Thursday, December 12, 2013

Odd stamps : 08 Stamps with special cuts - 08 c

A very nice sheet was issued only recently by the postal services of Luxemburg.
2007 - Luxemburg - The Vichten Mosaic
The Vichten mosaic depicts the ancient Greek muses. It used to adorn the reception hall of a Roman villa in Vichten but can now be seen in Luxembourg's National Museum of History and Art.

Dating from around 240 A.D., the mosaic of Vichten, which has an area of 61.3 m2 and is in an excellent state of preservation, shows in its main area the mythological and literary subject of the nine Muses, daughters of the supreme God, Zeus, and of the goddess of memory, Mnémosyne.

The Muses, defined around 700 BC by the Greek author Hésiode:

Thalie, Muse of comedy
Euterpe, Muse of music and lyric poetry
Thalia and Euterpe
Terpsichore, Muse of dance and dramatic choirs
Melpomène, Muse of tragedy
Terpischore and Melpomène
Clio, Muse of history
Uranie, Muse of astronom
Clio and Urania
Polymnie, Muse choir singing and harmony
Erato, Muse of love poetry
Polymnia and AErato
Calliope, Muse of epic elegiac poetry, in the company of the prince of poets, Homer.

central stamp
real mosaic
The eight « exterior » Muses are oriented on an axis towards the middle of the central medallion. The depiction of the clothing and other attributes of the different personalities, identified by latin inscriptions included above each medallion, is very detailed.
Two by two, they are joined on one octagonal stamp.
The central stamp is not octagonal.

back side of the Vichten sheet (Lux 2007)
This supberb mosaic used to adorn the reception hall of a Roman villa in Vichten and was rediscovered in 1995 on the site of a new agricultural operation in Vichten. Archaelogical resarch found the foundations of one of the most remarkable Roman villas ever discovered in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
detail real mosaic
After it's discovery it was carfully removed and it can now be seen in Luxembourg's National Museum of History and Art.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Odd stamps : 01e Perfumed stamps

In the beginning of December, Belgian and Dutch children are looking forward on the visit of Saint Nicolas.  (also parts of northern France, Luxemburg, Germany , Switserland, Austria and even parts of Italy are familiar with 'Santa').

The 'Sinterklaasfeest' celebrates the name day, 6 December, of Saint Nicholas (270–343), patron saint of children. Saint Nicholas was a Greek bishop of Myra in present-day Turkey. In 1087, half of his relics were furtively transported to Bari, in southeastern Italy; for this reason, he is also known as Nikolaos of Bari. Bari later formed part of the Spanish Kingdom of Naples, because it was previously conquered in 1442 by Alfonso V of Aragon. The city thus became part of the Kingdom of Aragon and later of Spain, until the 18th century. 

Sinterklaas and the book with the names of all 'good' children
Every year, Sinterklaas makes his 'official introduction, by arriving by boat in the mayor harbours in Belgium and the Netherland. As there is the historic link with Spain, all kids are convinced that the good man therefore is arriving from Spain.

If you have been naughty during the past year, you'll risk to get punished or whipped with a branch, all good children will get presents (how convenient for the parents....)Of course there are no bad children, so everyone receives something from Sinterklaas.
As with many 'catholic' traditions, there are links with much older costumes.
There is for example a parallel with the old Celtic costumes and even with nordic folk religion:
  • Sinterklaas rides the rooftops on his white horse which has various names; Odin rides the sky with his grey horse Sleipnir.
  • Sinterklaas gives chocolate letters to children, like Odin gave the rune letters to man.
  • Sinterklaas carries a staff and has mischievous helpers with black faces, who listen at chimneys to find out whether children are bad or good and report to Sinterklaas; Odin has a spear and his black ravens, Huginn and Muninn, who report what happens in the world to Odin.

Aside from toys, (nowadays given around Christmas and New Year), Saint Nicolas brings candy and more specificly a typical cookie : speculaas (or speculoos).
speculaas - speculoos
A cookie you often receive when ordering a coffee on a Belgian terrace.
The ingredients to make speculaas : flour, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg.
For Sinterklaas, the speculaas cookies are made in the shape of Sinterklaas, or as small nut shaped cookies. Then we call them 'kruidnoten' ('litt: herb nuts').

specially shaped speculaas
A similar and often confused cookie is the 'pepernoot' (lit: peper nut).
The ingredients are slightly different, and the final cookie is softer than the 'kruidnoot':
They are light brown, round shaped, and made from the same ingredients as taai-taai: flour, sugar, anise, cinnamon, and clove.
peper nuts

So far the introduction to the topic of the day :
The 'sinterklaas - stamps' of the Netherlands, with the fragrance of speculaas.

perfumed stamps of the Netherlands - 2013
In Belgium there's a city called Sint-Niklaas, and the good old men is also the patron saint of Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands.

