Saturday, December 25, 2010

125 Years of the Orient Express, Serbia

A fantastic FDC issued by Serbia on 09.06.2008!!!!


Ive already posted about the Orient Express joint issue between Austria and Romania....but this is what the story behind the Serbian FDC is.

The Orient Express, luxury passenger train which connected West with East Europe, ran for the first time on October 4th in 1883. Its creator, Georges Nagelmackers introduced, on European railways, first luxury sleeping cars and restaurant cars. That was the time when political and economic relations, progressing trade and the beginning of modern tourism resulted in the big augmentation of the number of passengers. However, in those days, long trips by land were very strenuous and unpleasant. That is the reason why trains belonging to Nagelmackers CIWLT company (Compagnie internationale des Wagons - Lits et du Tourisme) achieved very fast a great success and set up new standards for travelling through Europe.
After several long routes, Nagelmackers decided to introduce a luxury train which connected Paris with Vienna, and by them also London and Berlin with countries in the Balkans and the capital of Turkey, Istanbul. Since the railway road through Serbia and Bulgaria was not yet finished, the first Orient Express communicated from Paris to Bucharest where passengers were ferried across the Danube and the Black Sea. This train, still called in those days the "Lightning train", passed through Serbia for the first time on November the first in 1885, reaching Niš which was its terminus. In 1888, when the railway to Sofia was finally finished, the train which, in the meantime, got a new name the "Orient Express", began to run on its direct route to Istanbul. After World War I, actual political relations brought up changes of this train's route. France and England wanted a faster connection with the Balkans and Turkey, so this train shortened its route through the Simplon Tunnel and was named the Simplon Orient Express. This period represents the culmination in the development of this train.
World War II and the political changes that followed significantly influenced the famous train. Damaged tracks and problems on boarders in relation with the Iron Curtain made the journey on the Orient Express problematic. Very soon, airplanes occupied the free space and took over the passengers. The most luxurious European train became an ordinary express train. in 1977, as a pale shadow of the legendary train, the famous Orient Express was withdrawn completely with the last Paris-Istanbul service.
Connecting for decades, on the most luxurious way two worlds, the Orient Express became the symbol of a lifestyle By using it, rulers, politician, rich men, artists, adventurers and spies have magnified its fame.
Immortalized in several literary works and films, the Orient Express is also well known to the younger generation.
For Serbia and other countries in the Balkans, the greatest significance of Orient Express was the highest quality connection to the most developed parts of Europe.

some technical details regarding the two stamps on the FDC:

 Width:          35.0 mm
Height:           29.0 mm
Denomination: 20 CSD/50 CSD
Layout/Format sheet of 8
Perforations:    13.25 by 13.25

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Cyprus Railway, Cyprus

Dear Silvan had prepared yet another great surprise for my mailbox, sending me these two fantastic FDC's!


And what sort of goes into my favour is that the Cyprus post issued two stamps instead one as planned (you can see them both on the on the FDC above. While the FDC below comes with a mini-sheet.

They were issued on 4th June 2010, and they portray a narrow gauge railway, that originally ran from Nicosia to Famagusta and was eventually extended to Kalo Chorio and Morphou, 1905-1951.

The technical characteristics of the stamps are:

Width 38.0 mm
Height 30.0 mm
Denomination 0.43 €
Layout/Format sheet of 8
Perforations 13 by 13

while the mini-sheet stamp has the following characteristics:

Width 38.0 mm
Height 30.0 mm
Denomination 0.85 €
Layout/Format miniature sheet of 1
Perforations 13 by 13

thanks to Silvan AGAIN for being such a kind visitor of my mailbox! :D

Sunday, November 28, 2010

150th Anniversary of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, Great Britain

Recently I got this fantastic surprise in my mailbox from Laura. She saw this and reminded her of me and thought I may like to have it! This is one of the times when I think that a simple 'thank you' aint good enough but i just dont know which are the right words to show my appreciation for the thoughtfulness. Do you also get stuck with words like I do?


The Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the world's first regular passenger-carrying railway, opened on 15 December 1830. Many distinguished guests, including the Duke of Wellington, then Prime Minister, attended the occasion. The day was marred when the member for Liverpool, Mr. William Huskisson was struck by the Rocket and died that evening.
Many prints and lithographs recorded the appearance of the Railway and its surroundings both during construction and after completion. These have provided the inspirations for the stamp designs, which show a train running through a landscape, which includes five familiar features of the Liverpool-Manchester route.

From left to right, the first stamp shows the Rocket in its most original form and livery. Probably by the time the line had opened, the Rocket had been modified but the original form is more familiar. The background shows the Moorish Arch, just short of the tunnel into Liverpool.

The second stamp shows first and second-class carriages. The setting is the deep Olive Mount Cutting, a few miles up the line.

The third stamp shows an open third-class coach and a two-storey cattle truck full of sheep. These would not normally have been found together in the same train, but serve to emphasize the crudity of the arrangements provided for the poorer passengers. The landscape behind is Chat Moss.

The fourth stamp shows the first-ever rail-drive: an open coach carried on a truck and its owner's horse box. The background shows a cottage near the bridge over the Bridgewater Canal.

The fifth stamp shows a truck-load of merchandise covered by a tarpaulin and a red Post Office Mail van with its guard bringing up the rear of the train. The overcast industrial Manchester background highlights the commercial importance of the Railway.

The mixture of goods traffic is, of course, symbolic of the railway's scope rather than strictly accurate. Actual trains were either passenger or freight.

The five se-tenant stamps, issued on 12 March 1980, were designed by David Gentleman and printed in photogravure on unwatermarked, coated, phosphor treated paper by Harrison & Sons (High Wycombe) Ltd.
Format: Horizontal size 41x30 mm
Perforations: 15x14
number per sheet:100

The FDC was designed by David Gentleman
  
Laura, thank you again so much!! Thank you thank you thank you! This feels like such a precious item to own!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Lighthouses, Croatia

Sorry I havent posted ANYTHING here for over a month...true that in general I havent had much time for my blogs, but also gathering all the right information for this one in particular requires more time and patience, so I guess thats why I dont post here as often as on my postcard blog...but I promise from now on ill try to organize my time better and divided more fairly :)


Well, you know that my very soft spot goes to trains...but lighthouses are the closest behind them...and I cant possibly ignore this fantastic Lighthouse FDC coming from Croatia!

The FDC bears the three lighthouse stamps issued for this occasion...all bear the value of 3,10kn, where the first stamp shows the Vir lighthouse, the second one shows the Veli rat lighthouse, and the last one, the Tajer lighthouse.
Technical details about the stamps

Size: 29,82 x 48,28 mm
Paper: white 102g, gummed
Perforation: Comb,14
Tehnique: Multicoloured Offsetprint
Date of issue: 7.9.2010
Quantity: 100000

And some details about each of the lighthouses:

Vir
The lighthouse Vir is situated 40 km away from Zadar, to the north-west, and 20 km away from the historic town Nin. The nearest village is Križine, at a distance of two kilometres. Navigating from Zadar, parallel to the south coast of the island Vir, this lighthouse is easily spotted in the central part on the south-western coast, between the Cape of Pedink and the western Cape of Vrulje. The lighthouse Vir gives a recognisable character to the south capes of the island and marks the navigating direction to yachtsmen at night time. Built in 1881 at the north entrance to Zadar Channel, also today it sheds the light that can be seen from ten nautical miles away. The location of the lighthouse had been chosen by the Austro-Hungarian Office for Safe Navigation with the aim to mark for the night navigation the way to Zadar harbour, since the sea bottom in the wider aquatorium of the lighthouse slowly rises toward dangerous, shallow waters. The lighthouse building is a vast one-storey building. In the ground floor there used to be rooms for the lighthouse man while the dormitories and the apartment for his family were in the first floor. The facade is dominated by 11 meters high stone tower. Today, there is a deadly silence in the old building. Next to the lighthouse building there is a storeroom which once served as fuel storage and later as machinery room. The old water reservoir is also preserved. There is a legend about Vir and the hidden treasure from which only rare florins have been found to date. Today, the lighthouse is closed; its crew had been withdrawn after the automation of the lighthouse.

