Sunday, 2 August 2020


1992: Trades (Design - Walter Haettenschweiler; Engraver - Schopfer)

Switzerland issued stamps over a number of years on the theme of occupations, a set of which can be seen with a brief obituary of the illustrator Walter Haettenschweiler (1933-2015) here.  Apart from the many stamps for Swiss Post he is also remembered for the typeface Schmalfette Grotesk.

I'll now get on track for the theme and as the kitchen looks hot so its time to head outside for a picnic
2008 Booklet: Summer Tables (Design - Inga-Karin Eriksson)
or a full feast of alfresco dining on this stamp set. The booklet of stamps has the motto Eat Out - 'Äta ute'.  The stamp on the top left intrigues me, they look like potatoes with dill, is that soup or stew in a pot, mustard dill sauce or pickled gherkins in the bowl.  I know they love their dill in Sweden.  No need to wonder about the indulgent strawberry cake and cheese.  A single sheet stamp completes the set -  
with the sun setting on the day and a crayfish plate with a sprig of dill.  Poor little things, I'll just take whatever is in the glass.  I learn that crayfish parties in Sweden are usually accompanied by beer and shots of snaps/aquavit.  Then I wondered why these were not shot glasses but apparently ice cold snaps is served in a glass with a stem so you don't touch the glass  and the drink stays cold.
Eat Out booklet cover (Design -Norbert Tamas)

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is Food - a fine dish is served at See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 26 July 2020


1984: Characters from Children's Books (Design - Georg Rimensberger)
Pippi Longstockings looks to be waiting for the postman or maybe she is loitering with intent ready for her next adventure.  A journey to Lake Geneva perhaps?
1985: Anniversaries - International Lake Geneva Rescue Service (Design - Kurt Wirth)
Anything can happen when boating.
1989: Swiss National Sound Archive (Design - Raffaello Somazzi)
Ah look - a tape cassette. The Swiss National Sound Archive has lots of them.  The archive's aim is to preserve Switzerland's audio heritage of music and the spoken word from the beginning of sound recording to the present day. 
1992:  20th International Comics Festival, Sierre (Design - Yves Robellaz Aloys)
Say it with flowers but even better with stamps.
1964: Olympic Games, Tokyo (Design - Heinz and Hella Shillinger)
Lastly the Olympic Games would have started this week in Tokyo so I commemorate it and look back to the 1964 Tokyo Games with this stamp.   The Games were the first ones I remember and it certainty delivered its iconic moments plus the marvel that live broadcasts were being beamed by satellite from the other side of the world for the first time.  The BBC programme always started with the Olympic Flame and the theme tune 'Tokyo Melody' (composed by the German jazz violinist Helmut Zacharias).  It still sends me right back in time.
1964 Tokyo Olympic Poster

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Illustrations - See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 19 July 2020


1982: Europa - Historical Events - Celsius (Design and Engraving - Lars Sjööblom)
Andreas Celsius and his temperature scale.  I remember when the UK changed from Fahrenheit to Centigrade learning the rhyme - "5, 10 and 21/ winter, spring and summer sun". Now I automatically think in Celsius, just as well as we had summer temperatures in spring this year. 
1994: International Congress of Mathematicians (Design - Burkard Waltenspul)
A gathering of big brain mathematicians first took place in Switzerland in 1897 and this stamp celebrates the August 1994 congress with a portrait of Jakob Bernoulli (1655-1705) painted by his brother Nicolas which hangs in the University of Basel (where he was Professor of Mathematics). It also shows a modern formulation of his law of large numbers and its pictorial representation.  He travelled throughout Europe learning about the latest discoveries and had a lifetime of correspondence with leading mathematicians so he would have been ecstatic if the Congress of Mathematicians had existed in his day.  He was an early proponent of Calculus and sided with Leibniz in the Newton-Leibniz controversy as to who invented it first (eventually declared a draw) 
1996: 350th Anniversary Birth of Leibniz (Design - Elizabeth von Jonota-Bzowski)
Here is the polymath himself, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and a mathematical diagram.
1977: 200th Birth Anniversary of Carl Friedrich Gauss
Moving from portraits we come to the numbers taking centre stage and Gauss's Plane of Complex Numbers.  Gauss was called the Prince of Mathematics for the range of his discoveries.
1992: 500th Birth Anniversary of Adam Riese (Desing - Harry Scheuner)
The German mathematician Adam Riese ran a mathematical school and published textbooks.  In one of his textbooks, intended for apprentices and craftsmen, he described numerical calculations with Indian/Arabic numerals which I'm guessing these flowing numbers are from.  Unusually for the time his books were not in Latin but in German and they have been through many editions.

