It is with great joy that I am writing the following article, made possible by the amability of Slovenská Pošta (Slovak Post). From the very beginning, I have to come out as a big fan of Slovak philately. Whether we are talking about the careful and artful engraving of the stamps, continuing with pride the Czechoslovak Post tradition, or about the tasteful choice of topics, I am always pleasantly surprised by Slovak stamps.
This post is brought to you in collaboration with Македонска Пошта (Macedonian Post), the postal services of the Republic of North Macedonia. On posta.com.mk you can find more about their stamp releases in English, Macedonian, and Albanian. Thank you for the awesome gift of the stamps and first day covers issued in 2018!
Jan-10: The 550th Anniversary of the Death of Skanderbeg
While the USPS issued numerous stamps dwelling on the topic of space exploration, in this article we are going to look at the beautiful stamps issued in 2000 with the occasion of the World Stamp Expo in Anaheim, CA.
A number of five sheets and blocks were issued on this occasion. A new one was issued daily, between Jul-07 and Jul-11, and each addressing a different topic of space exploration.
Space Achievement and Exploration
The first issue, of Jul-07, 2000 is a circular block featuring a concentric circular stamp with holographic foil showing the Earth from space. The stamp is a high nominal of $11.75.
“Elder Nicolae, the Fiddler” (1906) is one of the best known paintings of Romanian painter Ștefan Luchian (1868-1916). Although Luchian excelled in the area of landscape and still life painting, there are a couple of well-known portraits signed by him, among which Gypsy flower sellers, laundresses, and children are captured in Impressionist style. A former student of the renowned Nicolae Grigorescu, and an avid admirer of Rembrandt and Correggio (whose works he copied during his 2-semester stay at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts), Luchian’s paintings are immediately recognized by Romanians due to his very personal touch. It is in this position that we find “Elder Nicolae, the Fiddler” – the portrait of a weary, anguished older man, caught in a moment that has little to do with his trade. Nicolae is resting, probably after vivacious carousing, where he conducted the entertainment of the merry-makers.
While there are literally hundreds of fauna-related stamps issued by Canadian Post, today I’m going to devote an article to the high-nominal series of engraved stamps depicting animals issued between 1997 and 2010. The series contains 9 high-quality engraved stamps, with a banknote-like quality. As commonly done with Canadian stamps, the names of the animals are featured bilingually in English and French. Their face value ranges from 1Can$ to 10Can$. Unlike other high nominal value stamps, these stamps are really usable (i.e. can be affixed to correspondence), therefore their value doubles as postal and philatelic products. Many countries issue nowadays stamps with absurdly high face value – which cannot be used for postage, and therefore are issued as philatelic items. However, the Canadian ones we are talking about can and are actually used as postage.
The first series, 1997
The first stamp issued was the Grizzly bear 8Can$ stamp in 1997.
I decided to write this article because of the many letters I receive in bad condition from the people I swap stamps with. The article is going to help you even for regular letters – not necessarily for swapping stamps.
The reason I am disappointed sometimes by stamps I receive in post is that people often forget stamps are delicate and everything – from heat to water may damage them irreparably. Even when using some materials for protecting them, they may be poor in quality, dirty or sticky, so your precaution may actually turn to be of no use. But first things first.
This year, the colony inhabited by human-like blue elves that we know under the name of Smurfs is celebrating its 60th birthday! Imagined and inked by Belgian cartoonist Peyo (real name: Pierre Culliford), the Smurfs are a great example of long-living cartoon characters, since their popularity never faded since 1958, the year the first cartoons featuring the Smurfs were published. The characters got their own histories, new Smurfs joined the colony, and now there are at least 100 Smurf characters that are easy to recognize due to their appearance and to their well-constructed histories. Half of them exist ever since the first comics were published.
Of course, there are Smurf comics, and animations, TV series and full-length movies, but there are also various types of merchandise, video games and they are even featured in theme parks. Stamps could not go missing from the Smurf universe, so below you’ll find the official Smurf stamps issued ever since 1984.
The Swiss Post issued two Smurf themed stamps in 2013.
Pictured above the self-adhesive stamps issued in Switerland.
I have never watched “Star Wars” movies because nobody was able to explain to me why I should watch them. Everyone talks in superlatives about this media franchise – it’s all in the limits of “great” and “awesome”, but that gives me little encouragement to watch the movies. I do know that “Star Wars” ranks second in the top of largest of highest-grossing media franchises, and I do know that it all started in 1977 with the first movie. Which was then dubbed the sixth movie. And I do know that this is science fiction as genre goes, however the action happens “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away“.
Even if I am immune to the charms of the “Star Wars” universe, I am not immune to stamps. The popularity gained by “Star Wars” is quite visible in the realm of philately. You will find below a fine selection of Star Wars-themed stamps.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
What we have here is an early example of Star Wars themed stamps. Quite difficult to secure in one’s collection, they were issued in 1996 (but marked 1995) to “commemorate the Star Wars trilogy”. It’s unclear for me what exactly is commemorated, since 1996 is one year short of the 20th anniversary of the first movie.
Pictured above the three stamp series of self-adhesive stamps of St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
Although it’s been a while since LGBT rights advocacy made it into mainstream culture, it took a little longer until awareness about these rights made it into stamps. But once the precedent was set, it seems that there’s an infinite number of stamps in recent years. Basically, we are talking about the period between 2010 and 2017 – but more, more LGBT-themed stamps are sure to come, making this topic a new topical interest for collectors worldwide! Below you can find in chronological order the stamps of this history-in-the-making.
The first LGBT-themed stamp I know of was issued in 2010 by the Austrian Post.
It was issued to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Rainbow Parade in Vienna.
Like no other young adult book, “Harry Potter” entered our universe like a tornado. It’s been barely 20 years since the first HP book penned by J. K. Rowling has been published, and barely 10 years since the last novel of the fantasy series brought the destiny of loved characters to a stable end. That, of course if you believe things can be stable or if you think time is linear. Maybe the best of “Harry Potter”, after we’ve read the books, played the games, read the play, watched the movies, or bought Harry Potter memorabilia is only yet to start.
The universe conceived by J.K. Rowling is a record-breaker in terms of finance (she is the only known book author who is a billionaire) and popularity (450mil copies of the book were sold worldwide in 67 languages in the span of 10 years). However, it was a late bloomer when it came to stamps. Of course, because everything that comes on stamps has an aura of official recognition. But even here it is a record-breaker. Hold on tight, and you’ll see why.
The overall main proponent of Harry Potter stamps is of course Great Britain. It did not only produce the largest number of stamps inspired by the universe of Harry Potter, but it has also innovated here and there with stamp minting technologies.
Pictured above the 2007 series of stamps issued on the 10th anniversary of the first-ever Harry Potter book. Left to right: “The Philosopher’s Stone” (1997); “The Chamber of Secrets” (1998); “The Prisoner of Azkaban” (1999); “The Goblet of Fire” (2000); “The Order of the Phoenix” (2003); “The Half-Blood Prince” (2005); “The Deathly Hallows” (2007). It is also the first time when a cover of a book was featured on a stamp before it was even released! The series set out as an anniversary of the first book, but in fact, it includes the seventh book as well. The series of stamps was issued on Jul-17, 2007 – while the book itself was to released a couple of days later, on Jul-21, 2007. What a marketing feat!