Veli rat
The lighthouse Veli rat is 20 nautical miles air distance away from Zadar, to the north-west. Its strong light can not be seen in Zadar Channel since it is covered by islands that build a barrier in the aquatorium between Zadar and Dugi otok (Long Island), on which north-western cape the lighthouse stands. Not far away from the lighthouse there are settlements Veli Rat, Verunić and Polje. North from the lighthouse there is Pantera Bay to which the light of Veli Rat is a safe guidance for navigators sailing through this aquatorium. The Austro-Hungarian Office for Safe Navigation was carefully preparing technical documentation for the lighthouse tower of Veli rat. The south-western part of the Long Island (Dugi otok) is flat in configuration and the navigating route through this aquatorium is marked by a number of shallows in the south-western, western and north-western part. The light of the lighthouse is the guidance in the night to the mentioned Pantera Bay and the harbour Solišćica, the only shelter in this part of the island. The lighthouse was finished in 1849. The light beam of the power of 2000 watt at the 40 metres high top of the tower is visible from the distance of 20 miles. Interesting to mention is the fact that while building the tower more than 10,000 hen eggs had been added into the concrete mixture. The purpose of adding eggs was to provide higher consistence and better resistance to sea salt. Because of this peculiar additive the colour of the tower is specific and the tower is different from all other towers in the Adriatic. Even today, 160 years later, the surface texture of the concrete tower of Veli rat is in excellent condition. The interior of the lighthouse building has been completely renewed. There lives the lighthouse man with his family while the unoccupied rooms have been adapted according to tourist valorisation. The lookout – a platform at the top of the tower – can be reached over 176 stairs. From above one can enjoy a unique panorama of the nearby islands Molat, Ist, Sestrunj and Rava. South-east and south of the lighthouse there rests endless open sea and to the north, in the haze, the panorama is closed by the peaks of the mountain Velebit. After finishing the building of the lighthouse and making it functional, in the north part of its stone paved court, a small chapel was erected - the sanctuary of St. Nicholas, the patron of sailors. Veli rat is considered to be among the most beautiful lighthouses in the whole Mediterranean

Tajer
The lighthouse Tajer was built on the bigger of the Two Sisters Islands situated in the vicinity of Grpašćak cliffs. From the 15 miles distant Zadar the lighthouse can be reached through the labyrinth of islands, islets and rocks. The last barrier to reach it is a narrow straight Small Proversa, north of the Tajer Sisters. Already at this point the unusual, metal, red-white tower of the lighthouse Tajer can be noticed. When navigating from the other direction and passing by the cliffs of the Nature Park Telašćica at night, the light of Tajer is awaited as the announcement of the nearby shelter situated in a deep and safe bay. Tajer and the Tajer Sisters border in the north and east on the Koranti National Park, but belong to the Nature Park Telašćica. The lighthouse was built in 1876 on the Big Sister (Sestrica vela). The huge stone building dominates a small island valley, where at the time when the lighthouse was built a dense pine-tree wood had been removed and turned into a clear land. In comparison to other Adriatic lighthouses, the building is connected to the protruding metal tower by peculiar stone bridge on high arches. The building is a vast one-storey construction with the attic of a total area of about 500 square metres.  The steel tower is 47 meters high. Recognisable red and white stripes of the Tajer tower have not been changed for decades, which is the reason why the lighthouse has become the tourist symbol of the surrounding archipelago. The turning light signal is today automated and the energy is provided by solar panels and converters. A strategic position and the density of the nautical traffic in the area in high tourist season are the reasons why also today there is crew at the lighthouse, though it is fully automated and remotely controlled. On the Tajer Sisters there is also a small meteorological station, regularly collecting data which the lighthouse men check and forward by a radio station to the national Meteorological and Hydrological Service. The stone waterfront was also built by the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The lighthouse is surrounded by vast stony terraces offering an excellent view to Dinara mountains. To the west, there are the cliffs of Telašćica while the south horizon is the desert open sea. The dense pine-wood covering the greater part of the Big Sister Island is also an ornithological reserve. .

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Orient Express, Austria

One great train cover from Edna showing Orient Express!


This is a joint issue between Austria and Romania, in order to mark the special cultural relationships between Bucharest and Vienna, built over time.
This attractive block in the background image shows a map on which the corresponding track is recorded, the Paris Ostbahnhof, the Giant Ferris Wheel and the famous mosque “Hagia Sofia"

The first stamp (which is placed a bit higher on this sheet) represents the Orient Express train in May 1921, at Sinaia station. It had been pulled by a Pacific engine, type 2C1-h4, which belonged to the Bucharest Travelers Depot and was used on the route Bucharest North – Ploiesti – Sinaia – Brasov and back.
The other stamp represents the Orient Express train, in 1909, at Salzburg station, consisted of a four-axle restaurant car and pulled by a compound engine, type 2B-n2v from the Austrian series K.k.St.B. 206.01-206.70 belonging to Depot Wien II and which was used to pull the Orient Express train on the route Salzburg – Vienna and back.

The Orient Express train made the connection between Paris and Constantinople, namely between the Occident and Orient, and was undoubtedly the most famous and romantic of all trains. Though it belongs today only to the nostalgic tourism – by the trains “Nostalgia Istanbul – Orient Express” (N.I.O.E.) and “Venice Simplon – Orient Express” (V.S.O.E.) which ran and continue running through Romania – its echoes have never died away. Writers, musicians, painters and cinematographers got inspired from the history of this famous train and contributed to the creation of its legend.

This train began operating in June 5th 1883, under the name of Le Train d’Orient or Express d’Orient and its first route, Paris (East Station) – Nancy – Strasbourg – Stuttgart – Munich – Salzburg – Vienna – Bratislava – Budapest – Jimbolia – Timisoara – Caransebes – Varciorova – Craiova – Pitesti – Bucharest – Giurgiu – Smarda, 2,638 kilometers long, lasted for 59 hours and 15 minutes. The first Orient Express left Giurgiu for Paris on June 8th 1883, at 13:30, arriving into the capital city at 15:00 and, after a 15 minutes halt, it left on its route to Paris.

The official inauguration of the Orient Express train took place on October 4th 1883; on this occasion, they introduced sleeping coaches with bogies, the first of this kind in Europe. The new cars of Orient Express train had 4 axles, were 17.5 meters long, they were made of Teak wood and had crystal glasses. Heated by steam and illuminated by gas, they were “as comfortable as a luxury suite in Paris”. Between two-axle baggage cars, they introduced two four-axle sleeping coaches, having a 20 seats capacity, and also a four-axle restaurant car. The restaurant car (CIWL 151D) was draped in tapestries from the famous Gobelin manufactories, as well as in Cordoba leather and Genovese velvet; it consisted of a large saloon, a smoking lounge with a library, a boudoir, an office and a kitchen.

Since 1st of June 1889, a second Orient Express train made a direct link between Paris and Constantinople, through a new route via Serbia and Bulgaria, the 2,504 kilometers long course lasting for 67 hours and
35 minutes.

After the commissioning of the Danube bridges, in 1895, the route of the Orient Express train through Romania was extended up to Constanta Harbor on April 19th /May 1st 1896.

During the World War I, the services of the European luxury trains, including the Orient Express train, were cancelled. After the hostilities ended, on April 15th 1919, a new international luxury train called Simplon – Orient Express, was introduced to connect London and Paris via Constantinople. On May 1st 1921, the route of the Orient Express train through Romania was included again in the course, up to Bucharest, via Arad, Teius, Brasov and Sinaia.

The last Orient Express train of the C.I.W.L.T. Company left Paris for Istanbul on May 19th 1977 on the route Paris – Milan – Venice – Zagreb – Belgrade – Sofia – Istanbul (Sirkeci), the entire journey lasting for about 56 hours.

