Sunday 31 January 2021



1926-1930: Definitive 'Views'
The Saar Basin (Saargbeit) is a border region which has been contested by France and Germany.  After WW1 it was occupied by France and administered under  the League of Nations for 15 years.  The definitives of views of the area had appeared over several years with differing decorative borders.  The stamp of course shows a colliery shaft-head

and  the cancel is appropriate, in that Quierschieb was a coal mining town.  Saar Post required 60c stamps so revalued the 80c postage stamp first with an overprint in March 1930, then a few weeks later this stamp appeared.  After a plebiscite in 1935 Saar rejoined Germany.  Yes you know what happens next.  After WW2 the territory was autonomous under French protection.

1952: Red Cross Week (Design - Hossfield; Engraver - Pierre Munier)

The stamp shows the Red Cross and refugees.  1952 was also the year of the Helsinki Olympic Summer Games and Saar sent a team but did not medal.  Alas I do not have that stamp and the ones I show here are my complete Saarland 'collection'.

1955: Red Cross Week (Design - Fritz Ludwig Schmidt)

Another Red Cross Week but this time a more optimistic mother and baby and then

1956: Red Cross Week (Design - Herman Mees)

a look back in history to a Red Cross Casualty Station in the city of  Saarbrucken  during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870/71.  The Saar seems to have been defined by war.  Of course their coal mines would be a prize for any belligerent.  In the year of this stamp, 1956, another plebiscite was held and the Saarlanders once again voted to return to Germany.  The stamps issued from 1957 were under the auspices of the German Federal Republic until the adoption of German currency in July 1959 and German stamps have been used there since.  The return of Saarland is sometimes referred to as the 'little reunification' as opposed to the larger one that happened when the Berlin Wall came down.

1957: Int Correspondence Week

Anglophone stamp collectors always refer to this ex country as Saar whereas German speakers refer to it as Saarland..  My ancient school history atlas refers to it as the Saar Basin (its official name after the Treaty of Versailles was - Territory of the Saar Basin).

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Country names that no longer exist - I'm interpenetrating that theme with some laxity but in mitigation you have a choice of three - the name of the game is - See It On A Postcard

Sunday 24 January 2021


2013: Nobel Prize - Tomas Tranströmer (Design - (Hans Cogne)

In the year  Tomas Trastömer (1931-2015) won the Nobel Prize for literature Sweden issued this miniature sheet with its winter view.  The writer Andrew Brown describes his poetry as "Pure cold Swedish without the frills.  His descriptions of nature were as sparse and alive as a Japanese painting".  Indeed in later life he wrote Haiku in Swedish.  His works have been translated into 50 languages but in 1990 he suffered a stroke and lost the power of speech but continued to write poetry and play the piano with his left hand.  The Nobel Diploma is illustrated on the stamp and features notes from Schubert's Piano sonata in the blue and white of the Baltic where the poet grew up.  An explanation on the Philatelic Database can be seen here

1973: British Explorers (Design - Marjorie Seynor)

In contrast here is the dashing Sir Walter Raleigh, adventurer, explorer and poet and one of Queen Elizabeth's favourites until he married one of her ladies in waiting in secret and both were sent to the Tower of London.  Eventually released he regained Elizabeth's favour with a raid on the Spanish at Cadiz and was appointed governor of the Isle of Jersey in 1600

2019: Sir Walter Raleigh (Design - True North)

Jersey issued a set of stamps remembering this tenure.  The words "When we have wandered all our ways" is from his 'Epitaph on his owne death' written before his execution in 1618 on order of James I.  Raleigh is credited with bringing potatoes and tobacco to the British Isles following his travels to America.  In 1810 an obelisk (depicted on the stamp), was erected at Killua Castle in County Westmeath, Ireland, to mark the position where Raleigh planted some of the potatoes that he first imported.

1999: 250th Birth Anniversary Goethe 


 "One ought every day at least to hear a little song, read a good poem, see fine pictures and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words" Goethe

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Poets - for more verse makers - See It On A Postcard

Sunday 17 January 2021

Danish Women


2000: The 20th Century. Issue 1 (Design - Keith Bassford)
Keep spreading the news
women have got the vote - in Denmark, when King Christian signed the revised constitution on 5th June 1915.
Another constitutional amendment in 1953 did away with gender bias to who inherited the Danish throne and as the eldest child Margrethe succeeded her father on his death in 1972;  the first female monarch since her namesake Margrethe I in the 14th Century.  During her long reign Margrethe II has been portrayed in a multitude of stamps.  The ones I show above are the 4.75 from the 1990-96 definitives and the later 2000-09 issue.  Of course she gets special occasion stamps as well
1997: 25th Anniversary Reign of Queen Margrethe

such as the 25th anniversary of her reign which shows her with her consort Prince Henrik, then with her son Crown Price Henrik, her New Year's speech and lastly meeting the people.

