Sunday, February 28, 2010

#097 Panama...Thanks Freddy!

The 0.20B stamp was issued in 2007 commemorating 150 years of Panama Canal Railway Company.

The Panama Canal Railway Company is a railway line that links the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean across Panama in Central America. The route stretches 47.6 miles (76.6 km) across the Isthmus of Panama from Colón to Panama City.

The infrastructure of this still functioning railroad was of vital importance for construction of the Panama Canal over a parallel route half a century later. The principal incentive for the building of the rail line was the vast increase in traffic to California owing to the 1849 California Gold Rush.

The other 2 stamps are from 1997 Frog issue depicting Red Webbed Tree Frog (Hyla rufitela )
and Nelsonophryne aterrima.

The Red Webbed Tree Frog is from genus Hyla,which is one of approximately 38 genera in the New World family of tree frogs (Hylidae). The word Hyla translates to "tree," and tree frogs are indeed arboreal. They have a very broad distribution; species can be found in Europe, Asia, Africa, and across the Americas.

Nelsonophryne aterrima occurs in lowland and premontane zones from Costa Rica and Panama to montane Colombia and northwestern Ecuador.It is a secretive, nocturnal leaf-litter species of humid lowland, montane forest, including secondary forest and areas close to these forests. Adults are generally found under fallen logs and other surface debris. Breeding takes place in swamps and shallow water-filled depressions on the forest floor.

#096 Italy...Thanks Lambardo!

The 750L stamp was from Italian Schools series in 1992 depicting University of Naples.

University of Naples was founded in 1224 and is organized into 13 faculties. It is the world's oldest state university and one of the oldest academic institutions in continuous operation. The university is named after its founder Frederick II.

The 50L stamp was issued in 1968 commemorating 200 anniversary of death of Canaletto,who was a Venetian painter famous for his landscapes of Venice.The title of the picture is "The Small St.Mark's Place".

#095 France...Thanks Eleonore!

These 2 stamps are from 2009 Flora in France issue with the left one depicting The Bee Orchid in Champagne-Ardenne and the right one depicting Gorse (a species of the pea family Fabaceae, native to western Europe and northwest Africa) in Brittany.

#094 New Zealand...Thanks Paula

These 3 stamps were issued in Nov.2009 honoring Sir Peter Blake (1948-2001),who is an extremely passionate New Zealander and achieved success at many different levels – as an inspirational leader, a skilled yachtsman, a record breaker and as an ardent environmentalist.

The stamp issue captures five aspects of Sir Peter's life, with each image telling a unique story of his successes.

The 50 cent stamp is a portrait of Sir Peter and recognises his leadership and his ability to empower those around him.

The $1.00 stamp shows him at the helm of his 1989–1990 Whitbread Steinlager 2 yacht in which he gained an unprecedented perfect performance with line, handicap and overall honours for all six legs of the Whitbread Round the World Race.

In 1994 Sir Peter and his co-skipper, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, were the inaugural winners of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) World Sailor of the Year Award after breaking the world record for the Jules Verne Challenge. This feat is recognised on the $1.80 stamp.

On the $2.30 stamp he is pictured in 1995 with international sport's oldest trophy, the America's Cup, after he led Team New Zealand in bringing the Cup to New Zealand for the first time.

The $2.80 stamp honours his work as an environmentalist, generating public awareness of environment threats, particularly to water. After creating his own organisation, blakexpeditions, and being appointed a United Nations Environment Programme Special Envoy in 2001, his journey was tragically cut short when he was shot and killed by pirates in the Amazon River.

#093 Romania...Thanks Daniela!

These are 2009 Birds in Danube Delta issue showing Common Kingfisher,Black-winged Stilt,Little Egret and Saker Falcon.

Danube Delta in Romania is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. The waters of the Danube, which flow into the Black Sea, form the largest and best preserved of Europe's deltas. The Danube delta hosts over 300 species of birds as well as 45 freshwater fish species in its numerous lakes and marshes.

#092 Tunisia...Thanks Haithem!

The 600 stamp is from 2008 Int. Museum Day issue depicting a terracotta plate found in Kairouan.

The 250 stamp is from 2007 Archeology issue showing Dougga: The baths in Caracalla (211-217).

Dougga is a Roman ruin in northern Tunisia located on a 65 hectare site.

