Sunday, 20 January 2019

Vanuatu Volitant

2007: Birds - Herons
Vanuatu has 121 species of birds and 7 endemic species so it is no wonder that birds appear regularly on their stamps. The islands are covered with lush green tropical forests but the Reef Heron which is seen all over the Pacific stays, as its name implies, on rocky or sandy shores and reefs.  A solitary bird like most herons both parents share the task of raising their chicks.  The mini sheet shows every aspect of  a Reef Heron's daily life.  

The Vanuatu archipelago lies on the Pacific 'Ring of Fire' and has five active volcanoes and one active underwater. The largest volcano on the island of Ambae erupted in 2017 and 2018 (the latest incident as recently as December).  Volcanic ash has covered the island killing crops and polluting the water and the 11,000 residents were ordered to leave permanently by the government last year and evacuated to neighbouring islands.  66 of the 80 Vanuatu islands are inhabited with the 16 main islands being where most people live.

The stamp issue of Reef Herons consisted of this mini sheet and and a five stamp set.

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter V - for Vanuatu - See It On A Postcard   

Sunday, 13 January 2019

United Nations

1996: 50th Anniversary of UNICEF
United Nations chose fairy tales as their theme for the UNICEF anniversary stamps with two issued from each office.  The stories chosen for the USA headquarters were The Ugly Duckling (whose story I always associate with the Danny Kaye song from the Hans Christian Anderson film) but I was not familiar with Yeh Shen but with the help of Wikipedia learn it is a type of Cinderella story complete with wicked stepmother, golden slipper and a prince. This tale comes to us from Tang Dynasty China way back in the 7th Century.  The stamp shows Yeh Shen (Ye Xian) and the fish with golden eyes sent to her as a guardian spirit by her mother.  The story is told here
1994: International Population and Development Conference, Cairo (Design - Jerry Smath)
Other child related stamps were issued for the Cairo Population and Development conference in September 1994.
These were designed by Jerry Smath a regular contributor to 'Sesame Street' in his capacity of illustrator for the magazine and the monthly calendar.  He also writes and illustrates children's books and has done other stamps for the United Nations including this one celebrating the hobby of philately.

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter U - for United Nations, UNICEF, USA and ugly - more for U at See It On A Postcard 

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Tchad Trades

1970: Trades and Handicrafts
I like the muted colours of this set unfortunately I could find no information on the designer but here we have a dyer which happily for Sunday Stamps Letter T is Teinturier in French.  The other aspect of the stamps is the placing of the word 'Postes' so it almost looks like it could
be a post office although perhaps it would have to be at some distance from a tanning operation.
1961-1962: Definitives - Animals and Landscape
Chad commemorated its independence in 1960 with a stamp celebrating its admission to the United Nations and the following year issued its first definitives as an independent country.  This stamp shows the province of Batha which is right in the middle of Chad and presumably in the 1960s had many lions.  Deforestation and livestock farming means that in the present time numbers have been decimated.
1962 Postage Due Stamps: Rock Paintings (Design - Pierre Béquet; Engraver - Pierre Munier)
Travelling way back in time 6000 years then millions of animals roamed the area and the postage due stamps featured rock paintings from the Tibesti mountains in Sahara region in the north of Chad. The stamp description says - Tibestiox, which I presume is an ox
1962 Postage Due Stamp: Rock Paintings (Design and Engraver - Pierre Munier)

and this is Tibestiram which I first thought was a bird but I guess it could be a ram's horn. Your guess is as good as mine.
Place de la Nation, Chad

Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter T for Tchad, Trades, Tree, Teinturier, Tanneur and Tibesti - travel for more at See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Sliding with Slania in Sweden

1980: Swedish Comic Strips (Design - Rune Andreason)
Here comes Bamse the brown bear. Not only is Bamse the kindest bear he is also the world's strongest bear.  What is his secret?  Well like all bears he loves honey but the one he eats is magic honey prepared by his grandmother and called thunder honey (dunderhonung) which gives him his strength.  First published in 1966 and created by Rune Andreason he is still having adventures today.  The speech bubble is saying it is good (to go skiing) with friends but also with small friends. Here are some more friends going cross-country skiing with a four legged small friend
1970: Around the Arctic Circle (Design - Svenolov Ehrén; Engraver - Czeslaw Slania)
The stamp is captioned vitta vidder - white plains or white horizons and the artist Svenolov Ehrén (1927-2004) created 64 stamps in his career, four of which form part of this Arctic Circle set.
1970: Around the Arctic Circle (Design - Nils Nilsson Skum; Engraver - Czeslaw Slania)
The scene portrayed is a drawing by the Sami Reindeer herder Nils Nilsson Skum (1872-1951) who created about 3000 drawings on reindeer herding and the Sami life. In the 1930s a number of harsh winters with heavier snow than usual resulted in reindeer numbers crashing and like many Sami in this difficult decade he abandoned reindeer herding.  Nils became an artist full time and a couple of hundred of his drawings appear in the books Sami Village (1938) and Tending Reindeer published posthumously in 1955.  Now I go to an era when Nils was just a boy and living far away from a big city where
1971: Old-time Christmas
skaters were zooming over Mälar bay, Stockholm.  The city is situated on 14 islands where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea so I imagine there are lots of possibilities for skating.   The picture is a woodcut of 1867 by K A Ekwall
Here everyone is arriving in the Swedish countryside for the early service on Christmas Day in the 1870s and the artist August Malmaström pictures a fine set of horses and sled. The stamps are from a booklet of 10 stamps of 5 different designs each in a single colour engraved by Czeslaw Slania,

The Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter S - here for Sweden, skiing, skating, sled and Slania - slide over to See It On A Postcard for more on the Letter S

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Christmas Greetings

2018: Christmas (Designer - Andrew Davidson)
Our Christmas stamps this year featured postboxes and as the George V boxes are among my favourites I show the stamp featuring one of the GR lamp boxes often seen in rural locations. The church lights shine out through the gloom with the energetic chorister running down the path to catch the post. The artist, Andrew Davidson's, local postbox in Gloucestershire is an Edward VIII and from this he got the idea of featuring one from each monarchs reign on the stamps (the full set can be seen here).

