Friday, November 2, 2012

Postcard from Lhasa, Tibet

Special thanks to Terence for this wonderful pre-stamped postcard from Lhasa, Tibet.  Lhasa is the administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region.  The Potala Palace which stands on the Marpori Hill, is shown on this postcard.  The imposing Palace was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala in India, during the 1959 Tibetan uprising.  It is now a museum.

The Potala Palace is again portrayed on the red circular cachet applied on the back of the postcard.  It also indicates that the Potala Palace is UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The second red cachet is a Tibetan greeting: tashi delek (བཀྲ་ཤིས་བདེ་ལེགས),  tashi meaning auspicious and delek meaning fine or well.

Terence completed his postage with a 4,50元 stamp about the 'Protection of biodiversity'.  Note that the word 'Lhasa' on the date stamp is both in Chinese, 拉萨, and in Tibetan, ལྷ་ས་.

Mailing date: 13 December 2011
Delivery date: 5 January 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Singapore Flyer on Postcard

The Singapore Flyer is a giant observational wheel located at the Raffles Avenue, Marina Promenade, Singapore.  It is 165m high, i.e. 5m taller than the Star of Nanchang in China and 30 m taller than the London Eye in the UK, making it the tallest Ferris wheel in the world!

Each of the 28 air-conditioned capsules is capable of holding 28 passengers, and a complete rotation of the wheel takes about 30 minutes.  Initially rotating in a counter-clockwise direction when viewed from Marina Centre, its direction was changed on 4 August 2008 under the advice of feng shui masters.

This card shows one of these capsules at sunset.

View of the Marina Bay from the Singapore Flyer.

I bought the 50¢ stamp showing the Black Marsh Terrapin (Siebenrockiella crassicollis), from the 2011 'Pond Life' definitive set.

Mailing date: 30 December 2011
Delivery date: 11 January 2011

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Four Heavenly Kings in Malaysia

The four Heavenly Kings are four Buddhist gods, each of whom watches over one cardinal direction of the world.  From left to right: Kuang Mu, To Wen, Ch'i Kuo and Ch'ng Chang.

The statues on the above postcard are found at the Kek Lok Si Temple, or the Temple of Supreme Bliss, in Air Itam, Penang Island, northwest Malaysia.  Opened in 1891, it is the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia

The stamps illustrate the Spotted Dove or Tekukur (Streptopelia chinensis - 20sen) and the Lotus or Bunga Teratai (Nelumbium nelumbo - 30sen), from the 2005 'Birds' and the 2010 'Garden Flowers' definitive sets respectively.  The 20sen Spotted Dove stamp has been reprinted so many times that I don't think this one is from the original issue... well, I'm pretty sure of it.

Mailing date: 04 Jan 2012
Delivery date: 25 Jan 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Tour of Cambridge in the UK

A 'multiview' postcard for today.  It shows various scenes of the university town of Cambridge, enjoy!

Thank you Li Sien.  Unfortunately, no stamps were used :(  Instead, a dull franking by Royal Mail...

Mailing date: unknown
Delivery date: 16 December 2011

Thursday, August 9, 2012

HABRIA '11 Stamp Exhibition Special Postmark in Germany

Thank you very much Martin for this new mail! :)  It features a special pictorial postmark marking the participation of the Deutsche Post at the HABRIA 11 Bilateral Stamp Exhibition (18-20 November 2011) held by the Hanover Stamp Club of 1886 at the Hanover Congress Centrum.  Exhibitors from the UK and Germany participated in this event.

The Old Heligoland Lighthouse in 1903.

The postmark represents the old Heligoland Lighthouse (German Leuchtturm Helgoland), located on Germany's only offshore island, Heligoland.  The Prussian administration ordered the construction of a new lighthouse in 1902, to replace an even older one built by the British when Heligoland was under their rule.  The lighthouse was in service from 1902 until its destruction during World War II in 1945.  A square-shaped anti-aircraft tower made of heavily reinforced concrete was the only building to resist the bombings and was converted into a makeshift lighthouse in 1952.