UNESCO qualified Dougga as a World Heritage Site in 1997, believing that it represents “the best-preserved Roman small town in North Africa”. The site, which lies in the middle of the countryside, has been protected from the encroachment of modern urbanisation.

Dougga’s size, its well-preserved monuments and its rich Punic, Numidian, ancient Roman and Byzantine history make it exceptional. Amongst the most famous monuments at the site are a Punic-Libyan mausoleum, the capitol, the theatre, and the temples of Saturn and of Juno Caelestis.

#091 Nicaragua...Thanks Jean-Michel

The mini-sheet on the front is from Contemporary Paintings by Rodrigo Penalba issued in 1994 with the title "Entrance to Anticoli".

Rodrigo Penalba (1908-1979) is a Nicaragua artist who is well known for immortalizing Cocibolca (an extinct Nicaragua city) in murals depicting the final battle between its Indian inhabitants and the Spaniards.

The mini-sheet on the back was issued in 1996 to celebrate 9th Asian Philatelic Exhibition depicting the famous Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan which is my home town. :)

#090 Finland...Thanks Merja!

The 3 stamps are all Finnish Europa issues. The themes are "European Music Year" (left,1985),"Nature Conservation"(middle,1986) and "25th Anniversary of CEPT"(right,1984).

#089 Malta...Thanks Albert

These 4 stamps are from Malta 2009 definitive set,which tracks Malta's historical phases and milestones by depicting their related iconic images. The 4 stamps shows Pleistocene Period, Early Temple Period,Roman Period and Knights of St.John Period respectively.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

#088 Indonesia...Thanks Imam!

This fantastic FDC was issued in June,2009 celebrating the inauguration of Suramadu Bridge.

The Suramadu Bridge is a bridge with three cable-stayed sections constructed between Surabaya on the island of Java and the town of Bangkalan on the island of Madura in Indonesia. The 5.4-km bridge is the longest in Indonesia and the first bridge to cross the Madura Strait.

The bridge was built by a consortium including China Road and Bridge Corp. and China Harbor Engineering Co. Ltd.

On the back is Indonesia International Year of Astronomy 2009 miniature sheet.

The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) was a year-long celebration of astronomy, which took place in 2009 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the first recorded astronomical observations with a telescope by Galileo Galilei and the publication of Johannes Kepler's Astronomia nova in the 17th century.

In 1609, Galileo Galilei first turned one of his telescopes to the night sky and made astounding discoveries that changed mankind’s conception of the world forever: mountains and craters on the Moon, a plethora of stars invisible to the naked eye, and moons around Jupiter.Astronomical observatories around the world promised to reveal how planets and stars are formed, how galaxies assemble and evolve, and what the structure and shape of our Universe actually are. In the same year, Johannes Kepler published his work Astronomia nova—in which he described the fundamental laws of planetary motions.

On 25th September 1608, Hans Lippershey, a young man from Middleburg, travelled to the Hague, the then capital of the Netherlands, to demonstrate one of his inventions to the Dutch government - the telescope. Although Hans was not awarded the patent, Galileo heard of this story and decided to use the "Dutch perspective glass" and point it towards the heavens.

#087 Slovenia...Thanks Spela!

The left stamp are from 2008 Frog issue depicting a Italian Agile Frog (Rana latastei),which is an endemic frog with a distribution restricted to the plains of northern Italy, the extreme southern tip of Switzerland, the Istrian region of Slovenia and adjacent Croatia.

The right stamp are from 2009 Definitive issue depicting Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus),which is a small annual flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native to Europe.

In the past it often grew as a weed in crop fields, hence its name.

The blue cornflower has been the national flower of Estonia since 1968 and is also one of the national flowers of Germany.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

#086 Pakistan...Thanks Salman!

The first stamp on the cover was issued in 2006 commemorating 1st anniversary of earthquake in Kashmir. Nearly 75,000 people died in the earthquake.

The 2 stamps next are Allama Iqbal and Mihai Eminescu: Dialogue between civilizations issued in 2005 to celebrate Friendship with Romania.

The stamps, each having a denomination of Rs5, bear the portraits of the two poets and also the flags of Pakistan and Romania. On one of the stamps, the 20-feet-high monument is depicted, which was built in 2004 in Islamabad to mark the resemblance in the two poets' works.

The red stamp was issued in 2009 to celebrate the 60 years of People's Republic of China.

The stamp on the upper-right corner was issued in 2009 for the 10th ECO Summit held at Tehran.

