Sunday 29 December 2019

Wheel of Life

2009: Albertus Pictor (Engraver - L Sjööblom)
I turn to the Wheel of Life as we approach a new year.  Sweden's great medieval artist Albertus Pictor created this and other frescoes in Härkeberga Church, Uppsala.  The stamps show the start of the life, the middle and the end as the wheel endlessly turns. The mini sheet was issued for 500 years since Albertus Pictor (Albert the Painter) "left time" but his frescoes live on and can be seen in 37 of Sweden's churches.

One of Albertus Pictor's fresco's in Täby church located just outside of Stockholm show death playing chess inspired
2008: Ingmar Bergman (Design - A Wiklund; Engraver - Martin Mörck)
Ingmar Bergman who wrote and directed the 'The Seventh Seal' (1957) the story of a knight on a spiritual quest in a plague ravaged land who challenges Death to a game of chess.  The knight was played by the wonderful Max von Sydow and Death by - Bengt Ekerot.  Bergman struggled for finance so this was a low budget affair which had to be made quickly, unlike
2008: Ingmar Bergman 1918-2007 (Design - Gustav Martensson; Engraver - L Sjööblom)
Fanny and Alexander (1983) which was lavish and long with a mind-blowing number of costumes.  The episodic TV version ran for five hours and the cinema release (which won four Oscars) was cut to just over 3 hours.  The mini sheet shows Bergman on the set and as this sheet is a memorial is in black and white.  From my not always reliable memory one of the things I always remember about the film are the colours. 

Sunday Stamps II is 'Your Choice' this week - to see what choices have been made - See It On A Postcard 

Sunday 22 December 2019

Happy Christmas

1988:Christmas Post (Design - Mats Rehnman; Engraver - Zlatko Jakus)
Two birds sing out the joy of Christmas on this FDC, both it and the stamps are created by Mats Rehnman.
The whole delightful sheet and the Christmas scene. 
1995: Christmas
An Post's Christmas theme in 1995 was the illuminated manuscripts of Benedotto Bardone (1460-1531)
considered the last of the great manuscript illuminators.
1980:Christmas Morning (Design - Yvon Laroche of a painting by Frank Charles Hennessey)
Lastly a day to celebrate in church and one of the 43  'Painters of Canada' Christmas serigraphs originally created for Coutts/Hallmark Cards in 1931.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas

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

Sunday 15 December 2019

Snow At Christmas

2007: Christmas Post (Design: Ingrid Vang Nyman)
Mr Nillsson is helping Pippi Longstocking by cutting out spicy Christmas biscuits. It was Astrid Lindgren's 100th anniversary in 2007 so for Postnord it was an easy choice for a stamp subject.
2007: Merry Christmas  - Look, Its Snowing (Design - Ilon Wikland)
I think the title on the stamp booklet "Se, det snöar" (Look, it's snowing) may be a title of one of Astrid Lindgren's stories and her long time illustrator Ilon Wikland brings it to life.
2003: Christmas Stamps (Design - Stina Langlo Ördal)
I wonder if Father Christmas is going to be left one of the biscuits when
he leaves his present.
2008: Christmas stamps (Design - Kjell E Midthun)
Gnomes also leave presents on Christmas Eve but they prefer porridge to biscuits.

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

Sunday 8 December 2019

Places of Worship

Featured on this Maximum card is the 'Angelic Salutation' which hangs in St Lawrence's Church in Nuremberg at the centre of the choir facing the high altar. Carved in lime wood it was completed in 1518 and shows the Virgin Mary and Archangel Gabriel surrounded by roses and with small angels ringing bells and playing musical instruments
1989: 16th Century Carving by Veit Stoss (Design - Herbert Stelzer)
like this one.  It survived the reformation although for many centuries it was shrouded with a cloth, only on display for special occasions, but today it can be seen in all its glory.  There was also a gilded cross but this has been lost.
1986: 450th Anniversary Danish Reformation (Design - M Stürup)
The reformation is in full swing here and shows a Lutheran Communion Service. The stamp is a detail from an altar panel from Torslunde Church which I believe is now in the National Museum, Copenhagen.
2013: Christmas Stamp Gallery
Wearing its winter dress is St Catherine's Church, Port Erin in the Isle of Man.  Built in the 19th Century by a benefactor it is constructed of Manx slate.  The Isle of Man picked 5 stamps from past Christmas issues to reissue in 2013
and this one has the added benefit of a postbox with church.  They have cropped the original design but the original (which I don't have) is much better -
1990: Christmas (Design - Clive Abbott)
The full snowy1990 Christmas set can be seen here.

