Sunday, May 29, 2011

The 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu)

well, thanks to Viridian, i seem to be focusing on Macedonian stamps more than usual...but I cant help it when the themes are as such...I could go for many other stamps from around the world...but then, there are Macedonian ones which perfectly fit in, and it seems like a great opportunity to represent my country...if I dont, who else will :) Plus I seem to be making my updates on Sunday I grab the opportunity...

and this week's theme is 'people honoured by a stamp for any reason: historical, politician, writer, artist, educator, Nobel prize winner....well I have a plentiful of stamps to show regarding this....but my choice fell on this FDC issues last year...portraying the woman whom Im sure you've all heard of, Mother Teresa.

whats so special about this FDC? well, for starters it is a limited edition...second, it is a joint issue of the post offices in Macedonia, Albania and Ksovo, and as you can see it features all the 3 stamps issued in the respective countries.
The stamps have a value of 100 lekë (Albania), 1 euro (Kosovo) and 60 denars/equal to 1 euro (Macedonia).
As I said, the stamps and FDC were issued last year, in order to commemorate the 100 years since her birth. The stamp size is 31 x 43mm, offset printing technique, comb perforation.

Now, I dont know if there is anything needed to be said about this woman....I think she is famous enough and you know quite a lot about her....but I dont know how many of you actually know that she was born in Skopje, Macedonia, on 26 August 1910? (or in Üsküb, which is the Turkish name for Skopje, since she was born during the time of the Ottoman Empire in our country). So, thats why in a way we consider this woman so close to us...coz even though she was of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, she actually started her life right here, in my hometown.
Her name Teresa comes due to the fact that when she took her first religious vows as a nun on 24 May 1931, she chose to be named after Thérèse de Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries, but because one nun in the convent had already chosen that name, Agnes opted for the Spanish spelling Teresa.
Her life as you know was dedicated to charity missions and helping the people in need....and thats one long long endless list, so I wouldnt go into details, otherwise this post would be never-ending...
But it is worth mentioning that in 1979, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, "for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitutes a threat to peace." She refused the conventional ceremonial banquet given to laureates, and asked that the $192,000 funds be given to the poor in India, stating that earthly rewards were important only if they helped her help the world's needy.

For those having doubts how to pronounce her real name, Gonxha Bojaxhiu, .....the 'xh' diphthong is pronounced as the 'j' in 'jar' for example...while the 'j' in 'Bojaxhiu' is pronounced as the 'y' in 'yo-yo' or 'yoghurt'...i hope it is not confusing :)

Some years ago, a memorial house was built in the city centre...but if you are asking me, it is one kitschy piece of architecture...and unfortunately, many people here think the same, but who are we to talk about it :)

Anyways, if there are people who'd be interested in this FDC, im sorry I have to say this, but I cant guarantee anything coz of its limited print-out. But I do usually have Mother Teresa postcards in stock, so if someone's interested, you know where to find me.

so, that was my entry for today's Sunday see other famous people portrayed, please click the big button below

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Handicrafts, Macedonia

I guess Im lucky that Viridian has chosen Sunday as a day for featuring stamps coz it seems to be the only day of the week when I can dedicate some time to it.
This week's theme are handicrafts....being that Macedonia is rich in these, and there are also a number of stamps issued featuring handicrafts, I decided to dedicate this post to my country again....and will save the other nations' handicraft stamps for some post in the future.

Ive chosen two sets of stamps for today....the first one is actually a definitive issued in 2007, representing a traditional woven bag from the 20th century from the Skopje region

this is one of the typical designs that can be seen on the Macedonian traditional clothes as well as tapestries, carpets, bed-covers, curtains and other household items used in the Macedonian rural and urban houses. Each Macedonian region has its unique designs but in general they are all rich in colours and ornamental details.
This kind of bag is something which people used to put bread loaves and cheese and maybe peppers inside when they went on the pasture fields and had to stay there all day...or by school children who had to travel many many kilometres in order to get to their school. These kind of bags have often been described in the traditional Macedonian legends and stories and to those familiar with them and the Macedonian people and culture in general, they bring an image of a freshly baked bread, perfectly hot, where the cheese is put inside between two slices and melts...a very simple but delicious meal for many.
Recently I went to the Night of the Museums event...well, sadly it only took place at one museum, but something is better than nothing. And the museum has this permanent exhibit of ethnological items among which these kind of bags are portrayed too....I have to say I loved that part, showing so many different traditional clothes and accessories, coming from different regions in Macedonia.

The stamps has a face value of 12 denars, comb perforation and comes in a sheet of 25 stamps. The offset printing technique has been used. And what I like about it is its is rather small (28x25 mm) and fits very well on postcards among other additional stamps (coz this one is not enough for postage).