The pigion stamp on the second row was issued in 2009 with the title "United for Peace".

The 3rd stamp on the second row is from 2005 Medical Plant issue depicting Chamomilla from Asteraceae.Chamomile is sometimes known as "the plant doctor", because it is thought to help the growth and health of many other plants, especially ones that produce essential oils.The flower is used medicinally against sore stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, and as a gentle sleep aid. It is also used as a mild laxative and is anti-inflammatory and bactericidal. It can be taken as a herbal tea.

The trangular stamp is from 2009 National Year of Environment issue depicting Jasmine from Oleaceae,which is national flower of Pakistan.

#085 Italy...Thanks Cristiano!

The souvenir sheet on this cover was issued in 2009 to commemorate 130 years of Italy-Bulgaria diplomatic relationship.

The 220L stamp was issued 1979 celebrating the 3rd World Machine Tool Exhibition in Milan.

The 0.10 euro stamp is from Women in Art definitive series.

#084 Portugal...Thanks Nuno!

The stamp is from 2009 Portugal-Iran joint issue depicting a White-tailed Eagle.

The White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), also known as the Sea Eagle, is the fourth largest eagle in the World.This large eagle breeds in northern Europe and northern Asia. The largest population in Europe is found along the coast of Norway.It is considered a close cousin of the Bald Eagle.

#083 Croatia...Thanks Tomislav!

This souvenir sheet was issued in 2009 to commemorate 500 anniversary of death of Ivan Duknovic.

Ivan Duknovic,also known as Giovanni Duknovic, was a sculptor from Dalmatia who was mainly active in Rome, Hungary and in Dalmatia. Giovanni Dalmata was, with Mino da Fiesole and Andrea Bregno, the leading sculptor in Rome in the second half of the 15th century.

#082 Ireland...Thanks Paola

These se-tenant stamps was issued on Aug.14,2009 to celebrate four of the world s leading composers with a set of commemorative stamps.

Handel and Mozart feature on two 55c stamps while Chopin and Hayden appear on a pair of 82c (international) stamps.

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) was born in Halle, Germany. He wrote over forty operas during his lifetime and, in 1741, composed his masterpiece, Messiah. This exuberant, joyful religious work was first performed in Fishamble Street, Dublin in 1742. The stamp features a portrait of Handel c.1736 (oil on canvas) by Thomas Hudson, set against the original score of the Last Folio from the opera Susanna.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was an Austrian child prodigy, who became an official court composer at the age of just seventeen. He composed an extraordinary number of concerti, symphonies and operas, of which the best known today is The Marriage of Figaro. The stamp features an image of Mozart (oil on canvas) by Grassi, and is set on a background incorporating the manuscript music score of the Overture of the opera Don Giovanni.

These composers were at the heart of the Classical movement. They expanded the scope, range and intensity of emotions that could be expressed in serious musical form, and created a musical legacy which endures to this day.

Monday, February 22, 2010

#081 Moldova...Thanks Valentina!

The 3L stamp on the top-left is from 2008 Village Wells issue.

The 40b,60b and 3L stamp on the top is from 2006 Textile and Costume issue.

The 1L stamp is from 2008 Water Plant issue showing a May Lily (Maianthemum bifolium),which is a localized common rhizomatous flowering plant in the family Liliaceae, native from western Europe east to Siberia, China and Japan.

The 50b stamp is from 2009 Fruit issue depicting a nut.

#080 Japan...Thanks Chiaki!

These 2 stamps are from Festivals of Home Town series 2 issued on Aug.10,2009,depicting a traditional event Fukagawa Hachiman Festival in Tokyo.

The festival is held every mid-August. People wearing traditional costumes parade in the street,carrying a big shrine,and soaked to the skin along the road splash.

#079 Japan...Thanks Midori!

The 90yen stamp on this cover is from 2009 issue of popular International Letter Writing Week series,showing a famous painting by Utagawa Hiroshige.

Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist, and one of the last great artists in that tradition.His most successful work is The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō (1833–1834). These designs were drawn from Hiroshige's actual travels of the full distance of 490 km. They included details of date, location, and anecdotes of his fellow travelers, and were immensely popular.The stamp shows the 7th station.

Hiroshige’s The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō and One Hundred Famous Views of Edo (1856–1858) greatly influenced French Impressionists such as Monet. Vincent Van Gogh copied two of the One Hundred Famous Views of Edo which were among his collection of ukiyoe prints.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

#078 Netherlands...Thanks Jose!

