Tuesday, June 29, 2010

#348 Spain...Thanks Nestor!

The 0.45€ stamp is from 2001 Famous People issue honoring Rafael Alberti (1902-1999) who was a Spanish poet and was awarded the Premio Cervantes in 1983.

The 0.72€ stamp was issued in 2001 celebrating 150th Anniv.of Infantry College,Toledo.

#347 Netherlands Antilles...Thanks Sergery!

The 30c stamp is from 1983 Local Governmental Building set with the same design in this post.

The 5c stamp is from 1972 Tourism issue showing Fort Amsterdam in St.Maarten.

Fort Amsterdam is a historic fort on the island of Saint Martin, near the Sint Maarten town of Philipsburg. It was built in 1631 on a peninsula between Great Bay and Little Bay, was the first Dutch military outpost in the Caribbean. Unfortunately, it was soon captured by the Spanish, who made it their most important bastion east of Puerto Rico. The Spanish abandoned the fort in 1648, and since then it has remained in Dutch hands. All military operations ceased in the 19th century, although the fort was used as a signaling and communications station into the 1950s. A few walls of the original bastion remain, and the site provides an outstanding view of modern Philipsburg.

The 215ct stamp is from 2009 December stamps issue celebrating New Year.

#347 Ascension Island

These two stamps are from 2010 Girl Guides issue.

#346 Costa Rica...Thanks Federico!

This m/s was issued in 2006 commemorating 150 years of National Campaign Against Nicaraguan Pres.William Walker.

William Walker (1824–1860) was an American physician, lawyer, journalist and adventurer, who organized several private military expeditions into Latin America, with the intention of establishing English-speaking colonies under his personal control, an enterprise then known as "filibustering." Walker became president of the Republic of Nicaragua in 1856 and ruled until 1857, when he was defeated by a coalition of Central American armies. He was executed by the government of Honduras in 1860.

In Central American countries, the successful military campaign of 1856-1857 against William Walker became a source of national pride and identity, and it was later promoted by local historians and politicians as substitute for the war of independence that Central America had not experienced. April 11 is a Costa Rican national holiday in memory of Walker's defeat at Rivas. Juan Santamaría, who played a key role in that battle, is honored as the Costa Rican national hero.

The 65c stamp is from 2009 Children's Literature issue and the 10c stamp is from 2002 Pan-American Health Organization Centenary issue.

#345 Algeria...Thanks Ouari!

#344 Argentina...Thanks Viviana!

#343 Switzerland...Thanks Marianne!

The 10c stamp is from 1970 Physicians issue honoring bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin.

Alexandre Emile Jean Yersin (September 22, 1863–March 1, 1943) was a Swiss and French physician and bacteriologist. Along with Shibasaburo Kitasato, he is remembered as the co-discoverer of the bacillus responsible for the bubonic plague or pest, which was later re-named in his honour (Yersinia pestis).

The 180c stamp is from 2003 Medicinal Plants issue showing Malva Sylvestris,which is a species of the Mallow genus Malva in the family of Malvaceae and is considered to be the type species for the genus.

Mucilage is present in many of the Malvaceae family,especially the fruit and were employed medicinally, as demulcents and emollients. The seeds were used internally in a decoction as a demulcent and diuretic and the leaves made into poultices as an emollient for external applications.

#342 Canada...Thanks Kai!

The 52c stamp on the upper-right corner was issued in 2007 celebrating 150 years of Ottawa as Canada's capital.

On December 31, 1857, Queen Victoria was asked to choose a common capital for the Province of Canada (modern day Ontario and Quebec) and chose Ottawa. While Ottawa is now a major metropolis and Canada's fourth largest city, at the time it was a sometimes unruly logging town in the hinterland, far away from the colony's main cities, Quebec City and Montreal in Canada East, and Kingston and Toronto in Canada West.

The Queen's advisers suggested she pick Ottawa for many important reasons: first, it was the only settlement of any significant size located right on the border of Canada East and Canada West (today Quebec and Ontario), making it a compromise between the two colonies and their French and English populations; second, the War of 1812 had shown how vulnerable major Canadian cities were to American attack, since they were all located very close to the border, while Ottawa was then surrounded by dense forest far from the border; third, the government owned a large parcel of land on a spectacular spot overlooking the Ottawa River. Ottawa's position in the back country made it more defensible, while still allowing easy transportation over the Ottawa River to Canada East, and the Rideau Canal to Canada West. Two other considerations were that Ottawa was at a point nearly exactly midway between Toronto and Quebec City (~500 km/310 mi) and that the small size of the town made it less likely that politically motivated mobs could go on a rampage and destroy government buildings, as happened in the previous Canadian capitals. The Ottawa River and the Rideau Canal network meant that Ottawa could be supplied by water from Kingston and Montreal without going along the potentially treacherous US-Canada border.

In 1866, the legislature was finally moved to Ottawa, after a few years of alternating between Toronto and Quebec City.

#341 Belgium...Thanks Henri!

This FDC was issued in May,2010 commemorating 175 years of Belgian Railways.On May 5, 1835 the first railway in continental Europe opened between Brussels-Groendreef/Allée verte and Mechelen.

The stamp in the middle is from 2010 Stamps Feast self-adhesive booklet.

The 4.50fr stamp was issued in 1975 celebrating 30th Anniv. of Liberation of Concentration Camps with the "B" denoted political prisoners and "KG" prisoner of war.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

#340 USA...Thanks Jewel!

