Sunday, 12 November 2017


1922-24: Definitive 'Leopard in Ambush'
The French territory of Oubangui and Chari took its name from the two rivers, one of which the Military Postal Service extended along from 1893 onward and then headed northwards during the 1900s. This stamp however is for civilian mail which for some time used overprinted Middle Congo stamps.  The area would become the Central African Republic in 1960.  From the heart of Africa I travel to the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and another French overseas territory,
1913: Definitive 'Tahitian Woman'
the Oceanic Settlements, a scattering of  some 118 islands which were later named French Polynesia. I don't have any other French Polynesia stamps but do have some featuring the great explorer of Oceania, Captain Cook
1974: Bi-Centenary of Captain Cook's three landings on the West Coast of Niue

his bi-centenary celebrated here by Niue although in June 1774 the locals were not keen on him landing and despite three attempt he had to return to his ship, in retaliation naming it Savage Island.  
So we have top - 2c The bow of Captain Cook's ship with Niue in the background, 3c Niue landing place.  Bottom 8c Map of Niue, 20c The present Niue Administration building against the ensign of 1774

Later a Polynesian group of islands was named after him.  I wonder if he saw these birds?
1989: Endangered Birds
The Cook Island's endemic and today endangered birds the lilac crowned fruit dove (Ptilinopus rarotongensis). Leaving Polynesia I now set sail to Melanesia and
1952-55 Definitive (Designer and Engraver ER Murray Jones)
Papua New Guinea, a country famous for its Rugby League players whose national team are known as the Kumuls (birds of paradise) and are at the moment in Australia and playing in the World Cup
1973: Diamond Jubilee of Fiji Rugby Union
but the other code of Rugby is played in Fiji which featured Rugby Union on its Diamond Jubilee stamps.

Sunday Stamps II prompt of the letter O -  for Oubangui and Chari, Oceania and Oval Ball - navigate over to See It On A Postcard 

Sunday, 5 November 2017


2014: Northern Lights Personalised Stamp
I've never seen the Northern Lights so this stamp and card are the next best thing until I do.
2011: Wildlife in Norway
I imagine Polar Bears see the northern lights all the time.  I don't know where in Norway this photograph was taken but one of the places that fascinate me, the Svalbard Islands, lie halfway between Norway and the North Pole is considered one of the best places to go and see them, by boat.
1919: Newfoundland Contingent 1914-18
A magnificent pair of antlers displayed by a Caribou. It is also an appropriate stamp as we approach Armistice Day on the 11th for this 'Trail of the Caribou' issue refers to the contribution of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment ground forces during World War 1 (the Carabou is the emblem on the regiment's badge).  Each one is inscribed with a different military action in which the regiment took part, in this case Suvla Bay, Turkey, part of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign 1915-16.  The major troop landing at Suvla Bay was relatively successful but Allied indecision stalled their progress and advantage was lost.  The storming of the beaches of Gallipoli is for ever associated with New Zealand and Australia who each year mark the anniversary as ANZAC Day on 25th April.
1988: Native Birds
Travelling to New Zealand here is their unique native bird.  The kiwi is not the only flightless bird on New Zealand in fact there are 16 species which includes
Definitive series issued over a four year period 1985-89 - Native Birds (Design: Janet Marshall)
the world's only flightless and nocturnal parrot, the Kakopo.  The Blue Duck can definitely fly but is reluctant to do so and lives by fast flowing mountain streams, nesting in hollow logs and caves.   The designer of the Native Birds stamps is Janet Marshall who writes she has been painting New Zealand birds and flowers since 1970

Luckily for the ground dwelling birds there are no fast running cheetah in New Zealand
1973-86: Definitive (New Currency)
like this pair scanning the horizon in Yankari Game Reserve, Nigeria's largest National Park 866 sq miles (2,244 sq k) in North East Nigeria.  This was the first definitive set issued after Nigeria switched from Sterling to the new currency of Naira and Kobo. 