The stamp depicts the Dahmeshöved Lighthouse, from the 2011 Lighthouse series (Date of Issue: July 7).  This lighthouse is situated in northern Germany on the Baltic Sea coast.

Mailing date: 18 November 2011
Delivery date: -5 December 2011

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bicentenary of the Mauritius Turf Club (1812 - 2012)

The Mauritius Post issued on June 25, 2012 a set of four postage stamps and a souvenir sheet to commemorate the Bicentenary of the Mauritius Turf Club.

The Mauritius Turf Club (MTC) was founded in 1812.  It is the third oldest horse racing organisation in the world after the prestigious English Jockey Club (1750) and the Irish Turf Club (1790).  It is also the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere.

Sir Robert Farquhar, Governor of the island since its conquest by the British in 1810, and his wife, of French origin, Lady Maria Lautour, convened an organising committee on June 12, 1812 to set the regulations for horse racing on the Champ de Mars.  The other members were army and administrative officials:  Robert Sale, J. Picton, Henry Streatfield and Chris Teesdale.  Lady Maria offered the first gold cup of the Turf Club for the main event on June 25, 1812.

The aim of the founders was to reconcile around the horse the inhabitants of the island to their English administrators.

Three persons above all, namely Sir Robert Farquhar, Charles Telfair, naturalist scientist and Colonel Edward Draper, contributed to a peaceful transition from French to British rule after 1810.  Colonel Draper turned up only around 1813/14.  He was a competent administrator and keen gentleman rider.  The horses of these tree personalities competed regularly on the Champs de Mars.

The race course itself is the crater of a volcano.  Jean-François Charpentier de Cossigny (1690-1780), a French military engineer, was the first to suggest that the crater area would lend itself to development as a town.  Mahé de Labourdonnais (1699-1753), French Governor of Mauritius, then known as Isle de France, between 1735 and 1746, took up Cossigny's concept.  Port Louis was created and the Champ de Mars used fro military manoeuvres before becoming a race course in 1812 under the British.

Mint Souvenir Sheet
Cancelled-to-order Souvenir Sheet

The population of the island was immediately won over horse racing: an enduring passion that still prevails today.  Records show that over the past centuries, huge crowds have attended the race, even during the World Wars of the last century.

Cover featuring Waterfront PO date stamp on First Day of Issue

The MTC is the only internationally recognised horse racing organisation of the island.  Horse races take place on Saturdays, and on Sunday for special occasions.  Four classical races are held during each horse racing season, which extends from March until December, namely: the 'Duchess of York Cup', the 'Barbé Cup', the 'Maiden' and the 'Duke of York Cup' or 'Gold Cup'.

Horse racing at the Champ de Mars has inspired painters, poets and novel writers.  A vibrant press keeps alive the interest of its readers with detailed information on entries, betting trends, horse rating and time factor.  Radio and television cover a wide audience both locally and overseas.

Mail registered at Réduit PO on June 29, 2012

The MTC provides jobs to hundreds of people both on and off course and contributes, through taxes on bets and services, in a significant way to the socio-economic development of the country.

Technical Details:
Release date: 25 June 2012
Stamps Denomination & Illustration: Rs7 - Horse Racing
                                                       Rs10 - View of the Race Track, the Champ de Mars
                                                       Rs14 - Grandstand (1917)
                                                       Rs21 - The Mauritius Turf Club Insignia
                                                       Rs50 (Souvenir Sheet) - The Paddock
Designer: Nitish Peechen
Size:  44.45 mm × 29.94 mm
Printer: BDT International Security Printing Ltd.
Process: Lithography
Number per sheet: 50 stamps set in two panes of 25
Perforation gauge: 14 × 2 cm
Gum: PVA
Cover illustration: View of horse racing and crowd
Courtesy: The Mauritius Turf Club for photographs, illustrations and text materials -

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pope John Paul II in Poland

Poland is, I think, the second country which issued the greatest number of stamps on late Pope John Paul II,  after the Vatican, with the first issue dating back to June 1979 and the latest one to April 2005.  Karol Józef Wojtyła (1920 - 2005) was from Wadowice, a city in southern Poland. He became Pope on 16 October 1978 and passed away on 2 April 2005. 