This souvenir sheet on the cover was issued in 1993 with the information that out of 75 Dutch butterfly species,15 are extinct,26 endangered and 34 species fairly common. It depicts a female Common Blue butterfly (Polyommatus icarus),which is widespread in Europe, North Africa and temperate Asia.

The 20+50c stamp on the left was issued in 1983 commemorating Johan van Oldenbarnevelt with his motto:Nil scire tutissima fides.(To know nothing is the safest creed).

Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (1547-1619) was a Dutch statesman, who played an important role in the Dutch struggle for independence from Spain.

Van Oldenbarnevelt studied law at Leuven, Bourges, Heidelberg and Padua, and traveled in France and Italy before settling in The Hague. He was a Calvinist, so he supported William the Silent in his revolt against Spain, and fought in William's army.

#077 Japan...Thanks Midori!

These stamps are the third of Flowers series jointly issued by 5 perfectures of Japan.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

#076 Taiwan...Thanks Chang!

Chunghwa Post previously issued a set of stamps on Taiwan's old homes on Jan.23,2008,and now it is following up with a second set of four stamps on the topic,featuring the Lin An-tai Historical Home in Taipei,the Li Family Compound in Luzhou,Taipei County,the Lin Family Compound in Wufeng,Taichung County,and Xiaoyun Villa in Shengang,Taichung County.

#075 Switzerland...Thanks Sara!

The se-tenant stamps on this nice cover were issued on Jan.06,2010 to celebrate the 100 years of Basel Carnival Committee and the biggest carnival in Switzerland.

The Carnival of Basel (German: Basler Fasnacht) takes place annually between February and March in Basel. It has recently been listed as one of the top fifty local festivities in Europe.In this year Basel Carnival starts on 22 February with the Morgenstreich procession.

Unlike the Carnival celebrations held in other cities on the Rhine (such as those in Cologne, Mainz and Düsseldorf), the Basel Carnival displays a clear separation between participants and spectators.

The 3 stamps bear the enigmatic titles "Spalentor", "Rathaus" and "Munster".

#074 Nicaragua...Thanks Jean-Michel

Hohoho! The first stamp on this "Wild" cover is from 2003 UPAEP issue, showing a Helmeted Iguana,a species of lizard found from southern Mexico to South America. It lives in rainforests. It has long limbs and climbs well. It feeds on insects, spiders, worms, and other lizards.

The second and the third stamp are from 1991 Rainforest Animals issue, with one showing a Common Iguana or Green Iguana,which is a large, arboreal herbivorous species of lizard of the genus Iguana native to Central and South America and the other one showing a jaguar,the only panthera species found in the Americas. The jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and the largest and most powerful feline in the Western Hemisphere.

#073 Netherlands Antilles...Thanks Sergery!

The 165ct stamp was from 2009 December stamps issue celebrating Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration held in the United States honoring universal African heritage and culture, marked by participants lighting a kinara (candle holder).[1] It is observed from December 26 to January 1 every year.

The f2.50 stamp was issued in 1986 depicting Governmental Building in St.Maarten.

The Island Territory of Sint Maarten is one of five island areas of the Netherlands Antilles, encompassing the southern half of the island of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten. Sint Maarten borders the French overseas collectivity of Saint-Martin, which occupies the northern half of the island.

As of October 10, 2010, the Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist. The countries of Curaçao and St. Maarten will be formed in its place, whereas the remaining islands will become public entities of The Netherlands.

#072 Poland...Thanks Kazimierz!

This FDC was issued to celebrate the 21th Winter Olympics in Vancouver 2010.

Friday, February 19, 2010

#071 India...Thanks Sauj!

The 5R stamp at the left was issued on Nov.6,2009 honoring Danmal Mathur, for his contribution for Indian Scouting movement.

The other 5R stamp at the left was issued on Dec.2,2009 to celebrate the 100 years of Convent of Jesus & Mary school in Ambala Cant.

The 5R stamp at the middle-top was issued on Jan.16,2010 to celebrate the 75 years of Reserve Bank of India,which is India's central bank.

The last 5R stamp at the right was also issued in 2009 to commemorate the 75 years of Medical Council of India.

#070 USA...Thanks Craig!

