Monday, December 31, 2018

Malang, Indonesia

Coral reef stamps from 2017 commemorating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Indonesia.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Tikhaya Bay, Hooker Island

Hooker Island is part of Franz Josef Land: a Russian archipelago far above the Arctic Circle. A little further north than Svalbard. At one time the island was a base for polar exploration and meteorologic research. I don't think much goes on there now. Mainly research I guess. Tourism is growing though and every summer a post office at Tikhaya Bay opens for business. That's where this letter came from.

The cover I got back was not the cover I sent. My cover letter requested that the enclosed letter, stamped and addressed, be returned to me.  But instead they literally returned my cover letter under a new cover with different stamps, as shown above. Perhaps my original cover was damaged or stolen or lost of something. Who knows. Or they literally interpreted my request to mail back "the letter" to mean "mail back my cover letter". Pretty sure I used enough postage.

For reference, this is the address I used:

Post Office - Почтовое отделение
Tikhaya Bay - Hooker Island
Franz Josef Land
Arhangelsk obl.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Mario Zucchelli Antarctic Station

Although this was mailed from the US Antarctic base McMurdo Station it was actually sent back to me from Italy's Mario Zucchelli Station which is 350km north of McMurdo. There is a PNRA (Programma Nazionale Di Ricerche in Antartide) 34th expedition hand stamp on the left.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

France, Marianne l’engagée

Christmas colours. These stamps are from a book of gummed "Marianne l’engagée" stamps issued on 12 November for the 72nd Autumn Philatelic Exhibition. The booklet contains stamps for priority letters (red) and second class letters (green). Thank you François.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Mars InSight Landing

Postmark commemorating the landing of the Mars InSight lander on the Martian surface on 26 November 2018. Shortly after landing it returned the first ever recording of wind on Marts.  And just yesterday it placed the first seismic sensor on the surface of the planet.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Chelyabinsk, Russia

Russian sport legends. Stamps from a souvenir sheet issued in Nov of 2013: hockey players Alexander Ragulin and Anatoli Firsov and biathlete Vladimir Melanin. Postmarked in Chelyabinsk.

The postmark shows the Chelyabinsk State Pedagogical University. Челябинское государственный педагогический университет. Pedagogy being the study of teaching and learning methods. One of many facilities of the Chelyabinsk State University.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Wild Food from Denmark

Stamps from a booklet issued in September of 2018. The "Wild Food" on these stamps grows naturally out in the Danish countryside. Postmarked a the Sydjyllands (South Jutland) Postcenter in Fredericia Denmark.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Resistance Leaders of Algeria

Popular Algerian resistance leaders who resisted French colonialism in the 1800's: Sheikh Amoud (1804-1884) Sheikh Ben Naceur Ben Chohra (1859-1929) and Sharif Boubaghla (1851-1854)

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Spanish Antarctic Base Juan Carlos I

From the Spanish Antarctic research station Juan Carlos I. It's a seasonal base located on Livingston Island at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.

There are three postmarks on this cover. The first on the stamp was 01-01-18 at the base. Probably on or around the date the cover first arrived at the base. There is a more graphic Juan Carlos postmark on the left that is dated 24 May 2018. I'm guessing that's when the cover left the base. And finally the Barcelona postmark dated 08-10-18, when the cover was sent back to me from Spain.

Friday, October 12, 2018

More "America the Beautiful"

Another "O Beautiful" stamp series FDC. This time the stamps are Three Fingers Mountain in Washington, a field in Kansas and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Colorado Springs, USA

"O Beautiful" forever stamps issued on the 4th of July 2018. From left to right, Orinda, CA, Pigeon Point near Pescadero, CA and Maroon Bells peaks in White River National Forest, CO.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

TAAF, Îles Glorieuses

From the Glorioso Islands in the Indian Ocean, 160km northwest of Madagascar. It's part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands Scattered Islands (Îles Éparses). The total area of the island group is 5 square kilometres and much of that belongs to the main island: Grande Glorieuse.  The island has a short airstrip and weather station.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Panevėžys, Lithuania

Registered mail from Panevėžys. I like the souvenir sheet that commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Lithuanian constitution. The other two "make up" value stamps appear to show the Columns of Gediminas: an early Lithuanian coat of arms I believe.