He was the second-largest serving Pope in history and the first non-Italian since 1523.  John Paul II was doubtlessly the most appreciated Pope ever and one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century.  He also visited 129 countries, beatified 1,340 people and canonised 483 Saints during his pontificate. 

The 80GR stamp above (second from the right) was released on 18 May 1995 to celebrate the 75th birth anniversary of Pope John Paul II and the 1.30 one on 8 April 2005 on his death.

To view all the postage stamps about Pope John Paul II issued by Poland, click here.
Mauritius also issued a set of stamps, on 13 October 1989, for the Visit of the Pope in the island, click here to see it.

Thank you very  much Waldemar for such a wonderful mail from Katowice! :D

Mailing date: 05 December 2011
Delivery date: 14 December 2011

Monday, August 6, 2012

Rare Species of Turtle in Bangladesh

Thank you so much Subrata for helping me enlarging my collection of countries! :D Bangladesh is number 39.

The two se-tenant stamps were released on July 17, 2011 and designed by Anowar Hossain.  They portray two species of turtle found in Bangladesh and classified as vulnerable: the Brahminy river turtle or Crowned river turtle (Hardella thurjii - left) and the Black pond turtle or Spotted pond turtle (Geoclemys hamiltonii - right)

The third stamp was issued as a defintive stamp on February 28, 1995 to commemorate the National Diabetes Awareness Day in Bangladesh.  It depicts a child injecting himself with insuline, a man practising physical activity, and vegetables, essential to prevent diabetes.

Mailing date: -7 January 2012
Delivery date: -2 February 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Year of the Hare 2011 in China

The hare is the fourth animal in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac.  Year of the Hare (辛卯年) 2011 ranged between 3 February 2011 and 22 January 2012.  The rabbit is well-known for attracting good fortune and being lucky.  Another aspect of this Chinese Horoscope sign reveals tendency to cultural activities and the arts.  Most Rabbit people are friendly individuals who enjoy the company of a group of good friends.

China Post issued, as it does every year for each Chinese New Year, a  single stamp, on January 5, 2011, to commemorate this major event in China and among the Chinese diaspora around the world.  A block of four and a strip of two of this 2011 'Year of the Hare' stamp are present on the above mail sent from Suzhou.

The next Year of the Hare will be from 22 January 2023 till 9 February 2024.

Thank you very much Xu. :)

Mailing date: 23 DEC 2011
Delivery date: 31 DEC 2011

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Endangered Marine Species in India

India Post and Philpost jointly issued a set of two se-tenant stamps and a miniature sheet on 16 and 27 November 2009 respectively.  This joint issue was to mark the 60 years of diplomatic relations between India the Philippines.  I'm happy to show you the Indian miniature sheet, on this mail posted from Bangalore, in the south of India.

Two endangered marine animals are featured in this set:

- The Ganges River Dolphin or Gangetic Dolphin (Platanista gangetica - Rs5 left) is a freshwater dolphin that is found primarily in the River Ganges.  It can also be seen in several rivers of South Asia.  During times of flood the Ganges River Dolphin is also seen in seasonal channels and flood plains.  

The Gangetic Dolphin eats various species of fish, frogs, amphibians and other invertebrates and possibly turtles and young water birds.  It uses echolocation to find its prey and also uses its flippers and snout to locate something edible in the muddy riverbed.

- The Butanding (Rhincodon typus - Rs20 right), or whale shark, is a slow-moving and the largest species of fish in the world which is also a filter feeding shark.  It can live for about 100 years, grow up to 12.2 m and weigh up to 13.6 tons.  It is usually found in tropical and warm oceans.

As a filter feeder, the whale shark’s foods are phytoplankton, macro-algae, plankton, krill and small nektonic like small squids, shrimps and prawns.

Whale sharks usually visit the waters of the Philippines specifically in Donsol from the month of November to May.  The Butanding is a migratory creature in nature which commonly travels across the oceans close to the equator.  Studies have shown that nowhere else in the world have a larger group of Butanding been observed than in the waters of Donsol, Sorsogon.

