Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lighthouses of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

An amazing FDC sent to me by Trudy!

The port of Hong Kong has always been key to business prosperity of the territory. It not only acts as a hub port of the South Asian Pacific region, but also an entrepot for the Mainland of China. Standing guard at the entrance of a harbour, a lighthouse serves as a navigation aid to mariners. A system of lenses at the top of the tower casts flashing light to guide incoming and outgoing vessels away from danger. This set of special stamps depicts five surviving pre-war lighthouses in Hong Kong. With clarity and realism as their themes of design, the stamps show a map and a compass in the upper half of the backdrop and the latitude and longitude coordinates at the bottom. The layout highlights the important role of lighthouses in the maritime history.

$1.40 - Cape D' Aguilar Lighthouse  - the first of its kind in Hong Kong, was lit up to help vessels navigate on 16 April 1875. The round stone tower is 9.7 metres high and white in colour. Its base, arched doorway and spiral staircase are of fine masonry. The iron door is adorned with geometric decoration at the top. The opening of Waglan Island Lighthouse years later in 1893 rendered Cape D' Aguilar Lighthouse superfluous and it became inoperative in 1896. In 1975 the latter was automated and re-lit. Cape D' Aguilar Lighthouse was declared a monument on 3 March 2006.

$1.89 - Old Green Island Lighthouse - this lighthouse began guiding seafarers across the waters on 1 July 1875. The small circular tower is constructed of granite, measuring about 12 metres in height. Its doorway features projected rough-faced quoins. The two cross-shaped openings on its wall, resembling gun-posts found in medieval European castles, facilitate ventilation and light penetration. Immediately after the new Green Island Lighthouse came into operation, the old lighthouse was decommissioned and later declared a monument on 7 November 2008.

$2.40 - New Green Island Lighthouse - standing next to its predecessor, the new Green Island Lighthouse was constructed in 1904 and completed in 1905. The circular tower, built of granite and concrete, stands 1.5 metres high with a steel lantern at the top. It is painted white for high visibility, thermal insulation and structural protection. Its spiral staircase is made of fine masonry complete with beautiful railings. The entrance and windows, in the form of segmental arches, are decorated with ornamental plaster mouldings. The tower has been fully automated since the 1970's. Both the new and old Green Island Lighthouse were declared monuments on 7 November 2008.

$3 - Tang Lung Chau Lighthouse - it commenced helping mariners navigate the coastline on 29 April 1912. The skeletal steel tower is 11.8 metres high and painted white at the top. The adjoining brick house, furnished with a bedroom, a kitchen, a latrine and a storeroom, was the living quarters of the lighthouse keeper. With no well or fresh water supply on the island, rainwater was collected from the roof and diverted to an underground tank for storage and use. The now automated Tang Lung Chau Lighthouse was declared a monument on 29 December 2000.

$5 - Waglan Lighthouse - the first flash of light was beamed from Waglan Lighthouse on 9 May 1893. Its then state-of-the-art lamp burned mineral oil and was equipped with rotating apparatus floating on mercury. During the Second World War, the lighthouse was extensively damaged and repairs began from 1945. Fully automated since August 1989, the lighthouse serves not only as a navigation aid but also an outpost for collecting meteorological data from the eastern part of the territory for analysis by the Hong Kong Observatory. Waglan Lighthouse was declared a monument on 29 December 2000.

Date of Issue:     29 December 2010
Width:                  28.00 mm
Height:                 45.00 mm
Number in set:  5
Stamp layout:    pane of 25 stamps
S/S size:              150mm x 85mm
Perforation:       13.5 x 13.25 (one elliptical perforation on each vertical)
Paper:                   paper with security fibres

Sunday, March 20, 2011

125 Years of the Frontier Railway Spielfeld-Strass – Bad Radkersburg, Austria

Today I have these two fantastic items to show, thanks to Andrea who was very kind and eager to help me with my Austrian collections.

She sent me both the FDC and a cover with the same stamp coz as you may or may not, I have this odd urge to have the train stamps in all possible for example if I have a mint version of a stamp, I wont be satisfied with it, but I just want to have it all =/ One can call it greediness, or passion....I would choose the latter :)

In 2010, the Spielfeld Strass – Bad Radkersburg frontier railway celebrated a round anniversary; exactly 125 years ago, in 1885, this railway commenced operations. The commemorative is an impressive reminder of this proud birthday. The stamp motif, designed by Ernst Sladek, shows both a historic steam locomotive of the time and a modern train of today, thus reflecting the history and development of this southern Styrian frontier railway in an original pictorial language.

Technical details:

Release Date:            10|07|2010
Number of Copies:  300.000
Printing Style:           Offset
Type:                            Special issue stamp
Width:                          42.0 mm
Height:                         32.25 mm
Denomination:          0.65 €
Number in set:           1
Layout/Format:         sheet of 50
Perforations:              14 by 14

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dutch Trains, The Netherlands

In 2005, the Netherlands issued stamps on railways and Paul was very kind and sent me both the FDC and the set of mint stamps!

It is a set of four stamps showing typical Dutch trains, issued in a sheet of 10, on the occasion of the reopening of the Utrecht Railway Museum which was renovated.

The stamp in the top left corner shows the Blue Angel. It got its name from the famous movie "Der Blaue Engel" from 1929 featuring Marlène Dietrich. This train is now to be seen in the Utrecht railway museum. Its official name is DE 41 and it was introduced in 1953. It could contain 73 passengers.

Next to it, in the top right corner is the steam locomotive 3737. It ran services till 1957. One still survives and is operational. It sometimes carries out special rides.

In the bottom left corner is the Intercity Express train. It is a German ICE train which can reach speeds up to 330 kilometers per hour on special high speed track, not available in the Netherlands at the moment these stamps were issued.

Next to it, in the bottom right corner is the Front Runner (Koploper), which is in use since 1977. The train driver is high above the passenger compartment, which makes it possible to couple carriages without obstructing the way through to the next carriage. It was also the first train in which benches were not only placed opposite each other but behind each other as well

Technical Details:

Date of issue: 14.10.2005
Value of each stamp: 0,39 euros
Paper: non-phosphorescent with phosphorescent beam
Print: offset
Perforation: 14½
Watermark: none

Thank you so much again Paul!!!!