(The cancellation is from the 50 years of OPEC)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Great British Railways, UK

Sometimes I dont know how I have managed to meet such great people, but they surely have been a treasure to have in life coz they so selflessly love to surprise me with not only great postcards, but fantastic philatelic items as well.
The last great surprise came from dear Silvan from Malta, who especially for me had ordered this amazing FDC which made me jump of joy when I found it in my mailbox!
It was issued by the Royal Mail in order to commemorate the 50th anniversary of British Rail’s last steam locomotive, the 9F Class ‘Evening Star’.

This is the first in a series of Special Stamp issues commemorating classic British locomotives, which will continue with a number of Miniature Sheets from 2011 onwards!!!!!!!!!!!


Number of stamps: six
Date of issue: 19 August 2010
Stamp Format: Landscape
Stamp Size: 41mm x 30mm
Print Process: Gravure
Number per Sheet: 25/50
Perforations: 14.5 x 14
Phosphor: All over
Gum: PVA


In 1923 over 120 railway companies were merged into the Big Four, comprising the London, Midland and Scottish (including the Northern Counties Committee NCC in Northern Ireland), the Londong & Northern Eastern, the Great Western and the Southern Railways. Together they combined traditional British engineering excellence with innovative publicity. After the Second World War, however, the railways had become so run down that they were nationalised as British Railways in 1948. In March 1960, Evening Star brought to an end more than 130 years of steam-locomotive building for Britain's mainline railways.

Some details about each stamp:

1st Class – LMS Coronation Class

The streamlined Coronation Class locomotive ‘Coronation’ of the London Midland and Scottish Railway is seen here at Euston Station in 1938. Named in honour of the accession of King George VI, a Coronation Class locomotive was displayed at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.



1st Class – BR Class 9F

This photograph of ‘Evening Star’, the last of the British Rail Class 9F locomotives was taken at Midsomer Norton in 1962. The 9F was originally designed to pull heavy freight trains, but a few, like Evening Star, were used on passenger services, particularly on the steeply graded Somerset and Dorset line.



67p – GWR King Class

The photograph shows the Great Western Railway’s King Class locomotive ‘King William IV’ near Teignmouth in 1935. The Kings were the GWR’s star locomotives, able to pull heavy holiday trains and as well as expresses. Hailed as the UK’s most powerful steam engine, the ‘King George V’ toured the USA in 1927.


67p – LNER Class A1

This London North East Region Class A1 locomotive, ‘Royal Lancer’, was photographed in 1929. The LNER’s most famous A1 was the ‘Flying Scotsman’, the first UK steam engine to reach 100mph. Modernised from the 1930s, A1s were still pulling important passenger trains right into the 1960s.


97p – LMS NCC Class WT

The London Midland and Scottish Northern Counties Committee Class WT, ‘Engine No 2’, is pictured at Larne Harbour in the late 1940s. Based on a standard LMS design but built for the wider Irish track, the WTs were the last new steam locomotives delivered to the NCC and were widely known as ‘Jeeps’.



97p – SR King Arthur Class

This Southern Region King Arthur Class locomotive, ‘Sir Mador de la Porte’, was photographed at Bournemouth Central Station in the late 1930s. These fine locomotives once handled the Southern’s heaviest express trains, but were relegated to pulling less glamorous services from the 1940s.


Thank you soooo much Silvan!!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

125th Anniversary of the Railroad in Serbia

Seems like there are a lot of 125th railway anniversaries around the world :)

This lovely FDC comes from Serbia, in order to commemorate their 125th railroad anniversary.

The first railways on the territory of Serbia were already built in the middle of the XIX century in Banat which was part of the Habsburg Monarchy at the time. Although the construction of the railway in the Principality of Serbia was already considered, the conditions for it were created just after the Congress of Berlin, in 1878, when the Principality got its complete independence. During this Congress, decisions were made to establish routes which would connect Europe (through Serbia and Bulgaria) with Turkey and Middle East. In accordance with those decisions, on 15th September 1884, Serbia opened its first public railroad route from Belgrade to Niš so that day represents the birthday of the Serbian Railroad. The first train had a steam locomotive CS No.1. This was one of the most important events in the newer history of the country. The railroad route from Belgrade to Niš was the biggest and most expensive project accomplished during the XIX century in Serbia. With the later construction of the railroad system this route had a great influence on the modernization and lifestyle in Serbia, its connecting with European countries, economic development and position in the scope of international relations. Even nowadays, this route as a segment of Corridor X represents one of the most important railways in Serbia and South-East Europe. It is an electrified railroad with modern electric locomotives.
The railroad route Belgrade-Niš is 243,5 km long and is constructed as a narrow-gage railroad with 23 stations. The biggest and most beautiful station buildings were at the time erected in Belgrade and Niš. The building of the Belgrade station has undergone many wars but preserved its beautiful original architecture. The original building of the station in Niš was so damaged, during the Anglo-American bombing in 1944, that it couldnt be renovated. After the many years of use of a provisory building, a new one was solemnly opened in 1973 as one of the biggest and most beautiful in Serbia.

Motifs on the stamps:
- stamp face value 22,00 dinars: the first steam locomotive CS No.1 of the Railroad of Serbia and in the background the building of the station in Belgrade;
- stamp face value 46,00 dinars: electric locomotive series JŽ 441, in the background is the building of the station in Niš.

Date of Issue: 8 September 2009
Stamps' Width: 30.0 mm
Stamps' Height: 37.5 mm
Layout/Format: sheet of 25
Perforations: 13.25 by 13.25

Sunday, August 8, 2010

125 Years of the Malayan Railways, Malaysia

One of the greatest surprises that have arrived in my all time mail-career! Sooo many trains, I feel like in train heaven! And all thanks to my dear Caroline!


Here I have the FDC, and the stamp booklet


And here is the envelope in which all these goodies arrived...again, soo many train-stamps attached + the mini sheet! I just couldnt believe it to myself :)



Here are some technical and other details regarding this issue:


Stamp Value: 30sen (setenant); 50sen; RM1
Sheet Content: 20 Stamps
Paper: SPM Watermarked, Phosphor Coated
Printing Process: Lithography
Printer: Percetakan Keselamatan Sdn Bhd
Stamp Designer: Hazel Design Sdn Bhd

First Day Cover Value: RM 1,80
Miniature Sheet Value: RM3.00
Stamp Booklet Value: RM3.00

Date of Issue 22-Jun-2010

Starting with the opening of the first 12.5 km track from Taiping to Port Weld (Kuala Sepetang) Perak on 1 June 1885, the railway service in Malaysia is reaching 125 years of its existence by 1 June 2010. It evolves from a steam locomotive to an electric-powered train, and from single track to electrified double track. KTM Berhad is determined to become the heartbeat of the nation which stays relevant and on track in moving 1 Malaysia.

Miniature sheet and stamp 30 Sen - The T class locomotive was made by the W.G.Baghall Limited, Englad in 1927. The first locomotive was acquired in 1929 and it last ran in 1964. The existing engine has been contributed to the Malaysian National Museum in May 1975.

Miniature sheet and stamp 30 Sen - Class 2 Diesel Hydraulic locomotive engine was manufactured by Kisha Seizo Kaisha Ltd. Japan. The first engine was attained in 1965 and the last engine, train no. 21102 was last used in 1994.

Stamp 30 Sen - Class 83 EMU (Electric multiple unit) is a South Korean made engine, manufactured by the Marubeni/Hyundai Corporoation. The first EMU was acquired in 1997 and still operates until present under the KTM Komuter services.

Stamp 30 Sen - The ETS (Electric train set) is the latest and most modern electric train owned by KTM Berhad. Class 91 ETS is made by Hyundai-Rotem Corporation, South Korea. The train able to run at its maximum speed of 160 km/h, is by far the fastest running train on the one meter gauge. The first unit was received in December 2009 and the final one arrived in April 2010. ETS is expected to run commercially by July 2010 for the Seremban-Kuala Lumpur-Ipoh route.

