Sunday, January 24, 2016

Bicycles on Stamps

It's been more than a while since I've participated in the Sunday Stamps...almost a year actually...yeah, I know, shame on me =/ but as you know i've barely participated in anything postcards/stamps related during the past year...

anyways, enough excuses...some time ago I read that one of the foreseen Sunday Stamps' theme would be cycles, and I immediately knew I would have to take part in this one...those who know me, know my passion/love/fascination when it comes to bicycles (places like Amsterdam or Copenhagen for example are like my ideal place for living just because of that cycling culture they have..)

Ok, the whole theme for today refers to all cycles (bi-, tri-, motor), but I'll stick to the bi- ones...

I hope the host wouldn't mind I'm posting the same issue....
This is a set of Russian stamps issued on 11 December 2008 representing the history of the bicycle (and these come from the collection of the Polytechnic Museum in Moscow, which is one of the oldest Science Museums in the world.

There are four different stamps here (no, it is not eight as it may seem at first glance - each bike/stamp is presented twice)

- the bike at the top-left and bottom right corner - Bicycle ZiCh-1 - a three speed derailleur touring bike that was revered in the Soviet Union for its quality, finish and capability. It appeared in 1946 and was possibly only produced until 1948. It was a brand of bicycles produced in Novosibirsk by Aviation Factory no 153. This factory was named after Valery Chkalov, an iconic Russian test pilot and Soviet hero of the 1930s)

- the middle stamp, both at top and bottom, shows a Road female bicycle V-22. Features: Representatively reflects class of road bicycles with an open frame. The most widespread model of female bicycle in the country in 1950-1960. Produced by Kharkov bicycle factory n.a. G.I.Petrovskiy.

- the stamp at the top right and bottom left corner - a collapsible bicycle of the military sample of "Leytner". Russia. 1917. Manufacturer: A. Leytner’s Factory of bicycles and cars "Russia". Features: the bicycle was produced upon the order of the Russian army. The collapsible mechanism gives the chance to fit it up quickly in the car in any conditions. The small weight (16 kg) offered an opportunity for transferring it on the back - I dont know if this is a typo, but in which world 16kg is actually considered 'small weight'?????

- the last stamp, the one in the middle both on the left and the right side - Racing track bicycle GM-30, 1938. It has wooden rims and frame from thin-walled steel pipes. The back plug is deprived of free wheeling.

and I have another issue I wanted to show for today, this one coming from France...

Issued 17 June 2011, showing bicycles from the origins to the present day. Here you have 6 different bicycles on stamps, plus a few extra drawings on the sheet.

With my non-existent knowledge of French, thank God to Eric and his blog, so I could copy the info on these bike-stamps

 The first model (without any pedals or handlebars), the dandy horse, was created in 1817 by German Karl Drais.
It was only in 1861 that the first pedal bicycles were created, the "michaudines" designed by French Pierre Michaux. The front wheel of the velocipede then became larger than the rear wheel to reach its climax with the penny-farthing, quickly condemned for its lack of security...
By 1880, an English company revolutionized the velocipede with the first bicycle including a chain. It will then become more reliable and another invention in 1888, the bicycle tire, will allow it to become more and more popular worldwide, partly due to the creation of the Tour de France in 1903.
The last stamp features a city bike, a recent version of the velocipede including the latest innovations, perfect for commutings. (velocipede - an early form of bicycle propelled by working pedals on cranks fitted to the front axle.) Funny fact - the Macedonian word for bicycle is 'velosiped' :)

For more wheels, visit the Sunday Stamps and enjoy the ride :)

(I'll come back to comment on your cycling beauties a bit later - I just realized I am already late for a friend's gathering - all for the love of bicycles..and stamps :))

Friday, January 15, 2016

Capital Cities of Europe, France

I don't know if you know Eric from France...though if you are a stamp collector you probably do or have at least come across his great stamps' blog

Anyways, Eric among else collects covers with EUROPA stamps, so each year I try to send him one and he sends me back the current French issue "Capital Cities of Europe".
 This year however I sent him the cover just in December (I know, I was terrible last year when it come to mail), but at least I caught the last train...and thanks to that and to Eric now I have added this beautiful "Capital Cities of Europe" issue depicting Riga!
If you want to, you can check some of the other issues from this series in this post.

Speaking of Riga, it is a capital I haven't visited yet, but that's been on my agenda for a while now....whenever I look at the postcards I have from Riga, I sigh at how beautiful it is!

This issue depicts four buildings in Riga, namely, The Nativity of Christ Cathedral (top left corner), St. Peter's Church (top right corner), The House of the Blackheads (bottom left corner) and the National Opera (bottom right corner).

- The House of the Blackheads - The original building was erected during the first third of the 14th century for the Brotherhood of Blackheads, a guild for unmarried German merchants in Riga. Major works were done in the years 1580 and 1886, adding most of the ornamentations. The structure was bombed to a ruin by the Germans June 28, 1941 and the remains demolished by the Soviets in 1948. The current reconstruction was erected from 1995 to 1999.