Saturday, August 18, 2018


Polarstern is the German icebreaker research vessel that the Alfred Wegener Institute uses to support on-going polar research in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. This was returned to me at the end of it's most recent Arctic expedition. Normally they apply a cachet to the envelope with the date and cruise number but not this time. It is a new postmark though. Rectangular instead of rounded.

According to the schedule, the vessel was suppose to be in Tromso on the date this was cancelled. That would have been then end of PS114. It will be back in Bremerhaven in October before heading south in November.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Kruševac, Serbia

Registered mail from the central Serbian city of Kruševac.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Polish Polar Station Hornsund

This recently came back to me from Svalbard. The Polish Academy of Science has been operating an Arctic research station on Spitsbergen island since 1957. The base is situated on the north side of the Hornsund fjord, about 136 km south of Longyearbyen.

This isn't the envelope I sent up there, but those are the stamps I used. The original cover must have been damaged somehow (wouldn't be the first time) so someone salvaged the postage and sent me this instead. No postmark and only the "41st Polar Expedition" stamp marked on the front but there were some extras inside, including a couple of pages with various hand-stamps on them.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Warrington, UK

The spray-on slogan cancel is hard to make out but it does appear to be from the Warrington Mail Centre. The slogan is "supporting youth mental health with action for children".  The dark Agatha Christie stamp makes that nearly impossible to see. Action for Children is a UK youth charity group that helps vulnerable and neglected children.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Belgian Tour de France Winners

From the municipality of Beernem in Belguim, stamps from a 2017 sheet of 10 featuring Belgian Tour de France winners between 1912 and 1976. The cyclists on these stamps are Maurice de Waele, (1929), Romain Maes (1935) and Sylvère Maes (1936 and 1939).

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Dawson City, Yukon

Dawson City in Canada's Yukon Territory. I think the image on the postmark is a dancing girl: something you'd see in one of the towns saloons during the gold rush. Dawson City was at the center of the Klondike Gold Rush at the end of the 19th century and for a few years during the height of the gold rush the town's population swelled to 40,000. Hence the "city" designation. Today it's population is just over 1300 and actually has a "town" designation, but it's still called Dawson City.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Gabriel de Castilla Antarctic Base, Spain

On Deception Island in the South Shetland Islands, sent in the fall of 2017, postmarked in Jan 2018 and received this month. I believe it also serves as a base for the Spanish Army and is managed in cooperation with the Spanish Polar Committee. The stamp was issued in January 2017 and depicts the base. It is a seasonal base operated in the austral summer, housing about 30 individuals.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Paola, Malta

In 2012, the EU designated the Maltese capital of Valletta to be one of the 2018 European Capitals of Culture. Two cities are chosen each year with the goal being to boost cultural development within those cities. The stamp on the left is from a series of stamps that recognizes Valletta as a European Capital of Culture, designed by artist Joseph Pulo.

The stamp on the right is from a set that shows traditional Maltese costumes. On this stamp is the clothing of someone traditionally engaged in farming.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Ancient Sites in Algeria

From the Alger suburb of Oued Koriche. The stamps show Algerian heritage sites. Clockwise from the top left:
  • The Djeddars near Tiaret. Berber funerary monuments of the 5th and 6th centuries.
  • The castle of Mohamed El Mokrani in Bordj Bou Arreridj
  • The ancient Roman city of Tiddis
  • The mausoleum of Cedias in Khenchela

Friday, July 13, 2018

Viimsi, Estonia

From the borough of Viimsi, northeast of Tallinn. The block of stamps is from 2006. It is Estonia's 2006 Europa stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first Europa stamp.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Haines Junction, Yukon

The village of Haines Junction is located in the southwest corner of the Yukon, on the eastern edge of the Kluane National Park and Reserve. The parks is filled with mountains and glaciers and I think that's what is suppose to be pictured in the foreground of this postmark: a glacier or icefield. Hard to tell.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Mars InSight Lander Postmark

Designed to study the interior of Mars. Launched on 5 May 2018 and scheduled to arrive on 26 November. A nice big well-applied postmark.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Sally Ride FDC

Sally ride was the first US woman in space. She rode aboard the shuttle Challenger during STS-7 in 1983 and again during STS-41-G in 1984.  This stamp was issued on 23 May. The first day postmark location was La Jolla in San Diego, CA : her home and place of death in 2012.