The other set of stamps I chose for today was issued in 2009 and consists of two stamps, under the Cultural Heritage subject:

the 10 denars stamp (the one on the left) depicts an is something that is still used today by the craftsmen, blacksmiths in particular...even though as a walk of life it may be disappearing, if you walk around the Old Bazaar in Skopje, for example, you will come across old small blacksmiths' workshops. From what Ive heard, a craftsmen chamber has been established in Macedonia, which offers help and support to the craftsmen people.
Here is one video, which unfortunately is in Macedonian, but it is a nice example to see what I was talking about...the video has been taken in the Old Bazaar in the blacksmith street, where years ago it was full of blacksmith's workshops...nowadays, the remaining people who still perform these activities complain how the modern industry simply destroys the crafts and how they only work for little money and that young people nowadays are totally disinterested in these so-called, old-fashioned activities.

the second stamp of a 20 denars face-value represents a horse-shoe. I dont know if this belief is present in other cultures as well, but here in Macedonia it is believed that if one hangs a horse-shoe on the wall in the house, that should bring luck to that family or that they will protect you from the evil spirits and goblins :)
The open part of the horseshoe should look downwards according to its position in the as the horse runs forwards, so the fortune should go forwards inside the house.

the size of both of these stamps is 40.2x30.2mm, offset printing technique in a sheet of 9 stamps. When used together, both stamps are postage-perfect for postcards.  

well, sorry for the longish post...I hope you werent bored :) For more crafty posts please visit Viridian's blog...just click on the button below:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

EXPO '70 (Osaka, Japan) - Ajman

I was thinking for a long while about what to choose for the latest Sunday Stamps post....since it is a free theme, one has his hands open to pick whatever he wants...and yeah, my initial itch was to pick again some of my train stamps...but then I thought that I wouldnt want people to get bored and tired of constantly seeing train after some thinking and browsing through my collections, the choice fell on something rather unique and according to some, controversial, when it comes to validity...but first let me present you my today's choice of 9 stamps, coming from Ajman. Ajman??!! Where on Earth is that??!!!
Well, Ajman is indeed a real place on Earth, one of the seven emirates constituting the UAE. Its area is only 260 square km, making it the smallest of the Emirates. Its name means 'small city' in Arabic.

Very few stamps from Ajman are considered postally valid. There have been many stamps issued for Ajman, but a great number of them had limited, if any, postal use. The Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue only recognizes Ajman stamps from 1964 and 1965 as valid. The remaining Ajman issues, primarily from 1967 through 1972, are excluded as their postal use appears to be questionable. The stamps I have here date from 1970, so they fall into that latter, if my observation is good, they are CTO's....but nevertheless, I think the stamps are really beautiful, plus, how would I have learned about Ajman, and their stamps validity issue, if it wasnt for this...

well, sorry if the scan is too big, but this was like the only way to be able to present all of the stamps without them being too cluttered and yet include them all.
They all portray Japanese paintings, as follows:

- 1 dh. stamp shows the "The Actor Sawamura Sojuro" a painting by the Japanese painter Katsukawa Shunsō;
- 2 dh. stamp portrays an "Intimate Kitchen Scene" by the Japanese painter and printmaker Kitagawa Utamaro, considered one of the greatest artists of woodblock prints;
- 3 dh. stamp shows the "The Beautiful O-Sen of Kasamori" by Suzuki Harunobu, a Japanese woodblock print artist, one of the most famous in the Ukiyo-e style;
- 4 dh. stamp shows another of Utamaro's works, called "Portrait of a Woman";
- 5 dh. stamp brings one more of Utamaro's works called "Melancholy Love";
- 10 dh. stamp is by an unknown artist portraying Japanese Ladies;
- 15 dh. stamp is again by an unknown artist, called "A Picnic Party"

the two stamps at the bottom are considered as airmail stamps:

- 1 rl. stamp shows a painting by Uemura Shoen, the first woman recipient of the Order of Culture, Japan's highest award for cultural achievement.
- 5 rls. stamp shows a painting called "Woman in the Wind" by Kaigetsudô Ando.

This issue also should contain a minisheet of 12 rls. value, presenting a Japanese Bathhouse scene. Unfortunately, I do not have it, but if anyone could send it to me, it would be more than welcome in my collection!