The two 44c stamps are from the 4th set of Flags of Our Nation featuring New York and North Carolina with a “snapshot view” of the state.

The 13c stamp is from 1976 Bicentennial Era issue also showing the flag of North Carolina.

#339 India...Thanks Sauj!

This FDC was issued to promote the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity on June,05 which is also the World Environment Day.

The International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) is a year-long celebration of biological diversity and its value for life on Earth, taking place around the world in 2010. Coinciding with the date of the 2010 Biodiversity Target, the year was declared by the 61st session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2006.

The International Year of Biodiversity is meant to help raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity through activities and events in many countries. This means, as well, to influence decision makers, and "to elevate biological diversity nearer to the top of the political agenda"

#338 Moldova...Thanks Valentina!

The 1.20L stamp on the left was issued in 2010 for the National Museum of Archeology and History of Moldova. More information required for this stamp.

The 1L stamp was issued in 2008 commemorating 150th Anniversary of the First Stamps of Moldova - The Bulls Head.

The 4.5L stamp was issued in 2009 celebrating 60th Anniv. of Council of Europe.

The Council of Europe (French: Conseil de l'Europe) is one of the oldest international organisations working towards European integration, having been founded in 1949. It has a particular emphasis on legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation. It has 47 member states with some 800 million citizens. It is distinct from the European Union (EU) which has common policies, binding laws and only twenty-seven members. The two do however share certain symbols such as their flag.

The Council of Europe was founded on 5 May 1949 by the Treaty of London. The Treaty of London or the Statute of the Council of Europe was signed in London on that day by ten states: Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Many states followed, especially after the democratic transitions in central and eastern Europe during the early 1990s, and the Council of Europe now includes all European states except Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kosovo and Vatican City.

The seat of the Council of Europe is in Strasbourg, France with English and French as its two official languages.

The 1.50L stamp on the right was issued in 2009 showing a child's drawing with the theme "a healthy environment for children".

The 40b stamp is from 2003 Butterflies issue illustrating Scarce Swallowtail.

The Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius) is widespread throughout Europe with the exception of the northern parts. Its range extends northwards to Saxony and central Poland and eastwards across Asia Minor and Transcaucasia as far as the Arabian peninsula, India, and western China. A few specimens of the Scarce Swallowtail have been reported from central Sweden and the UK but they were probably only strays and not migrants. The scarcity of UK migrants is responsible for the English common name. In the Alps it can be found up to altitudes of 1600 m.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

#337 Turkey...Thanks Nejat!

The 1.50 TRL stamp on the left is from 2008 definitive series of Turkish Provinces showing Yalova,which is a province in northwestern Turkey, on the eastern coast of the Sea of Marmara.

#336 Brunei...Thanks Susan!

The 3 stamps on the left were issued in 2008 celebrating 40th anniv. of the coronation of His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei.

#335 Myanmar...Thanks Thitar!

This FDC was issued in June,2010 celebrating 60th anniv. of diplomatic relations between Myanmar and China.

#334 Myanmar...Thanks Thitar!

Monday, June 21, 2010

#333 USA...Thanks Erik!

The 42c stamp on the right upper corner is from 2008 American Treasures series featuring Albert Bierstadt's 1864 painting "Valley of the Yosemite."

Albert Bierstadt (1830 – 1902) was a German-American painter best known for his lush, sweeping landscapes of the American West. In obtaining the subject matter for these works, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Though not the first artist to record these sites, Bierstadt was the foremost painter of these scenes for the remainder of the 19th century.

Bierstadt was part of the Hudson River School, not an institution but rather an informal group of like-minded painters. The Hudson River School style involved carefully detailed paintings with romantic, almost glowing lighting, sometimes called luminism. An important interpreter of the western landscape, Bierstadt, along with Thomas Moran, is also grouped with the Rocky Mountain School.

#332 Canada...Thanks Laura!

The 64c stamp was issued in 1983 celebrating World University Games in Edmonton.

The $1 stamp is from 1977-82 definitive series showing Fundy National Parkis located on the Bay of Fundy, the village site being Alma, New Brunswick. It includes both seashore and Acadian coastal forests. The park covers an area of 207 km².

At low tide, park visitors can explore the ocean bottom which was 9 metres or more below the water's surface at high tide. The Caribou Plain trail and boardwalk provides access to upland forest and bog habitats. The park also includes more than 25 waterfalls.

Park amenities include a golf course, a heated saltwater swimming pool, three campgrounds, and a network of over 100 km of hiking and biking trails. The Dobson Trail and Fundy Footpath extend out of the park to Riverview and St. Martins respectively. A unique red-painted covered bridge is located at Point Wolfe.

The 6c stamp was issued in 1969 commemorating 50th anniv. of International Labor Organization (ILO),which is a specialized agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Its secretariat — the people who are employed by it throughout the world — is known as the International Labour Office. The organization received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969.

#331 Malaysia...Thanks Ronny!

These 4 Beaches and Islands stamps were issued in 2003 featuring Sipadan (Upper) and Ligitan (Lower) islands,both in Sabah,Malaysia.

Sipadan is the only oceanic island in Malaysia, rising 600 metres (2,000 ft) from the seabed. It is located in the Celebes Sea east of the major town of Tawau and off the coast of Sabah, East Malaysia on the island of Borneo. It was formed by living corals growing on top of an extinct volcanic cone that took thousands of years to develop. Sipadan is located at the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin, the centre of one of the richest marine habitats in the world. More than 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species have been classified in this ecosystem. Sipadan has been rated by many dive journals as one of the top dive destinations in the world.