1971: Centenary Women's Association (Design - C Linck after a photo; Engraver - Cz Slania)

For Mathilde Fibiger (1830-1872) a Danish feminist, the vote for women would have been but a dream.  Her debut novel 'Cara Raphael 'had a great influence on the women's movement but her writing, although well regarded, did not make much money so she turned to painting porcelain, dressmaking and translating German novels for income.  She then trained as a Telegraph Operator in 1866 and became the first female official of Danish State Telegraph.  The Danish Women's Association's Mathilde Prize is named after her  as an advocate of women's rights and is awarded to women, men, companies and organisations who are working for full legal and factual equality between men and women.

1988: Europa - Transport and communications


Perhaps if Mathilde had been born in the 20th Century she might have become a postie like this one.


Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Women - for the female of the species -  See It On A Postcard

Sunday 10 January 2021

A Scientific Family


2011: Marie Curie (Design - N Dabrowka; Engraver P Nazarkowski)

Two stamps on a miniature sheet feature the two time Nobel Prizewinner Marie Curie, and show her Nobel medal and I'm assuming polonium which she discovered and isolated during her research on pitchblende (an ore of uranium).  The sheet also shows the atomic structure of polonium.

1959: 10th Anniversary of World Peace Council

Frédéric Joliot worked as an assistant to Marie Curie at the Radium Institute where he fell in love with her daughter Irene.  They married and combined their names so he became Frédéric Juliot Curie and they were jointly awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935 for the discovery of artificial radioactivity or "their synthesis of new radioactive elements" Their children are also scientists.  The stamp is in recognition of his chairmanship of the World Peace Council.

1997: Nobel Prize (Design - C F Reutersward; Engraver - Czeslaw Slania)

I'll finish with Alfred Nobel himself  which was part of a Swiss set of stamps jointly issued with Sweden.  Nobel held 350 different patents, dynamite being the most famous.  The synthetic chemical element Nobelium, a radioactive metal, was named after him.  I'm not sure what the diagram on the stamp is perhaps it is a blasting bunker at his nitroglycerin factory.  The Swiss could not have done without his dynamite when they built the St Gothard Tunnel through the Swiss Alps in the 1870s so the diagram could even be of a tunnel.

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Science - discover more at See It On A Postcard

Sunday 3 January 2021

Coffee and Cake


2006: Hot Coffee (Design - Ingela |Peterson Arrhenius)
As we have just entered a higher stage of Covid restrictions I can just dream of entering a coffee shop. Imagine that I'm at a counter with the empty cups ready for a caffeine hit. What will I choose, the caffé latte ready on the counter, or a shot of espresso.  Oh to hear that steam of milk, as the stamp says -  Pshtt!  

If I'm having a coffee then I'll be browsing the cakes

1998: Greeting Stamps - Bakelser -  Pastries (Design I Åberg)

Spoiled for choice.  The green Princesses Cake so called because in the 1940s when the 3 Swedish princesses were young it was their favourite cake. It consists of sponge cake, creme patisserie, raspberry jam and a thick dome of whipped cream covered with green marzipan and topped off with a pink marzipan rose. Next is the Gustav Adolf pastry which is traditionally eaten on 6 November the date of the king's death and comes with his silhouette made of chocolate or marzipan. The pastry varies with the region but the filling is of vanilla cream. The Napoleon pastry is a variety of mille-feuille.

On the bottom shelf is Mocha Cake which as far as I can tell is a coffee and chocolate cake with raspberries.  Next is the National Cake eaten on National Day June 6, created in 1994 in a fruit council competition .  This is a pastry with a mazarin base (ground almond pastry) topped with strawberries, lemon balm and a Swedish Flag.  Lastly is Semla, we would call this a cream bun except this is a cardamon version.  England had a king that 'died eating a surfeit of eels(lamprey)' and it seems the Swedes also had a king of excess for their king died in 1771 after consuming 14 creamy buns soaked in warm milk.  The buns are traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday but appear in the shops just after Christmas.


Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Food and Drink - indulge at See It On A Postcard

Friday 1 January 2021

Happy New Year


A little blue tit perches on a snow laden tree in Finland and trills Happy New Year.  The bird is on the reverse of this card sent to me from Eeva:-
We may have felt like howling at the moon in 2020 but the night sky has given us a glorious spectacle late in the year with Mars a bright and fiery red from October onward and the 'Great Conjunction' of Jupiter and Saturn shining brightly in December (when it wasn't raining).  .The card was created by Finnish artist Jaana Aalto, a prolific postcard producer and who doesn't love one of those.
Inge Löök's mischievous old ladies are determined to have a happy 2021 and I hope the same - 
Wishing Everyone - A Happy New Year.