Monday, August 31, 2009

My first Bangladeshi cover!

Yet another lovely cover from an ICCC member. This time from the world's seventh most populous country, Bangladesh! It is my first Bangladeshi cover. Courtesy of Mosharf Husain. Thank you very much if you happen to see this blog. Also special thanks to Vural Oguz, director of ICCC for making this lovely arrangement. The stamp franked on the left corner belongs to a set of 5 stamps dedicated to the Flood victims caused by Cyclone Sidr on 15 November 2007. It is the worst cyclone in more than a decade to hit this low-lying South Asian nation of 150 million people. Up to 15,000 people were killed and seven million lives left devastated by the cyclone. Damage to property, livestock and crops was estimated at US$1.7 billion.
Map showing Sidr affected districts and disaster response

Next, we have a set of 4 beautiful stamps from the "Fauna" series, issued in 2000. They depict Indian Porcupine, Black-tailed python, Bengal monitor & Tokay Gecko (second largest Gecko species).
That's all folks! Till next post. Bye!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My first cover from Spain!

Yesterday I am pleased to receive my first Spainish cover. Many thanks to Luis Hernandez Toribio from Alicante, Spain! The butterfly stamp franked on this cover is from the "Flora and Fauna" series, issued on 1st July 2009.
The butterfly depicted in this stamp belongs to the nominal subspecies Graellsia isabelae ssp.isabelae. It is a female specimen and according to entomologists, this Spanish butterfly is the most beautiful in Europe. It takes its name from its describer and naturalist Dr. Graells Agüera, who discovered it in 1849 in the Sierra de Guadarrama (Madrid).

Next, we have 2 identical stamps with vignettes depicting the composition of a human castle of various levels where the participants are wearing the typical clothing consisting of white trousers, a black sash, and a red shirt. These stamps were issued on 9th October 2008.

The series Traditional Sports and Games devotes this issue to the Castells (Human Towers), typical from some areas in Cataluña consisting on building human towers of various levels.
Castells belongs to the locomotion games and requires corporal movement. It is difficult to establish its origin and it is very popular in Catalonia especially in the north of Tarragona and south of Barcelona although it is also found in villages of the Alto Aragon where it is performed at the end of some folkloric dances. The building of these towers requires a technique that is passed on from one generation to the other.
Currently the Castells is a form of entertainment and competition where the colles- associations made up of people of all ages that make up the tower, compete to build the highest, some of which can have up to 10 levels.
This cover took 6 days to travel to Singapore. Thanks again, Luis! A cover is on the way to Spain!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My first cover from Pakistan!

For today's posting, I would like to share with you my first cover from Pakistan. This was sent by an ICCC member, Ehsan Ur Rehman. Thank you very much! The two pairs of triangular stamps franked on the right corner of this lovely cover are part of a set of 4 stamps from the "National Year of Environment" series. They were issued on 23 March 2009. The four designs in this series can be seen on the left corner of this FDC envelope. They depict a Chukar, Deodar, Markhor and Jasmine. And here are the stamps.
2009 has been formally titled "The National Year of Environment" in Pakistan. Like all countries, Pakistan is facing a number of environmental challenges due to accelerated economic and demographic changes. The unsustainable rate of population growth, dependency on natural resources, and lake of awareness is gradually leading to over-exploitation and ultimately, environmental degradation.

The aims and objectives of the National Year of Environment is to raise awareness among the common masses regarding environmental issues and creating support for attitudinal changes for an environment-friendly Pakistan.

The Rs.2 stamp belongs to the "Golden Jubilee of the First ascent of Nanga Parbat", issued on 6 October 2003. Nanga Parbat is the ninth highest mountain on Earth. It lies just south of the Indus River in the Astore District of the Northern Areas in Pakistan in Pakistan administered Kashmir. The first ascent was made by Austrian climber Hermann Buhl on 3 July 1953.

Lastly, we have a definitive stamp issued in 1998, representing Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the "father of the nation".
This cover was postmarked on 19 August 2009 in Islamabad, Pakistan and took 7 days to travel an estimated distance of 4,811kms to reach me.
That's all folks! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

An awesome french aviation cover!