Ligitan is a small island off Tawau, east of Borneo, in the Celebes Sea.In the past, the island was at the centre of a territorial dispute between Malaysia and Indonesia. The matter was brought for adjudication before the International Court of Justice and, at the end of 2002, the Court awarded the island along with the island of Sipadan to Malaysia, on the basis of the "effective occupation" displayed by the latter's predecessor (Malaysia's former colonial power, Great Britain) and the absence of any other superior title.

#330 Argentina...Thanks Viviana!

This FDC was issued in Apr.2010 celebrating 100th Anniversary of the Symphonic Band of Buenos Aires City, showing portrait of Antonio Malvagni, director and founder of the band..

#329 Luxembourg...Thanks Klaus!

The A stamp on the right upper corner is from 2010 Touristic series showing the castles in Eisch Valley.

Along the banks of the Eisch, the vegetation is, in part, very natural, almost wild. The 37 km national path of the Valley of the Seven Castles follows the winding valley of the Eisch which is rich in cultural treasures. Far from the principal motorways, these country roads and peaceful forest paths delight pedestrians and cyclists.

At one time this valley represented, thanks to its production of steel, a thriving site well before the blast furnaces of the Red Earth area belched their smoke. Today, nature once again dominates the area. But if one looks closely, one can still discover traces of this era, such as the many caves in which the families of coal miners lived. Today, the Eisch Valley is part of the largest environmental protection zone in Luxembourg.

Most of the ancient noble residences, such as the fortified castle of Hollenfels or the baroque castle of Ansembourg with its French garden and its mythological avenue, provide us with a glimpse of a past era. Others, such as the ruins of the castle of Koerich, thanks to their characteristic silhouette, confer a picturesque aspect to this village. Celebrities such as Yolande of Vianden, daughter of the Count of Vianden, the French author Victor Hugo and the Belgian poet Amélie Picard, have appreciated the idyllic setting of the Eisch valley.

In years gone by, the Eisch Valley included 7 castles (Fockeschlass and Gréiveschlass in Koerich, the castles of Septfontaines and of Hollenfels, the old and the new castles in Ansembourg and the castle of Mersch), which, from about 1900, earned it the name “Valley of 7 Castles”.

Fockeschlass in Koerich has completely disappeared, while Gréiweschlass dating from before the 12th century and transformed in the 14th and 16th centuries remains one of the most impressive ruins of a castle in the country. The ruins, today the property of the State, were classified as an historic monument in 1938.

The castle of Septfontaines, situated on a spur above the village, dates from the 12th century. Transformed and enlarged around 1600, it was destroyed by a fire in 1779. Classified as an historic monument in 1937, today it is privately owned and surrounds a modern home.

The castle of Hollenfels dates from the 14th century, is known for its dungeon (1380) and its sumptuous Gothic rooms. The dungeon received an impressive new roof in 1973 and is part of the Ecological Centre of the National Youth Service which has occupied the site since the 1970s.

The old castle of Ansembourg, a true eagle’s nest, was mentioned for the first time in 1135. The castle still belongs to the family of Marchant and Ansembourg, former master ironworkers, ennobled in the 18th century.

The new castle of Ansembourg, situated in the valley, was built by the master ironworker Thomas Bidart between 1639 and 1647 and enlarged by Lambert-Joseph de Marchant in the 18th century. It was him who created the magnificent French gardens and the sumptuous entry portal to the court of honour. Today, the castle serves as the regional centre of the Sukyo Mahikari religious community, originally from Japan. The castle and the gardens were classified as historic monuments in 1988.

The ancient dungeon of the Mersch castle houses today the offices of the communal administration.It was mentioned for the first time in 1232. Destroyed and transformed several times between the 15th and the 18th centuries, the castle housed one of the first youth hostels in the country in the 1930s. In 1980, the castle of Mersch was classified as an historic monument.

#328 Ireland...Thanks Paola!

The 55c stamp was issued in 2009 celebrating European Dog Show in Dublin.

A dog show is not a comparison of one dog to another. It is a comparison of each dog to a judge's mental image of the ideal breed type as outlined in the individual breed's breed standard. A judge chooses the dog(s) that most closely resemble the ideal on that particular day.

Dog show judges attempt to identify dogs who epitomize the published standards for each breed. This can be challenging, because some judgements must necessarily be subjective. For example, what exactly entails a "full coat" or a "cheerful attitude", descriptions found in breed standards, can only be learned through experience with the breed that has that particular requirement.

#327 Taiwan...Thanks Hsieh!

The $10 stamp was issued in 1986 commemorating 90th anniv. of National Postal Service showing Electronic Sorting Machine.

The $8 stamp was issued in 1979 commemorating 60th anniv. of Postal Savings illustrating Banknote and Computer Department.

The $13 stamp is from 1993 Year of Rooster issue.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

#326 Åland

The upper Varlden (World) stamp is 2009 My Åland series featuring Martti Ahtisaari,who is the former president of Finland and 2008 Nobel Peace Prize winner. The stamp shows the little red cabin by the water where Martti spent his honeymoon in 1968.

The Nobel Committee decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2008 to Martti Ahtisaari for his important efforts, on several continents, to resolve international conflicts. These efforts have contributed to a more peaceful world and to "fraternity between nations" in Alfred Nobel's spirit. As a peacemaker, Martti Ahtisaari has on several occasions emphasized the Àland example as a solution to serious and long-iasting conflicts. In 2000, Ahtisaari founded the organisation Crisis Management Initiative, an independent, non-profit organisation that innovatively promotes and works for sustainable security in the world.