Mailing date:  9 November 2011
Delivery date: 18 November 2011

Friday, August 3, 2012

Inauguration of the New Triolet Post Office

To mark the opening of the new Triolet Post Office on May 24, 2012, The Mauritius Post put on sale a Special Commemorative Cover.

With a view to providing a better environment to both its local and foreign customers, the Mauritius Post is sparing no efforts to invest on the modernisation and renovation of its infrastructure.  After the opening of new Post Offices in Glen Park, Pailles, Ebène, Trou aux Biches and La Flora, the MPL inaugurated a modern building in the northern village of Triolet.

Prior to the construction of a composite building accommodating both a Post Office and the Telephone Exchange in 1967, Postal Services in Triolet were delivered through a Postal Agency.

The old building was inaugurated on 7 September 1967.  A large range of postal services with a banking service through the Post Office Savings Bank were provided.

45 years later, a new, modern and spacious Post Office has been erected, providing over 65 postal and non-postal services, such as Public Internet Access Point, e-telegram, e-money transfer, e-commerce and so on,  to the inhabitants of Triolet and its vicinity and to tourists as well.

The inauguration of this new Post Office matches well with the motto of the celebrations of the 240 years of postal services in Mauritius: "from history to modernity".

Technical Details:
Event:  Inauguration of New Triolet Post Office
Release date: May 24, 2012
Cover illustration:  View of the new Tiolet post office building
Stamp: Rs100 of the '110th Birth Anniversary of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam' issue (2010)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pipa on Hong Kong Postcard

Here's another beautiful postcard from Kun.  It portrays a young lady playing the pipa.  The pipa, also known as the Chinese lute, is a four-stringed traditional Chinese musical instrument.  It has a pear-shaped wooden body and a varying number of frets ranging from 12 to 26.  It belongs to the plucked category of instruments and has been played for almost two thousands years in China.

Kun kindly affixed the $3 stamp from the Museums Collection series, with First Day Cancellation (06 December 2011).  The stamp represents a Green Glazed Barrel for herbal tea, displayed at Dr. & Mrs. Hung Hin Shiu Museum of Chinese Medicine, located in Kowloon.  Thank you very much Kun! =)

Mailing date: 06 December 2011
Delivery date: 24 December 2011

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Blue-Crowned Hanging Parrot in Singapore

The Blue-Crowned Hanging Parrot (Loriculus galgulus) is a small species of mainly green parrots found in forested lowlands from Thailand to Borneo.  Adult males have a blue crown, red throat and rump, and a yellow lower back.  The blue crown is less noticeable among adult females.  They feed on buds, flowers, nectar, seeds, fruits, and occasionally insects.

The Blue-Crowned Hanging Parrot even has its own postage stamp, issued by Singapore Post on June 6, 2007.  The two 55¢ stamps on the mail above are from the 2007 Flora and Fauna definitive set.  The small 2007B marking at the bottom left of the stamp indicates that they are from the first reprint batch.

Mailing date: 30 December 2011
Delivery date: 11 January 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Provincial Emblems of Indonesia

Indonesia currently has 33 provinces.  Each province has its own local government, headed by a governor, and its own legislative body.  POS Indonesia issued three sets of 11 stamps in 2008, 2009 and 2010 illustrating the emblems of each of the 33 Indonesian Provinces.

The two stamps, of the 2010 series (issue date: 13 December), on this nice cover from Malang feature the emblems of the provinces of Jambi (top right) and of Bangka Belitung Islands (top left), both located in the West of the Indonesian archipelago.

The two other stamps are from the 2011 Fish Consumption Promotion Movement set (Rp2000) and the Landmark set (Rp 2500), the last stamp showing Fort Rotterdam in Makasar City, South Sulawesi.

