Sunday, 1 May 2016

Workers of the World

1951: May Day
There was a certain lack of May Day stamps in my collection but I did find this Hungarian one.  Designed by Sándor Légrád (1906-1983) who produced propaganda posters in World War II of a heroic and monumental nature and seems to have continued in the same vein in this view of workers.  
1968: British Anniversaries
A gathering of workers took place in Manchester when 34 delegates representing 118,000 members formed the Trade Union Congress in 1868.  The stamp is designed by the inventive David Gentleman.  I thought it would be interesting to compare how a similar concept would be presented   
1983: 10th National Trade Unions Congress.  Designer: Liu Shuoren
and this stamp for the Tenth National Congress of Chinese Trade Unions accentuates the result of manufacturing (and a nice use of the hammer and cog) rather than Gentleman's focus on the workers.

Lastly here are a couple of people working the streets of a city. Perhaps it is Stockholm.
2013: Europa - Postman's Van.
The stamps depict two environmentally friendly modes of transport, the bicycle and an electric car (the Club Car).  The Graphic Designer is Gustav Mårtensson and the Polish engraver Piotr Naszarkowksi who has lived in Sweden for many years. The strap line on the right says "Mail on the Way".  

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - May Day or People at Work - here at 'See It On A Postcard'

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Winged Wonders

2014: Alderney Ladybirds (Designer: Petula Stone)
I always marvel at the  tiny perfection of ladybirds and they appear like little jewels on this FDC.  Lets count the spots from the top left -  seven on the most common so of course that is the 7 spotted ladybird (always welcome in a a garden as they, and their larva, munch their way through hundreds of aphids) next to it is a newly hatched 7 spotted ladybird, waiting for its colour and spots.  Next comes the 2 spotted ladybird whose patterning and colour can be quite variable, all adding interest for the ladybird lover.  It is also the ladybird that is most likely to overwinter in houses. 
The bottom line of stamps features an Orange ladybird which feeds on the fungal diseases on leaves, such as mildew.  Living high in deciduous trees it often flies at night and its presence is seen as an indicator of the ancient nature of a particular woodland.  Lastly we have a species that is pretty but lethal, the Harlequin.  Introduced into Europe because of its effectiveness at eliminating aphids it soon became apparent that it ate virtually all insects, including other ladybirds.
Another of my favourite invertebrates is my next choice, GB's 2015 Bees set.  The artist, Anna Ekelund has chosen to show them with the plant we are likely to see them on while walking the countryside or lazing in the garden. Lets buzz around the FDC clockwise from the bottom left :-
 1)Northern Colletes (Colletes floralis) on a Wild Carrot;  2) Scabious Bee (the largest solitary bee) on yes you have guessed it, a Field Scabious flower. 3) The Great Yellow Bumblebee on a Bird's Foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) while it forages in grassland. 4) the Bilberry Bumblebee which likes to be at higher altitudes and feed on bilberry plants (Vaccinium myrtillus) 5) Large Mason Bee, Britain's rarest solitary bee, on a Horseshoe Vetch (Hippocrepis comosa) and lastly 6) Potter Flower Bee (Anthophora retusa) on Ground Ivy.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - invertebrates - for more spineless wonders See It On A Postcard  

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Marine Mammals

1990: Marine Life
Marine mammals commonly seen around the Channel Islands were chosen for these Guernsey stamps and.  designed by Jennifer Toombs with her usual attention to detail.  I am not sure if the backgrounds are particular places or just to give a flavour of the Bailiwick's coast. Clockwise from the top left are the Grey Seal (20p) which by coincidence also makes an appearance in Guernsey's Post and Go machine stamps this year of which the Guernsey Post's publicity says that Grey Seal colonies can be seen on The Humps (rocky islets off the tiny island of Herm) and the rocks around the Hanois Lighthouse, Guernsey.  Next is a Bottlenose Dolphin (26p) joyfully jumping and a Harbour Porpoise (37p), the smallest marine mammal and the one most likely to be seen near the shore.  A fish seems to have sneaked its way in here but sadly it is on the red list's endangered species. This is the Basking Shark, the largest fish found in UK waters (it can grow to 8 metres/26 ft) and is a protected species. What method could be easier to imbibes food than slowly swimming along with a mouth open?

The Vietnam 1985 set of 'Marine Mammals' portrayed whales at sea, here are three of them which are in order: the Killer Whale (Orcinus orca), Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) and the Sei Whale (Balaena borealis)

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Mammals of the Sea - Swim over to See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Head for the Hills

I'll start with an Andorra postcard showing a view of the Arinsal River which starts its journey in the mountains.  The stamp they have reproduced to complement it is one of the (Spanish) 1963 Landscape definitives showing the Anyos Meadows.  The mountains of course are the Pyrenees and this is a popular winter sports area.  Andorra is under the joint suzerainty of France and Spain and for the mountain loving philatelist the perfect country because both Spain and France issue stamps. The GRP1 , a 100 kilometre path which circles Andorra. crosses the Arinsal River. 

