Sunday 29 October 2017

Monkeying Around

1961: Lemurs
Lets swing through the trees with the Gentle Lemur (hapalemur griseus) in Madagascar, a place that has 60 species of lemurs filling every ecosystem, no wonder it is world famous for these mammals.  The lack of monkey on the island in prehistoric times meant that the lemurs thrived here but I imagine they are just as mischievous as monkeys like these on
2016: Year of the Monkey (Design: 10p - Guo Zhenshan £2 - Yin Huili)
a miniature sheet issued for the Year of the Monkey. As with the Isle of Man's other Lunar New Year stamps they are designed by Chinese artists.

More mammals but ones with a close relationship with mankind
1913-1938 - Definitive
this stamp has the title 'Merchants Crossing Desert' and was a definitive design used by Mauritania for 25 years. This stamp was designed by the French artist Joseph De La Neziere (1873-1944) who travelled extensively in North Africa and was the official painter for the French Colonial Office and died in Casablanca, whose country we travel to next
1939-1940: Definitive
where a horse and rider have stopped beneath a cedar tree.   For more horse power I turn to Monaco
1961: Vintage Motor Cars
and the Chevrolet.  This particular stamp and some others in the series were drawn by Bernard Minne (b1918), a prolific designer of Monaco stamps but also travel posters which are highly collectable, his Monte Carlo Grand Prix posters are also considered especially desirable if you wanted to splash the cash.
The Peugeot on the left does indeed look like the eponymous Horseless Carriage, both it and the Fiat may just want to be driven on a nice sunny day.  The stamp on the left is drawn by Henri Malarte (1906-2005) who I knew nothing about but isn't it amazing what hidden stories can be found on a stamp. Malarte founded a car demolition business in 1929 where he retrieved and sold spare parts but fate took hold in 1931 when he was given an old 1898 car and could not bear to part with it, so restored it and started collecting vintage cars. Word War Two intervened and his connection with the French Resistance led to his arrest and deportation to a concentration camp.  After the war he found the 17 cars hidden in a warehouse had been undetected by the Gestapo and these would found the basis of his museum which he set up in in a 12th Century Chateau Richetaillee near Lyon in a picturesque riverside location in 1960.  Today the Henri Malarte Antique Automobile Museum is owned by the city of Lyon and has a large collection of all manner of transport including the first front drive car and Hitlers armed Mercedes parade car captured by the French at Berchtesgaden.        
A nice plush red seat in the Rolls Royce. The other stamps in the series with their artist and engravers can be found on Stamps of the World

An entry to  Sunday Stamps II  letter M prompt - for Madagascar, Man, Mauritania, Morocco, Monaco, Monkey, Mammals, Merchants and Motor Cars; motor over to See It On A Postcard.

Sunday 22 October 2017


2013: Tour de France 100th edition
The 100th edition of the Tour de France was celebrated by Luxembourg with this commemorative sheet by the Belgian graphic designer and Luxembourg resident Jean-Philippe Janus. He has chosen two images for the stamp which sports fans always look forward to, the mountains of the Pyrenees and the finish in Paris after all those long grueling kilometres using the international shorthand for Paris - the Arch de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.  The portraits of the riders are constructed from the letters of their names.  They are, from left to right - Francois Faber (1887-1915) who was the first foreign winner of the tour in 1909 although really he was a dual national as his father was a Luxembourger and his mother French. As you might guess from his dates he died fighting for France in World War One at Arras.  Our next winner had a much longer life, Nicolas Frantz (1899-1985), who was one of the elite band who have worn the yellow jersey from the first to last day which he achieved in 1928 despite his bike frame breaking at one point and having to borrow a woman's small bike. Next is Charly Gaul (1932-2005) called 'the angel of the mountains' who was at his best riding in cold wet weather. Lastly we come to the modern era with Andy Schleck whose win was bitter sweet as he was awarded it retrospectively after Contador was disqualified for doping so did not get his day on the podium in 2010. He had to retire in 2014 due to a knee problem and now runs a bike shop in a renovated barn in in Itzig, just outside Luxembourg City.
1927: Definitive provisional stamp
Another legend but this time of a tree, the Cedar of Lebanon, which I will show from different eras, mainly because I only have four stamps in total from Lebanon. The stamps of the Ottoman Empire were used in Lebanon and then after the war French stamps but this is one of the provisional independent stamps of Lebanon overprinted with 'Republic Libernaise' and with the 'Grand Liban' crossed out.
1937: Definitive
 The cedar is of course Lebanon's symbol and appears on their flag so it occurs a lot on the stamps too but I especially like this one.
1961: Definitive
Lastly here is a whole grove of trees, 'Les Cedres'  which look quite idyllic. In the 1940s Lebanon reverted back to the French word for the country (Liban) on their stamps.