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Places of Worship - congregate at See It On A Postcard

Sunday 1 December 2019

Small Animals

2009: Snövita Djur - Snow White Animals (Illustrator - Staffan Ullström; Engraver - Piotr Naszarkowski)
The magic of snow and a trio of fauna wearing their winter coats.  The winter scenes feature a Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) although in Canada and Scotland is simply known as ptarmigan, a word derived from the Scottish Gaelic for croaker. Next is a stoat but as it is in its winter finery - an ermine (or in Swedish Hermelin).  Lastly a Mountain Hare (Lepus timidus)  a bundle of fur and twitching whiskers. These were the International Christmas Mail stamps, sending a little bit of Sweden 's winter out into the world.
1997: Spotted Polecat (Design - D Vasarheli)
This little chap could almost be wearing a trapper hat although all the fabulous fur is growing on a marbled or spotted polecat (Vormela peregusna)
seen here going about its daily life. When alarmed it arches its back and curls its tail and may inflict a foul smell emanating from under that tail if threatened.
2013: SEPAC - Young Animals of the Alpine Region (Design - Eric Beck)
Among the mountains of Liechtenstein a young marmot is coming out of its burrow. A shrill whistle is used as a warning to other marmots of predators, hope this one has sharp hearing while it is out in the open. 
2013: SEPAC - Baby Animals (Design - Marta Gullklett)
I started in winter but here is the promise of spring with cute little bundles of wool. The Faroe Islands lambs arrive in late April.

Lost Sheep on top of the York Left Luggage Office

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - small animals - appreciate the small things in life at - See It On A Postcard

Sunday 24 November 2019


1983: Year of the Child
Its playtime with a purpose in Mongolia, building robots and archery practice.
1986:25th Anniversary of Children's Day Care Centres
Meanwhile in Cuba small children seem to be playing with boxes.
1968: Paintings of Children
This little girl has a basket full of cherries. It is a painting by John Russell (1745-1806), an English portrait painter who worked in oil and pastels travelling extensively around the country, his paintings of children usually done in pastels.  Girl Presenting Cherries can be seen in the Louvre, Paris.
A charming house in Horn, Germany (now a suburb of Hamburg) which was the start of the Rauhe House Childrens Homes in 1833.  The Rauhe House was gifted to the founder Johann Hinrich Wichern who moved here with his wife and mother to look after poor boys, the homes later expanded to include all neglected children.
1983: 150th Anniversary of Das Rauhe Haus (Design - Börnson)
This building was the starting point of the diverse social and education activities of the Rauhe House homes. The children lived in 'families' of 12 to 15, a great contrast to the large institutions.

The Sunday Stamps prompt this week is - children - play along at See It On A Postcard 