Thank you very much Irene for these nice stamps! :)

Mailing date: 18 November 2011
Delivery date: -2 December 2011

Monday, July 30, 2012

Villages of Liechtenstein

Here's another nice mail from Vaduz.  He used two stamps from the 1996 and 1999 'Villages' series, illustrating the villages of Eschen (CHF 10) and Ruggell (CHF 80) respectively, both in the north of the Principality.

Vural completed his postage with another stamp from the WWF set issued in 2011 to mark the 50th anniversary of the organisation.  So after the Hobby, here comes the Wryneck (Jynx torquilla).  This bird got its English name from its ability to turn its head almost 180° when it feels itself threatened. This odd behaviour lead to it being used in witchcraft to put a "jinx" on someone.

Thanks Vural! :) 

Mailing date: 22 NOV 2011
Delivery date: 09 DEC 2011

Sunday, July 29, 2012

13.12.11 Postcard from China

An interesting item to show you today...  13.12.11 happens only once in a century.  So Wei seized this unique occasion to  mail me this postcard from Suzhou.  Thank you so much! :D  It shows the different types of letter boxes and pillar boxes used by China Post.

Wonderful postage by Wei!  He affixed the 'South China Tiger' set (2004-19) issued on August 23, 2004.  The South China Tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis), also known as the Xiamen Tiger, is a critically endangered sub-species of tiger.  No official or biologist has seen a wild South China tiger since the early 1970s.

Mailing date: 13.12.11
Delivery date: 30.12.11

Saturday, July 28, 2012

10th Anniversary of Standard Chartered Bank in Mauritius

The Mauritius Post Ltd. released on May 15, 2012 a Special Commemorative Cover to mark the 10th anniversary of the Standard Chartered Bank in Mauritius.

Standard Chartered Bank (Mauritius) Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Standard Chartered PLC, was established in 2002 in Mauritius.  It is one of the leading and dynamic international banks in Mauritius.  With a strong banking franchise and cross-border capabilities across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, it is well-positioned to support the development and growth of the country.

The Bank employs more than 70 staff locally and is committed to employee diversity.  Sustainability efforts is integral to the Bank.  It provides three days employee volunteering paid leave that supports various community efforts in Mauritius including supporting environment conservation; underprivileged children; creating awareness on HIV/ AIDS; and a nation-wide vision screening campaign with primary school children.

With over 150 years banking legacy, Standard Chartered Bank today employs more than 87,000 staff worldwide and has an extensive network of branches and outlets in 70 countries.  The Bank is listed on the London and Hong Kong stock exchanges, as well as the Bombay and National Stock Exchanges in India.  

Standard Chartered Bank also sponsors the Liverpool Football Club since 2010.

Technical Details:
Event: 10th Anniversary of Standard Chartered Bank in Mauritius
Release date: May 15, 2012
Cover illustration:  View of the Caudan Waterfront, in Port Louis
Stamp: Rs8 (fish repopulation; artificial reefs 1980) of the Ecology issue (2006)

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Games of the XXX Olympiad start today!

As from today and till the 12th of August, London will be the centre of the World. Indeed, the 2012 London Olympics start today.  Over 10,000 athletes from 204 countries, or rather National Olympic Committees, are expected to compete in this event, considered to be the world's foremost sports event.

Thank you Nigel for these nice Olympic stamps issued on 27 July 2011.  The concept of the Royal Mail was to issue 30 stamps (10 in 2009, 10 in 2010 and 10 last year) to mark the 30th Olympiad.  The above stamps illustrate, from left to right: Paralympic Games Sailing, Athletics Field and Beach Volleyball.

Mauritius is taking part in six sports, namely: athletics, boxing, judo, road cycling, triathlon and beach volleyball.

Good luck to all the participating sportsmen and women!

Faster, Higher, Stronger!

Mailing date: 13 February 2012
Delivery date: 22 February 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Paris and its marvels...

Paris is known the world around as the most romantic city. Well, it is also one of the most charming!  This nice postcard shows, from left to right and from top to bottom : The Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, The Sacré-Coeur Basilica and the Champs Elysées.

