Friday, July 31, 2009

2 Awesome covers from Malaysia!

Many thanks to Khor Kok Keong for sending these 2 awesome covers from Perak, Malaysia!

The stamps and miniature sheet franked on the covers belong to the "National Angkasawan Programme" series, issued on 21 Oct 2008.

The Angkasawan Programme was the Malaysian national programme to send the first Malaysian to space. It was part of an offset agreement between Malaysia and Russia in relation to Malaysia’s purchase of 18 Russian-made Sukhoi-30MKM fighter jets at a cost of US$900 million.

Under this agreement, the Russian government agreed to train two Malaysians, one of whom will make the journey with two other cosmonauts aboard a Soyuz space craft that will rendezvous with the International Space Station, which is in orbit around the Earth at an altitude of approximately 360 km. The Angkasawan will carry out scientific researches on board the space station. The Russian Government will bear all the costs estimated at US$26 million.

The Malaysian astronaut is officially called the Angkasawan, which means astronaut in the Malaysian language. The government set the main objectives of the program as uplifting the national image and instilling in the younger generation greater interest in mathematics and science.
On 10 Oct 2007, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor became the first Malaysian in space.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My First Issue of the United States!

Finally I got my hands on the 1847 10¢ George Washington postage stamp! I have been eyeing this stamp for quite some time and finally decided to pluck up the courage to go for it (which by the way put a big hole in my pocket... Ouch!! I must admit that eBay is highly addictive!). Together with my 5¢ Benjamin Franklin, they completed my first stamp issue of the U.S.! Before 1847, only privately-produced postage stamps were available in the United States. Issued by postmasters in cities such as New York and Providence, Rhode Island, these stamps are known today as "postmaster provisionals." Following the precedent set in England in 1840, Congress approved the Post Office Act of March 3, 1847. This authorized the U.S. Postmaster General "to prepare postage stamps, which, when attached to any letter or packet, shall be evidence of the payment of postage chargeable on such letter."

The first stamp issue of the U.S. was offered for sale on July 1, 1847, in NYC, with Boston receiving stamps the following day and other cities thereafter. They consisted of an engraved 5¢ red brown stamp depicting Benjamin Franklin, and a 10¢ value in black with George Washington. As for all U.S. stamps until 1857, they were imperforate.The 5¢ stamp paid for a letter weighing less than 1 oz and travelling less than 300 miles, the 10¢ stamp for deliveries to locations greater than 300 miles, or, twice the weight deliverable for the 5¢ stamp.

The stamps were an immediate success; about 3,700,000 of the 5¢ and about 865,000 of the 10¢ were sold, and enough of those have survived to ensure a ready supply for collectors, although the demand is such that a very fine 5¢ sells for around US$500, and the 10¢ in very fine condition sells for around $1,400 in used form. Unused stamps are much scarcer, fetching around $6,000 and $28,000 respectively, if in very fine condition. One can pay as little as 5 to 10% of these figures if the stamps are in poor condition.

My first Slovenian cover!

Many thanks to Roman Hudmal for presenting my first cover from Slovenia!

The beautiful stamps franked on this cover belong to "Flowers of Slovenia" definitive series, issued on 1st January 2007. It is Slovenia's first-ever euro stamps.

The stamps feature 17 plant species of European importance native to Slovenia and they depict Zois' Bellflower (A rate - Domestic Standard Letter), Yellow Lady's Slipper (B rate - Domestic, up to 20g), Saw-wort (C rate - International Standard Letter), Primorska Whin (D rate - International, up to 20g), Spleen Wort (€0,01), Tommasini's Sandwort (€0,02), Adriatic Lizard Orchid (€0,05), Pasque Flower (€0,10), Carniolan Primrose (€0,20), Marsh Gladiolus (€0,25), Dineric Chickweed (€0,35), Lily of Ladybells (€0,48), Bertolini Columbine (€0,50), Fen Orchid (€0,75), Meadow Squill (€0,92), Alpine Eryngo (€1,00) & Yellow Azalea (€2,00).

In addition, Roman was very kind to send me a number of Turtles stamps and here are 2 of my favourites. Thanks again Roman!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An awesome cover from Australia!

G'day! Here is an awesome cover sent from New South Wales, Australia by an eBayer.

The beautiful stamp franked on the left of the cover depicts the famous Sydney Fish Market. It belongs to a set of 5 stamps from the "Market Feast" series. Issued on 24th July 2007, it features five markets from across Australia and while celebrating market culture it also advocates healthy eating. The other stamps in this set feature Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, Rusty's Market in Cairns, Adelaide Central Market and Hume Murray Farmers' Market in Albury Wodonga.