Stamp 30 Sen and Stamp 50 Sen - The Class 26 High Powered locomotive is a German made engine, manufactured by the General electric - Bombardier. The first engine was purchased in 2003 and the series is still being used until present. This engine is one of the most recent and modern locomotive owned by KTM Berhad, and is used by the cargo services.

Stamp 30 Sen and Stamp RM 1 - Class 56 locomotive is the last steam engine used in Malaysia (1939-1946). Manufactured by the North British locomotive Company LTD, Glasgow, there were 39 locomotives in operation in Malaysia during the era. The engine named Temerloh with the number 546.36 is the last steam locomotive which ran in 1997 and the only surviving unit.

Stamp 30 Sen - Class 20 diesel locomotive was made by the English Electric, Vulcan Foundry, England. The first locomotive obtained in 1957 and the service was launched on 31 July 1957. The engine was last used in 1992. A unit of the train is put on display at Shah Alam Museum, Selangor.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Smurfs' 50th Anniversary, Belgium

I know that I have been neglecting this blog much more than my postcard one, but I promise I will try to change that...problem is, I often am in doubts of what to post here exactly, and eventually I end up posting nothing...and my indecisiveness has proved once more to be a bad way of solving things....

So here we are today with this fantastic miniature sheet portraying one of the most famous cartoon characters, The Smurfs


The set of stamps + one mini sheet was issued by the Belgian Post in 2008 in order to commemorate the Smurfs' 50th Anniversary. I have to say that the sheet looks just amazing!


Issue date: 29/09/2008
Sheet size: 186mm x 156 mm
Denomination: 0,54
Composition oh the sheet: 5 stamps

The commemorative stamps include five Smurf Stamps: 1) Smurf Kissing Smurfette Stamp, 2) The Smurf Handshake Stamp, 3) Smurf Cake Stamp, 4) Smurf Eats Chocolate Cake Stamp, and 5) The Party Smurf Stamp.

The whole big picture is a celebratory Smurf Party! The Miniature Sheet depicts Smurfs having a fun time with party hats, streamers, great food and a little bubbly!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Austria

More fantastic trains have arrived...this time from Austria, thanks to Edna!



It is also a registered cover...I dont usually get those, unless the postage covers it or some special mail items are sent...and I do the same with the outgoing mail.
This cover has 4 different train stamps, and ill try to give a brief, or not so brief, description about each of them.

1. The top left

Date of Issue: 20 June 2009
Primary theme:  Transportation (Rail) (Locomotive & trains)
Subject: 100 Years of the Wachau Railway
Width: 42.0 mm
Height: 32.0 mm
Denomination: 0.75 €
Number in set:  1
Layout/Format:  sheet of 50
Perforations: 13.5 by 13.5
Stamp issuing authority: Osterreich Post AG
Number of Copies: 500.000
Printing Style: Engraved-recess printing

The romantic railway line has operated through the Danube regions of Wachau, Nibelungengau and Strudengau since 1909, linking the towns of Krems, Grein and St. Valentin. The journey is full of variety, running past vineyards and historical sites, always following the course of the Danube.

2. Top right :

Date of Issue: 10 September 2008
Primary theme: Transportation (Rail) (Locomotive & trains)
Subject: Railways - CS "Empress Elizabeth Western Railway"
Width: 42.0 mm
Height: 32.25 mm
Denomination: 1.00 €
Number in set: 1
Layout/Format: sheet of 50
Perforations: 14 by 14
Stamp issuing authority: Osterreich Post AG
Number of Copies: 500.000
Printing Style: Photogravure and Intaglic

The Austrian Western Railway was originally known as the Imperial and Royal Privileged Empress Elizabeth Railway, and runs from Vienna to Salzburg via Linz, with a branch line running from Wels to Passau. Although at that time the link between Vienna and Salzburg was relatively insignificant as compared with the north-south routes, a railway connection was agreed as early as 1851 in a treaty between Bavaria and Austria

3. Bottom left

Date of Issue: 4 October 2009
Primary theme:  Transportation (Rail) (Locomotive & trains)
Subject: 120 Years of Drösing-Zistersdorf local railway
Width: 42.0 mm
Height: 31.9 mm
Denomination: 1.00 €
Number in set:  1
Layout/Format:  sheet of 50
Perforations: 13.5 by 13.5
Stamp issuing authority: Osterreich Post AG
Number of Copies: 400.000
Printing Style: Offset

The Drösing – Zistersdorf local railway is a branch line in Lower Austria that has yet avoided closure above all because of the importance of its freight traffic. It branches at Drösing from the Northern Railway towards Zistersdorf, where there used to be a connection to the former Stammersdorf local railway, to Dobermannsdorf and via Bad Pirawarth and Gross Schweinbarth to Stammersdorf


4. Bottom right

Date of Issue: 4 August 2007
Primary theme:  Transportation (Rail) (Steam engines)
Subject: Bregenz Forest Railway
Width: 42.0 mm
Height: 32.25 mm
Denomination: 0.75 €
Number in set:  1
Layout/Format:  sheet of 50
Perforations: 14 by 14
Stamp issuing authority: Osterreich Post AG
Number of Copies: 500.000
Printing Style: Photogravure and Intaglic

The Bregenz Forest Railway, a typical Austrian 760 mm narrow-gauge railway, provided access to the area of the Bregenz Forest that had previously only been reachable from the Rhine Valley via mule tracks. The first section of the route was 19 km long, and ran from the Vorarlberg capital Bregenz through the wild and romantic valley of the Bregenzer Ache to Egg, the largest town of the Bregenz Forest.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Canada

Here is one fantastic cover i received from Canada, sent by Laura. The stamps she had chosen are just more than precious!


I will start with the 3 cents one, with the redish colour, which was issued in the distant 1937....it portrays the coronation of H.M. George VI and H.M Queen Elizabeth. George VI was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions from 11 December 1936 until his death (6 February 1952). He was the last Emperor of India (until 1947), the last King of Ireland (until 1949), and the first Head of the Commonwealth. Elizabeth was the Queen consort of King George VI and the British Dominions from 1936 until his death in 1952. After her husband's death, she was known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother to avoid confusion with her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II. She was the last Queen consort of Ireland and Empress consort of India.
The coronation took place on 12 May 1937.
And this stamp IS somehow related to trains since King George and Queen Elizabeth were present at the
New Zealand government offices in  London, 19th October, 1939, when a model of  “J” Class locomotive  was presented to the  New Zealand government railways by the manufacturers, the North British Engineering CO. LTD., Glasgow.

The small grey  6c stamp is a definitive from 1970.

The stamp in the top right corner is from a set of 3 Christmas stamps issued in 1979.

The 64c stamp was issued in a set of 4 stamps in 1983, and it shows the Adam Brown locomotive, type 4-4-0, while the other two 32c stamps were issued the following 1984, also in a set of four. The one on the left shows the Countess of Dufferin type 4-4-0 locomotive, which was the first steam locomotive to operate in the Canadian prairie provinces.The stamp next to it shows the Scotia 0-6-0 type locomotive.

Sorry if you are getting an overdoes of trains here..but you know i simply LOVE them!

And thank you sooooooo much Laura for such a precious cover!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Steam Locomotives, Croatia

Another train ride...this time in Croatia, featured by these two great steam-locomotive stamps sent by Agi!