It is always a great pleasure to exchange covers with Jérôme from France. Thank you very much for this awesome Aviation cover! The first stamp from the left features La Patrouille de France or Patrouille Acrobatique de France ("French Acrobatic Patrol"). Originating in 1931, it is the precision aerobatic demonstration team of the French Air Force and is one of the world's oldest and best demostration team.

The stamp shows the alpha jet forefront (aircrafts use by the Patrol since 1981) flying pass the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

Next is a stamp to commemorate the Century of Gordon Bennett Cup (1909-2009). The world’s first major international flying meeting was held in the champagne growing region of France near the historic cathedral city of Reimsfrom, from 22 to 29 August 1909. It was won by Curtiss and his Golden Flyer (shown on the stamp). He had the best speed in a two-lap triangular 6.2-mile (10-kilometer) course, averaging 47 miles per hour (75.6 kilometers per hour).

Last but not least, we have a lovely stamp to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of French engineer and aviation pioneer Louis Blériot (1872 -1936) of being the first person to fly a plane over the English Channel.
In addition, Jérôme sent me this lovely stamp from French Polynesia which commemorates the 40th Anniversay of the first man on moon. It was issued on 20 July 2009.
This cover bears a special postmark from Musée de La Poste, Paris. Dated 19 August 2009, it took 6 days to reach me. The Musée de La Poste (La Poste's Museum) is the museum of the French postal operator La Poste. It specializes in the postal history and philately of France. With 15 separate rooms spread over 5 floors, it retraces almost 5 centuries of postal history: from post horses to the royal mail, the first telecommunication systems, the arrival of the rural postman and the postage stamp.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

An awesome Malaysian cover!

Here is another awesome cover from Perak, Malaysia! Many thanks to Khor Kok Keong!

The 2 lovely stamps franked on this cover are from the first Joint Stamp Issue between Pos Malaysia and Brunei Postal Services Department, entitled "Unique Marine Life". It is interesting to note that the stamps are actually marked 2006 but were issued on 6th February 2007 due to the postponement of the issue date.

The left stamp depicts a Orangestriped Triggerfish. These fishes can be found in the warm parts of the Indo-Pacific Ocean and Red Sea. They live in areas of rich coral growth and on clear lagoon, channel or seaward reefs 2 to 50 meters in depth. This species is found present in coral reef areas of the Brunei Darussalam's offshore waters. Adults can reach maximum of 30 cm in length.
The right stamp features a Leaf Scorpionfish. The Scorpion fish is a small compressed fish, with high and long dorsal fins. Measuring up to 10 centimeters, it may appear in a variety of colors including white, yellow, pink, green, brown or black. Normally encountered on reef front and along the external reef, it stands still with the dorsal fin lifted, rocking and mimicking a seaweed that is being moved by the sea currents. It is an ambush predator, often hiding amongst corals and gorgonians. Algae and hydroids can grow on its skin that change from time to time providing excellent camouflage.

In addition a miniature sheet (shown below) depicting a Chambered Nautilus and a Spotted Boxfish was issued as part of this beautiful set. Don't they look absolutely gorgeous?

Monday, August 24, 2009

A lovely butterfly cover from Turkey!

Hi everyone! Another lovely cover from Turkey to share with you guys. Great thanks to Ahmet Demir.

The 2 butterflies stamps franked on this beautiful butterfly cover, drawn by Ahmet himself belong to a set of 4 lovely stamps from the " World Environment Day" series, issued on 5th June 2009. And here is the complete set.

World Environment Day (WED) was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972. WED is hosted every year by a different city and commemorated with an international exposition through the week of June.

The theme for WED 2009 is 'Your Planet Needs You - UNite to Combat Climate Change'. It reflects the urgency for nations to agree on a new deal at the crucial climate convention meeting in Copenhagen some 180 days later in the year, and the links with overcoming poverty and improved management of forests.