Friday, June 11, 2010

#325 Estonia...Thanks Pirjo!

This FDC was issued on the 1st of June celebrating International Children's Day featuring a design by a 6-year-old girl, Helina Madar, who won the Children and Nature drawing competition organised by Eesti Post in 2009.

The International Children's Day is marked in many world countries, including Estonia, every year on . The tradition goes back to 1925 when the Chinese consul in San Francisco in the United States invited orphaned Chinese children to mark the traditional Dragon Festival. Like then the main aim of the International Children's Day is to bring happiness and pay special attention to the smallest among us. Everyday worries are forgotten on that day and jolly plans are made with family and friends to visit the zoo or the fun fair, to feast on icecream and lemonade or invent quite a new tradition to mark that day in the family. On the International Children's Day all adults focus their attention on children and there are many concerts, plays or open-air events for the whole family to choose from.

It was adopted mostly by former and current Communist and Socialist countries.Many nations declare days for children on other dates.

#324 Germany...Thanks Brigitte!

#323 Singapore...Thanks Terence!

The 4 stamps with first day postmarks are from 2010 Know 10 Trees issue aiming to raise public's awareness of Singapore's most common roadside trees.

The trees on the stamps are (from left to right):Rain Tree,Tembusu,Sea Apple and Trumpet Tree.

Rain Tree (Samanea saman) is a species of flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae, that is native to the Neotropics. Its range extends from Mexico south to Peru and Brazil, but it has been widely introduced to South and Southeast Asia, as well as the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii.

The Tembusu (Fagraea fragrans) is a large evergreen tree native to South-east Asia. Its trunk is dark brown, with deeply fissured bark, looking somewhat like a bittergourd. It grows in an irregular shape from 10 to 25m high [1]. Its leaves are light green and oval in shape. Its yellowish flowers have a distinct fragrance and the fruits of the tree are bitter tasting red berries, which are eaten by birds and fruit bats.

Sea Apple(Syzygium grande) is a flowering plant that belongs to the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. The genus comprises about 1100 species, and has a native range that extends from Africa and Madagascar through southern Asia east through the Pacific. Its highest levels of diversity occur from Malaysia to northeastern Australia, where many species are very poorly known and many more have not been described taxonomically.

Trumpet Tree (Tabebuia rosea) is one of 100 species in the tribe Tecomeae of the family Bignoniaceae. The species range from northern Mexico and southern Florida south to northern Argentina.

#322 Chile...Thanks Oriane!

The $410 stamp was issued in 2008 commemorating 100th birthday of Salvadore Allende with the painting "La vida Allende la muerte" (Life beyond Death) by Matta.

Salvador Allende (1908-1973) was a Chilean physician and is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in the Americas.

Allende's involvement in Chilean political life spanned a period of nearly forty years. As a member of the Socialist Party, he was a senator, deputy and cabinet minister. He unsuccessfully ran for the presidency in the 1952, 1958, and 1964 elections. In 1970, he won the presidency in a close three-way race.

He adopted the policy of nationalization of industries and collectivization. His policy of collectivization resulted in expropriation of lands and crop production dropped,amidst strikes by the far-right Patria y Libertad and CIA opposition under the Nixon administration. Protests were held in Chile against Allende's rule.The Supreme Court criticized Allende for subordination of the judicial system to serve his own political needs and the Chamber of Deputies requested the military to restore laws in Chile. After this request by the Chamber of Deputies, General Augusto Pinochet deposed Allende in a U.S.-backed coup d'état on September 11, 1973 and this ended the Popular Unity government.During the air raids and ground attacks that preceded the coup, Allende gave his last speech where he vowed to stay in the presidential palace.The same day, Allende committed suicide.

Roberto Mtta (1911-2002) was one of Chile's best-known painters and a seminal figure in 20th century abstract expressionist and surrealist art.

#321 New Zealand...Thanks Alejandro!

The $1.80 stamp is from 2010 The ANZAC Series: Remembrance,which is the third release in the series. The stamp shows Nurses Place Wreath in Cairo Cemetery.

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, and is commemorated by both countries on 25 April every year to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I.

When war broke out in 1914, Australia had been a Federal Commonwealth for thirteen years. In 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula, under a plan by Winston Churchill to open the way to the Black Sea for the Allied navies. The objective was to capture Istanbul, capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany. The ANZAC force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Turkish Army commanded by Mustafa Kemal (later known as Atatürk). What had been planned as a bold strike to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. The Allied Gallipoli casualties included 21,255 from the UK, an estimated 10,000 dead soldiers from France, 8,709 from Australia, 2,721 from New Zealand, and 1,358 from British India. News of the landing at Gallipoli made a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders at home and 25 April quickly became the day on which they remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in war.

Though the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives of capturing Istanbul and knocking Ottoman Empire out of the war, the Australian and New Zealand troops' actions during the campaign bequeathed an intangible but powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as an "Anzac legend" became an important part of the national identity in both countries. This has shaped the way their citizens have viewed both their past and their understanding of the present.

#320 Taiwan...Thanks Alan!

This FDC was issued on June,1,2010 for the Centenary of Girl Scouting .

In 1909, Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, decided that girls should not be in the same organisation as the boys, and the Girl Guides were founded in the UK in 1910. Many, though by no means all, Girl Guide and Girl Scout groups across the globe trace their roots to this point.