At this point I was running out of country Ls but as a last resort turned to my father's old 'Everyland Postage Stamp Album' from his youth, yes that is where I inherited my stamp addition from.
1919: Liberation of Courland
Here we have a warrior fighting a legendary beast, a dragon.  Latvia was much fought over in World War 1 and after the conflict Courland or Kurzeme became one of the five provinces of the newly formed country of Latvia.  The country's infrastructure and resources were mostly destroyed so paper to print stamps was in short supply however they came up with an inventive solution.  They did have lots of maps and occupation currency left behind by the German army so that is what they used. Some stamps have the maps on the reverse however this particular set of stamps were issued on woven paper in December 1919 but it exhausted the supply.  The story of "The Money Stamps" can be found here

Sunday Stamps II prompt is the Letter L - here for Luxembourg, Lebanon, Latvia, Legends and Liberation - leap to See It On A Postcard for more.

Saturday 21 October 2017


Cotman-Color Series Postcard KPPH 119 (Jarrold)
The lighthouse plays a very minor part in this postcard but as we are approaching All Souls Night or Halloween I thought the prayer featured on the card was appropriate as one's imagination wonders what is gathering in the darkness.  I'd always thought this was a Scottish verse but the Cornish are claiming it on this postcard although it is a rather random addition as nothing spooky seems to be occurring in the pictures.

The trip to Lands End here features the Armed Knight rocks (in Cornish - An Marogeth Arvowed) which is a popular subject for artists and photographers; further out (2k or over a mile) is the Longships Lighthouse built in 1875 to replace the 1795 one which was not high enough for the light to shine through storms.  The Romans called this area The Sea of Storms and countless ships have been lost here.

The postcard dates from the late 1960s and postie is driving a Morris van evocative of the era.  They would have posters on the side promoting the service or stamps but unfortunately this one cannot be read but his bag of letters looks full, probably with postcards bought from the land's end shop.  The signpost is one where lots of people have their picture taken for fingers can be altered to point the distance to your home.  On the downside you have to pay to access this part of England and today I  believe it is heavily commercialised with shops, restaurant etc but take a trip along the south west coastal path and the view is free.  

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Lighthouses - follow the light to Connections to the World



Sunday 15 October 2017


1938-1954 Definitive Stamps (Design RC Luck)
The postal systems of Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda were brought together in 1933 with an issue of definitive stamps of local scenes featuring King George V, on the succession of his son the stamps remained the same except as can be seen with a portrait of George VI.
The stamp designs were done by numerous designers each with their own touches.  The 15c on the right designed by G Gill-Holmes introduces a figure who seems to be holding a scroll (unfortunately Mount Kilimanjaro is hidden under the postmark).
R C Luck obviously had a love of bulrushes or stretches of water and their bird life.
RN Ambasana must have been a bit of a royalist as the portrait dominates the Jinja Railway Bridge over the Ripon Falls(constructed in 1926 with some cracking photographs here)
The three countries gained independence in the early 1960s, Kenya being the last in 1963.  All the Star Trek fans out there will recognize the word uhuru (Uhura) as meaning freedom.  I'd forgotten about Prime-Minister and President Joma Kenyatta's fly whisk until seeing this stamp.  I always thought I would like one of these as buzzing things like me a lot but it has a dual purpose in this context for it is also a mark of authority in Maasai society.
1993: Birds Definitive
Here is something that likes insects which in Swahili is called the keremkerem (bee-eater). in particular this is the cinnamon-chested bee eater.
2017: Europa - Castles
Lastly every king needs a castle and Kosova shows a dramatic one on top of a hill which I think may be a re-imagining of the layers of history of the Kalaja Fortress, the castle on the hill overlooking Prizren.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II prompt of the letter K for - Kenya, King, Kenyatta,  Kosova and keremkerem - keep clicking to See It On A Postcard 

Saturday 14 October 2017

Autumn Walks

 The words on the card I think might mean Autumn Greetings in Finnish although 'ruska' on its own is autumn colour so maybe the words mean colourful autumn greetings.   I received this card one August and Eeva said it would soon be the best time to go to Lapland.  I believe the further north you travel in Finland the more vibrant the colours not to mention the fact that the northern lights might be weaving their magic.

Looks like our hiker might be heading to camp to toast her toes by the fire after her companion has removed those seriously large boots in the insert photo and everyone is getting ready to eat a lot of sizzling sausages. I would be looking forward to a nice cup of tea from that billy can but as we are in Finland I would guess that coffee would be on the menu although if we are lucky there might also be Glögi (heated sweet berry juice with lots of spices) .  Autumn is a beautiful time of year to take a walk, not only for the colours but the sound of crackling leaves as the breeze rustles the trees.