1982: Christmas Stamps II (Design - TT Trygvason)
A line of  Christmas music composed by Sigvaldi Kaldalon (1881-1946). He wrote about 350 songs mostly for solo voice and piano and it is said some have become part of Iceland's soul. The one on the stamp is a Christmas Carol called "It Was A Blessed Night" for which he put the poet Eimar Sigurdsson (1538-1626) words to music.
1982: Christmas Carols (Designer - Martin Newton)
A carol more familiar to me is 'While Shepherds Watched' and to whom "the angel of the lord appeared"
2010: Christmas (Design - Jenny Leibundgut)

This stamp has the sparkliest star ever but my scanner couldn't cope rendering it blue so I have pinched an illustration from the web which at least gives it some depth but no glitter. The difference between reality and representation struck me as appropriate when I noticed that earlier in 2010 Swiss Post issued a couple of  dazzling optical illusions stamps.  It may be easy for this angel to deliver good tidings
1992: Christmas Post (Design - Otto Moe)
but for tiny elves sometimes there are difficulties, but with a bit of teamwork all things are possible.
 Both the FDC and stamps were designed by the appropriately named Lotta Frost
1986: Christmas Post (Design - Lotta Frost; Engraver - Lars Sjööblom)
The Swedish Post Office celebrated its 350th Anniversary in 1986 and the Christmas stamps of that year featured four motifs forming a small town with its people and post.
2009: Christmas (Design - Stephen Fuller)
Of course the Three Wise Men had a lot longer distance to travel with their gifts
2003: Christmas (Design - Olwyn Whelan)
although perhaps this is the greatest gift of all.  The full set of stamps can be seen here.

A Happy Christmas to you all.

This week Sunday Stamps II is celebrating Christmas - come and See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Russian Rockets

1978: Soviet-Polish Space Flight (Designer - G. Komlev)
The massive Russian rockets needed to break free of Earth's gravity are being transported into place.   This Soyuz 30 rocket took off in 1978 with Commander Pyotr Klimuk on his third and last spaceflight and for Major Miroslaw Hermaszewski, the first Polish cosmonaut in space, it would be his only flight.
Their destination was the Space Station Salyut 6 where Hermaszewski would conduct the Sirena crystallization experiment to produce semiconductors in weightlessness and the stamp shows the crystal. The other stamp is the space station, map and the scientific research ship Vladimir Komarov tracking the progress of Salyut.

The set is part of a long series which ran from 1978-81 devoted to the Intercosmos programme which took a succession of guest cosmonauts from countries that were political allies of the Soviet Union into space.
1978: Soviet-Czech Space Flight (Designer - G Komlev)
 The first Intercosmos flight was launched on 2nd March 1978 (Soyuz 28) with Vladimir Remek from Czechoslovakia who became the first man in space who did not come from either the USSR or USA. Remek was later, in 2004, elected as a member of the European Parliament and has an asteroid named after him. The commander on board was Alexsei Gubarev on his second and last space flight.

Two of the great Soviet stamp designers of the period , German Komlev and Yuri Levinovsky were commissioned to produce three stamps for each of the nine Intercosmos missions.  Komelev did the first four sets and Levinovsky the rest.  The concept was for each set of three to have one design illustrating preparation for the mission, one the flight itself and one an end-of mission scenario. These would be issued in real time with the 6k value available on the day of the launch, a 15k on the day of docking with the space station and a 32k on the day of re-entry and landing.  Only 26 of the 27 stamps were issued because the Soyuz 33 flight failed to dock with the Salyut 6 space station when its primary engine failed and had to make an emergency return to Earth.  The sometimes perilous nature of space travel.
1962: 40th Anniversary of All Union Lenin Pioneer Organisation (Designer - Yu. Ryakhovsky)
Perhaps it is safer to keep ones feet on the ground and build a model rocket with these budding aerospace engineers.

The Sunday Stamp II prompt this week is R - here for Russia and rockets - take off with See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Fish Quest

1967: Fish of the Arabian Gulf
This is a satisfyingly large stamp (7cm) to stick on an airmail envelope from Umm Al Quiwain and features a pair of parrotfish.  These fish live on a diet of algae and dead coral, grinding the latter with teeth in their throat and famously pooping sand, which is the undigested coral.
1972: Tropical Fish
Don't know what these little fish are (goldfish?) but the stamp is one which came from a miniature sheet.  Today Umm Al Qiwain is part of the United Arab Emirates so to increase the number of stamps to show this week I journey to one of its other members
1971: Flowers and Fish (Design - Samir Ghantous)
Fujeira. This stamp features a paradise fish and the late ruler of the emirate Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqui succeeded by his son (who has the same name) in 1974. The duplicate names confused me for a while when I couldn't marry up the image on the stamp with the emirate's present ruler.  The stamp was designed by the Lebanese artist Samir Ghantous as is this one -
1971: Olympic Games, Munich, Germany (Design - Samir Ghantous)
issued as part of an Olympic set the same year.


Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter Q - for Qiwain - See It On A Postcard