The name Guide was taken from a famous frontier regiment in the British Indian army, the Corps of Guides, which was noted for its skills in tracking and survival.

Two central themes have been present from the earliest days of the movement: domestic skills and "a kind of practical feminism which embodies physical fitness, survival skills, camping, citizenship training, and career preparation". These two themes have been emphasised differently at different times and by different groups, but have remained central to Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting.

There has been much discussion about how similar Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting should be to boys' Scouting programs. While many girls saw what the boys were doing and wanted to do it too, girls' organizations have sought to avoid simply aping the boys.

Even when most Scout organizations became coeducational Guiding remained separate in many countries to provide a female-centered program. Internationally it is governed by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts with member organizations in 144 countries.

#319 Netherlands...Thanks Eric!

The left 0.44€ stamp is issued for 2010 Greeting Card Week.

The right 0.44€ stamp was issued on Apr.2,2010 celebrating 3000th. edition of Donald Comics Weekly in Netherlands.

The first issue of Donald Duck, which was released in October 1952, had 24 pages and was only partially printed in color. The success was unprecedented, and within two years time, total weekly sales were at over 300,000 copies. Now the total circulation is still 317,000 units. Assuming an average of 325,000 copies - some years has even crossed the 400,000 - this means that a total of 975 million units of the Dutch Donald Duck the presses are rolling!

The Donald Duck for many years now has 44 colorful pages and is still the gayest magazine in the Netherlands.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

#318 Indonesia...Thanks Irene!

This complete set of 4 stamps was issued to celebrate the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup will be the 19th FIFA World Cup, the premier international football tournament. It is scheduled to take place between 11 June and 11 July 2010 in South Africa. The 2010 FIFA World Cup will be the culmination of a qualification process that began in August 2007 and involved 204 of the 208 FIFA national teams. As such, it matches the 2008 Summer Olympics as the sports event with the most competing nations.

This will be the first time that the tournament has been hosted by an African nation, after South Africa defeated Morocco and Egypt in an all-African bidding process. This decision left the Oceania Football Confederation as the only confederation yet to host the FIFA World Cup. Italy are the defending champions, after winning the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

#317 Russia...Thanks Christina!

#316 Spain...Thanks Antonio!

Featuring all members of the national team,this souvenir sheet was issued in 2008 devoted to the Spanish National Football team on occasion of its victory in the Eurocup 2008, which was held in Switzerland and Austria from the 7th to the 29th of June and in which took part 16 national teams.

The final match was played in the Ernst Happel stadium in Vienna against Germany’s national team who had already won the cup three times. After a thrilling match and having previously beaten 5 national teams, Spain won 1-0 with an audience of 50,000 spectators. To show their support, a large number of dignitaries were amongst the supporters such as the Prince and Princess of Asturias, members of Government, and in the final match the King and Queen of Spain and the Spanish Prime Minister.

It’s the second time the Spanish national team wins this cup having beaten 44 years ago the former Soviet Union in 1964.

According to a large number of national and international experts, the Spanish team played the best football in the championship and was proclaimed the best national team in the world in 2008.

#315 Oman...Thanks Khilji!

The 50 Baisa stamp was issued in 2009 celebrating 15th GCC Stamps Exhibition in Muscat,capital of Oman.

GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman.

The 100 Baisa stamp was issued in 2010 celebrating the first Arab Water Day (3,March) designated by Arab Water Council in 2009 aiming to achieve water security in the Arab Countries in the way towards sustainable development in the region.

The 200 Baisa stamp was issued in 2009 celebrating 39th National Day.

The Sultanate of Oman is considered to be one of the most peaceful and attractive holiday destinations in the Middle East. Among numerous Oman Festivals and Events in Oman , National Day and Birthday of Sultan Qaboos in Oman deserves special mention.

The birthday of Sultan Sayyed Qaboos bin Sa'id Al ‘Bu Sa'id coincides with the National Day. He overthrew his father, Sa'id ibn Taimur to ascend the throne as the 14 th descendent. Under his able leadership, economy of Oman developed in leaps and bounds. His major contribution lies in changing the name of the country from Muscat and Oman to the Sultanate of Oman. It is therefore no wonder that National Day and Birthday of Sultan Qaboos at Oman is celebrated all over this beautiful country with much gusto.

One of the most popular Oman festivals and Events, National Day and Birthday of Sultan Qaboos in Oman is celebrated with much pomp and grandeur every year on 18 th of November. The event becomes more auspicious because the National Day of Oman also happens to be celebrated on that day. The venue of such celebration does not remain fixed but keeps on rotating.

National Day and Birthday of Sultan Qaboos in Oman is accompanied by camel races and traditional dancing. Every nook and corner of Muscat and other parts of Oman is garlanded with lights. The buildings at night look their elegant best. The star filled night sky over Oman dazzles with the brilliant radiance of the firecrackers that are burst all through the evening into the wee hours in the morning. Every street in the whole country is covered by huge cutouts of Sayyed Qaboos bin Sa'id Al ‘Bu Sa'id and the royal flag of Oman flies high and flutters in the wind.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

#314 Brunei...Thanks Alfie!

The 5 stamps on the first row show different portraits of Hassanal Bolkiah (born 1946), the 29th Sultan of Brunei.

The Sultan of Brunei is the head of state with full executive authority.Bolkiah is also the Prime Minister of Brunei, as well as holding the portfolios of Defence and Finance.