- The Latvian National Opera House is home to both the Latvian National Opera and the Latvian National Ballet. It was constructed in 1863 by the St. Petersburg architect Ludwig Bohnstedt, for the then German-speaking City Theatre, and has been refurbished several times.

- St. Peter's Church is a Lutheran church in Riga, dedicate to St. Peter (well, of course it is), first mentioned in records dating to 1209. It has three periods of construction and two of reconstruction

- The Nativity of Christ Cathedral was built in a Neo-Byzantine style between 1876 and 1883, during the period when the country was part of the Russian Empire. It is the largest Orthodox cathedral in the Baltic provinces built with the blessing of the Russian Tsar Alexander.
During the First World War German troops occupied Riga and turned its largest Russian Orthodox cathedral into a Lutheran church. In independent Latvia, the Nativity of Christ Cathedral once again became an Orthodox cathedral in 1921.

n.b -  The Freedom Monument, representing a woman raising three gold stars, is featured in the margin of the sheet to the right. Inaugurated in 1935, this memorial was erected in honor of soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence (1918-1920).

I have read that the 2016 issue is going to depict Amsterdam! Wohooo! Can hardly wait for that one :D
Thanks a bunch to Eric for this issue and, hopefully Amsterdam will be the next one on the list!! :D

issued: 03 April 2015
mini sheet size: 143 x 135mm

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Winter Wonderland, Alderney

Boy boy, we're almost to make an anniversary of silence here...I know I've terrible at updates recently, but this came as a shock to me as well :)

Well, New Year, new beginnings, new (un) realistic resolutions....let's see what 2016 brings us :)

And this blog, for the beginning of the year brings us a somewhat convenient post...even though outside is far from the wonderland on the images, the winterish theme is what should count, right?

I don't know if the proper word here is wonderland or dreamland but the images are so fairytalish! There is even both a train and a lighthouse stamp! A real win-win :)

This is the description that came along with the FDC....

The Santa Special 

It was Christmas Eve and Alderney had woken up to a magical stillness and hush. As the Islanders pulled open their curtains, a blank canvas awaited them to be filled with festive fun. Victoria Street was a scene from a Dickens' novel, its cobbles sugar-iced in snow and its street lamps casting pools of golden light against the colour-washed houses. Down at the harbour, the still waters looked like a skating pond, snow formed into drifts beside the quays and the colours of the fishing boats faded away like old photographs. On the horizon, dark clouds brooded, lead-grey and ominous. By nightfall, the stillness of the day had been replaced with gusting winds and lashing sleet. Doors were closed and fires banked up. Hot toddies were poured to smooth the last-minute wrapping of presents and stockings were fastened to mantlepieces by excited children. As the weather worsened, the mournful sound of the foghorn at Mannez Lighthouse caught the wind and the tower's beam of light reached out to the turbulent sea. Overhead, Father Christmas sailed above the weather in his sleigh and searched for the beautiful Island he knew lay beneath. A gap in the snow clouds opened and he gazed at Alderney as if looking upon the face of a well-loved friend. As the sleigh descended onto the long stretch of Braye common, Father Christmas heard a loud crack on the starboard side and the vessel lurched to the right before coming to rest in a large snowdrift. "Ho! What's this, my lovelies?" he called to his reindeer. Stepping off the sleigh, Father Christmas could see the problem immediately: one of the runners had split in two. Weighed down with hundreds of presents there was no way he would be able to mend it on his own. He looked around to see if help was at hand. Orange squares blinked out of the darkness and strings of festive lights adorned porches and garden fences but not a soul was about. The old man's spirits were beginning to fall when to the west he noticed a bright light drawing closer and into view chugged Elizabeth, the Island's pretty diesel engine, with the two London Underground carriages she pulled. They had finished their Christmas Eve train ride for local families and were heading back to the shelter of their shed at Mannez Quarry. Father Christmas had an idea so he set to work. In no time at all, the sleigh was empty and the railway carriages had been transformed into vibrant grottos stacked high with presents and treats. He fastened his reindeer to the front of the little green engine and then up, up and away they flew! The strange craft soured into the night sky and as they rose above the pretty town of St Anne, the winds dropped and the sound of carols drifted up from the church at its centre, it's stained glass windows blazing with jewel-like hues. "Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas Alderney!" cried Father Christmas. And the sleigh bells rang out. On Christmas morning, their stockings unwrapped, the Island's children gathered for a snowball fight. They may have noticed the extra large snowdrift half way along the common, but it would be the New Year before the mysterious sleigh was revealed. Another Alderney Legend would be born.

Date of Issue : 27 October 2011
Values:            31p, 36p, 47p, 48p, 52p, 61p, 65p
Stamp size:      29.584mm deep x 38.55mm wide
Perforation:     13.5 x 14.25

Enjoy your winter days =)