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Anything you wish - travel to Connections to the World

Sunday 8 October 2017


2015: Hubble - 25 Years of Space Exploration
The massive gas giant Jupiter whirls across a Jersey stamp featuring an image from the Hubble telescope "Jupiter's New Red Spot April 16th 2006".  This year the Juno space probe has been up close and personal sending back even more stunning images and detecting rivers of ammonia on Jupiter as it swings by the planet every 53 days - there is always more to discover and puzzle scientists about Jupiter.

Lets jump across our solar system
2015: 16th Island Games
and head to our own planet while our athletes defy gravity to hurdle at high speed.
Jump to net a ball.
Jump to smash a shuttlecock.
Jump to spike a volleyball and
2014: Glasgow Commonwealth Games (Design: Howard Brown)
Jump to block a ball.  I'll get another J in here for Jamaica who

1963: Definitive
 won the bronze medal at these Commonwealth games beating England 52 - 48.  Close but won at the final throw.
I can't quite make my mind up whether this is showing a throw or a grapple but I like this set of stamps by one of Royal Mail favourite designers Howard Brown.  Sports photographer Andy Hooper took the photographs for the stamps and Nanette Hooglsag created the illustrations.

More throwing, not people but 
1975: Pan American Games
javelins, here at the Pan American Games held in Mexico City.   From what I can gather Grenada didn't actually participate in these games but obviously were building up to it for they have participated in every other Pan American Games since 1987.
1958: Balkan Games
The Bulgarian's were definitely at the 1958 Balkan Games because they were hosting it in Sofia.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II prompt of the letter J - for Jersey, Jupiter, Jump, Judo, Javelin and Jamaica -jump over for more at See It On A Postcard

Friday 6 October 2017


Children at Play by Gertrude Halsband
A sunny day in 1976 and all the children are out playing, skipping, trying on hats, sailing boats and running.  A couple of mothers obvious to it all gossip over a wall. There is a bit of a drama with the crying child telling a tale and pointing.  Is it something the running boys have done or is it the boy with his slingshot who seems to be still in action and picking out his next victim?

The card is of a painting by Gertrude Halsband  whose paintings of cats seem to be popular judging from the internet but then it is their base for taking over the world.   The back to back houses and red brickwork on the card seem to suggest the action is taking place in northern England.  The only painting I found in a national collection is at the Tameside Museum and Gallery in Ashton Under Lyne so perhaps we might guess she was local to there.  The only thing for definite I can find out about her is her dates 1917-1981 and the fact that her work appears in the book "A World of Their Own: Twentieth Century Naive Painters". A mystery but her art lives on. 

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Children - skip along to Connections to the World for more. 

Sunday 1 October 2017

Icy Lands

1957: Glaciers
Oraefajökull is an ice covered volcano in south east Iceland of 6870 ft (2110m) whose height varies with the seasons with Spring being the time the ice is at its thickest and it is at its highest.  The area is a national park and popular skiing and climbing area.
1972: Herðubreið
Another volcano but this time a flat topped one which are called tuya. Herðubreið in the highlands of Iceland is considered the most beautiful mountain by Icelanders but because of its steep and unstable sides its first ascent was only in 1908.
1986: Europa - Protection of Nature
The Skaftafell National Park whose landscape has been compared to the Alps but of course its geology is very different. It is popular for it is an area of sunny days and I quote "an agreeable climate" and more importantly "a breathtaking collection of peaks and glaciers", waterfalls, rivers and birch woods.

I thought I would have more Iceland stamps featuring ice but there were not as many as I expected however some icy peaks came from an unexpected direction
1975: 5th Series of Definitive Stamps 1974-76
with this Indian stamp featuring the Himalayas.  But lets head to the high seas

2013: 50 Years of Tarmo
and the ships that keep them open in the icy north. Estonia celebrated the Tarmo reaching 50 with this stamp and a Maximum Card.  Built in Finland by Wärtsillä in 1963 it served under the Finnish flag until Estonia acquired it in 1993 when it was the only icebreaker in Estonia. The quote on the front of the card is from Lennart Meri, writer, filmmaker and politician who served as the 2nd president of Estonia in 1993 and seems to translate as "Breaking the ice and sea lanes for the ships and the states of Europe. Take care every Estonian sailor will be proud to act: Farmo!"
I rather like the linking chains cancel. Estonia bought another icebreaker in 2012 so now both the Botnica and Tarno keep the sea lanes open.

We don't need icebreakers in the Irish Sea and indeed if the sea freezes it only does so at the edges and on those rare occasions everybody goes out to have a look at it. 
2012: Christmas Scenes. A Time Gone By
I wonder what this winter will bring?  The artist of the Isle of Man stamp Michael Starkey "works from old black and white photographs of old buildings and streets that no longer exist and brings them back in colour with memories and research".  This set of stamps featured lots of snow and ice but of course my favourite includes a postie, van and postbox.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II this week's letter is I for - Iceland, Ice, India, Islands and Isle of Man -  See It On A Postcard