Original customised stamps were used to frank this card.  Thank you Li Sien! :D

Mailing date: 08 December 2011
Delivery date: 15 December 2011

Railway Branch Lines in Taiwan

Chunghwa Post released a set of five stamps on 12 November 2011 to mark the construction of new branch lines, following the reopening of some railway lines as heritage railways.  The above stamps illustrate:
NT$5 (right) - Shalun Branch Line
NT$5 (middle) - Jiji Branch Line
NT$12 (left) - Neiwan Branch Line

The last two stamps of this set represent Liujia Branch Line (NT$12) and Pingxi Branch Line (NT$15).

For further information on these stamps and these railway branch lines, click here.

Nice rubber stamps were also applied on the verso of this cover at Taipei Songshan Airport (臺北松山機場), officially known as Taipei International Airport.

Thank you very much James!

Mailing date: 21 NOV 2011
Delivery date: 30 NOV 2011

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Postcard from Patong Beach, Thailand

A 'sunny' post for today! :)  Patong Beach (หาด ป่า ตอง) is a famous town on the west coast of Phuket, Thailand's most touristic island.  Patong is renowned for its nightlife, inexpensive shopping and 3,5 km beach.  Part of this beach is shown on this postcard which I sent to myself while visiting Thailand.

The stamp is a view of Hat Pattaya, another highly touristic place in Thailand.  I'm very glad since this is my first philatelic material ever from Thailand! :)

Mailing date: 05 January 2012
Delivery date: 25 January 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

50th Anniversary of the Royal Shakespeare Company in the UK

To mark the 50th anniversary of the name change of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Ltd., the Royal Mail released on 12 April 2011 a set of 6 stamps and a miniature sheet.  The aim of the organisation - now known as the Royal Shakespeare Company - has been, since its foundation in 1875, to connect people with Shakespeare's plays. 

The 6 stamps  represent iconic RSC productions of Shakespeare's plays.  Nigel affixed the 1st class stamp on his mail; it shows former Dr. Who David Tennant as Hamlet in 2008, with the legendary phrase: "To be or not to be, that is the question" featured.  The other stamps designs and denominations are as follows:
○The Tempest - 66p
○Henry VI - 68p
○King Lear - 76p
○A Midsummer Night's Dream - £1.00
○Romeo and Juliet - £1.10

The second stamp (76p) on the envelope was to commemorate King George IV (1762-1830) , from the House of Hanover series.

Thank you very much Nigel! :)  This cover was sent from Leeds Mail Centre where a slogan postmark is applied: "Please remember to write the postcode clearly.".

Mailing date: 29 October 2011
Delivery date: 10 November 2011

Monday, July 23, 2012

Les Sapeurs-Pompiers de Paris

The Battalion of Paris firefighters was founded on 18 September 1811 by Emperor Napoleon I, following a devastating fire at the Austrian Embassy, where a ball was being held, which killed a hundred people.  The Battalion is now known as the Brigade des Sapeurs-Pompiers de Paris (acronym: BSSP/ English: Paris Fire Brigade).  The mission of the BSSP ranges from containing fires in Paris to dispensing first aid following accidents.

To commemorate the bicentenary of the BSSP and the remarkable work accomplished by its, La Poste released for general sale on September 19, 2011, a souvenir sheet consisting of 10 €0,60 stamps. Part of this S/S was used to frank the mail above. The stamps represent a firefighter holding a water cannon (left) and two others embarking an injured person in one of their emergency vehicles (right).

Thank you Daniel for your great cover and for these cards too! :)  The above one features a stamp issued by La Poste to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse or High Speed Rail in English), with First Day Cancellation (27 September 2011).

Postcard showing how the Truffade - an Auvergne speciality - is cooked.

Mailing date: 05.12.2011
Delivery date: 09.12.2011

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Native Animals in Germany

Deutsche Post issued on 8 June 2006 a set of 5 postage stamps, designed by Gerhard Lienemeyer and depicting Native Animals of Germany. The Pine marten (Martes martes) and the Red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) are illustrated on the above mail.

Thank you very much Martin! :) Again another nice cover from Hessisch Lichtenau.

Mailing date: 23 November 2011
Delivery date: 30 November 2011