Russian Republics and more ... 01 A Siberian Federal District - Touva 2a

We can divide Tuva's postal history in 2 periods, the first from 1926 to 1944,
the second one from 1994 to 1995.

A treaty between the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of Mongolia, in 1926, resulted in the independency of Tuva. At least for those two countries as no other country officially recognised Tuva's independency.
No wonder that the first stamp of Tuva, issued in 1926, was in Mongolian language.
(this stamp is NOT in my collection (yet)).
We see on the stamp the buddhist wheel of life, and writings in Mongolian language.
Also the numbers are written in Mongolian.
UPU rules state that the numerals should be written in arabic numerals! 

1st stamp of Tuva - wheel of life

The First Philatelic Period 1926-1944

First Tuvan Stamps (see pic above) 1-10


First Provisional Overprints 11-14


Local Scenes (see below) 15-28


Provisonal Overprints 29-34


Local Provisional Overprints 35-38


Local Prov. Overprints on Tax Stamps 39-40


Tuva Landscapes 41-48


First Tuva Airmails 49-58, 59


Tuv Landscapes II 60-66


15th Ann. of Tuva People´s Republic, Postage 77-98


15th Ann. of Tuva People´s Republic, Airmal 99-107


Provisionals 108-113


Provisionals 114-115


Provisionals 116-123


Colour changes 124-128


22nd Ann. of the Tuva People's Republic 131-133


23rd Ann. of the Tuva People's Republic 134-136

Some of the Tuvan stamps, more likely being produced as propaganda
and to raise money then to serve 'postal' purposes.

... to be continued

Friday, November 29, 2013

Russian Republics and more ... 01 A Siberian Federal District - Touva 1

The Tuva Republic within the Russian Federation:
map of the Russian Federation - showing Tuva Republic
Some history...
From the 19th century till 1921, Tanna Tuva was part of north-western Mongolia.
In fact Mongolia itself just declared itself independent from the (People's) Republic of China in the beginning of the 20th century.

People's Republic of Tannu Tuva, 1921-1926
People's Revolutionary Party Flag, 1921
In 1921, under Russian instigation, it became the Tuvan People's Republic. A treaty between the Soviet Union and the Mongolian People's Republic in 1926 affirmed the country’s independence, although no other countries formally recognized it.

Tuvan People's Republic 1926-1930

Tuvinian People's Republic State Flag, 1926-1930
The text, in Mongolian, reads ᠪᠦᠭᠦᠳᠡ ᠨᠠᠶᠢᠷᠠᠮᠳᠠᠬᠤ ᠲᠢᠸᠠ ᠠᠷᠠᠳ ᠤᠯᠤᠰ
Bügüde Nayiramdaqu Tuva Arad Ulus "Tuvan People's Republic"

The name changed to Tuvinian People's Republic in the Constitution of 24 November 1926, which established red flag with state arms in center.
The romanized alphabet was adopted in 1930. A new version of state arms introduced 28 June 1930. Flag red with state arms in center.
On 18 October 1930, the state arms again modified . Flag red with state arms in center.

Tuvan People's Republic between 1930-1941

In 1933, the coat of arms changed once more, resulting in yet another flag.

As a result of the Second World War, (a couple of days after Nazi Germany entered Russian soil), Tuva became part of the Soviet Union, as the Tuvan Autonomous Oblast.
This annexation was completed in 1944.
Meanwhile... in 1941 and 1943
Flag changed in new constitution of 25 June 1941.
Red with initials of state ("TAR") in gold in canton.
Cyrillic letters introduced 8 September 1943;
initials on flag changed ("TAP") as a matter of course, not law.
Russian influence over the region increased from 1944 on...
Tuvan Autonomous Oblast (1944-1961)
and in 1961 became the Tuva Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic...
Tuvinian ASSR State Flag, 1961-1978
The state flag changed 10 November 1978 once more, by addition of inscription in Tuvinian language ("Tuva ASSR") as well as in Russian.