Lastly I return to New Zealand for some inanimate objects
1982: Definitives - Minerals
and the minerals found there which featured on the 1982 definitives. Here are some I might like to wear, the first nephrite, one of the two minerals commonly called jade although nephrite can be found in other colours apart from green and amethyst which comes in a range of variable intensity.

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the letter N - for Norway, Newfoundland New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Lights, Nephrite, Native Birds and Animals and National Park - nip over to See It On A Postcard.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Monkeying Around

1961: Lemurs
Lets swing through the trees with the Gentle Lemur (hapalemur griseus) in Madagascar, a place that has 60 species of lemurs filling every ecosystem, no wonder it is world famous for these mammals.  The lack of monkey on the island in prehistoric times meant that the lemurs thrived here but I imagine they are just as mischievous as monkeys like these on
2016: Year of the Monkey (Design: 10p - Guo Zhenshan £2 - Yin Huili)
a miniature sheet issued for the Year of the Monkey. As with the Isle of Man's other Lunar New Year stamps they are designed by Chinese artists.

More mammals but ones with a close relationship with mankind
1913-1938 - Definitive
this stamp has the title 'Merchants Crossing Desert' and was a definitive design used by Mauritania for 25 years. This stamp was designed by the French artist Joseph De La Neziere (1873-1944) who travelled extensively in North Africa and was the official painter for the French Colonial Office and died in Casablanca, whose country we travel to next
1939-1940: Definitive
where a horse and rider have stopped beneath a cedar tree.   For more horse power I turn to Monaco
1961: Vintage Motor Cars
and the Chevrolet.  This particular stamp and some others in the series were drawn by Bernard Minne (b1918), a prolific designer of Monaco stamps but also travel posters which are highly collectable, his Monte Carlo Grand Prix posters are also considered especially desirable if you wanted to splash the cash.
The Peugeot on the left does indeed look like the eponymous Horseless Carriage, both it and the Fiat may just want to be driven on a nice sunny day.  The stamp on the left is drawn by Henri Malarte (1906-2005) who I knew nothing about but isn't it amazing what hidden stories can be found on a stamp. Malarte founded a car demolition business in 1929 where he retrieved and sold spare parts but fate took hold in 1931 when he was given an old 1898 car and could not bear to part with it, so restored it and started collecting vintage cars. Word War Two intervened and his connection with the French Resistance led to his arrest and deportation to a concentration camp.  After the war he found the 17 cars hidden in a warehouse had been undetected by the Gestapo and these would found the basis of his museum which he set up in in a 12th Century Chateau Richetaillee near Lyon in a picturesque riverside location in 1960.  Today the Henri Malarte Antique Automobile Museum is owned by the city of Lyon and has a large collection of all manner of transport including the first front drive car and Hitlers armed Mercedes parade car captured by the French at Berchtesgaden.        
A nice plush red seat in the Rolls Royce. The other stamps in the series with their artist and engravers can be found on Stamps of the World

An entry to  Sunday Stamps II  letter M prompt - for Madagascar, Man, Mauritania, Morocco, Monaco, Monkey, Mammals, Merchants and Motor Cars; motor over to See It On A Postcard.

