but there is another on the back and it looks like the Bhadran sub-office in the Anand district of Gujarat (from the pincode and the first three letters of the sub-office name).

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Manawatu, New Zealand

This was postmarked by New Zealand Post's Whanganui Collectables and Solutions Centre with a postmark that is to be used at the the new Manawatu Mail Service Center in North Palmerston. At least, I think it's a new centre. Maybe it's just a new postmark. The date is the first day of the use for this particular postmark.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Evergem, Belgium

It's hard to make out, but the postmarks appear to be from Evergem, just north of Ghent in East Flanders.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Birmingham, England

The 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, cancelled at the Birmingham Special Handstamp Centre.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Jerusalem, Israel

It's hard to make out but there is a small upside down rectangular "Jerusalem" postmark on this envelope. It looks faint, like a machine cancel. The vulture stamp on this cover still has it's selvage attached which is one of the nice things about Israeli stamps. Sometimes the tab can be more interesting than the stamp itself.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Franklin Expedition

Sir John Frankin led an expedition into the Arctic in 1845 in an attempt to discover the northwest passage. The expedition used two ships: HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. The ships became ice bound and 130 members of the expedition died while trekking south towards civilization (or anything, really) over land and ice. The final location of the ships was a mystery until 2014 which the wreck of the Erebus was discovered by Parks Canada.

To commemorate the discovery, Canada Post issued a pair of domestic rates stamps (Erebus lost) and an international rate stamp (Erebus found) on 7 August 2015. The embossing on the domestic rates stamps is quite heavy, giving the HMS Erebus stamp a nice 3D appearance: the waves appear in the foreground surrounding the ship. Of course, once stuck on an envelope, most of that 3D look will flatten out.

The souvenir sheet bares the international letter rate. On this stamp is a sonar image of the wreck lying in ocean off the coast of the Adelaide Peninsula. and on the right side of the stamp is an illustration of the deck of the HMS Erebus.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Eureka, Nunavut

From the most northern post office in Canada. Eureka is a research station on Ellesmere island in the Canadian Arctic.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Yangzhou, China

Google translate is a powerful tool. I like to figure out exactly where my mail comes from. Right down to the post office. On this cover from China it's right there in the postmark, but in Chinese. Fortunately Google translate lets you draw characters for it to translate. As you draw the characters, it provides a set of possible matches. Select the closest match and Google will translate it for you. 

In this case, the four characters on the top of the postmark, 江苏 扬州, are Jiangsu Province, Yangzhou (Jiāngsū yángzhōu). The bottom characters, 邗城, translates as Han City (Hánchéng). If I then search for "邗城 post office", Google finds a post office in Yangzhou on Hanjiang Road. That must be the post office this was mailed from.

Nieuwegein, Netherlands

Nieuwegein is a relatively new planned municipality built to house the overflow the city of Utrecht to the north. The stamps are from a 2013 sheet commemorating "traditional costumes" from Northwest Veluwe, specifically "knipmuts" which are a traditional Dutch headdress.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Cândido Rondon

Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon (1865 to 1958) was a Brazilian explorer and supporter of Brazil's indigenous peoples. The state of Rondônia is named after him. As an army engineer he was tasked with constructing telegraph lines across remote regions of the country. In total he was responsible for establishing some 4000 km of telegraph lines throughout the Brazilian jungle. As a result, he became quite an explorer, discovering new rivers and previously undiscovered tribes. He cared deeply for the fate of the indigenous people and was named the first director of Brazil's Indian Protection Bureau. He achieved the highest military rank. A true Brazilian hero.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Budapest, Hungary

Postmarked at the Auchan supermarket in Soroksár : a south-eastern district of Budapest. The stamp commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Emmerich Kálmán operetta "The Gypsy Princess"

Friday, July 31, 2015

Arctic Circle Center, Norway

The Arctic Circle Center sits on the side of a north bound highway in Nordland county, Norway, where it intersects with the Arctic Circle. It's a tourist stop on the border of a National Park, with a cafeteria, gift shop and a post office. I think it has a post office. Maybe just a mail box. All mail sent from there gets the Arctic Circle postmark.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Magna Carta 800th Anniversary

The Magna Carta was a charter that defined the relationship between the king and his subjects and at its core, states the nobody, including the king, is above the law of the land. The Royal Mail's Magna Carta 800th anniversary stamps feature text from the document and other international declarations and documents that were derived or inspired from it. 