To see what others have picked for today, please visit Viridian's blog....just click on the button below :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Anniversary of Iraqi Railways, Iraq

Well, im REALLY happy that today's Sunday Stamps topic is Transportation! This of course includes planes, trains, cars, trams....but even though I can say I have stamps of each of these, it would feel extremely illogical that I post something NOT regarding trains....I mean, how can I neglect my favourite topic! Thanks so much to Viridan for choosing this subject. To see what others have come up with, please visit Viridian's blog by clicking on this big 'button' below:

Well, while looking at my train stamps, I was wondering which ones should I choose for today...I really wanted for it to be something special, and eventually the final choice fell on this amazing Iraqi not only that the stamps are amazing, but they come from such a rare country that Im extremely happy and proud to have them in my possession (the WHOLE set!!) and all that is thanks to dear Joey from Norway!

The stamps were issued in 2010, commemorating the Anniversary of the Iraqi Railways.
We have three stamps issued, face valued of 750, 500 and 250 dinars ( I guess that apart from doing a lousy scan, I put the stamps in a reverse order, but I hope you dont mind it so much). The funny thing about the dinars is that it ALWAYS reminds me of Yugoslavia, coz the dinar was the currency we used back it is kind of funny to find this currency in other countries too...\
The date of issue is 25 January 2010 and the size of the stamps is 50 x 40 mm.....perforation is 13 x 13

and apart from the three great stamps, the issue contains one FABULOUS mini sheet! I feel for this ever since I saw it long time ago, and I still cant believe it that it is actually mine right now!
It is imperforated and its size is 80 x 80 mm, with a face value of 1000 IQD.

Well, a few words about the Iraqi Railways.... The Iraqi Republic Railways Company (IRR), founded in 1905 (Im honestly confused about the anniversary here, coz ive come across several different data). It runs over approximately 1,900 kilometres of standard gauge track and runs from Rabiya in the north southward through Mosul, Bayji and Baghdad to end at Basra, with a number of branch lines.
The first section of railway in what was then the Ottoman Empire province of Mesopotamia was a 123 kilometres length of the Baghdad Railway between that city & Samarra opened in 1914.
(So it seem like the anniversary is something in-between.)
IRR uses Soviet-style SA3 automatic couplers. In order to allow interchange with CFS and Turkish State Railways which both use screw couplers, IRR locomotives and most wagons are equipped with screw couplings and buffers. In Iraqi service the buffers do not make contact and the screw couplings hang down unattached.

Have a great Sunday everyone, and let me know if you've had the chance so far to travel with IRR or if you're gonna do it so in the future :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Grigor Prlichev, Macedonia

I was almost convinced that I wont be able to find a suitable stamp for today's Sunday Stamps topic on poets and poetry, coz I dont seem to have such stamps in larger amounts...and then I realized that I dont have to look any further than my own country coz I have the perfect stamp for it..and I must admit I am also extremely proud and happy that I can feature a Macedonian stamp and have the chance to introduce you to at least a bit of the Macedonian culture.
To see what others have chosen for today, please visit Viridan's blog

The stamp im featuring today was issued on 10 September 2010 by the Macedonian post office in order to commemorate the "150th Anniversary of awarding a Laurel Wreath to Gligor Prlichev for his poem 'The Sirdar'. The face value of the stamp is 100 denars, which is around 1.7 euros. Which makes this stamp totally useless for sending the majority of mail, but from a collector's point of view, i really love it, and I love such stamps which do not follow the usual shape.


Grigor Prlichev was born in Ohrid on 18 January 1829 and died in the same city on 6 February 1893.  He was a poet, a translator, an orator, a chronicler, an educator, a national activist and one of the biggest creative geniuses of Macedonia in the 19th century. The Sirdar is one of his most famous works and among else he had translated the Homer's Iliad.
On 25 March 1860 he was awarded the Laurel Wreath for the Sirdar at the traditional literature contest held in Athens and was named the Second Homer, something that hasnt happened before. The prize hasnt stayed long with him, but that involves political issues and I wouldnt want to go into it right now.
In this poem, he delineates in epic form the difficult position of the Macedonians, and their struggle against the Turks taking as a basic motive the Macedonian folk song about Kuzman Kapitan.

Following is an excerpt of the poem, translated in English. The translation is in courtesy of one of my university professors, Mr. Graham Reid.

From Galichnik to Reka sighs and shrieks of sorrow rise;
What dire disaster hounds
The men and women thus to waken Echo with their cries?
What New-found ill abounds?

Have the hailstorm's sharp stones shattered the field of standing wheat?
Have locusts stripped the fields?
Has the Sultan sent hard-hearted taxmen early for receipt
Of their most bitter yield?

No, the sharp stones have not shattered the field of standing wheat;
Nor locusts stripped the fields;
Nor the Sultan sent hard-hearted taxmen early for receipt
Of their most bitter yield.

if you are interested in reading the whole poem, you can click on the link here.

Have a great Sunday everyone!