The Sultan is famous for his vast automobile collection.The Daily Mirror (UK) reported in 2007 that the Sultan owned 232 Mercedes-Benzes, 224 Ferraris, 245 Bentleys, 150 BMWs, 165 Jaguars, 125 Porsches, 130 Rolls-Royces, and 20 Lamborghinis.

His official residence is the Istana Nurul Iman, with 1,888 rooms, 290 bathrooms, and a floor area of 2,152,782 square feet (200,000 m²), undisputedly the world's second largest palace after Beijing's Forbidden City (720,000 m²).

Despite his personal extravagance, he has attempted to share the country's oil wealth. In a country mockingly dubbed the "Shellfare State", in reference to the significant influence of the Shell Oil Company, Bruneians have free education and medical services. There are neither personal nor corporate taxes in Brunei.

The two 20sen stamps were issued in 2007 celebrating 40th Anniv.of ASEAN showing Secretariat Building in Brunei and National Museum of Cambodia.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, commonly abbreviated ASEAN is a geo-political and economic organization of 10 countries located in Southeast Asia, which was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Its aims include the acceleration of economic growth, social progress, cultural development among its members, the protection of the peace and stability of the region, and to provide opportunities for member countries to discuss differences peacefully.

ASEAN spans over an area of 4.46 million km2 with a population of approximately 580 million people, 8.7% of the world population. In 2009, its combined nominal GDP had grown to more than USD $1.5 trillion. If ASEAN was a single country, it would rank as the 9th largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP.

#313 USA...Thanks Robbie!

Thanks Robbie for this fabulous cover with 17 stamps altogher!

The 4 stamps on the upper left are from huge Americana series issued in 1975-1981,which shows a collection of artifacts, related to the history, geography, folklore and cultural heritage of the United States.

The next 2 stamps are also from a huge Presidential series issued in 1938-1954 showing White House and Martha Washington who was the wife of George Washington.In 1902, Martha Washington became the first American woman to be honored on a U.S. postage stamp.

The 4 stamps below are from another huge Liberty series issued in 1954-1968 showing Palace of the Governors,Santa Fe;Mount Vernon;Bunker Hill Monument and the Hermitage.

The Palace of the Governors (1610) is an adobe structure within the Santa Fe Historic District in New Mexico and it served as the seat of government for the State of New Mexico for centuries. The Palace of the Governors is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States.

Mount Vernon, located near Alexandria, Virginia, was the plantation home of the first President of the United States, George Washington. The mansion is built of wood in neoclassical Georgian architectural style, and the estate is located on the banks of the Potomac River.

Mount Vernon was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is owned and maintained in trust by The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association and is open every day of the year, including holidays and Christmas.

The Bunker Hill Monument was built to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill.the first major conflict between British and Patriot forces in the Revolutionary War, fought there June 17, 1775.The 221 foot (67 m) granite obelisk was erected between 1827 and 1843 in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

The next stamp is from 1965-78 Prominent American series honoring Albert Gallatin,who was a Swiss-American ethnologist, linguist, politician, diplomat, Congressman, and the longest-serving United States Secretary of the Treasury. He was also a founder of New York University.

The 15c stamp was issued in 1980 honoring Dolley Madison,who was the spouse of the fourth President of the United States, James Madison.

The 3c stamp was issued in 1947 dedicated to Everglades National Park,which is a national park in Florida that protects the southern 25 percent of the original Everglades. It is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, and is visited on average by one million people each year.It is the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states after Death Valley and Yellowstone. It has been declared an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance, only one of three locations in the world to appear on all three lists.

The 3c,5c and 32c stamps were issued to commemorate the settlement of Florida in 1565 and statehood in 1845.

The state of Florida is located in the southeastern region of the United States, bordering Alabama to the northwest and Georgia to the north. Over the century after discovery, both the Spanish and French established settlements in Florida with St. Augustine,the oldest city in the United States, established in 1565 by Spain."Florida",a Spanish term for the "Flowery Easter" season, and for the land's appearance as a "flowered land" is also the oldest surviving European place-name in the United States.

#312 Portugal...Thanks Jose!

The 0.01€ stamp on the left is from 2010 Third group of Public City Transport series showing Articulated Bus.

The 0.68€ stamp is Açores' issue of Europa 2010:Children's Book.

The 0.10€ stamp is from 2006 Mask issue illustrating the mask used in Carnival in Lazarim,one of Portugal’s Pagan Pageants.

In the 15th century, Portugal navigated its way to the earth’s far corners, bringing language, architecture, music, and the Christian calendar. Brazil, their largest colony, grew with the West African slave trade. Paradoxically, Portugal having introduced Christianity and the customs related to Catholic practice to Brazil, has started to adopt some of the aspects of Brazilian-style Carnival celebrations, in particular those of Rio de Janeiro with sumptuous parades, Samba and other Brazilian musical elements.

#311 Japan...Thanks Honda!

These 4 stamps were issued for the 24th,25th,34th and 38th National Sports Festival of Japan(国民体育大会),which is the national premier sports event of Japan since 1946 held annually.

#310 Italy...Thanks Alfredo!

The L.70 stamp was issued in 1975 commemorating 30th anniv. of Resistance Movement Victory showing sculpture "Four Days of Naples" by Marino Mazzacurati.

