Sunday, 10 December 2017

All at Sea

1982: New Buoyage System
The Varne catastrophe occurred in the English Channel in 1971 - it was the equivalent of a multiple pile up on the motorway.  The 6 mile long Varne sandbank in the Straits of Dover and ship navigators inability to interpret the warning buoys in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world was a deadly combination.  As a result of the disaster a new and uniform buoyage system was introduced into Northwestern Europe in 1977 and then the rest of Europe, Africa and Australia completed the switch by 1983. Sweden commemorated the occasion by issuing a booklet of stamps (the FDC has tried to keep the booklet shape as can be seen by the joined stamps).  The stamp designer was the illustrator, calligrapher and writer 'Bertil Kulien (1919-2012) painter of the Swedish and Greek archipelagos, they were engraved by Martin Mörck

Here is a "know your buoys" for all landlubbers like me. At the top - Lateral (side) marks in the narrow Albrektssunds Canal; bottom - Cardinal (quarter marks) with Viking Line's Sally approaching in the Furusunds passage
From the top down - Special mark for a race track ; Safe water mark and the ship 'Malmo' at Ven Island in Oresund; Isolated danger mark and pilot boat at the Skagsudde lighthouse.

I enjoy marine paintings and it is always interesting to see how various artists deal with the challenge of portraying sea swells
1980: Paintings from the South African National Gallery
and here is a master at work, the 17th Century Dutch artist Willem Van de Velde and his 'Marine with Shipping'.
1980s Ships Definitive
but sometimes just a few wavy lines will do very nicely.
1994: Tugboats (Designer - Sheila Nowers)
A calm day in 1935 for the tugboat TS McEwen to tow the Union-Castle Line's Winchester Castle in its iconic lavender-hulled colours. The South African Railway and Harbour Administration's tug  TS McEwan was named after a former General Manager of the Cape Railways but was sometimes called the Smoky Sue because of the amount of smoke put out by her coal boilers.
1982: Anniversary of Simonstown Naval Base
The underwater light as portrayed by AH (Barry) Barrett as South Africa's first submarine, the Maria van Riebeeck glides through the water.

Time to dock in a safe harbour
1961-1973: Definitive (Cape Town)
and take a trip
1983: Tourism Beaches (Plettenberg Bay)
to the beach, watch the ships go and feel the sand beneath your feet or if you yearn for vast expanses of sand then
1948: Definitive 'Arab Postman' (Design: Capt EA Stanton)
take a ride on one of the ships of the desert with the postman.

Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter S - for Ships, Singapore, South Africa, Sudan and Sweden - sail over to See It On A Postcard


Sunday, 3 December 2017

Keep on Running

1960s Definitive
On your marks
1964: Olympic Games Tokyo (Design - Oscar Bonnevalle)
Get Set
1940: 2nd All Union Physical Culture Festival
Go...  Above is a relay race at the Physical Culture Festival one of the other stamps of the set features grenade throwing, something that doesn't seem to have caught on at the Olympic Games
1978: 22nd Olympic Games - Water Sports (Design: N Litvinov)
 where one might enjoy something more peaceful like rowing shown on this commemorative sheet produced in anticipation of the 22nd Olympic Games in Moscow.  The designer Nikolni Litvinov and his fellow artist Ivan Sushchenko designed a whole series of stamps representing all the Olympic sports.

I wonder how we are going to get to the games?  My choice would be by rail
EA and ME Cherepanov and their Locomotive, 1833
so lets travel through time with the 1978 'History of Russian Locomotives' series designed by Nicolai Kolesnikov.  The Cherepanovs were a father and son who built the first Russian steam locomotive.
Series D Locomotives 1845 and Series V Locomotives (first passenger train 1845)
  I'd love to know what the background images are but one thing is sure, Russia has some spectacular railway stations.
Series Gv Locomotive 1863-67 and Series Bv Locomotive 1863-67
After the trip on the rails lets journey to Romania 
1985: 50th Anniversary of Retezat National Park (Design - Mihai Vamasescu)
and head for the hills in an area where the sure footed chamois roam in the Retezat National Park an area called a "hikers dreamland" with its high peaks and glacial lakes.
1993: Mammals
Apart from seeing the chamois or to give it its latin name, Rupicapra Rupicapra, maybe there will be a red squirrel scampering up a tree.
1967: Birds of Rwanda
But for a bird watching delight then Rwanda with over 600 species would be a stunning destination. Here the Belgian artist Jean Van Noten (1903-1982) blesses us with a Red Bishop, a weaver bird.

The Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is R - for Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Running, Rowing, Railway, Retezat, Rupricapra and Red rush over for more See It on A Postcard.  

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Quest for a Q

1967: Famous Navigators Ships
This Qatar stamp shows a scene from the Bayeux tapestry and the Norse influence on boat building can be seen in the Viking type ship both the Normans and English built in the middle ages.
1968: 10th Anniversary of Qatar Postage Stamps
An Arab scribe completes the total number of Qatar stamps I have in my collection, two.  I turn to the natural world for my next Q 
1973: British Trees (Designer - David Gentleman)
 and the beautiful and long lived oak, Quercus robur.  1973 was 'National Tree Planting Year' hence the cancel slogan.
1921: Republic of Mirdita
Not so beautifully but an interesting piece of history. These stamps were issued by the short lived and unrecognised republic declared in Northern Albania by Marka Gjoni which lasted from the 17 July-20 November 1921 - the stamps were never issued. The currency is the Qint (pronounced chint) which is Albanian for 100.
  Whoever was wielding the scissors doesn't seem to be in control of them. They also seem to have changed their minds on the currency as this overprint shows. Marka Gjoni's rebellion against the Albania was supported by Belgrade and Greece, but in the end Marka Gjoni was forced to flee to Yugoslavia however he later returned to Mirdita where he lived until his death in 1925.  Of course it is said that the pen is mightier than the sword
or in this case, the quill.  The Yugoslavia Post Office (PTT - Posta, Telegrafa i Telefona) card and stamp
from the PTT museum and library in Belgrade shows a commercial letter posted in Serbia on 21 June 1869 in the "pre-philatelic era".

The Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter Q - for Qatar, Quercus, Qint and Quill - quickstep over to See It On A Postcard.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Post Carriers

2013: Europa- Postman's Van
We've come to the letter P so it was irresistible for me to feature post.  Lisbon's iconic Belem Tower graces this miniature sheet featuring the Groupil G3 electric van both at rest and in action in what looks a very ergonomic side access for the postie.  The wonderful posthorn and rider symbol on the van reminds me of the days when transport of mail was more difficult
1963: Centenary of Paris Postal Conference
and the stagecoach is a perennial favourite with stamp designers for which must be an irresistible combination of horses, people, ornate carriages and speed.
1964: Stamp Day (Designer A Heidrich; Engraver: Barbara Kowalska)
This 18th Century Stagecoach is from a painting by Jozef Brodowski and I am not sure if this is the elder Brodowski or younger, I suspect the latter because of the horses that appear in his paintings. I wonder where the carriage is heading?  Perhaps it is Poznan
1960: Historic Polish Cities (Designer W Chomicz; Engraver Eugeniusz Tirdiszek
where you can see the stagecoach entering stage left as it powers over the bridge towards the cathedral's bell towers in an age when they could never have dreamed of something like airmail.
2014: Aircraft Serving the Azores (Designer Francisco Galamba)
The first civilian test flight to the Azores was a Boeing sea plane in the 1930s which was 'only' carrying mail but this is a propeller driven Lockheed Constellation from the 1950s at the newly opened Santa Maria Airport.
1940: Centenary of the First Adhesive Postage Stamp - Penny Black
So stick on your stamps
2010: World Post Day (Design Maciej Jędrysik)
and these guys will take and deliver.  The illustrator Maciej Jędrysik's webpage shows this stamp as part of the integrated set and a FDC of a tightrope walking postie here (page down half way). His front page with other illustrations is here.  

Sunday Stamps II is at the letter P - for Poland, Portugal, Post, Poznan, Plane, Propeller and Postage Stamp gallop over to See It On A Postcard for more things starting with the Letter P.  

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.