Sunday 17 November 2019


1987: Bee-keeping (Design - Mihai Vamasescu)
In the short cold days of early winter lets imagine the warmth of summer's day and the buzz of bees in a field of sunflowers.
1994: Definitives - Flora and Fauna (Design - Wendy Bramall)
or a bumble bee among the broom flowers with a couple of Clouded Yellow butterflies floating nearby attracted by red clover on the island of Alderney.
Stay by a still pond and watch a hyperactive Blue-tailed damselfly zooming around among water crowfoot and branched bur-reed.  The low values of these stamps sold out by 2001, the higher values would last until 2006.  The full set can be seen here
1971: Butterflies and Moths (Design - P Lambert)
 Head to west Africa to even warmer climes and find (1f )- the African Emperor Moth, Gonimbrascia hecate.  I don't know if it is day or night flying but would guess from being called Hecate it must be night. Coincidentally November 16th was Hecate's Night when she roams the earth with her hounds. A portion of bee's honey and mushrooms (Hecate's Supper) left on the step outside a home means she will bless the inhabitants. The next (2f) is a butterfly, Hamanumida Daedalus also called the guineafowl butterfly because of its colour and patterning.
1962: Postage Due Stamps - Beetles (Design - R Seles; Engraver - G Betemps)
I love catching sight of a glossy black beetle shining in the undergrowth but might get very excited if I saw something as patterned as this although unlikely as Sternotomis Virescens lives in Africa and feeds on the coffee plant.
If you prefer spots to stripes then here is another Longhorn beetle, Sternotomis Gama.  Lastly two beetles for the price of one franc, another Longhorn - Phosphorus virescens which apart from its sulphur-yellow pigment has yellow-green fluorescence, the perfect beetle for a stamp.  It is considered a pest because it bores into the stems of the cola plants.  Our striped friend is a flat-faced Longhorn beetle, Ceroplesis carabarica, its preference is coffee plants.

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Insects - for more fly over to -  See It On A Postcard

Sunday 10 November 2019


2006: Lest We Forget (Hat Trick Design)
For Remembrance Sunday my first stamp has to be a poppy for many will be worn today. This stamp was the first of 3 poppy series that were issued to commemorate events in World War 1, in this case the Battle of the Somme.  Over recent years we have had many issues commemorating both world wars and events but I go back further in time
1974: Definitive Issue Low Values - Military Uniforms
to the 19th Century and Guernsey's Royal Militia, a little bit of irony there for Guernsey fought for Parliament in the English Civil War.  There is a history of 800 years of a militia in the islands although the first recorded battle was not until 1338 predictably against their nearest neighbours, the French.  The militia were not paid and service was obligatory
although one did get to wear a snazzy uniform.   The stamps show - 5½p Colour-Sergeant of Grenadiers East (Town) Regiment 1833; 6p Officer, North Regiment (Light Infantry) 1832; 8p Field Officer, Rifle Company (2nd Royal Guernsey Light Infantry) 1868; 9p Private, 4th West Regiment 1785 and 10p Field Officer, 4th West Regiment 1824
The soldier featured on this FDC is a Sergeant of the 3rd Regiment which appeared on the 3½p stamp but who can resist a stamps with horses
The £1 stamp is a Cavalry Trooper, Light Dragoons 1814, the next two feature the Field Battery of the Royal Guernsey Artillery showing - 50p an officer of 1868 and the 20p the Driver 1848.

The Military Uniforms definitive series ran from 1974 until 1980 although the 50p and £1 stamps were not withdrawn until 1981.

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Military, Remembrance - See It On A Postcard

Sunday 3 November 2019

Sing Out

1988: Youth Welfare - Pop Music (Design - Antonia Graschberger)
Time for a music concert.  Who would headline?   Would it be John Lennon
2017: David Bowie
David Bowie
2000: The Millennium Issue 3, 1970-1999 (Design - Olöf Baldursdottir)
Ungdomskultur = Youth Culture
or Abba?  Always a joy to sing along to Abba perhaps you could do it with others
1987: 125th Anniversary of German Choir Assn (Design - Peter Steiner)
in a choir.
1996: Four Decades (Design - Lasse Åberg; Engraver - Lars Sjööblom)
Can't make the venue?  Well put on a record like this Zoot suiter.  The Zoot suit culture arrived in Sweden from America via London in 1941 influenced by Cab Callaway, black style and swing jazz. It is considered Sweden's first working class subculture, in Swedish called Swingpjatt. As can be seen on the stamp  they wore their hair long with wide brimmed hats and padded shoulder jackets. 

A Gibson Les Paul Zoot Suit guitar

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Singers and Musicians - play along at See It On A Postcard