The 4c stamp was issued in Dec.,1980 illustrating radio waves connecting Echo I and Earth. Echo I is world's 1st communications satellite, placed in orbit by NASA on Aug.12,1960.

The 6c stamp is from Natural History issue in 1970 to celebrate the centenary of American Muesem of Natural History in NYC.

The 44c stamp at the left is from The Simpsons issue in 2009.

The Simpsons, currently in its 20th year as a regularly scheduled half-hour series, is the longest-running comedy in television history. The show is a cultural phenomenon, recognizable throughout the world.

The 44c stamp at the right is Year of the Tiger issue in 2010.

#069 Romania...Thanks Daniela!

These 2 stamps are from Romanian Postage Stamp Day series issued on Jul.30,2009,commemorating Anghel I. Saligny, 155 Years since his Birth.

Anghel Saligny (19 April 1854 – 17 June 1925) was a Romanian engineer, most famous for designing the Feteşti-Cernavodă railway bridge (1895) over the Danube, the longest bridge in Europe at that time,which is shown on the stamps.

#068 Sweden...Thanks Kjell!

The 2 stamps on this cover are from Summer Nature set issued in 2009 with the left one depicting a dormice in Garphyttan National Park and the right one depicting cranberries in Store Mosse National Park.

Garphyttan National Park is a Swedish National Park in Kilsbergen west of Örebro in Lekeberg Municipality. The national park has an area of 1.11 km² and was founded in 1909 as the first of its kind in Sweden.

Store Mosse ("Big Marsh") is a national park in Småland in southern Sweden.It has the largest boggy grounds south of Lapland and is an important area for birds and provides unique habitats for other animals and plants.

#067 Ukraine...Thanks Sulyma!

The 45k stamp on the upper-right corner is from Space Exploration of Ukraine series, commemorating the State-operated Design Office "Pivdenne" named after M. K. Yangel.

#066 Greece...Thanks Panagiotis!

The 0.67 euro stamp is from Greek Islands issued in 2008 showing Kos Island.

Kos is located in the south-eastern Aegean Sea. It is the third largest island in the Dodecanese and the second most popular and touristy island after Rhodes. It was from the prehistoric times an important channel of the sea ways that started from the Black Sea and along the shoreline of Asia Minor and the islands of Aegean it reached the North Africa. Kos is the birthplace of the father of medicine, Hippocrates, which was born in the island round 460 B.C. and founded the Great School of Medicine of Kos. The island is famous for its tight vegetation and for its temperate climate and it was characterized by the Roman doctor Gallino as "the most temperate place in the world".

The 0.05 euro stamp is from Greek Mythology issued in 2009 depicting Heracles wrestling against Triton.

Heracles, meaning "glory of Hera", or "glorious through Hera" is the most famous Greco-Roman legendary hero. Traditionally, Heracles was the son of Zeus and Alcmene (see Amphitryon), granddaughter of Perseus. Zeus swore that the next son born of the Perseid house should become ruler of Greece, but by a trick of Zeus's jealous wife, Hera, another child, the sickly Eurystheus, was born first and became king; when Heracles grew up, he had to serve him and also suffer the vengeful persecution of Hera. His first exploit, in fact, was the strangling of two serpents that she had sent to kill him in his cradle.

Extraordinary strength, courage, ingenuity, and sexual prowess with both males and females were among his characteristic attributes. Although he was not as clever as the likes of Odysseus or Nestor, Heracles used his wits on several occasions when his strength did not suffice, such as when laboring for the king Augeas of Elis, wrestling the giant Antaeus, or tricking Atlas into taking the sky back onto his shoulders. Together with Hermes he was the patron and protector of gymnasia and palaestrae. His iconographic attributes are the lion skin and the club. These qualities did not prevent him from being regarded as a playful figure who used games to relax from his labors and played a great deal with children. By conquering dangerous archaic forces he is said to have "made the world safe for mankind" and to be its benefactor.Heracles was an extremely passionate and emotional individual, capable of doing both great deeds for his friends (such as wrestling with Thanatos on behalf of Prince Admetus, who had regaled Heracles with his hospitality, or restoring his friend Tyndareus to the throne of Sparta after he was overthrown) and being a terrible enemy who would wreak horrible vengeance on those who crossed him, as Augeas, Neleus and Laomedon all found out to their cost.

Triton is a mythological Greek god, the messenger of the sea. He is the son of Poseidon, god of the sea, and Amphitrite, goddess of the sea, whose herald he is. He is usually represented as a merman, having the upper body of a human and the tail of a fish.