The stamp on the left has text from the initial 1215 sealed version of the document. This is one of the few remaining clauses from the original document that is still a law and it basically says that all men have a right to fair justice. 

The stamp on the right is a quote from a 1265 summons to de Montfort's Parliament. Simon de Montfort seized power in England in 1265 but he didn't have a very good grip on it. To stabilize his power he formed a parliament and summoned representatives to discuss reforms with the hope that he would gain the support of the broader population. This was the first English parliament, held at the Palace of Westminster in London.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tromelin Island, TAAF

Tromelin Island: a few hundred kilometres east of Madagascar. Lots of sand and brush and a weather station with a postmaster. A popular nesting place for sea birds and sea turtles.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Rio 2016 Paralympics

Like the 2016 Olympic transition stamps issued by Brazil this year, these Paralympic stamps were printed in 2012 but due to a licensing dispute, were held off sale until earlier this year. I almost thought these were the same stamps until I noticed the Paralympic logo.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Eastern Greenland

Last year Greenland Post stopped producing maximum cards. They used to do this for each stamp issue and they also sold the postcards separately. I don't think they were moving enough of them to justify production costs. There were a few postmarks for places in north-east Greenland that I wanted to acquire so I figured maximum cards would be an interesting way to get them. Greenland Post still has lots of postcards available for sale. Of the three stamps I chose, only one was issued after they stopped producing maximum cards. Instead of taking chances on finding postmasters in these remote locations, I had Greenland Post apply the postmarks for me (btw, they charge a handling fee for this). They keep copies of all handstamps used at the post offices in Greenland.

Daneborg station is on the south coast of the Wollaston Foreland peninsula and is home to the SIRIUS patrol: the dog sled patrol operated by the Danish navy. I used a stamp that was issued in 2014 as part of a joint issues with the Ross Dependency. The postcard was used for a previous Greenland SEPAC issue.

About 40 km to the north east of Daneborg is the weather station Danmarkshavn. It is the furthest north non-icebreaker vessels can travel along Greenland's eastern coast. For this card I used the 9 DKK stamp from the Expedition XII stamp issue and the corresponding postcard that was originally used for this stamp's maximum card.

To the south of the Northeast Greenland National Park is Nerlerit Inaat Airport (aka Constable Pynt) which is located about 40km from Ittoqqortoormiit. The airport serves as a transportation hub for expeditions into the park to places like Daneborg station. The postcard I choose was used for the 2014 Aviation III issue showing a Twin Otter but the stamp is from the 2014 Aviation IV issue and features a Dash-8. Not the best postcard for showing off the postmark but I wanted to keep with an aviation theme.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Heredia, Costa Rica

Heredia is a few kilometres north of the capital San Jose and home to the largest university in the country: the National University of Cost Rica. A great cover with a nice selection of stamps. Thank you very much Erick!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sanikiluaq, Nunavut

Sanikiluaq is a small Inuit community on Flaherty Island in Hudson Bay. I recently watched a documentary about the people of Sanikiluaq and their relationship with the changing environment of Hudson Bay. They recently re-opened a small factory that processes eiderdown.

By Leslie Philipp [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
By Leslie Philipp [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Eiders ducks use their down to line their nests so the Inuit harvest a small amount of down from the nests before the eggs hatch. The down is cleaned at the factory and sewn into the linings of parkas and duvets. Each nest yields about 70g of down. It doesn't sound like much but eiderdown is very expensive, selling for $330/kg.

To bad about the upside down postmark, but at least it was a good one. Here is it right side up, with a bit of Photoshop manipulation to bring it off the envelope.