WED 2009’s host is Mexico which reflects the growing role of the Latin American country in the fight against climate change, including its growing participation in the carbon markets. Mexico is also a leading partner in United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) Billion Tree Campaign. The country, with the support of its President and people, has spearheaded the pledging and planting of some 25 per cent of the trees under the campaign. Accounting for around 1.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the country is demonstrating its commitment to climate change on several fronts.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon states that the WED celebration will “further underline Mexico's determination to manage natural resources and deal with the most demanding challenge of the 21st century – climate change.” (Wikipedia)

This cover was postmarked in Pasaport, Izmir, Turkey on 11 August 2009 and took 8 days to travel an estimated distance of 8,756kms to reach me.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

3 wonderful European covers!!!

Here are 3 wonderful covers sent from Europe to share with you guys. Many thanks to all my European friends! The first lovely cover was sent by fellow blogger and frog lover, Eric Bruth. Postmarked on 21 July 2009 in Montrouge, France, this cover took 10 days to travel an estimated distance of 10,736 kms to reach me.
Next, we have this awesome cover sent by Giannini Jacopo. Posted from Viareggio, a city located in northern Tuscany, Italy, on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea, this cover traveled an estimated distance of 10,188kms to reach me.
Last but not least, is this gorgeous cover sent by Johanna Palonen from Eckero, Aland, Finland. Bearing a special postmark from the Post and Custom house (Post och Tullhuset) mailbox dated 14 August 2009, this cover took 7 days to travel an estimated distance of 9,560kms to reach me.
That's all for this lovely sunday! See you again soon!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

An awesome cover from Brazil!

Hello Saturday! Goodbye Friday! Yess...finally it's the weekend! Today, I shall share with you guys my second cover from Brazil! This time from an ICCC member, Daniel Blumenthal. Thank you very much if you happen to see this blog :) The set of 2 stamps franked on the right corner of this lovely cover belongs to the "Preserve Preserve the Polar Regions and Glaciers" series, issued on 18th March 2009. It is part of about 40 countries to issue stamps on this common theme so that to raise awareness of the dangers of climate change as well as the many creatures impacted by its effects.
Much more than just marvellous mounds of snow and ice, glaciers are the world’s largest freshwater reservoir. So large, in fact, that together they cover an expanse the size of South America. The rapid loss of these ice cores due to climate change threatens essential supplies of water necessary to maintain all forms of life on this planet.

By the end of this century, global temperatures are expected to rise between 1.4 and 5.8°C. Scientists predict that a 4°C temperature increase would melt nearly half the world’s glaciers. As they melt, we will see an increase in floods, water shortages, and a rise in sea levels that will destroy many, if not all, coastal communities and habitats. Climate change has already wiped out an entire ecosystem on the crumbling ice shelves of the Arctic.

I have blogged on this topic before.
Here you will find pictures of twenty-eight countries' stamp issues on this theme.

Next, we have a stamp commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Dom Helder Camara, issued on 7th February 2009.
Dom Helder Camara, who died in Recife, Brazil, on August 27, was one of the great leaders of the 20th century. Like most bishops, he was a politician who built links to the rich and powerful. Yet he also had the rare gift of appealing to all groups, including students, revolutionaries and the press. For a while even conservatives liked Dom Helder. He was Latin America's religious populist, capturing the hearts of the people through his charisma and piety.

Above all, the short and slender bishop devoted his energies to the poor. His struggle for Latin American development and human rights largely defined liberationist Catholicism. Also, his confidence in the laity--both men and women--counteracted the stern clericalism that had ruled the church for centuries. These attempts to change Brazilian society and the church made Dom Helder many enemies, especially among the repressive military officers who ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985. He survived that period and the many other secular and ecclesiastical storms of his era by anchoring himself in the spirituality and faith of the Catholic Church.

He is famous for stating, "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist."

This cover was postmarked on 10th August 2009 in Porto Alegre, Brazil and took 10 days to travel an estimated distance of 15, 891 kms to reach Singapore.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A beautiful postcard from Estonia!

Many thanks to Janek for sending this beautiful postcard with matching stamps from Estonia!

