Sunday, 17 June 2018

Riding the Rails

1958: World Cup Football in Sweden (Design - R. Zhitkov)
The centre of the the footballing world for the next month will be in Russia but in these stamps the USSR team (at the time Olympic champions) were heading for Sweden and their first world cup. For those foreign football fans in Russia at the moment their tickets for the matches include free rail travel, what a perfect combination.
1958: All-Union Industrial Exhibition (Design- E. Bulanova)
Maybe they will have time for train spotting perhaps to see freight trains which I always enjoy and wonder what they are carrying, this one looks to be hauling petroleum.  What they won't see this summer is snow and steam trains so
1985: Famous Trains (Design - Terence Cuneo)
here are Terence Cuneo's superb paintings of locos riding the rails
full steam ahead and
whizzing out of tunnels.
2013: London Underground
A trip on the Moscow metro with its chandeliers and marble will be a fans destination and although Russia has celebrated it in many stamps sadly I have none.  In an alternative lets travel to London and the opening of the Metropolitan Railway in 1863, the stamp shows an original lithograph featuring the rails near Paddington.
2011: UN Headquarters definitive (Design - Scott Soberg)
Another international venue but not as sporting is the United Nations in Vienna. Scott Soberg painted aerial and ground views of the three international buildings in New York, Geneva and Vienna for this stamp set.

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the letter R - for Russia, rails and railways - travel to See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 10 June 2018


Umm Al-Qiwain became part of the United Arab Emirates in 1973 and at that time the UAE stamps replaced their own. The smallest of the emirates its main economic activities are fishing and dates according to the Stamp World History site.  It also seems in the 1970s the other economic activity was producing lots of stamps not many of which were meant for postage.  I'm guessing these two birds are long eared owls.  I try to link a theme to a country but with only one stamp to choose from I discovered no owl names begin with Q, grrr.  Happily moulted flight feathers of owls were used for quills
1981: 150th Anniversary of the Birth of Albert Anker
although this one being gripped by teeth looks like the more familiar goose feather.  The painting created in 1875 is called 'Der Germeindeschreiber' or The Secretary of the Commune (a person whose job would include control of finances and keeping the civil register). What a busy desk it portrays although it looks as though he may like to contemplate with a smoke of his pipe.  The artist Albert Anker painted 19th Century Swiss village life and for that reason is called Switzerland's national painter (a few of his paintings can be seen here). This painting is in the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne but don't go there because its closed until 2019 when it will open in flash new premises (a converted locomotive shed) but more than 200 of  its paintings (including this one) have been put on their website. The cancel on the card is from the Swiss village of Ins located in the Bernese Lakeland where he was born and spent most of his life although he liked to travel to Paris for the winter. His studio is preserved as a museum.
1973: Centenary of Swiss Association of Commercial Employees (Design - Gebrüder Lenz)
I think this organisation is a trade union. I always enjoy seeing what symbols stamp designers come up with for a rather abstract concept.
1987: Russian Postal History (Design - Yury Artsimenov)
Nothing abstract about the post for here we have a 17-19th Century horse drawn sledge with a 17th Century Postman and the pen of choice for the period at the bottom - a quill. 

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter Q - for Qiwain and Quills - move quickly to  See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 3 June 2018