I sent this envelope out for the FDC postmark along with a pair of postcards for maximum cards. The postmark on one card was double struck and smudged. The other card received s beautiful postmark but it was placed poorly. That was my fault. Thankfully this small envelope FDC turned out ok. Not a total loss.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Stratford, Ontario

From the Canadian city of Stratford, Ontario. Stratford was named after Stratford-upon-Avon in England. The Canadian Stratford is even on a river that was named Avon. The swan is a symbol of the city, hence the postmark. It's also home to the Stratford Festival: an annual theatre festival that runs from spring to fall. It's known mostly for doing Shakespeare, although they do much more.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Třebechovice pod Orebem, Czech Republic

From the Czech town of Třebechovice pod Orebem. The stamp on the right is an old paddle steamer: the Vltava. At first I thought the engraved stamps next to it was an older stamp but it's not that old. 2012. It is an image of the Baťa Canal. I wish more stamps were made this way.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Greenland, Fish in Nordic Waters FDC

Mackerel and herring stamps from Greenland. Their contribution to the Norden 2018 joint issue.

Monday, June 25, 2018

France, Héros de la Résistance 2017

Received this from La Baule, France a few days ago. Thank You François! La Baule is a seaside resort in Brittany on the western coast of France. The stamp used is from a limited annual collection of modern reproductions of classic French stamps: "Trésors de la Philatélie". In this case a 2017 reproduction of the 1957 10F stamp commemorating Henri Honoré d'Estienne d'Orves.

He was a naval officer when France was invaded by Germany during the Second World War. After the Armistice of 1940 he joined the resistance and established a spy network in France. But he was captured and eventually executed on 29 August 1941.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Czech Antarctic Station

I came across this website the other day: The Czech Republic, specifically Masaryk University, operate a small research base off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula on James Ross Island. The base is the Gregor Johann Mendel Polar Station and can house up to 20 during the summer. To generate a bit of income, or perhaps just to promote the base, they offer postcards for sale with an option to have them mailed from the base. Unfortunately they only accept payment through bank transfer.

Almost seven years ago I contacted someone at the University who was involved with research at the base and I asked if he could send something back to me during his next expedition. He was happy to accommodate my strange request. I had to supply two covers: one with Chilean stamps and another with Argentine. Sometimes they had contact with the Argentine base Marambio, but usually it was the Chilean navy. Both covers came back trough Chile but only the Chilean cover (this one) had a postmark. I had forgotten about this cover until I saw that website with the postcards.

I think if someone were to send a cover with Czech postage on it to the Czech Antarctic Foundation, they might be willing to send it back with the base stamp on it. But I`m not sure if they would be willing to carry it down to the Antarctic. Not if they`re selling postcards mailed from the base. I might have gotten lucky with my request.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Norway: European Perch Maximum Card

I like this newly issued perch stamp from Norway. It's their "Norden" issue for this year. I don't care much for maximum cards that have the same image as that of the stamp but I love the postmark. The way the date and "Olso" follow the lower body of the perch. It all works for me.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Naucalpan, Mexico

Naucalpan is a highly industrialized city to the northwest of Mexico City.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Frogs from the Netherlands

A pair of stamps from a recent sheet featuring reptiles and amphibians from in the Netherlands. On the right is a Moor Frog. The males can turn blue for a few days during the mating season. The stamp on the left is a garlic or common spadefoot toad. When frightened, these toads can secrete a substance that smells like garlic.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Norway 100 Years of History FDC

A set of five Norwegian stamps from 2005 highlight key events during 100 years of Norwegian History. From left to right, top to bottom:
  • The swearing in of King Haakon VII on 27 November 1905 after the separation of Norway and Sweden
  • The return from exile of Crown Prince Olav in 1945, after the liberation of Norway.
  • The official launch of Norwegian Television in 1960
  • Opening of the Ekofisk Oil Field in the North Sea in 1971
  • Norway's 2-1 win over Brazil in the 1998 World Cup group stage which secured them a spot in the knockout stage. Their best World Cup finish so far.