Value: 7,1 kn
Author: Tatjana Strinavić, designer, Zagreb
Motifs: a steam locomotive of SüdB 18 series and a steam locomotive of MÁV 326/JŽ 125 series
Size: 48,28 x 29,82 mm
Paper: white 102g, gummed
Perforation: Comb,14
Technique: Multicoloured Offsetprint
Date of issue: 29.3.2010
Quantity:100000


2010 is the year when Croatian railroads celebrate their 150th anniversary, so these two locomotives were chosen to be portrayed on the stamps issue. These two locomotives were among the first participants in the Croatian railroad traffic and they, therefore, tell their own story of this year’s anniversary.
Steam locomotives of the SüdB 18 series were designed by Austrian constructors between 1859 and 1872. They were used to pull the passenger trains on the lowland railroads and also pulled trains on the first Croatian railroad tracks between Čakovec and Kotoriba, and Zidani Most, Zagreb and Sisak. The locomotive’s power amounted to 258 kW (350KSi), it was 8105 millimetres long, weighed 32.90 tons and could reach the maximum of 60 km/h. The locomotives were a part of the Croatian traffic since 1922. Not a single locomotive of this series remains preserved in Croatia today. A steam locomotive of the MÁV 326/JŽ 125 series Steam locomotives of the MÁV 326/JŽ 125 series were built between 1882 and 1897 in factories in Vienna, Linz and Munich, and since 1888 in Budapest as well. They were primarily used to pull the cargo trains but they were used for transport of passengers as well. These locomotives first operated on a railroad track between Budapest and Zagreb, and then they were also used on the Rijeka railroad. The power of the locomotive amounted to 302kW (410KSi), it was 15.131 mm long, including the tender, it weighed 48.750 kg, also including the tender, and it could reach a maximum of 45 km/h. Locomotives of this series were used for transport for sixty years. Only one locomotive of this series (mark 125-052) has been preserved in Croatia. It is now a part of the Croatian Railway Museum and it is on display on the Main Railway Station in Zagreb. The locomotive was built in 1891 in Budapest and it is the oldest vehicle in the Museum’s collection.

Friday, June 18, 2010

125 Years of the Macedonian Railways, Macedonia

This could probably be considered as my favourite Macedonian FDC...no need to explain why :)

It was issued back in 1998 when I was only admiring stamps and went to the philately in order to get them for my letters to my penpals...my mum was the one in charge of getting the stamps for the collection...but she never got FDC's....and not so long ago, during my last stamps-shopping, I was more than happy and excited to add this FDC on my purchase list :D

As the title says, the issue is commemorating the 125 years of the Macedonian Railways, and on the picture you can see the railway line from Skopje to Thessaloníki in Greece, showing the stops in Veles, Gradsko and Gevgelija...Gevgelija is also the border-control town if you are going by train and it also acts as a rail depot between Macedonia and Greece.

Details about the stamp on the left:

Face Value: 30 denars (equals to 0.50 euros)
Sheet: 9 stamps
Perforation: Comb 13 1/4
Size: 30 x 40,5 mm
Printing Technique: multicolour offset
Motif: The Railway station in Gradsko, showing a locomotive, while the background shows a Turkish bond.

Details about the stamp on the right:

Face Value: 60 denars (equals to 1 euro, more or less)
Sheet: 9 stamps
Perforation: Comb 13 1/4
Size: 40,5 x 30mm
Printing Technique: multicolour offset
Motif: The first locomotive in Macedonia

Sunday, June 13, 2010

EUROPA, Estonia

An EUROPA CEPT cover I received from Janek.

Well, actually, im not sure if this was intended to be sent as a cover, since the main purpose of sending this was on what was INSIDE...but still, it turned out to be a perfect item to post it here as well :)
Im not gonna speak of the Macedonian issue with the EUROPA stamps...every year, same story...even though i should be happy i managed to get my hands on this year's stamp,  i did miss the FDC.
But ill show that one another time....lets focus on Estonia today.

The Estonian post office issued two stamps this year (with normal value, unlike the Macedonian).
As you know (if you are a philatelist), this year's theme for the EUROPA's was Children's books.

The middle of the 19th century can be regarded as the beginning of the Estonian literature for children although secular stories for children had been published before, notably by Friedrich Gustav Arvelius in 1782 and by Otto Willem Masing in 1795. The author of the first Estonian book of fiction for children is Carl Körber and that of the first poetry book Johann Voldemar Jannsen. Like everywhere else, Estonian children`s books often have very beautiful and imag-inative illustratsions and some of the illustrators have won inernational acclaim, Vive Tolli and Jaan Tammsaar being perhaps known the best. The postage stamps feature illustratsions by Viive Noor and Jüri Mildeberg, while the FDC has a new edition of Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald`s Old Estonian Fair Tales (first published 1866) with illustratsions by Günter Reindorff.

Denomination: 9.00 - (0,58 euros)
Date: 06.05.2010
Print: offset
Designer: Jaan Saar
Perforation: 14 : 13¾
Sheets: 2 x 5
Quantity issued: 75 000

Monday, June 7, 2010

Kim II Sung, North Korea

As I read somewhere recently, collecting North Korean stamps is a real challenge.
Not as much is known about North Korean stamps. The major overseas catalogs do not agree in their listings, and few dealers enjoy a comprehensive inventory. Although the 1946-52 stamp issues endured the Korean War, many stamps were destroyed and data is incomplete. Quantities issued are listed in the German-language Michel Middle and East Asia catalog (Mittel und Ostasien, Vol. 9 in the multivolume world catalog).
Well, due to that, I dont know how I should feel for owning this s/s, issued in 2004, commemorating the birthday of the Great Leader or the Eternal President of North Korea, where his birthday is celebrated as a national holiday. He led North Korea from its founding in 1948 until his death and was succeeded by his son Kim Jong-il.
So I really cant find much detailed information about the North Korean stamps but from the listings i saw, they are FASCINATING!! I just dont get it, why they issue so many and such beautiful stamps, when the entire country is sort of closed for external communication. Not that there is NO mail coming out from North Korea, but really, where would they use all those stamps? And I wonder how are the North Korean philatelists managing their collections, whether they are able to freely communicate or no, knowing that the NK government has it ALL under control. Really, the more I get to read about NK, the more it fascinates me, coz instead of getting to learn more about the country, by reading more about it, it actually turns to be more and more mysterious!
Im often curios about the perception of the reality of the North Koreans, not about their own country, but the entire world and universe in general...
Well, Im also wondering if the NK government is following the entire internet network and if they are being alerted each time a post about NK appears somewhere in the world....and if they are gonna track mine as well :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Czech Republic

Here is a great cover Milan sent me....well, it has train stamps on it, it cant be anything else but great :)



the train stamp in the middle was issued in 2009 in order to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Former Pardubice-Liberec South-North German Junction Line.

Width: 43.5 mm
Height: 26.0 mm
Denomination: 10 CZK
Number in set:  1
Layout/Format:  sheet of 50
Perforations: 11.5 by 11.5
Stamp issuing authority: Czech Post


the third stamp was issued in 2008, representing The Tradition of Czech Stamp Production

Width: 23.0 mm
Height: 40.0 mm
Denomination: 10.00 CZK
Number in set:  1
Layout/Format:  sheet of 30
Perforations: 12 by 12
Stamp issuing authority: Czech Post

and we shouldnt forget the flower stamp....coz if it wasnt for it, to cover up for the postage, i wouldnt have received this cover in the first place :)
It was issued in 2007 under the subject Beauty of Flowers, and shows a Cyclamen. It comes from a set of two stamps, where the other one shows a Greanium.

Thank you SOOOO much Milan!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Viet Nam

I think that this is not just the loveliest Vietnamese cover I have received, but one of the loveliest covers in general as well.


The initial purpose of the trade was a postcard or more precisely a maxi-card, which i honestly never expected to arrive packed in something like this.
The stamps are from 2008/2009.
The 2008 stamps are the one in the top-right-corner, which is from a joint issue with Singapore, presenting Flora, and here the (in)famous Durian is shown. Regardless of all the stories I had heard about the Durian, I would LOVE to try it.
And the other 2008 stamp is the Olympic one, or the only one which is not put the way it should be. It represents the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008, and this stamp in particular presents the Wushu, which is a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese Martial Arts.

Regarding the 2009 stamps, the most present is the Fish one (set of 4 stamps), whose scientific name is Botia Macracanthus, or if you find that hard to remember, you can use its widely accepted name of Clown Loach.
Another 2009 stamp is the Year of the Tiger one (from what ive seen, EXTREMELY popular philatelic topic). It comes in a set of 2 stamps.
And the last one is the stamp with the flower, again coming from a set of 4 stamps.