Like his father, Poseidon, he carried a trident. However, Triton's special attribute was a twisted conch shell, on which he blew like a trumpet to calm or raise the waves. Its sound was so terrible, that when loudly blown, it put the giants to flight, who imagined it to be the roar of a mighty wild beast.

#065 Algeria...Thanks Hocine!

These stamps are from Fairy Tales issued in 2009.

This series (designed by Ali Kerbouche) which evoke 4 folktales part of intangible cultural heritage of Algeria and the Maghreb but also warn about the fragility of the oral cultural heritage.

"The red rose" is a tale published in 1982 by writer Rabah Belamri (1946-1995) tells the story of Gezira, killed by the jealousy of her 5 sisters in the absence of their father on a pilgrimage to Mecca . The 5 sisters, father and another character in the story, the troubadour Boussaadia are represented on the stamp, top left.

"Loundja the daughter of the Ogre" is a tale of Berber Kabylie, also known as the "Loundja daughter of the ogress" or "The King and the 3 girls.

Loundja is a character very known in the fairy tales of North Africa, especially in the Kabyle culture of Algeria. She was known for her beauty, her courage, her intelligence, but more than ever for being the Ogress' daughter. In the tales, Loundja was the obsession of all the young people of the country, more particularly the sons of Kings. All wanted Loundja for their wife, for the reasons that I have quoted above. Unfortunately, all those who have tried to capture her have paid with their lives, which made the obsession to capture Loundja even stronger. Beware to whomever tried to capture Loundja, not only did Loundja have a ferocious mother, but she also had a father and seven brothers even more ferocious. They knew all about Loundja's popularity and protected her by all means, even killing any of the young men who dared to approach Loundja.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

#064 Italy...Thanks Alfredo!

The mini-sheet on this cover was issued in 2009 to celebrate the 38th World Cup of Baseball.

The 2009 Baseball World Cup was an international baseball tournament that started on September 9, 2009. The final was held in Nettuno, Italy on 27 September 2009. It was the first time that it was hosted by a continent rather than a single country. Eight European countries hosted the tournament and 22 nations competed, including defending champions the United States.

In the end, the United States won their second consecutive and fourth World Cup, over a win against runner-up Cuba.

The 0.23 euro stamp is from 2002 Nature Conservation issue depicting an orchid.

#063 Indonesia...Thanks Vania!

This nice mini-sheet of Indonesia shows 2 new species found in Papua:a palm tree (Licuala arbuscula) and a Golden-fronted Bowerbird (Amblyornis flavifrons).

#062 Sri Lanka...Thanks Ravindra!

This stamp was issued in 2007 commemorating the 50th year of Sri Lanka-China diplomatic relationship.

#061 USA...Thanks Candy!

The se-tenant stamps on the right corner are 2009 Love issue of United States. The two stamp designs, one of the King and one of the Queen, are based on images from 18th-century French playing cards.The Postal Service began issuing its popular Love stamps in 1973.Over the years these stamps have featured a wide variety of designs, including heart motifs, colorful flowers, and the word “LOVE” itself.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

#060 New Zealand...Thanks Paola!

These 3 stamps are from 2009 Matariki (Maori Year) issue beginning from Jun.24,2009.

Matariki is a traditional Maori festival to celebrate and to prepare the ground for the coming year. Offerings of the produce of the land were made to the gods, including Rongo, god of cultivated food. This time of the year was also a good time to instruct young people in the lore of the land and the forest. In addition, certain birds and fish were especially easy to harvest at this time.

This year New Zealand Post honours heitiki as an icon of Maori art.

The hei-tiki is an ornamental neck pendant of the Māori. Hei-tiki are usually made of greenstone and worn around the neck. One theory of the origin of the hei-tiki suggests a connection with Tiki, the first man in Māori legend. There are two main ideas behind the symbolism of hei-tiki: they are either memorials to ancestors, or represent the goddess of childbirth.

Monday, February 8, 2010

#059 Slovakia...Thanks Milos!

This nice cover features Slovakia 0.70 Euro Louis Braille stamp issued in 2009 to commemorate his 200th birthday.

Louis Braille was born on January 4, 1809 in France and he was the inventor of braille,a worldwide system used by blind and visually impaired people for reading and writing. Braille is read by passing the fingers over characters made up of an arrangement of one to six embossed points. It has been adapted to almost every known language.

