Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sweden : 04 Early issues 1891 - 1903

Oscar Frederik van Bernadotte, prince of Sweden, was born on January 1829.  At the age of 30, his father Oscar I died. His eldest son, Charles XV who was only 13 years old, succeeded the thrones of Sweden and Norway. (Who said multi tasking is a recent invention?)
Charles XV died in 1872 without male descendents. Oscar II succeeded the throne on 18 September of the same year.
Oscar made the effort of learning to be fluent in Norwegian and from the very beginning he realized the essential difficulties in the maintenance of the union between the two countries. The political events which led up to the peaceful dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905 could hardly have been attained but for the tact and patience of the king himself. He was dethroned on 7 June 1905 by the Norwegian Parliament and renounced the Norwegian throne on 26 October. He declined, indeed, to permit any prince of his house to become king of Norway, but better relations between the two countries were restored before his death, which occurred in Stockholm on 8 December 1907.

From 1891 on, a set of stamps depicting the King, were issued. A specialised catalogue, such as FACIT is needed to determinate the minor colour shifts beween each individual issue.
Scans and screen resolutions are too limited to show you yellow-green, yellowish-green, deepgreen, bluish-green or bluish green-blue... for example.

A short overview of the last series issued in the 19th century in Sweden.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Odd stamps : 04a 3D stamps (static)

The 3D dynamic stamps (with moving pictures) are indeed very impressive. But with recent printing techniques, a lot is possible.
In the early 70's of the 20th century, the asian state of Bhutan, was world leader in emitting odd stamps.
In what follows, i'll show you 2 series of static 3D stamps. Static, because the image doesn't really move.
It gives you a 3D simulation of an object and it's background.

Although it might not be as impressive anymore as it was in the 70's, it's still a fine piece of printwork.
I wonder how Bhutani people must have experienced those stamps in those days.

The first series i show in this post, emitted in 1970, is a set of 13 wildlife animals. The set has commemorative and airmail stamps.
They're all printed on hard plastic paper. All unperforated and protected with a paper foil on the back.
After removing the paper foil, the stamp was ready to be used on an envelope.

Secondly, also from Bhutan, a set with vintage cars. Very nice, and surely wanted by theme collectors.

This is surely not the last post of Bhutani stamps. The country is undoubtable world record holder in odd stamps.
But that will be for a later post.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Odd stamps : 03a 3D stamps (moving)

My thrird post on odd stamps, is really 'odd'.
There are some stamps made in 3D, where a small movie is shown.
One of them, a Ddutch stamp of 2011, is recognised as the 'shortest' movie in history.
It's a 3D stamp, showing a lady that puts her finger in her mouth. Not really an education story however.
The actress (Carice van Houten) puts her middlefinger in her mouth. The movie last about 1 second.
For those who like odd stamps, or odd movies, it's a thing to have. For the rest... i've seen better.

Another, better example, is an Swiss stamp, showing a group of people sitting in the park.
The story starts when the first person whispers something in the ear of the person next to him. Then the whispered  message goes further on, until the last person in the row. Very nice stamp and a lovely presentation of 'communication'. It last a bit longer then a second, to see the whole 'movie' but, i choose this story above the previous one.

Another good version is an Austrian stamp. A footballplayer (Andy Herzog) is depicted, scoring a decicive goal for Austria. the stamp is devided into 2 parts. One for the footballplayer whilst scoring, the other side of the stamps shows the goalkeeper, missing the ball. One fine example of an odd, but still tasteful stamp.

Finally another sport-stamp. The French postal services emitted a rugby player on a 3D stamp.
Here you see the ball leaving the foot of the player, until he kind of get kicked out of the stamp.
Amazing what  is possible on a stamp. And a very nice tribute to the world rugby games in 2007.

All stamps are printed on cardboard paper and are quite tick. Because of their rather unusual character and facevalue, they are of course selden seen in used condition. They are also made out of some kind of plastic, which means that cancellations have to be done with firm ink, or else the cancellation might be dissapearing after a while.

For those who love it, a must, for those who don't love it, rather a gimmic, but fun for sure.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Odd stamps : 02a Silver / golden stamps

This is my second post with 'odd' stamps.
This time, i will show some silver stamps. Not silver foil, but real silver.
Unfortunatly, silver is fragile and can be exposed to oxygen. Other then silver rings and knifes, stamps can't be polished. Therefore some of the stamps are in plastic foil. It's also impossible to find them in used condition, they grow black after a certain time.

Belgium issued a silver stamp, commemorating 175 years of Belgium and 25 years of federalism.
On the stamp, the first king of the Belgians, Leopold I and the 6th (current) king Albert II.
Actually Belgium has no king, the Belgians have. All kings bare the title of 'king of the Belgians', not 'king of Belgium'. Anyhow, the stamp was emitted in a souvenir box, toghether with a sheetlet, depicting all royal couples so far. The face value is rather small, 4 euro, but catalogue prices went up, as the stamp is always worth his value in silver.