Thanks Dao!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Railways Centenary, Montenegro

My favourite Montenegrin stamps, issued in 2008, arrived at their final stop, my mailbox, few days ago!!!!!

If you know at least a bit how much I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVEEEEEEEE trains, than you could MAYBE get the idea how thrilled and happy and delighted and ecstatic i went when i found this MOST FANTASTIC cover in my mailbox!!! These train stamps are finally mine mine mine miiiiiiinnneeeeee!!!!

And all that thanks to my dear Rajko! Yeah Rajko, I know you are blushing again now, but sorry, I just cant help it...and its your *fault* either way coz you sent it to me! :P

The stamps were issued in a set of 6 stamps in 2008 in order to commemorate the 100 years since the first Montenegrin Railway.
Each stamp depicts a different *story*....where on the first stamp (starting from the top row), you can see a part of a rail...the second stamp shows the Lovćen Locomotive on its final stop in Virpazar at the shore of Skadar Lake, while the third stamp from the top row shows again the Lovćen Locomotive at the Sutorman staion, on the Bar-Virpazar line.
The bottom row starts with the port in Bar portrayed in 1908. The second stamp shows the First Locomotive at the entrance of Nikšić, while the last stamp shows a reprint of a postcard of Bar from 1910, showing the departure of the steam motor train for Virpazar.

the dimensions of the stamp are 42,00 x 35, 00 mm
Perforation: Comb

Hvala Rajko još jednom!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Peter Pan, Grenada

Here is one fantastic souvenir sheet!!!

Grenada itself has issued dozen of these Disney related souvenir sheets, where you just cant decide which one is more adorable...I have some single stamps from such issues which my mum bought me when I was little, but I must admit that nothing measures to having the ENTIRE set!

This one was issued in 1987 and is featuring 9 stamps, showing Peter Pan as well as Tinker Bell, Wendy Darling, Captain James Hook, The Lost Boys, Tiger Lily, John Darling, Michael Darling....

Friday, May 7, 2010

Motoring - 55 Years of "Zastava 750"

A Fantastic FDC from Serbia....which many older people (from this part of the world)  will probably find it sentimental, remembering the good old days, when whole families would pack themselves in this card and drive hundreds of kilometres for their summer vacations....the legendary Zastava 750, or as widely known here, Fićo!


In 1955, in SFR Yugoslavia started the production of "zastava 750", more popular under the name of "fića".
This vehicle was largely derived from Fiat 600 D, which had at first an engine of 633 cc, and later of 767 cc with 23 to 27 HP.
Although intended for the transportation of smaller passengers on shorter distances, whole families have used it to travel from one side of the country to another, in order to visit their relatives.
Some time earlier, Fiat's general engineer. dr. Dante Giacosa (1905-1996), got the task to construct a small vehicle which would enable comfortable driving  of four passengers. He succeeded to create the Fiat 600, which was, according to many, the most successful and most popular Fiat of all times. Shorter than his predecessor for 130 mm, this Fiat was a miniature four-seat vehicle with two doors. It had a four cylinder engine of 633 cc with 16kw, placed behind the rear axle, with an independent shock absorber setup on all wheels. The whole vehicle weighed only 585 kg.
Fiat 600 instantly won the hearts of many drivers so that five years after the car's launch, the millionth "600" was produced.
Definitevly "fića" had a crucial role in the Yugoslavian motoring. This car was used as a police car, an ambulance, for military needs, and in driving centres. In April 2000, at the Motor Show in Belgrade, "zastava 750" (the popular "fića"), was declared to be the car of the century and millennium, according to the opinion of the Serbian drivers.

Well, you know what they say, Best things come in small packages :)))))))))))
Our family never had a fićo....and i feel like i am missing a great part of history coz of that.
Even nowadays in the streets here, you can see these cars on the street...people who have them, often cant give them up....sentiments :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Festivals, Argentina

A very nice and colourful FDC coming from Argentina representing Festivals, issued 20th Feb. 2010


Аll 4 stamps have a $1.50 value and they all represent 4 different Festivals.
Еdition: 100,000 copies of each design
Stamp size: 34x44 mm
Layout: 20 copy-sheets
Perforation: 14
Colour: four colours, metalized ink
Paper: without any watermark, or phosphorescence
Printing process: offset

1. National Apple Festival - Reinterpretation of the Apple Monument - street sculpture by architect Leonardo Martin Frullani, 2006, located in the centre ofthe city of General Roca, Province of Rio Negro - from which an allegory of the festivals's queen comes forth. Sparkles representing this fruit's importance for the area.

2. National Sun Festival - Allegory of the festival's queen in the middle of a sun where the beams are the arms held high by the celebrating public. Background: extended fragment of the sun beams of festival's isotype. Isologotype of the May Revolution's Bicentennial.

3. National Students Festival - Allegory of a carriage with the festival's queen coming forth from an open book. Letters and numbers decorate the carriage, the queen's dress and accompany the festivities' diverse items.

4. National Tradition Festival - Allegory of a Fleur-de-Lis, one of the elements in the city of San Antonio de Areco's escutcheon - made up of a man on horseback and a lady dancing a traditional dance. Background: synthesis of the Puente Viejo (Old Bridge) (c.1857), declared National Historic Monument since 1999.


the above description of the 4 stamps is taken from the booklet below, that came inside the cover.
Thanks a lot to Viviana for sending it to me!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

XIII Games of the small states of Europe, Cyprus

Here is a nice FDC coming from Cyprus.


It was issued 1st of June in 2009, presenting the Games of the small states of Europe, where in 2009 these games were held.
The small countries of Europe are defined, for purposes of participating in the Games of the Small States of Europe, as those whose population is under one million. There are currently eight countries meeting this criterion and eligible to participate in the GSSE. The Faroe Islands, although recognised by FIFA, the governing body of football, do not have a separate Olympic Committee. Montenegro, whose National Olympic Committee was recognised in 2007, has not yet requested to join the GSSE.

The stamps issued show Tennis, Cycling and Sailing, although the games are not confined to these 3 sports only.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

25 Years An Post, Ireland

Not many covers from Ireland in my collection, so each one feels precious.

In 2009, 10 stamps were issued to illustrate the integral relationship between "An Post" and the people of Ireland. Each image is placed on a silver background to highlight the 25 years in business and together they show their involvement in many aspects of the community, from people carrying out transactions in their local post office to companies doing business globally.

Out of all those 10 stamps, i have these 2 only. If anyone could send me the whole set, id be EXTREMELY thankful and happy :)

TECHNICAL DETAILS:

Date of Issue: 3 April 2009
All 10 stamps in the set have a value of 55c.
Stamp sizes 20mm x 24mm
Colour: Multicolour with phosphor tagging
Make-up: Self-adhesive
Printing Process: Lithography
Perforations: 14x14

Saturday, April 3, 2010

XXI Winter Olympic Games. Vancouver-2010, Ukraine

A FANTASTIC FDC/Cover!

I know the Olympics are way behind us now, but such great stamps are always more than appreciated.

The Ukrainian post office issued these on 05.02.2010, and the details about them are as follows, starting from left to right:
freestyle, face value – 2.00 UAH
ski race, face value – 1.50 UAH
luge, face value – 2.00 UAH
biathlon, face value– 1.50 UAH

Size of stamps – 24,36 х 50,46 mm.
Comb perforation – 11 1/2

Potection of stamps: microprint "В. Таран"; light elements of stamps luminesce under UV-light
Stamps are multicolored; printing process – offset, foil embossing

Friday, April 2, 2010

Finland

Here is a nice Finish cover.