Louis Braille became blind at the age of 3, when he accidentally poked himself in the eye with a stitching awl, one of his father's workshop tools. The injury wasn't thought to be serious until it got infected. Braille's other eye went blind because of sympathetic ophthalmia.

He died in Paris of tuberculosis in 1852 at the age of 43; his body was disinterred in 1952 (the centenary of his death) and honored with re-interment in the Panthéon in Paris. His system was finally officially recognized in France two years after his death, in 1854.

#058 Serbia...Thanks Dejan!

The first stamp from left was issued in 2008 to commemorate the 125 years of Oriental Express.

The Orient Express was the name of a long-distance passenger train originally operated by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. Its route has changed many times, and several routes have in the past concurrently used the name, or slight variants thereof. Although the original Orient Express was simply a normal international railway service, the name has become synonymous with intrigue and luxury travel. The two city names most intimately associated with the Orient Express are Paris and Istanbul, the original endpoints of the service.

On June 5, 1883 the first 'Express d'Orient' left Paris for Vienna and the train was officially renamed Orient Express in 1891.

On 14 December 2009, the Orient Express ceased to operate and the route disappeared from European railway timetables, reportedly a "victim of high-speed trains and cut-rate airlines."

The stamp in the middle was issued in 2009 to celebrate the 25th Universiade Belgrade.

Universiade is besides Olympic games the biggest sport event held in a country. Universiade are hosted every other year in selected city of a country member of FISU.

The stamp at the right was issued in 2008 to commemorate the 200 years of the Great School of Belgrade.

The school was the highest ranking educational institution in Serbia between 1808 and 1905,and was the predecessor of the University of Belgrade.It had three departments or faculties: Faculty of Philosophy, Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Law. The School formally became the University of Belgrade from February 27, 1905.

#057 Italy...Thanks Lambard!

These stamps were issued on July 2,1980 to commemorate the Medici in Europe of 16th century Exihibition with the left stamp showing a painting Cosimo I with his artists by Giorgio Vasari and the right stamp showing Armillary sphere.

The House of Medici was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house who first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of the Tuscan countryside, gradually rising until they were able to found the Medici Bank. The bank was the largest in Europe during the 15th century, seeing the Medici gain political power in Florence — though officially they remained simply citizens, rather than monarchs. The Medici produced four Popes of the Catholic Church and in 1531 the family became hereditary Dukes of Florence. In 1569, the duchy was elevated to a grand duchy after territorial expansion. They ruled the Grand Duchy of Tuscany from its inception until 1737, with the death of Gian Gastone de' Medici. The grand duchy witnessed degrees of economic growth under the earlier grand dukes, but by the time of Cosimo III de' Medici, Tuscany was both morally and fiscally bankrupt.

Their wealth and influence initially derived from the textile trade guided by the guild of the Arte della Lana. Like other signore families they dominated their city's government. They were able to bring Florence under their family's power, allowing for an environment where art and humanism could flourish. They fostered and inspired the birth of the Italian Renaissance along with other families of Italy.

The most outstanding figure of the 16th century Medici was Cosimo I, who, coming from relatively modest beginnings in the Mugello, rose to supremacy in the whole of Tuscany, conquering the Florentines' most hated rival Siena and founding the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

Cosimo I de' Medici (June 12, 1519 – April 21, 1574) was Duke of Florence from 1537 to 1574, reigning as the first Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1569.

Among his many accomplishments was the creation of the Uffizi, originally intended to house the government, now one of the world's great art galleries. He also finished the Pitti Palace as a home for the Medici and created the magnificent Boboli Gardens behind the Pitti. He was a great patron of the arts, supporting, among others, Vasari, Cellini, Pontormo, Bronzino, the architect Lanci, and the historians Scipione Ammirato and Benedetto Varchi.

A large bronze equestrian statue of Cosimo I by Giambologna, erected in 1598, still stands today in the Piazza della Signoria, the main square of Florence.

Although none of the Medici themselves were scientists, the family is well known to have been the patrons of the famous Galileo Galilei, who tutored multiple generations of Medici children, and was an important figurehead for his patron's quest for power. Galileo's patronage was eventually abandoned by Ferdinando II, when the Inquisition accused Galileo of heresy. However, the Medici family did afford the scientist a safe haven for many years.

#056 Finland...Thanks Sulyma!