Sydney Fish Market is the largest market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and is the world's second largest seafood market in terms of variety outside of Japan, SFM auctions over 100 species daily. It is estimated that some 14,000 tonnes of fish are sold each year through the Sydney Fish Market. This traditional fishermen's market was established at Haymarket in 1945 and moved to Pyrmont in 1966. It is also a working fishing port.

Next on the cover is a set of 5 lovely stamps issued on 16th April 2008 to commemorate Anzac Day. The stamp series depicts Australians showing their respect on the remembrance day.

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, and is commemorated by both countries on 25th 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.

On that fateful day 25th April 1915, the ANZAC forces were landed on what is now known as ANZAC Cove, the landing was the wrong bay and instead of a gently sloping bay the attacking forces were faced with a very steep cliff which was well defended by the Ottoman forces at the top.

ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli Peninsular, Turkey

By the time that the forces were withdrawn in December 1915 33,512 of the 468,000 British troops were dead, 7,636 missing and 78,000 wounded Over 8,000 Australian and 2,700 New Zealand soldiers died. The ANZACs later served in Palestine and the Western Front.

The Ottoman commander who succesfully defended the penisnusla and prevented the allies from reaching Constantinople (Istanbul) was Mustafa Kemal who went on to found modern Turkey, taking the name Ataturk.

I had the chance to visit the Shrine of Remembrance during my holiday in Melbourne last month. It is one of the largest war memorials in Australia and was built as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War I. It now serves as a memorial for all Australians who served in war and it is the site of annual observances of ANZAC Day (25 April) and Remembrance Day (11 November).

And here are some of the pictures taken.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

4 down, 5 to go!

Today, I fulfilled another wish in my Philatelic wishlist! I received my set of rare stamps entitled "Poems of Chairman Mao" which I won on the eBay. This was issued on 1st October 1967, during the Chinese Cultural Revolution era! Chairman Mao Zedong (毛泽东) (26 December 1893 – 9 September 1976) was a Chinese Communist leader. Mao led the Communist Party of China to victory against the Kuomingtang in the Chinese Civil War, and was the leader of the People's Republic of China (PRC) from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. Chairman Mao has been regarded as one of the most important figures in modern world history, and named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. He is officially held in high regard in China where he is known as a great revolutionary, political strategist, and military mastermind.

Additionally, Mao is considered one of modern China's most influential literary figures, and was an avid poet. Many of Mao's poems are still popular in China and a few are taught as a mandatory part of the elementary school curriculum. Some of his most well-known poems are: Changsha, The Double Ninth, Loushan Pass, The Long March, Snow, The PLA Captures Nanjing, Reply to Li Shuyi, and Ode to the Plum Blossom.

This set of stamps features 13 of his most popular poems.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A lovely cover from Malaysia!

Another great cover sent from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! Thanks to Tengku Noor Ismali! The lovely stamps franked on this cover belong to the "Southern Serow" series, issued on 25th Jan 2003.
Related to other herbivores, Serows in the genus Capricornis have relatively short bodies and long legs. The upperparts of their bodies are usually black or dark grey sometimes with reddish tinges. Their under parts are paler. A long shaggy mane of hair runs along their backs.

Both sexes of the serow are similar in size with short slightly curved horns. There is a distinctive large open gland in front of each of their eyes.
The serow mainly inhibits steep forested cliffs including limestone mountains. They can also be found in lowlands and on off-shore limestone islands as well. Serows will come out to feed in more open areas in the early morning and late evening. The serow will eat almost all vegetation.

Mainly solitary, serows come together only to mate. One or usually two young are born after a gestation period of 7-8 months. The young may stay with the mother for up to a year. The serows' territory spans from India to southern China. This includes most of the mainland in South-East Asia and Sumatra. It is believe that serows have great healing properties. This is the reason they are hunted till today. Their numbers in the wild have decreased and today, serows are totally protected under the Protection of Wildlife Act.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

3 Awesome covers!!!

Another 3 awesome covers received to conclude a fruitful week!

The first cover was sent by an ICCC member from Mexico! It is my first from this North American republic. Many thanks to Leopoldo Velez Kolascinsky!

This lovely cover was postmarked on 11 July 2009 in Monterrey, Mexico and took 13 days to travel an estimated distance of 16,067kms to reach me!

Next is a marvelous cover sent from St. Petersburg, Russia! Thank you Karmanovsky Alexander!

It is one of my dream destinations to visit St. Petersburg one day. Since it will not happen soon, this cover is a good way to bring St. Petersburg to me! The third cover was sent from Slovakia. Many thanks to Robert Brnka! The 2 beautiful stamps franked on this cover were issued by Slovak Post for its Europa (CERT) stamps on 9 May 2003 and 6 May 2002 respectively. The theme for that year were "Poster Art" (2003) and "Circus" (2002).