Why I particularly like it is coz it has 4 different stamps from the same set. The flower stamps are self-adhesive and were issued back in 2002 in a set of 10. All the 10 stamps represent the Forget-me-not and the Lily of the Valley.
The two top stamps show Lily of the Valley, the one on the left is called Two Flowers, the one next to it, five flowers. As for the Forget-me-not, the one on the left is Group of Five, while the one next to it is called Cluster.
And of course, we have an intruder stamp in the form of Kimi Raikkonen :D Issued in 2008 to commemorate his championship title. The first and the last one. Have I mentioned that Ive stopped watching F1?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Charles Darwin, Italy

Here is a nice cover from Italy.

It features the last year's Charles Darwin's stamp, which I think was issued if not in all then in the majority of countries, regarding the Bicentennial of  Darwin's birth. Macedonia issued a Darwin stamp as well.
As you most probably know, he is most famous for his Origin of Species theory which is considered to be the foundation of the evolutionary biology.
This cover also came with a nice and neat cancellation, thanks to Riccardo.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

DDR

This actually wasnt something sent to me, but to my neighbour who used to live across my house and who had probably had a penpal in DDR back then. Since both she and her mum knew that my mum was interested in stamps, they gave her a number of envelopes years ago. And of course, it is me who had inherited them :)
It actually feels special to own these, coz personally


There are three stamps on the envelope, issued in 1980.
The small green one on the left is a definitive from a set of 3 representing Birds, while the other one is also from a set of 3, dedicated to the Olympic games in Moscow, representing Judo.

Friday, March 19, 2010

EUROPA, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Probably one of the most collected series of stamps among the philatelists, the EUROPA.


While in most of the world it seems to be functioning normally, Macedonia seems to be having serious issues when it comes to EUROPA series...I wonder how this 2010 will be or if history is going to repeat itself.

As for this great mini-sheet, it is from the 2008, when the EUROPA theme was Letters.
For this "Pišem ti pismo" (I am writing you a letter) sheet, the BiH post received the most beautiful sheet award in the international contest for The most beautiful stamp issued in 2008, held in Beijing.
I do love it as well!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cartoons, The Netherlands

Today I received a bunch of stamps, and they arrived in this fantastic envelope!

We are again at the issue of Comics without Disney, by total coincidence :)
These were issued by the Dutch post office in 2001 in a set of 5 stamps dedicated to some of the Cartoon Network and Turner Entertainment Cartoons. I am missing only one of the stamps, but these 4 look lovely as well.
You can surely recognize Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, Johnny Bravo and Dexter. On the missing stamp are the Powerpuff Girls, so honestly, i dont feel that disappointed for not having it :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mercosur, Bolivia

My one and so far only one cover from Bolivia sent back in 1998.


I sometimes wonder if any of these people who had sent me letters and postcards and with whom i had totally lost touch, if maybe they had ever accidentally come across my blogs and maybe recognized themselves in some of my posts....
The Mercosur stamp is of a value of 3.00 Bs and was issued in 1997.
Mercosur (Southern Common Market) is a Regional Trade Agreement (RTA) among& Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay founded in 1991 by the Treaty of Asunción, which was later amended and updated by the 1994 Treaty of Ouro Preto. Its purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people, and currency.
Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru have an associate member status. The four *shining starts* represent each of the main member states.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Comics, Great Britain

A cover from another *used-to-be-penpal*. Karin from Scotland.

I really like this stamp and I wish i had the whole set. Its a set of 5 stamps issued in 1998 showing Comics (without Disney). Funny this separation is...Comics with or without Disney.
On my stamp you can see Peter Cook, who was a famous British satirist, writer and comedian and a very influential figure within the British comedy itself, described as "the funniest man who ever drew breath".
The stamp has a nice clear cancellation from 27 April 1998, postmarked in Glasgow. Only it is upside-down :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

World Food Conference, Ghana

I used to have a penpal in Ghana too....yeah....another *used to* here....well, its not as if the postal service with Africa was the most reliable one, but im still not sure what happened with this one

In 1993 Ghana issued a nice set of 5 stamps regarding the World Food Conference, where the first one was held back in 1974 in Rome and is famous for one of the statements how within 10 years, no child would go to bed hungry.
Well, we are all pretty much aware where that statement stands today, no?

On the stamp you can see fish, peanuts, runner beans, meat....or all together, as the stamp says *Body building foods*

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Zofia Bosniaková (1609-1644), Slovakia

A very nice cover decorated with a nice s/s and two small definitives.


Both, the s/s and the small stamp were issued in 2009.
The s/s was issued to commemorate the life of Zofia Bosniaková, who during her life was well-known for her help she gave to the poor and sick and other good deeds. She died at the age of 35 and it is said that her body, almost undamaged, was found 45 years after her death in the castle crypt, despite the fact that it hadn't been embalmed.
The small stamp is from a set of 12 definitives depicting the Cultural Heritage of Slovakia, and this one shows The Church of St John the Baptist in Sedmerovec - Pominovce.

Thanks a lot to Milos for this really beautiful cover.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Queen Elizabeth II, Tanzania

One of the letters I had received from my former penpal in Tanzania, Piller...from this point of view, feels really sad to see with how many people I had lost touch actually...


The stamp on the cover was issued in 1996, in a set of 3 stamps in order to commemorate the 70th Birthday of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II . Honestly, i think these Tanzanian stamps are much much much more appealing than those ones that the English post issues on every occasion and which "decorate" every second thing I receive from England. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fauna, Croatia

Well ok, Ill admit that this is a cover im EXTREMELY biased towards to...and when I found it in my mailbox, i honestly didnt pay any attention to the stamps, and also, i totally forgot about the rest of mail...I was simply blinded by that bottom left corner *cough cough*.

the guilty one for all this is of course Goran...and apart from putting the effort to make this such an adorable cover, I love the stamps he used to and I love that here I actually have the whole set of them.
These are stamps issued in 2007, under the subject of Croatian fauna, showing the River Crayfish (stamp on the left), Lobster (middle stamp) and Norway Lobster - Scampi (stamp on the right).
Really, I couldnt have wished for a lovelier cover :)

Hvala ti Gorane!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ski Jumping, Austria

While the Winter Olympics are still going on, a nice cover from Austria from one of my former Austrian penpals....


the stamp issued in 1996, represents Ski jumping held at Tauplitz/Bad Mitterndorf, which back in 1996 was the host of Ski Jumping World Cup, held at the Kulm Ski Flying Hill.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

470th Anniversary of Preveze Naval War and Naval Forces Day, Turkey

I wish I had envelopes like this from many other countries....so far i have them only from Turkey and Russia.

And the great envelope is accompanied with a great stamp too, from an issue of two stamps from 2008, in order, as the title says, to commemorate the 470 years of the Preveze Naval War. The stamp presents the design of the first national warship, a Milgem class corvette, F-511 TCG, The Heybeliada.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Spa Autoraces, Belgium

Due to the fact i had many Belgian penpals back in time, I also have a lot of lovely Belgian covers....this is one of the many favourites...
In 1996 the Belgian post issued 4 stamps in order to commemorate the 100 years since racing has taken place on the Spa Francorchamps circuit. All stamps have a value of 16 Belgian francs. Here on the cover, my former penpal Lies, used two of those, showing Ferrari 330P from 1967 (the left stamp) and Alfa Romeo P2 from 1925 (the right stamp). Lovely!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Development of the Railway, Yugoslavia

This is one of the most precious and greatest postal items I own....shouldnt be hard to guess why!


Its a booklet of stamps...on the subject of RAILWAYS!!! Just A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!
It was issued back in the now distant 1998 in the back then Yugoslavia, so you could call it a rarity too :)
On the upper picture you can see the front and the back side of the booklet, while on the bottom one, you can see the booklet from the inside.
The booklet contains 6 stamps, all with a single value of 2.50 dinars, while the booklet itself cost 15 dinars.