The neighbouring country, The Netherlands however were first. They emitted a silver stamp 4 years earlier. It was dedicated to the former 'guilder', and welcomes Euro currency.
On the silver stamp (also emitted in a protective plastic foil), one can see parts of the two 1 guilder coins who were in use at that time (sept. 2001). 3 months later, Euro was introduced in The Netherlands.
Face value is rather high, 12,75 guilders (+/-  euro) but the stamp itself is smaller then the belgian one.

Microstates : 04 Herm

Herm (Guernésiais: Haerme) is the smallest of the Channel Islands that is open to the public and is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Cars are banned from the small island just like its Channel Island neighbour, Sark. Unlike Sark, bicycles are also banned.

Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney are all part of the UK, but they emit their own stamps.  Herm and Sark just try to get on the commercial boat and have their own labels. They both resort under the postal authorities of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, and their 'stamps' should be considered as local labels, or cinderellas.
However, together with Lundy stamps, they are wanted, especially by UK and Channel Island collectors.

Some of my collection :

Microstates : 03 Lundy

Lundy is the largest island in the Bristol Channel, lying 12 miles (19 km) off the coast of Devon, England, approximately one third of the distance across the channel between England and Wales. It measures about 3 miles (5 km) by 0.75 miles (1.2 km) at its widest. Lundy gives its name to a British sea area and is one of the islands of England.
As of 2007, there was a resident population of 28 people, including volunteers. These include a warden, island manager, and farmer, as well as bar and house-keeping staff. Most live in and around the village, Marisco, at the south of the island. Most visitors are day-trippers, although there are 23 holiday properties and a camp site for staying visitors, mostly also around the south of the island.

Owing to a decline in population and lack of interest in the mail contract, the GPO ended its presence at the end of 1927. For the next couple of years "King" Harman handled the mail to and from the island without charge. On 1 November 1929 he decided to offset the expense by issuing a series of private postage stamps, with a value expressed in "Puffins". The printing of Puffin stamps continues to this day. They have to be put on the bottom left hand corner of the envelope, so that the mainland sorting offices can process them: their cost includes the standard Royal Mail charges for onward delivery. Puffins are a type of stamp known to philatelists as a "local carriage label". Issues of increasing value were made over the years, including air mail, featuring a variety of people. Many are now highly sought-after by collectors.
Lundy Island continues to issue stamps with the latest issues being in 2008 (50th birthday of MS Oldenburg) and 2010 (Island wildlife). The value of the early issues has risen substantially over the years. The stamps of Lundy Island serve to cover the postage of letters and cards from the island to the nearest GPO post box on the mainland for the many thousands of annual visitors, and have become part of the collection of the many British Local Posts collectors. These stamps appeared in 1970s in the Rosen Catalogue of British Local Stamps, and in the Phillips Modern British Locals CD Catalogue, published since 2003. There is a comprehensive collection of these stamps in the Chinchen Collection, donated by Barry Chinchen to the British Library Philatelic Collections in 1977 and located at the British Library. This also the home of the Landmark Trust Lundy Island Philatelic Archive which includes artwork, texts and essays as well as postmarking devices and issued stamps.

Labbe's Specialized Guide to Lundy Island Stamps serves as a definitive guide to the issues of Lundy Island including varieties, rarities and special philatelic items.

As Lundy is not an independent country, nor is it recognised by UPU, the nice labels should be considered as cinderellas.  They remain popular among collectors.

Some of the Lundy stamps in my collection:

Sweden : 03 Early issues

From 1872 on,  a series of 10 stamps were issued, from 3 öre till 1 riksdaler. The word 'riksdaler' is also found in old Dutch coins, were it is called : Rijksdaalder'. A 'daalder' is still in use, but not as 'daalder' - the world 'dollar' came from the Dutch word. 'Riks' or 'Rijks' refers to the state. A 'rijksdaalder' is in fact a dollar from the state.

Back to the series of 1872.
10 stamps (3, 4, 5, 6, 12, 24, 30, 50 and 1 riksdaler), perforated 14  were issued.

The same set, this time perforated 13 to 13 1/2 was emitted from 1877 on.

In 1878, the 'riksdaler' stamp was replaced with the 1Krona-version.

Finally in March 1886, the second set was re-issued, this time with a blue posthorn on the back of the stamp.
This set is also perforated 13. The final stamp in this set is the 1 Krona. (since 1875, the riksdaler was not used anymore)

To determinate the 3 series, check the backside first, the blue posthorn shows you the issue of 1886.
The other two series (1872 and 1877) can be distinguised by the perforation. 14 = 1872; 13 to 13 1/2 = 1877.
and for the highest value, theres a 'riksdaler' and a 'krona'