1995: UPU Bern Postmark Cover

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Numbers - count on See It On A Postcard for more   

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Night Skies

1986: Appearance of Halley's Comet
Halley's Comet streaking over the night skies of Athens.  I don't know why Laos chose Athens although the Ancient Greeks were among the first to produced a mathematical model of the universe. Aristotle mentioned the comet that appeared in 466BC, the earliest recorded sighting.  His work 'Meteorology' (which he wrote a hundred years later) also talks of the meteorite that struck northern Greece in the same year, which was 'the size of a cartload'.
1986: Appearance of Halley's Comet
Chinese astronomers reported the comet in 240BC but here it is in a modern setting lighting up the skies of Hong Kong.  I wonder what the scene will look like in 2061 when it makes its next appearance?  I turn next to our natural satellite that brings light and wonder to the night.
2019: 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Mission to the Moon (Design - Edward Fuglø)
There is a rather cute story about this stamp.  The artist, Edward Fuglø, was 4 years old in 1969 and living in the town of Klaksvik in the northern Faroe Islands and had listened to radio reports all day and evening, although he didn't really understand what they were about.  His father Jens lifted him up in his arms walked to the window and pointed up at the sky and told him about the men on the moon.  It is his earliest childhood memory.
2019: First Day Cover - Apollo 11 Moon Landing

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Night Views - See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Sea Strand

2010: Australian Beaches (Design - Janet Boschen)
Hellfire Bay in Western Australia is part of the Cape Le Grand National Park and is famous for its quartz sand beaches.  Despite the name of Hellfire this is considered one of the best Aussie beaches although if it does get too hot the waters are said to be very cold.
More white sand and blue water in the Bay of Fires, Tasmania. The granite rocks are covered in lichen which gives them this orange hue. Surrounded by the rainforest is Cape Tribulation, so called because this is where Captain Cook's ship scraped the a reef and then ran aground and he wrote  "now began all our troubles".  No troubles nowadays for it is part of the Daintree National Park.  A boardwalk can take one through the mangroves.
2011: Cocos Island Boats (Design - Rachelle Flynn)
Alternatively perhaps take a boat out from a beach in the Indian Ocean from one of the Cocos Islands and you may spot dolphins or whales but travel to the other side of the Indian Ocean for
1993 Definitive - Endangered Fauna (Design - Denis Murphy)
the Cape Penguin only found on the South West corner of Africa
1997: 3rd Series Definitive - Endangered Fauna
and it can face in either direction on its rocky perch on these stamps.
1978: Arctic Fauna (Design - V Kolganov)
But this bird of land and sea is in its element in the water. Here is the Snares Penguin (named after a group of islands lying 200k south of New Zealand) catching its fishy snack.

Sea Sandwort

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Land and Sea - travel over to See it On A Postcard

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Follow the Band

2001: Centenary of School Orchestras (Design - A Booth)
Leading out with a tuba and a drum major
1982: Centenary Salvation Army (Design - Theo Dimson)
followed by a tambourine.  The stamp shows an urban street scene of the 1880s.
1997: 175th Anniversary Cologne Carnival (Design - Harry Scheuner)
Cologne Carnival is one of Europe's biggest and costumes are essential often with wigs and makeup.  Music is as an integral part with lots of  carnival bands and singalongs. It is described as being six crazy days.
1978: Fairytales (Design - Günter Jacki)
 But whatever you do be careful who you follow as the Pied Piper of Hamelin plays his mesmerising tune.
Pan Pipes in York

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - anniversaries - See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Father of Microbiology

1924-26: Pasteur (Design and Engraving Georges-Henri Prud'homme)
Considered the father of microbiology Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) is remembered for the many breakthroughs in the prevention of disease such as the pasteurisation of milk and of course the development of the rabies vaccine.  If that was not enough his great legacy today is the Pasteur Institute of which he remained its head until his death.  One of the microbiologists he sent out in the world  
2013 Joint Issue: Birth of Alexandre Yersin (Design - Yves Beaujard)
was Alexandre Yersin who discovered the bacillus responsible for the bubonic plague and later identified and vaccinated against the disease which was named after him - Yersina pestis.  He set up the Nha Trang Pasteur Institute in Vietnam which specialised in the study of animal disease.  The stamp shows his house on the Lam Vien Plateau in the Central Highlands (today a museum) and the land where he grew rubber trees (which funded his work) when he wasn't running an expedition off into the jungle.  A Swiss by birth but naturalised French he spent most of his life in Vietnam so all three countries have celebrated this genius on their stamps.  Ever intellectually restless he packed enough in a lifetime for three and I can't resist plugging Patrick Deville's novel Plague and Cholera - a wonderful introduction to his life and times. 
1971: Famous Belgians (Design - Luc De Decker)
Another of the Pasteurians was the immunologist and microbiologist Dr Jules Bordet (1870-1961).  After working at the Pasteur Institute in Paris he left to found the Pasteur Institute in Brussels. Later winning the Nobel Prize for his discoveries on immunity and the role of antibodies A bacterial genus would be named after him  - Bordetella pertussis, the cause of whooping cough.

Sunday Stamps II theme this week - Father figures - See It On A Postcard.