The Four days of Naples (Italian: Quattro giornate di Napoli) refers to the popular uprising in the Italian city of Naples between 27 and 30 September 1943 against the German forces occupying the city during World War II. The occupiers were forced out by the townsfolk and the Italian Resistance before the arrival of the first Allied forces in Naples on 1 October, and for these actions the city was awarded the Gold Medal of Military Valor.

The 0.45€ stamp was issued in 2005 honoring National Military Aerobatic Team:The Frecce Tricolori (Italian, literally Tricolour Arrows), officially known as the 313° Gruppo Addestramento Acrobatico, which is based at Rivolto Air Force Base, in the north-eastern Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, province of Udine.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

#309 Argentina...Thanks Lilian!

#308 China...Thanks Fan!

The two 1.20 yuan stamps on the upper right corner is the 3rd series of Ancient Wise Children's Story issued in 2008 featuring Cao Chong Weighing an Elephant..

Cao Chong (196–208) was a son of the powerful 3rd century Chinese Chancellor Cao Cao.He was renowned as a child prodigy, having the intelligence of an adult at the age of five. He is best known for his ingenious method of weighing an elephant using the law of buoyancy. Cao Chong died of sickness at the age of thirteen.

On one occasion, the southern warlord Sun Quan sent a gift of an elephant to Cao Cao, who wished to know the animal's weight. No one could think of a method but young Cao Chong had an ingenious idea. Somewhat similar to Archimedes' solution to the legendary Problem of the Crown, Cao Chong asked to have the elephant loaded onto a boat, on which the water level was marked. The elephant was then replaced with smaller weighable objects until the boat was submerged to the same level. The weight of the elephant could then be found out by summing up the weights of all the objects.

The 60 fen stamp is from 1995 Scenic Views of Hong Kong issue depicting Hong Kong Cultural Center,which is located on the southwestern tip of Tsim Sha Tsui, on the former location of the Kowloon Station of the Kowloon-Canton Railway. Adjacent to the centre on the west is the Tsim Sha Tsui Ferry Pier of the Star Ferry, while to the east are the Hong Kong Space Museum and Hong Kong Museum of Art. The historic Clock Tower stands between the centre and the pier.

The last 1.20 yuan stamp is from 2008 Beijing Opera: The Jing issue featuring Cao Cao.

Beijing opera is a form of traditional Chinese theatre which combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance and acrobatics. It arose in the late 18th century and became fully developed and recognized by the mid-19th century. The form was extremely popular in the Qing Dynasty court and has come to be regarded as one of the cultural treasures of China. Major performance troupes are based in Beijing and Tianjin in the north, and Shanghai in the south. The art form is also enjoyed in Taiwan, where it is known as Guoju (國劇; pinyin: Guójù)

Beijing opera features four main types of performers:The Sheng(生),The Dan (旦),The Jing (净) and The Chou (丑).

The Jing (净) is a painted face male role. Depending on the repertoire of the particular troupe, he will play either primary or secondary roles. This type of role will entail a forceful character, so a Jing must have a strong voice and be able to exaggerate gestures.Beijing opera boasts 15 basic facial patterns, but there are over 1000 specific variations. Each design is unique to a specific character. The patterns and coloring are thought to be derived from traditional Chinese color symbolism and divination on the lines of a person's face, which is said to reveal personality. Easily recognizable examples of coloring include red, which denotes uprightness and loyalty, white, which represents evil or crafty characters, and black, which is given to characters of soundness and integrity.

#307 Egypt...Thanks Nagwa!

The 150pt stamp on the upper left corner was issued in 2009 honoring Naguib Mahfouz.

Naguib Mahfouz (Arabic: نجيب محفوظ‎, ) (1911–2006) was an Egyptian novelist who won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature. He is regarded as one of the first contemporary writers of Arabic literature, along with Tawfiq el-Hakim, to explore themes of existentialism. He published over 50 novels, over 350 short stories, dozens of movie scripts and five plays over a 70-year career. Many of his works have been made into Arabic and foreign-language films.

#306 Spain...Thanks Jose!

The two stamps is from a strip of four stamps depicting pieces of Spanish ceramics belonging to the Ruiz de Luna Museum in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo, Spain). The stamps depict a polychrome inkwell, a XVIII century pitcher, a plate and an amphora both from the XX century.

The plate (left) is the work of Andalusian artist Enrique Guijo and baked in the pottery oven “El Carmen” in the town of Niveiro. It dates back to 1970 and depicts the profile of a warrior with a renaissance style helmet rimmed with a border and surrounded by two feminine figures holding each a horn of plenty. The main colours used are blues and yellows and the word Talavera featuring in a heraldic device.

The amphora (center) is a sample piece made by the Ruiz de Luna pottery workshop in the XX century. It is a small piece as it was used for showing clients. It is lavishly decorated on both sides in blue, yellow and white. The name of Talavera also features in this piece and in its handles there are two anthropomorphous figures.

The polychrome inkwell (right) is a piece influenced by the town of Alcora and was made in the XVIII century. It is white with lavish plant decoration and baroque shapes. There are a number of elements typical of the pottery from Alcora and especially from “chaparro”, the name of the person for whom it was made. The inkwell has four holes around the central well.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

#305 Panama...Thanks Freddy!

The 4 stamps on the upper left were issued in 2002 showing Murals in Palacio de las Garzas by Panama artist Roberto Lewis.

Palacio de las Garzas (Herons' Palace) is the governmental residence of the President of Panama during his/her mandate. It receives its name because herons were brought in in 1922 by President Belisario Porras at the suggestion of friend and famed Panamanian poet Ricardo Miro. The interior courtyard that serves as vestibule was then remodeled in the style of an Andalusian courtyard and the herons roam the courtyard freely.