Now to one of my impulse purchases because I love the mountains of Greece
and the stamps show the major summits of the mountain of the Gods, Olympus, and the three climbers who made the first ascent on 2nd August 1913.  Two Swiss -  Daniel Baud-Bovy  and
Frederic Boissonnas, the photographer and publisher
with their Greek mountain guide Christos Kakalos (a hunter of mountain goats) from the town of Litochora which is located at the bottom of the mountain and today is where most of the climbs start.  The photograph shows him on the Plateau of the Muses (2600m)
They experienced atrocious weather and when they raised the flag on what they thought was the top, the clouds parted and they saw they were on a lower peak, the Gods were obviously having some sport with them, so they had to descend this false summit and continue on their way up to the summit proper, Mytikas.  Kakalos's last ascent of the mountain would be in 1972 at the age of 93.  The article on the mountain refuge tells of his relationship with Olympus here  

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Mountains - climb for the scenery at See It On A Postcard 

Sunday, 27 March 2016


2014: 'Easter Surprise' Designer Paivi Unenge
I hope you all have had Easter surprises like this little girl with her vibrant coloured eggs
Finland always has great Easter stamps and this year's arrived in the post to me this weekend with immaculate timing from Eeva.  An Easter Bunny complete with a basket of eggs and  Finland's other symbol of  Easter, new birch leaves. This stamp features Elli the bunny,  pet of the photographer Anna-Mari West who she has dressed up for the occasion with a yellow bow. This is Elli and Anna-Mari's first stamp
No spring is complete without gambolling lambs and Åland celebrated the the season in April 2013 with a set of three prepaid postcards which they described as "merry sheep enjoying spring" and because I'm lacking spring stamps I'll show the front, well that and the fact that they make me smile
The are painted by Ammi Kogius, her first commission for Åland Post. Trained in ceramics she lived in France for 25 years running a pottery shop but always drew the sheep around her.  When her hands became damaged by her work she took up painting and says she enjoys painting mischievous sheep. Born in Sweden, she grew up in Finland and now lives in Åland's capital.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Spring or Easter - spring forward for more seasonal stamps here

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Forty Shades of Green

1932 Definitive
Enter the Lyrebird which despite those feathers dwells on the ground and only occasionally leaves it when gliding downhill. The artist decided for impact to portray it with its feathers erect, although most often they are folded in line with the body.  In season it will sing all day and is well known as a mimic of sounds.  They scratch through leaf litter with their feet to uncover their food of choice, insects, although they will occasionally eat things like frogs
1999: Small Pond
Australia's Stamp Collecting Month theme was a small pond and its inhabitants all painted by the Wildlife Artist Kevin Stead. The stamps feature the Magnificent Tree Frog (Litoria splendida), the largest tree frog in Australia which I think must have the best name for a frog.  Maybe it calls itself El Splendida. I always enjoy a word playing cancel, and this one is Hoppers Crossing (a suburb of Melbourne)  The other stamp is the Sacred Kingfisher, its name derives from the fact that in legend it was believed to have power over the waves. Its iridescent colour doesn't really fit this week's theme so  
1994: Definitive
 I will have to travel to Japan for a suitably green themed stamp which shows the black and white Greater Pied Kingfisher against a green canopy

1993: Endangered Fauna
The first stamp I found when searching for this week's theme was on the Australian FDC so my original intention was to populate my post with frogs but it proved harder than I thought. They all seemed to be multicoloured or brown, however I did find another green one, The Table Mountain Ghost Frog (heleophryne rosei) or Rose's Ghost Frog. As the name implies it is only found on the slopes of Table Mountain and has adapted to life in fast flowing mountain streams. The tadpoles (which take longer than a year to metamorphose) have sucker like mouth parts which they can use to climb up, or hold on to wet, vertical rocks .  You will notice the marvellously long toes of the adult frog which also provide a good grip on wet rocks.  The stamp is from one of my favourite South African series (I think there were three) of 'Endangered Fauna' and indeed this little fellow is on the critically endangered red list because its habitat is being degraded.

The next stamp is green in all the senses because it celebrates
1965: Reafforestation
    Japan's reafforestation programme whose goal was to maintain the country's biodiversity by planting native trees.
1959: Birds of the Homeland
No lurking Black Stork though despite its enormous range from Europe to Asia. Its environment of choice are wooded areas and marshy wetlands.  The stamp of course is from East Germany so here is one from the other side of the divide at the time
1956: Stamp Day
 from West Germany's Stamp Day celebrated with a pigeon carrying post.  I like the cross-hatching of the stamp. Staying with pigeons this one is perched in a South African tree (from their definitive series of Flowers, Fish and Birds)

The African Green Pigeon rarely comes down to the ground as it forages for fruit in the canopies of trees where it climbs the trunks like parrot.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - the colour green - for more shades of green See It On A Postcard

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Its Spring

Spring has arrived at last, the crocus and daffodils are in full bloom, the days are sunny with just a zephyr of a breeze.  I'm celebrating the turn of the season with a Chinese New Year postcard of miniature daffodils.