Sunday, 22 October 2017


2013: Tour de France 100th edition
The 100th edition of the Tour de France was celebrated by Luxembourg with this commemorative sheet by the Belgian graphic designer and Luxembourg resident Jean-Philippe Janus. He has chosen two images for the stamp which sports fans always look forward to, the mountains of the Pyrenees and the finish in Paris after all those long grueling kilometres using the international shorthand for Paris - the Arch de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.  The portraits of the riders are constructed from the letters of their names.  They are, from left to right - Francois Faber (1887-1915) who was the first foreign winner of the tour in 1909 although really he was a dual national as his father was a Luxembourger and his mother French. As you might guess from his dates he died fighting for France in World War One at Arras.  Our next winner had a much longer life, Nicolas Frantz (1899-1985), who was one of the elite band who have worn the yellow jersey from the first to last day which he achieved in 1928 despite his bike frame breaking at one point and having to borrow a woman's small bike. Next is Charly Gaul (1932-2005) called 'the angel of the mountains' who was at his best riding in cold wet weather. Lastly we come to the modern era with Andy Schleck whose win was bitter sweet as he was awarded it retrospectively after Contador was disqualified for doping so did not get his day on the podium in 2010. He had to retire in 2014 due to a knee problem and now runs a bike shop in a renovated barn in in Itzig, just outside Luxembourg City.
1927: Definitive provisional stamp
Another legend but this time of a tree, the Cedar of Lebanon, which I will show from different eras, mainly because I only have four stamps in total from Lebanon. The stamps of the Ottoman Empire were used in Lebanon and then after the war French stamps but this is one of the provisional independent stamps of Lebanon overprinted with 'Republic Libernaise' and with the 'Grand Liban' crossed out.
1937: Definitive
 The cedar is of course Lebanon's symbol and appears on their flag so it occurs a lot on the stamps too but I especially like this one.
1961: Definitive
Lastly here is a whole grove of trees, 'Les Cedres'  which look quite idyllic. In the 1940s Lebanon reverted back to the French word for the country (Liban) on their stamps.

At this point I was running out of country Ls but as a last resort turned to my father's old 'Everyland Postage Stamp Album' from his youth, yes that is where I inherited my stamp addition from.
1919: Liberation of Courland
Here we have a warrior fighting a legendary beast, a dragon.  Latvia was much fought over in World War 1 and after the conflict Courland or Kurzeme became one of the five provinces of the newly formed country of Latvia.  The country's infrastructure and resources were mostly destroyed so paper to print stamps was in short supply however they came up with an inventive solution.  They did have lots of maps and occupation currency left behind by the German army so that is what they used. Some stamps have the maps on the reverse however this particular set of stamps were issued on woven paper in December 1919 but it exhausted the supply.  The story of "The Money Stamps" can be found here

Sunday Stamps II prompt is the Letter L - here for Luxembourg, Lebanon, Latvia, Legends and Liberation - leap to See It On A Postcard for more.

Saturday, 21 October 2017


Cotman-Color Series Postcard KPPH 119 (Jarrold)
The lighthouse plays a very minor part in this postcard but as we are approaching All Souls Night or Halloween I thought the prayer featured on the card was appropriate as one's imagination wonders what is gathering in the darkness.  I'd always thought this was a Scottish verse but the Cornish are claiming it on this postcard although it is a rather random addition as nothing spooky seems to be occurring in the pictures.

The trip to Lands End here features the Armed Knight rocks (in Cornish - An Marogeth Arvowed) which is a popular subject for artists and photographers; further out (2k or over a mile) is the Longships Lighthouse built in 1875 to replace the 1795 one which was not high enough for the light to shine through storms.  The Romans called this area The Sea of Storms and countless ships have been lost here.

The postcard dates from the late 1960s and postie is driving a Morris van evocative of the era.  They would have posters on the side promoting the service or stamps but unfortunately this one cannot be read but his bag of letters looks full, probably with postcards bought from the land's end shop.  The signpost is one where lots of people have their picture taken for fingers can be altered to point the distance to your home.  On the downside you have to pay to access this part of England and today I  believe it is heavily commercialised with shops, restaurant etc but take a trip along the south west coastal path and the view is free.  