That's all folks! Have a great weekend!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My first covers from Sri Lanka!

It's the weekend! Looking back, it has been a fruitful week for my philately. And yesterday, I received my first 2 covers from Sri Lanka! All thanks to S.Aravinda Babu!
The 2 miniature sheets franked on both covers belong to the "National Parks of Sri Lanka Stamp Series", issued on 31 Oct 2007. They depict Water Buffaloes, Common Langur, Ruddy Mongoose and Sri Lankan Elephants.

Aren't they lovely?

Friday, July 24, 2009

3 Awesome postcards!

Today, our philatelic trip takes us to 3 continents. First, we'll travel to North America to visit the spectacular Yosemite National Park in USA. Next, our voyage takes us to Europe by visiting the beautiful Nordic Åland island of Eckerö and our final stop will be in the Far East where we'll visit Hong Kong, the Pearl of the Orient.

Many thanks to fellow postcrosser, Charlette for sending this awesome Yosemite National Park postcard from California, USA! Located in the central Sierra Nevada of California and lies 150 miles east of San Francisco and only a six-hour drive from Los Angeles, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, and biological diversity. The 750,000-acre, 1,200 square-mile park contains thousands of lakes and ponds, 1600 miles of streams, 800 miles of hiking trails, and 350 miles of roads. It is considered by many to be the most spectacular place on Earth!

The stamps franked on this lovely postcard belong to the "American Design" definitives series, issued in 2002-2007 and "Love: King and Queen of Hearts" series, issued on 8 May 2009.

Next is a lovely postcard sent by Johanna Palonen from Eckerö, Åland. It is my first mail addressed to me from this Nordic country. Thank you so much!

The lovely stamp franked on this postcard belongs to the "Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic games" series. It bears a special postmark from the Post and Custom house(Post och Tullhuset) mailbox! A municipality of Åland and an autonomous territory under Finnish sovereignty, Eckerö has a population of just over 930 and covers an area of 752.75 square kilometres of which 645.04 km2 is water. This giant chair is one of the attractions at Eckerö. The island of Eckerö is famous for being one of the stops on the old mail route between Stockholm and Åbo/Turku. From the 16th century until the beginning of the 20th century, mail was transported by boat across the Baltic.

Last but not least, we have this gorgeous postcard sent by Ling. Thank you! It depicts the wonderful night skyline of Hong Kong's Central district. Isn't it just awesome?
The stamp franked belongs to the "Birds" Definitives Series, issued in 2006.

The 3 postcards took 11, 7 and 3 days to reach me respectively.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Beautiful covers from Turkey!

Today, I have the pleasure to receive 4 beautiful covers from fellow collector, Ahmet Demir, who loves to mix philately with his beautiful drawings. Thank you so much!!
If you are to merge the 4 covers together, you will get a lovely stalk of rose! Isn't it creative and artistic?

Monday, July 20, 2009

4 Awesome Apollo 11 photograph cards!

Today marks the 40th Anniversary of the historic first moon walk!
On 20th July 1969, America sent the first human to the moon. Astronants Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins were aboard the mission named Apollo 11.

"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" said astronant Neil Armstrong as he stepped down from the lunar lander, as an estimated 500 million people on Earth crowded round televisions and radios.

To celebrate this special occasion, I would like to share with you guys my collection of 4 awesome official NASA color photograph cards from the Apollo 11 Lunar landing mission. They are franked with a 10¢ First Man on the Moon Air Mail Stamp and postmarked with First Day of Issue (Sep 9, 1969) cancellation and Moon Landing Cancellation (July 20, 1969). The stamp's engraved master die was actually taken to the surface of The Moon by the astronauts!

Edwin Aldrin walking near Lunar Module, footpad in lower right corner

Edwin Aldrin poses beside deployed U.S. flag Earth rise on far side of the moon
The deployment of the flag of the United States on surface of the Moon


Before I end this posting, let's go back to 1969 and relive those exciting moments!!
Apollo 11 crew members (L-R): Mission Commander Neil Alden Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr. (Photo by NASA/Newsmakers)

Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin (left) and Neil A. Armstrong prepare for the first Lunar landing as they practice gathering rock specimens during a geological field trip to the Quitman Mountains area near the Fort Quitman ruins in far west Texas. (NASA)

The Apollo 11 flight crew are given instructions by technicians and management while undergoing the Extravehicular Activity (EVA) training and the Lunar Module walk-through in preparation for the first manned landing on the Moon. (NASA)

Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin, donned in his space suit, gets in more time under weightless conditions aboard a KC-135 aircraft from the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. (NASA)

The space vehicle is shown here during the rollout for launch preparation. (NASA)