The postcard depicts the Estonian Song Festival and a monument to the memory of Gustav Ernesaks. These can also be seen on the two lovely stamps franked on this postcard. The left stamp was issued on 18th June 2009 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Estonian Song Festival and the right stamp belongs to the Centenary of birth of Composer and Choir conductor Gustav Ernesaks. It was issued on 17th January 2008. The Estonian Song Festival is one of the largest amateur choral events in the world, a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. It is held every five years in July on the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds. The joint choir has usually comprised 18,000 singers while in 2009, there were more than 26,000 participants performing to an audience of 80,000.

A moment before the opening of the 25th Estonian Song Festival (2009) at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds

Gustav Ernesaks (1908 - 1993) was an Estonian composer and a choir onductor. He played an integral role in the Singing Revolution and was one of the father figures of the Estonian Song Festival tradition; one of his songs, set to Lydia Koidula's poem Mu isamaa on minu arm, became an unofficial national anthem during the years of Soviet occupation; ironically, he was also the composer of the Anthem of Estonian SSR used between 1945 and 1990. A statue of him was erected in 2004 on the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds.

Watching over the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds is a monument to the memory of Gustav Ernesaks

The Estonians often like to be described as a singing people – it is an expression of the national identity of the people, which has united them in their struggle for independence both in the early years of the 20th century and during the Soviet occupation. As Janek claimed Songs festivals are a very important part of their culture.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A great cover from USA!

Good day! Another great cover from the United States to share with you guys.

The 2 awesome stamps franked on the top right of this cover belong to United States Postal Service's latest definitive series entitled "Scenic American Landscapes". It is my opinion that this is one of the most beautiful definitive series ever issued by USPS.

The international 75-cent stamp, issued in 2006 features a photograph of the Great Smoky Mountains at sunset, taken by David Muench of Santa Barbara, California. This view from Clingmans Dome includes portions of both North Carolina and Tennessee. Encompassing approximately 800 square miles of mountainous terrain in both North Carolina and Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is renowned for the diversity of the plant and animal life found along some 800 miles of hiking trails. Also found in the park are structures that represent the Southern Appalachian mountain culture of the settlers who once lived in the area.

Next is another international rate stamp with a 98-cent denomination. This time depicting Grand Teton National Park located in northwestern Wyoming. The photograph was taken from the Snake River Overlook at dawn by Dennis Flaherty. The park is named after the Grand Teton, which, at 4,197 m, is the tallest mountain in the Teton Range. This stamp was issued on 28th June 2009.

Franked on the second row, left, we have a commemorative stamp featuring Dag Hammarskjold. It was issued in 1961.

Dag Hammarskjold was a Swedish government official who served as the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, from 1953 until his untimely death in 1961. Hammarskhold worked hard to defuse the tensions in the Middle East. He established the UN Emergency Force, which was utilized as peacekeepers after the Suez Crisis of 1956.
His last challenge was the Congo Crisis which began in 1960. Hammarskjold sent in a UN Emergency Force to help keep the peace. When UN personnel came under attack he flew to Congo to negotiate a cease-fire. He was killed when his plane crashed, under circumstances never fully explained. After his death he received the Nobel Peace Prize, the first person to receive it posthumously.

Last but not least, we have a 5-cent stamp marking the 50th anniversary of Indiana's admission into the Union. It was issued on April 16, 1966, in Corydon, Indiana, the state's first capital.

The stamp is based on a commemorative seal designed by Paul Wehr of Indianapolis for the sesquicentennial observance. Indiana was the 19th state to gain admission to the Union, as symbolized by the cluster of brown stars.

That's all folks. See you again soon!

Monday, August 17, 2009

A lovely cover from Indonesia!

World Environmental Day or Earth Day is celebrated every June 5 worldwide. The slogan for year 2008 was 'Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy'. The message is meant to inspire and encourage actions to eliminate the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, CO2, a main contributor to global warming.

The Indonesian Post helped to disseminate this message by issuing a set of postage stamps, entitled "Environmental Care" on 5th June 2008. One of the stamps depicts the use of bicycles instead of motorcars. While the other shows a seedling to relay the message about planting and caring for trees.