The residence is located in the Old Quarter of Panama City (Casco Viejo) which was built after the old city was destroyed just prior and during the sacking by pirate Henry Morgan. It has served as the residence and main office for all Panamanian presidents except for the last three (Martin Torrijos, Mireya Moscoso, and Ernesto Perez Balladares) who have chosen to keep their residences elsewhere in the city and commute to the Palace.

Some of its famous rooms include the Salón Amarillo (Yellow Room) where most formal events are held, the Salón de los Tamarindos (Tamarinds's tree) and the Salón Morisco (Moorish Room).

The 2 stamps on the right is from 2001 America issue: UNESCO World Heritage showing Castle of San Lorenzo and Panama City.

The fort at San Lorenzo was first built during the late 16th century. King Philip II of Spain ordered a fortress to be built to overlook the mouth of the Rio Chagres which was heavily used by commerce and slaves ships. This entry was also the easiest route for marauding pirates and buccaneers looking for booty, and the location of the fort provided an excellent view of any approaching ships. Unfortunately, this first fort was made of wood and and began to deteriorate in the humid and rainy climate of Panama's six-month long rainy seasons. Between the rotting wood and the attacks by pirates, it began to deteriorate and eventually fell, helped along by the pirate and slaver, Francis Drake, who set fire to it in 1596. He had been ambitiously attacking ports along the coast searching for Spanish treasure. Less than a year later, Drake was dead of a tropical disease and buried at sea off the Atlantic coast of Panama. Tropical diseases, starvation, and poisonous snakes was the cause of many of the marauders' deaths for crossing Panama was a dangerous journey.

The fort was eventually rebuilt but in 1671, it was captured by Joseph Bradley who was under orders from Henry Morgan, the infamous pirate. There were approximately 350 people stationed at the fort and in the battle, all but 30 died, with no officers being left alive. Bradley lost approximately 100 of his own men with many injured. Morgan arrived less than a week later and soon afterwards, Bradley died of his own wounds. Morgan did not destroy the fort at this time but instead continued with his plans to destroy Panama Viejo ("Old Panama") by returning to the Pacific side. During this time, Portobelo (also spelled as Porto Bello), another important trading and treasure port, had also been attacked by pirates, including Morgan, and Spaniards alike, both whom had been waging a deadly battle for control due to it's important location on the coast. Another fort was established there by the Spaniards and some of the ruins remain standing today as they do at Fort San Lorenzo. For weeks, Morgan raped and looted Panama, leaving nothing by stone ruins, and when his appetite was finally sated, he returned to Fort San Lorenzo where he and his men rested and regrouped. However, he also made the decision during this time to sail for Jamaica so when leaving, he set fire to what remained of the fort and burnt it to the ground. A year later, Morgan returned to England where he spent three years and after making friends with royalty, was appointed Acting Governor for the Duke of Albermarle and Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica, along with a number of other important offices. The Duke arrived in 1687 take over the governorship and Morgan died the next year in Port Royal.

The fort was rebuilt by the Spaniards in a slightly higher location, an odd-shaped cliff, this time using masonry. But records for the following years are sketchy, probably due to lack of any major battles at the site, so little information is known. But in March 1740, a British Admiral, Sir Edward Vernon, acting under orders from Britain to capture Portobelo and Fort San Lorenzo, bombarded the fort with his ship's cannons until the Spaniards gave up. After plundering the buildings and taking what they found, Vernon's men set fire to one of the buildings, destroyed the "castle" then sailed away for Portobelo. In 1761, the fort was repaired and fortified but never again attacked by pirates. It gradually lost its importance as the years went by but in the first decades of the 19th century, after Panama gained its' independence from Spain but became the property of Colombia, it was once again in use but this time as a prison. When the 49ers poured into Panama with dreams of gold lying on the ground in California, it became a main traveling point for crossing the isthmus to Panama, where the 49ers needed to catch the ships to California. But it once again fell into obscurity when the Panama Railroad was completed and the travel routes changed.

Panama La Vieja (Old Panama) is the name used for the architectural vestiges of the Monumental Historic Complex of the first Spanish city founded on the Pacific coast of the Americas by Pedro Arias de Avila on 15 August 1519. This city was the starting point of the expeditions that conquered the Inca Empire in Peru (1532). It also was a stopover point of one of the most important trade routes in the history of the American continent leading to the famous fairs of Nombre de Dios and Portobelo where most of the gold and Silver that Spain took from the Americas passed through.

Currently under a revitalization process, Casco Viejo is a mix of different architectural styles, which reflects the cultural diversity of the country. Caribbean, Republican, Art Deco, French and Colonial mix in a site of less than 800 buildings. Most of Panama´s City´s main monuments are located in Casco Viejo: The Salón Bolivar, the main Cathedral, the National Theatre (founded in 1908).

#304 Ukraine...Thanks Sulyma!

This miniature sheet was issued in Mar,2010 commemorating 200 Birth Anniv. of Taras Shevchenko.

Taras Shevchenko (1814–1861) was a Ukrainian poet, artist and humanist. His literary heritage is regarded to be the foundation of modern Ukrainian literature and, to a large extent, the modern Ukrainian language. Shevchenko also wrote in Russian and left many masterpieces as a painter and an illustrator.

The 2 UAH stamp shows Self-portrait as a soldier, 1847.