A pre-launch twilight photo of the The Apollo 11 Saturn V space vehicle. It lifted off July 16, 1969 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA)

Chief astronaut and director of flight crew operations, Donald K. Slayton (right front) reviews lunar charts with Apollo 11 astronauts Michael Collins (left), Neil Armstrong, and Edwin Aldrin (next to Slayton) during breakfast a short time before the three men launched for the first Moon landing mission. (NASA)

Apollo 11 Commander Neil A. Armstrong waves to well-wishers in the hallway of the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building. (NASA)

This is a view of a roadway near the NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC), shortly before dawn, where spectators from all over the world jammed into KSC to watch the liftoff of Apollo 11. (NASA)

Every console was manned in firing room 1 of the Kennedy Space Flight Center (KSC) control center during the launch countdown for Apollo 11. (NASA)

Thousands of persons camped out on beaches and roads adjacent to the Kennedy Space Center to watch the Apollo 11 Liftoff. (NASA)

Spectators look on as Apollo 11, carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins, takes off from the Kennedy Space Center, July 16, 1969. (Librado Romero/The New York Times)

NASA photo taken on July 16, 1969 shows the huge, 363-foot tall Apollo 11 Spacecraft 107/Lunar Module S/Saturn 506 space vehicle launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39. Kennedy Space Center (KSC), at 9:32 a.m. (EDT).

The American flag heralds the flight of Apollo 11, the first Lunar landing mission. (NASA)

U.S Vice President Spiro Agnew and former President Lyndon Johnson view the liftoff of Apollo 11 from the stands located at the Kennedy Space Center VIP viewing site. (Photo By Nasa/Getty Images)

In this July 1969 file photo, most of Africa and portions of Europe and Asia can be seen in this photograph taken from the Apollo 11 spacecraft during its translunar coast toward the moon, during the month of July, 1969. Apollo 11 was already about 98,000 nautical miles from earth when this picture was made. (AP-Photo/NASA, file)

In this July 20, 1969 file photo, the Apollo 11 lunar module rises from the moon’s surface for docking with the command module and the trip back to earth. The earth can be seen rising in the background. (AP Photo/NASA, file)

Newsmen talked with the wife and sons of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil A. Armstrong after the successful launch of Apollo 11 on its trajectory to the moon. (NASA)

An oblique of the Crater Daedalus on the lunar farside as seen from the Apollo 11 spacecraft in lunar orbit. (NASA)

The Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) “Eagle”, in a landing configuration is photographed in lunar orbit from the Command and Service Modules (CSM) “Columbia”. (NASA)

A family watches the American astronaut Neil Armstrong, commander of Apollo 11, setting his foot on the moon on July 21, 1969 in Paris. Hundred of millions of television viewers round the world watched this event on television. (Photo credit should read AFP/Getty Images)

A close-up view of an astronaut’s foot and foot print in the lunar soil is photographed with a 70mm lunar surface camera July 20, 1969 during the Apollo 11 lunar surface extravehicular activity (EVA). (Photo by NASA/Newsmakers)

Overall view of the Mission Operations Control Room in the Mission Control Center, bldg 30, Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC), showing the flight controllers celebrating the successful conclusion of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission; NASA and MSC Officials join the flight controllers in celebrating the conclusion of the Apollo 11 mission. (NASA)
A crowd watches as the Apollo 11 crew lands on the moon, on giant video screens in Central Park, New York. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, file)

Buzz Aldrin inside Eagle having completed his walk on the Moon Apollo 11, July 1969. (NASA)

Pararescueman Lt. Clancy Hatleberg closes the Apollo 11 spacecraft hatch as astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, Jr., await helicopter pickup from their life raft. They splashed down at 12:50 pm EDT July 24, 1969, 900 miles southwest of Hawaii after a successful lunar landing mission. (NASA)

U.S. President Richard Nixon Watches the recovery of the Apollo 11 crew from aboard the USS Hornet in the Pacific Ocean, some 900 miles south of Hawaii, July 24, 1969. At left is astronaut Frank Borman, who commanded Apollo 8. (NASA via The New York Times)

President Richard Nixon views the Apollo 11 astronauts in the isolation unit aboard the USS Hornet after splashdown and recovery, July 24, 1969. The Astronauts, from left, are: Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin. (AP photo)
New York City welcomes the Apollo 11 crew in a showering of ticker tape down Broadway and Park Avenue August 13, 1969. Pictured in the lead car, from the right, are astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot. (Photo by NASA/Newsmakers)

A woman throws confetti from the seventh floor of the U.S. Steel Corp Building in downtown New York during a ticker tape parade in honor of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins, the crew of Apollo 11, Aug. 13, 1969. (Jack Manning/The New York Times)

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Mars next? :)

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