A miniature sheet can be seen on this lovely cover sent by Erlangga Ryansha. Thank you so much!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

An awesome FDC from Poland!

Many thanks to Andrzej Bek for sending me this awesome FDC on the 65th Anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising.

The Warsaw Uprising was a heroic but doomed battle to liberate Warsaw from Nazi German occupation during World War II. The Uprising began on 1 August 1944, as part of a nationwide rebellion, Operation Tempest. It was intended to last for only a few days until the Soviet Army reached the city. The Soviet advance stopped short, leading to allegations that the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had wanted the insurrection to fail so that the Soviet occupation of Poland would be uncontested.

Unable to compete with the reinforced German troops, the insurgents were forced into hiding, often into the sewers, from where they continued to orchestrate and co-ordinate attacks. The Germans were in control of water and power supplies whereas the Home Army were desperately lacking supplies of any kind - including food and ammunition (every animal in the city had been eaten - even the vermin - and shooting at the German planes was banned in order to conserve precious bullets). As the battle for the city raged on, with Varsovians dying at a rate of 2,000 a day, it became only a matter of time before the rebels were forced to capitulate. They finally did so on October 2nd, 63 days after the Uprising began.

In the two month struggle 18,000 Home Army soldiers died and 12,000 were wounded with the survivors either sent to German POW camps or managing to go into hiding. A staggering 250,000 civilians were killed during the Uprising. Meanwhile the German suffered 10,000 fatalities with nearly as many again wounded.

After the revolt collapsed, the Germans were the first to punish Warsaw and its people for daring to defend its freedom. Hitler ordered the city to be all but wiped off the face of the earth and special units were brought in to systematically detonate any building of the remotest importance to Polish culture. The city was effectively destroyed block by block, and when the Russians finally crossed the Vistula to liberate the city, they inherited only ruins. Once dubbed the "Paris of the East", there was hardly a wall left standing in the city!

Although the odds were heavily against the Poles, who were poorly armed and outnumbered, the battle was seen as an heroic struggle for an independent Poland against impossible odds.

A Polish flag with an "anchor" device was used as an emblem by the Polish resistance Insurgent poster: "One bullet—one German"

Warsaw Uprising surrender, 5 October 1944

Warsaw, 1945, destroyed by German forces

Saturday, August 15, 2009

An awesome cover from France!

It is always a delight to know that someone actually reads your blog when you receive a comment, an email or a cover sent from another corner of the world. I appreciate all and feel privileged to receive one. These are the things that really motivated me to carry on blogging.

Today, I received a lovely cover from Dijon, a city in eastern France by David Jastrzebski who I presumed is a reader of this blog. Thank you very much!

The 2 gorgeous stamps franked on this cover are from the "Prehistoric Animals" series, issued on 19th April 2008. They depict a Sabre toothed Tiger and a Phorusrhacos.

A Sabre toothed Tiger or Smilodon became extinct around 11,000 years ago. It was a fierce predator about 1.2-1.5 m long and 0.9 m tall. It weighed about 200 kg. The Sabre toothed Tiger was a bit smaller than a modern-day lion, but much heavier.

Phorusrhacos was a huge, lightly-built bird with a fearsome beak. A recent discovery in North America suggests that they also had claws on their wings, which is unusual, although it is not clear how these would have been used. Phorusrhacos stood around 2.5 m tall and weighed approximately 130 kg.

The other 2 stamps in this set feature a Mammoth and a Megaloceros.

Mammoth lived from the Pliocene epoch from around 4.8 million to 4,500 years ago. They were often equipped with long curved tusks and, in northern species, a covering of long hair. The largest known species, Songhua River Mammoth, reached heights of at least 5 m at the shoulder. Mammoths would probably normally weigh in the region of 6 to 8 tonnes, but exceptionally large males may have exceeded 12 tonnes. Megaloceros also known as the giant deer was found widely across northern Europe and western Asia during Pleistocene times it stood up to 1.8m high at the shoulders. The males had huge palmated antlers with a span of up to 3m. Megaloceros became extinct around 10 000 years ago.

And here is a miniature sheet.


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