"The appearance of the railway is one of the most important events of the 19th century and it represents the turning point not only in the history of the traffic, but also in the history of the whole society. The most important elements of the railway, the iron road - the gage and the steam engine were known much earlier but it was the most famous English engineer, George Stivenson who succeeded i uniting all those elements in one functional totality.
The first railway in the world was put into circulation on 27.09.1825, between Stockton and Darlington in England. The first Stivenson's locomotives attained the velocity of 18km/h and they could pull the trains of weight of around 100 tons. but it was only the beginning of an incredible development. Around the middle of the 19th century the fastest locomotives passed the limit of dreams of 100 km/h. The culmination of development of steam locomotives was achieved by the years of thirty of this century when in England they reached the speed of 202 km/h. In this period the most powerful steam locomotives of all times were constructed in America. They pulled easily the trains of weight of over 6000 tons. The inventions of the electric and diesel motors were the base for the construction of the more effective electric and diesel locomotives. After the Second World War, these locomotives replaced almost completely the popular steam locomotives in the traffic. The most impressive event, after the construction of the first railway for great speed in the world in Japan in 1964 was the development of the electric traction. Big trains called "bullets" ran on this railway by the speed  of 210 km/h. The railways of this kind are being built in many countries last years. French excel in this field with their famous train TGV which achieved a new world record of 515 km/h.
The railway employees in our country always tried to keep pace with the development of the railway. The experiments on the aerodynamic locomotives for great speed were made in our country way back between the two world wars. Nowadays, the construction of the railways for great speed is also planned on all major directions in our country and the first works have already begun.
Motifs on the stamps represent development of the railway in the continuity."

- from inside the booklet

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Vancouver 2010 Olympics, Canada

There is no better time to post this than today!



the miniature sheet was issued regarding the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, that begin today and will last until 28th February. In the sheet the 5 different stamp designs are presented, among which the 3 Official Olympic Mascots, Miga - the Sea Bear, Sumi - the Thunderbird and Quatchi - the Sasquatch.


None of the three mascots actually exist in real life: Miga the Sea Bear is a combination of an orca and a sea otter. Sumi, the Paralympic mascot, is a Thunderbird but looks more like a bear with wings.
And Quatchi is the first Sasquatch in history to actually make an appearance before human beings.

I doubt ill be able to catch much of the Olympics (lots of work + bad time zone), but however it is more than great to own this mini sheet.

Too all those that are gonna be following the broadcasts, enjoy it and let the best ones win!

Friday, February 12, 2010

UNICEF, Sharjah & Dependencies

Something from my old collections....


In 1970 Sharjah and the dependencies (which included Kalba, Khor Fakkan, and Dibbah), issued a lovely set of stamps on the subject of UNICEF with Paintings of Children. The whole set consists of 18 stamps, and unfortunately, I only own 9 of those, or to be more precise, I only have the 5 dh ones, which were intended for regular postage. The other 9 stamps in the set have different values, raging from 20dh to 3 rl, intended for air mail. 
The paintings are from famous artists like Goya, Renoir, Murillo etc. 
 The titles of these paintings are as followed, starting from top...left to right:


- The Dance, Watteau  
- Don Sebastian de Bonabon, Goya
- Children eating grapes and melons, Murillo
- Children playing with dices, Murillo
- Princess Margareta Theresia, Velasquez
- Julie Manet with cat, Renoir
- Portrait of a child, Rubens
- Little Peasant o balcony, Murillo
- The little fruit merchant, Murillo


It would be more than great if anyhow I could get the rest of the stamps in the set, though I find it rather unbelievable.


As for Sharjah...it opened its own post office On 10 July 1963, and began to issue its stamps and postal stationery. Sharjah and its dependencies joined the UAE on 2 December 1971, but it continued to issue its own stamps. On 31 July 1972, the UAE assumed full postal responsibilities. Nevertheless, Sharjah continued to use its own stamps until the issuance of the first UAE definitive series on 1 January 1973. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

75th Anniversary of the Birth of Y.A. Gagarin, Russia

This is one of my most special and most favourite covers. Reasons....a bunch

This stamp was issued in 2009 in order to commemorate Gagarin's birthday, who if he was alive, would have turned 75....sad to see what a short life he had (born 1934 - died 1968)...a one that ended in tragic death.
I dont know if its just me, but this stamp just radiates with some warmth,and thats why i love it..plus it was sent from such a dear friend of mine, who always uses such nice and different stamps....my dear Anastasia.
And im more than thankful that she included the vignette too...makes it so special!

lets not neglect the small stamp below, which is a definitive issued in 2002 in a set of four stamps representing architecture, and this is "Oranienbaum Chinese Palace". Its also a self-adhesive one.

Monday, February 8, 2010

60 Years of the Philatelic Society in Macedonia

Well, I thought that this would be the most appropriate way to make the REAL inauguration of this blog (leaving aside the intro post).

29th of January was a commemorative day since it was the 60th anniversary of the Macedonian Philatelic Society, and due to that they published this commemorative envelope which could have been bought at the philately on the actual date with the special postmark of course.


It was designed by one famous Macedonian artist, Živko A. Popovski, who mainly paints flowers, and on this envelope, the Macedonian flag is symbolized (the red and the yellow colour).
Well, since it had a special postmark, I had to grab this and send it to myself (sending it on any other day wouldnt have been possible, neither it would have made any sense....). And it arrived, safe and sound in exactly 4 days, which compared to the postcard, is an improvement.
I just dont like it that they didnt issue a special stamp either...it would have been MUCH MUCH better, instead using some "left-in-stock" ones (it was issued in 1999 in a set of 4 stamps)....I guess they used this one coz of the flower (since it relates to what this man mainly paints).
Unfortunately, if you wanted to send some of these abroad, you had to add other totally random stamps (depending whats available)....so quite a disappointing point, but still...i preferred to have it than not have it at all, since 60 year anniversaries dont happen every day....I only dont know why it is "60" and not "50" which would make more sense.

On 31st January there was also a meeting held at the Philatelic Society....nice event, where probably I was the youngest one...I also got a signed picture from the above mentioned Mister, who had brought some of his work to be shared with the fellow philatelists.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Some sort of an intro....

Well, finally, after so much wondering, thinking, negotiating...I decided to create a new blog dedicated to philately only...so no postcards :)

What made me make this decision......well, for a long while now I've been looking at all the letters I had received throughout the years and which have such great stamps on them, but which I realized, would never get to see the light of day, and that sort of made me sad...coz there are some extraordinary ones there....so there, I decided to create another blog where I would show only covers, stamps, FDC's, mini/souvenir sheets and tell small stories that are behind them, but i PROMISE i wont go into useless ramblings as I do with my Postcards' blog....I will save those for my Postcards' Blog still :D
I have already posted there some covers when postcards came inside an envelope...I will still re-post those here, since some of them are just way too beautiful and are worth to be shown.

Im not sure how often I will be able to make updates here but it certainly wont be more than one cover a day....so whenever I have the chance I will pick something from my collection or something I will receive, and will post it here. So will just take it spontaneously, with no pressures imposed or anything....the main point is to enjoy it, right? :)))

On the right side of the blog you can actually see a list of the themes im interested in...I know that like every other philatelist, I should narrow it down, but I just cant...there are such wonderful issues out there and so many things im interested in in real life and which fascinate me, that it is just impossible to take something out.
So, from now on instead of postcards, you can also send me covers and mint stamps and such...however, you may still want to check with me first if I already have something or no....

I will also create a box for Wanted Stamps, where you can see what I am in a hunt for, and in case you can help me with it, I would be more than thankful and delighted :)

I will make my first post here as soon as possible....but in the meantime, I will leave it open for suggestions and ideas and critics....

the template was the best one I could have found which fitted the purpose of  the blog...Im not too happy with so much purple, but Ill live with it...I guess that ones I start posting all those covers, it will become more vibrant and colourful :)

well....that would be it....thanks a lot in advance for the attention you may give to this place in the future, and as always, your contribution in any way is more than welcome.

If you are interested in Macedonian stamps, just let me know and I will check what can be found....however, please note that the EUROPA stamps are almost equally to non-existent, but Ill leave that story for some other time :)