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Lighthouses - follow the light to Connections to the World



Sunday, 15 October 2017


1938-1954 Definitive Stamps (Design RC Luck)
The postal systems of Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda were brought together in 1933 with an issue of definitive stamps of local scenes featuring King George V, on the succession of his son the stamps remained the same except as can be seen with a portrait of George VI.
The stamp designs were done by numerous designers each with their own touches.  The 15c on the right designed by G Gill-Holmes introduces a figure who seems to be holding a scroll (unfortunately Mount Kilimanjaro is hidden under the postmark).
R C Luck obviously had a love of bulrushes or stretches of water and their bird life.
RN Ambasana must have been a bit of a royalist as the portrait dominates the Jinja Railway Bridge over the Ripon Falls(constructed in 1926 with some cracking photographs here)
The three countries gained independence in the early 1960s, Kenya being the last in 1963.  All the Star Trek fans out there will recognize the word uhuru (Uhura) as meaning freedom.  I'd forgotten about Prime-Minister and President Joma Kenyatta's fly whisk until seeing this stamp.  I always thought I would like one of these as buzzing things like me a lot but it has a dual purpose in this context for it is also a mark of authority in Maasai society.
1993: Birds Definitive
Here is something that likes insects which in Swahili is called the keremkerem (bee-eater). in particular this is the cinnamon-chested bee eater.
2017: Europa - Castles
Lastly every king needs a castle and Kosova shows a dramatic one on top of a hill which I think may be a re-imagining of the layers of history of the Kalaja Fortress, the castle on the hill overlooking Prizren.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II prompt of the letter K for - Kenya, King, Kenyatta,  Kosova and keremkerem - keep clicking to See It On A Postcard 

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Autumn Walks

 The words on the card I think might mean Autumn Greetings in Finnish although 'ruska' on its own is autumn colour so maybe the words mean colourful autumn greetings.   I received this card one August and Eeva said it would soon be the best time to go to Lapland.  I believe the further north you travel in Finland the more vibrant the colours not to mention the fact that the northern lights might be weaving their magic.

Looks like our hiker might be heading to camp to toast her toes by the fire after her companion has removed those seriously large boots in the insert photo and everyone is getting ready to eat a lot of sizzling sausages. I would be looking forward to a nice cup of tea from that billy can but as we are in Finland I would guess that coffee would be on the menu although if we are lucky there might also be Glögi (heated sweet berry juice with lots of spices) .  Autumn is a beautiful time of year to take a walk, not only for the colours but the sound of crackling leaves as the breeze rustles the trees.

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Anything you wish - travel to Connections to the World

Sunday, 8 October 2017


2015: Hubble - 25 Years of Space Exploration
The massive gas giant Jupiter whirls across a Jersey stamp featuring an image from the Hubble telescope "Jupiter's New Red Spot April 16th 2006".  This year the Juno space probe has been up close and personal sending back even more stunning images and detecting rivers of ammonia on Jupiter as it swings by the planet every 53 days - there is always more to discover and puzzle scientists about Jupiter.

Lets jump across our solar system
2015: 16th Island Games
and head to our own planet while our athletes defy gravity to hurdle at high speed.
Jump to net a ball.
Jump to smash a shuttlecock.
Jump to spike a volleyball and
2014: Glasgow Commonwealth Games (Design: Howard Brown)
Jump to block a ball.  I'll get another J in here for Jamaica who

1963: Definitive
 won the bronze medal at these Commonwealth games beating England 52 - 48.  Close but won at the final throw.
I can't quite make my mind up whether this is showing a throw or a grapple but I like this set of stamps by one of Royal Mail favourite designers Howard Brown.  Sports photographer Andy Hooper took the photographs for the stamps and Nanette Hooglsag created the illustrations.

More throwing, not people but 
1975: Pan American Games
javelins, here at the Pan American Games held in Mexico City.   From what I can gather Grenada didn't actually participate in these games but obviously were building up to it for they have participated in every other Pan American Games since 1987.
1958: Balkan Games
The Bulgarian's were definitely at the 1958 Balkan Games because they were hosting it in Sofia.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II prompt of the letter J - for Jersey, Jupiter, Jump, Judo, Javelin and Jamaica -jump over for more at See It On A Postcard