This stamp was issued on Jan.25,2010 depicting Pussytoes (Antennaria dioica), which is also called Mountain Everlasting, Catsfoot, Cudweed and is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It is found in cool temperate regions of Europe and Asia, and also in North America in Alaska only.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

#055 Russia...Thanks Alexander!

This nice souvenir sheet on the cover was issued in 2009 to commemorate the 150th birth of Alexander Stepanovich Popov.

Popov (1859 – 1906) was a Russian physicist who first demonstrated the practical application of electromagnetic (radio) waves, although he did not apply for a patent for his invention.

Beginning in the early 1890s he continued the experiments of other radio pioneers, such as Heinrich Hertz. In 1894 he built his first radio receiver, a version of the coherer. Further refined as a lightning detector, it was presented to the Russian Physical and Chemical Society on May 7, 1895—the day has been celebrated in the Russian Federation as "Radio Day". The paper on his findings was published the same year. In March 1896, he effected transmission of radio waves between different campus buildings in St Petersburg. Upon learning about Guglielmo Marconi's system, he effected ship-to-shore communication over a distance of 6 miles in 1898 and 30 miles in 1899.

#054 Korea...Thanks Arnie!

The left stamp was issued on Feb.24,1994 to celebrate the inauguration of Kim Young Sam, the 14th president of Korea.

The second stamp was issued on Apr.25,1995 to commemorate the centenary of Modern Legal Education in Korea.

The third stamp illustrates Weigela (Weigela hortensis) and the fourth stamp shows Korean Iris (Iris odaesanensis).

#053 India...Thanks Sauj!

These 2 stamps are India-Philippine joint issue in 2009 featuring Dolphins.

The 5R stamp shows Gangetic Dolphin,which is primarily found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers and their tributaries in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.It is the most threatened cetacean and among the world's most threatened mammals. They are threatened by accidental gill net fishing, bycatch, use of their oil as fish bait, by pesticides and river fragmentation from agricultural irrigation and dams. It is listed as an endangered species in the IUCN Red Book and as a Flagship Species by WWF. And it has been recognized by the government of India as its National Aquatic Animal.

The 20R stamp shows Whale Shark,which is a slow moving filter feeding shark, the largest living fish species. The largest confirmed individual had a length of 12.65 metres and a weight of more than 21.5 tonnes.The shark is found in tropical and warm oceans, lives in the open sea with a lifespan of about 70 years. The species originated about 60 million years ago. Although whale sharks have very large mouths, they feed mainly, though not exclusively, on plankton, microscopic plants and animals.

#052 Netherlands...Thanks Kibas!

The two 44c stamps are from 2007 Beautiful Holland series. The upper one shows Martini Tower in Groningen and the lower one shows the Dom Tower in Utrecht.

Groningen is the capital city of the province of Groningen in the Netherlands. With a population of 185,000, it is by far the largest city in the north of the Netherlands. Groningen is a university city, inhabited on average by about 50,000 students.

Martini Tower is the highest church tower in Groningen . The tower is located at the north-western corner of the Grote Markt (Main Square), is part of the Martinikerk (Martini Church). The carillon within the tower contains 62 bells. The citizens of Groningen call their tower d'Olle Grieze, meaning the old grey one in the local dialect. It is considered one of the main tourist attractions of Groningen and offers a great view over the city and surrounding area.

Utrecht is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern end of the Randstad, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands, with a population of 300,030 in 2007. The smaller Utrecht agglomeration including adjacent suburbs and annexed towns is home to some 640,000 registered inhabitants, while the larger region contains up to 820,000 inhabitants.

The Dom Tower of Utrecht is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, at 112.5 metres (368 feet) in height, and the Gothic-style tower is the symbol of the city. The tower was part of the Cathedral of Saint Martin, Utrecht, also known as Dom Church, and was built between 1321 and 1382, to a design by John of Hainaut. The cathedral was never fully completed due to lack of money. Since the unfinished nave collapsed in 1674 the Dom tower became a free standing tower.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

#051 Malaysia...Thanks Eddie!

These 6 circular stamps with first day cancellation are Malaysia Currency issued on Jan.18,2010 showing 10sen,20sen and 50sen Malaysian coins.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

#050 Poland...Thanks Andrzej!

This nice mini-sheet was issued on Jan.15,2010 to celebrate the 150 year of Polish postage stamp, showing the first stamps of Poland used on a letter.