1935: Sights (Design - L Sowinski; Engraving - M R Polak)
The Belweder Palace in Polish or Belvedere Palace (Italian for beautiful sight or view). In the 20th Century it was the home of the Presidents of Poland.
1931: Marshal Jósef Pilsudski
The first of whom was Jósef Pilsudski (1867-1935) although his title uniquely was more grand - Chief of State and First Marshall of Poland, it was his home from 1926 to 1935 and where he died. The neo-classical palace was one of the few structures to survive World War 2 in Warsaw.
1927: Royal Palace
This one didn't. The first palace built on the site in the 13th Century was completely destroyed when liberating Buda from the Turks and replaced
1926: Royal Palace
in the 18th Century by the baroque version above which was badly damaged in World War 2 and rebuilt in the Neo Baroque style using many original parts. It now houses the Hungarian National Gallery. 
1967: Paintings in the National Gallery, Budapest (2nd Series)
where one may gaze at Samuel Lányi (1792-1860) cartographer, water engineer and artist. This self portrait with a Jacobin or phrygian cap is one of his most famous.  By chance that revolutionary cap ties in nicely with the next stamp
1946-48: Views
Another palace that houses an art gallery is the Palais de Luxembourg although technically it is in the Orangery which they don't tell you, no wonder we spent a long time prowling around the palace to find the way in.
1961: Tourist Publicity
A place on my 'must see' list, Knossos on Crete abandoned for reasons unknown in 1380-1100 BC.
1956: Views of Peking (Designer - Shao Bolin)
Another of my 'must sees' is the Forbidden City in Beijing although possibly most unlikely I will ever get there but here is the Tai Ho Palace or as it is more commonly known the Hall of Supreme Harmony.
2010: 300th Anniversary of the Foundation of Tsarkoe Selo (Designer - A Drobyshev)
The Russians know how to build opulent palaces and here is the Alexander Palace in Tsarkoe Selo, 15 miles south of St Petersburg and today part of the town of Pushkin.  This was the last Russian imperial family's favourite palace and is where they were ultimately imprisoned.  The stamp is from an attractive miniature sheet seen here.

I will finish with a palace in London that still has a royal family in occupation
2014: Buckingham Palace (Design - Howard Brown)
   and a stamp set
that shows Buckingham Palace through the ages.

This week's Sunday Stamps II prompt is the letter P - here for Poland, Portrait, Phrygian, Pilsudski and Palaces - promenade over to See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Ornate Objects

2001: Al-Khanjar A'suri
The Omani dagger or khanjar not only appears on stamps of Oman but also their banknotes, is part of the national flag and printed on all official documents.  It is worn on ceremonial occasions and can be made of gold, silver, copper or brass. One has to be wealthy opt for the gold and silver and the time it can take to make can vary from a few weeks to several months depending on the material used.  An ornate national symbol.    
1989: 300th Anniversary of Arp Schnitger Organ
Of course if one wanted to see something really ornate then the era to turn to would be the baroque and above is the largest surviving baroque organ in northern Europe which can be heard every Sunday in St James Church, Hamburg making full use of its 3000 pipes and 60 registers.
1982: National Postal Museum Card Series of Post House Signs
Post office signs were just as ornate. This one is owned by the Museum for Post and Communication (the renamed National Postal Museum) in  Frankfurt am Main,  The museum gets rave reviews on Trip Advisor.
1975: Stamp Day
The stamp like the card shows a Post House sign of the Royal Prussian Establishment for Transport. At the time the different post house companies delivered mail to specific countries and a register was available to look up where to hand over ones post for the different destinations. How much easier it is today to just pop a letter in
1977: Stamp Day
a postbox.  This is a Belgian pillar box from 1852. The old Belgium pillar boxes are among my favourites although the earliest I've seen is this one.

The Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the letter O - here for Oman, Ornate and Organ - more Os over at See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 20 May 2018

National Parks

1989: National Parks I (Design - Anders Gullberg; Engravers - Zlatko Jakus and Lars Sjööblom)
The insert card for this FDC says "Blå Junfrun is the most legendary of our national parks.  Seen from the mainand or Oland it is like a bewitching dome with the highest point 86m above sea level. Blå Junfrun became a national park in 1936."   It doesn't tell the full story for this blue granite dome is said to be home to witches and has a mystical stone labyrinth, its name translates into English as The Blue Maiden.

The FDC features a mountain stream which was drawn by the stamp designer Anders Gullberg
and the stamps show the black guillemots  which live on the island and next to them Rhododendron Iapponicum, the only Swedish rhododendron species and below that the fairy slipper orchid (Caypso bulbosa) which grows in the damp mossy forests of Sweden.

The Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus visited Blå Junfrun as he travelled through Sweden classifying flora and fauna 
2017: Birds of Prey (Merlin and Eurasian Hobby)
and one of the birds he classified is seen here flying over water on a Norwegian stamp, the Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo),
2015: National Parks - The Wadden Sea (Design - Jakob Monefeldt; Engraver - Bertil Skov Jørgensen
Staying with another sea facing national park here is the Wadden Sea where the coastline spreads across three countries (Denmark, Netherlands and Germany) each with their own national park, the Danish National Park is the smallest.  The miniature sheet features a Texel sheep and a black tailed godwit roaming the tidal flats and wetlands with a group of harbour seals taking their ease by the shallow waters.
2013: Nuuksio National Park (Design - Teemu Ollikainen)
More water but this time a peaceful Finnish lake in the Nuuksio National Park.
1962: Nikko National Park
Water on the move powering through the Senyru-kyo Narrows, Shiobara in the Nikko National Park.  Shiobara is famous for its hot springs, mountain streams, waterfalls and the beauty of its autumn colours.  The early Japanese national parks stamps were all monochrome so we don't get to see those autumn colours but maybe imagine that the misty steam from the hot springs is obscuring our view.  

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter N - here for National Parks, Nature, Norway, Nuuksio, Nikko and Nippon - visit  See It On A Postcard

Friday, 18 May 2018

Traditional Costumes

So which part of Ukraine would you like to wear a traditional costume from?  As I like green I might pick the one at the top which would also mean I get to wear those neat red boots.  The evocative flower garland also makes an appearance and always brings to my mind long summer days.  Marina, the sender of the card, lives in the south of Ukraine in Melitopol so I guess she gets to wear the green jacket and red headscarf on the bottom right.

The flower that weaves its way through the country map I think is supposed to be a mallow which for Ukrainians symbolises love of home and the nation and can be often seen on decorative embroidery and folk costumes. According to legend it is considered to give protection and for that reason can be found growing and guarding the front of many Ukrainian homes.    

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Costumes - dress to impress at Connections to the World

Sunday, 13 May 2018


2013: The Three Legs of Man (Design - Emma Cooke)
Some things instantly say the Isle of Man, one is the triskelion or Thee Legs of Man, the island's symbol for thousands of years. When Emma Cooke moved from Aberdeen to the Isle of Man in the year 2000 she also was fascinated by the emblem that appears in all different contexts throughout the island and in an ongoing project started to photograph them. The stamp features one of the photographs from the hundreds she has taken.

The other image that springs to my mind are the Manx TT Races and the motorbikes
1994: Manx Tourism Centenary (Design - Colleen Corlett)
zooming around the island here shown with the Red Arrow Display team flying overhead.  This is a stamp from a rather attractive booklet they issued featuring a year of events complete with descriptions on the selvedge and caption stickers to put on your postcards.
1974: Tourist Trophy Motorcycle Races (Design - John H Nicholson)
As you can imagine stamp issues featuring motorbikes make a regular appearance on Isle of Man stamps.  This is one of the earliest (although not the first) after Manx postal independence in 1973.  It features Freddy Frith in 1937 when he set the first 90 mph plus lap of the Snaefell Mountain Course.   One of the most famous and greatest racers, Mike Hailwood, also features on this set but as I don't have that one then
1982: 75th Anniversary of Tourist Trophy Motorcycle Racing PHQ Card (Design - John H Nicholson)
here the artist shows him in 1961 when he became the first man to win three races in one week in different categories, it was a good year for him because he also won the 250cc World Championships.
2003: Post Office Vehicles (Design - Peter Hearsey)
Some people who rode the roads around the island throughout the year were the GPO telegram delivery boys on their BSA Bantams. I could have said zoomed around the island except  that would have been an exaggeration because the three-speed gearboxes were governed to restrict their top speed.

Sunday Stamps II prompt of the letter M - for Motorbike and Isle of Man - motor over to See It On A Postcard