Tuvinian ASSR State Flag, 1978-1992
With the end of the Soviet Union, in 1992, Tuva became the "Tuvan Republic" and they are a member of the Russian Federation.
Tuva Republic within the Russian Federation (1992 - )
 ... to be continued ...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Russian Republics and more ... 01 the first Federal District - Siberian Federal District

Once more, the 8 Federal Districts of Russia

8 Federal Districts of Russia

 One of the largest Federal Districts is the "Siberian Federal District" here shown in light blue:
   Siberian Federal District
In this District, we find the following Objects :

Federal subject
Administrative center
Altai Republic
Altai Krai
Republic of Buryatia
Zabaykalsky Krai
Irkutsk Oblast
Kemerovo Oblast
Krasnoyarsk Krai
Novosibirsk Oblast
Omsk Oblast
Tomsk Oblast
Tuva Republic
Republic of Khakassia

Let's have a more detailed look at this Federal District :

More about each individual Subject, in my next post(s)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Russian Republics and more ... 00 Introduction

Collectors of stamps who might have seen them already, shiny stamps with views on landscapes, pop artists, politicians, ... even cartoons.
Those stamps look a bit suspicious and mention a name of an existing republic or (semi-) autonomous region within the Russian Federation.
Some have names in Cyrillic language, some in English, some even in two languages.

When looking up the names on the world map, the country or region does exists, and is not a tiny island somewhere in front of the Scottish coastline (as seen before), but does that means the stamps are real ?

In this first post, I will give an overview on all (current) entities within the Russian Federation, later on, I will tell more about some of those republics and regions.

In 1993 the current Constitution of Russia was adopted. At that time, 89 federal subjects were participating and recognised. By 2008 the number of federal subject had been decreased to (only) 83, because some areas merged. Each of those entities have a certain degree of independence and equal rights towards regional legislation and constitutions.

Map colors:
Blue = oblasts, green = republics, pale yellow = krais, orange = autonomous okrugs,
pink = federal cities, purple = autonomous oblasts, grey = not Russia.

To make it a bit easier, all subjects can be listed under one of the eight districts.

   Central Federal District
   Southern Federal District
   Northwestern Federal District
   Far Eastern Federal District
   Siberian Federal District
   Urals Federal District
   Volga Federal District
   North Caucasian Federal District

to be continued ...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Commemorative coins : The Netherlands 06

In 2009, the Netherlands celebrated their 400 year old trade relations with Japan.
Until today the Netherlands still have a friendly relationship with the land of the rising sun.
To commemorate this anniversary, the dutch coin issued a special € 5 coin.

The coin got the name 'Japan-five'. It has legal tender like all other € 5 coins, but remained mainly a collector's item.

coin card front

coin card back
The coin's design is best viewed with two coins next to eachother.
As I didn't take the coin out of the card, I had to look online to find a picture of both sides of the coin next to eachother.

both sides of the Japan-coin next to eachother

Now we see the full design. We see a fishermen's knot. As the dutch were (and are) famous sailors and fishermen. A knot is also a good symbol to show the connection between the two countries.

The coin was issued on a coin card
Amount : 343.859 pieces
Metal : silver 925/100
Size : Ø 29 mm
Weight : 11,9 g
Face value : € 5
Quality : circulation quality
Design : Esther de Vries en Richard Niessen

This coin is the 14th € 5 coin that was issued by the Royal Dutch Mint.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Odd stamps : 01d Perfumed stamps

I have posted previously some perfumed stamps.
Perfume smells good (or at least so it was ment to be), but there is more into a nose then picking up good odors.
No, I'm not talking about sticking your nose into someone else's business, actually the stamps I'm presenting today ARE everyone's business...

preserve nature - Brazil 1999
This set of stamps is special in 2 ways.
First of all it is printed on recycled paper, and that is of course a blessing for the already threatened forests, especially in Brazil.

Second special fact, is the centre of the 4 stamps.
Each of the 4 auto adhesive stamps shows a nature related image:
we see an anteter, a flower, a leaf and the bark of a three.
One corner of each stamp is 'burning' and the four stamps together gives the impression that the middle part of the block is burned away.
The stamps warn us to prevent wildfires.

'smelly' centre of the 4 stamps
60 % of the Amazon rainforest are located in Brazil.
Wildfires (whether or not intentionally caused) are a threat to the deforestation of the largest green lung of the world, and in the end also the entire humanity.

The stamps do not only show 'fire', they also smell like burned items.

protect nature - detail
Stamps are printed as one big image spread of the 4 stamps.
The perforation is uncommon and absent towards the corners of the stamps.
The set was issued in 1999 by Brazilian postal services.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Odd Banknotes - 09 Bangladesh

In my set of odd Bangladesh notes, I will show another rather odd note.
It was sent to my from my friend in Bangladesh, so now I can show it to you.
front side of the commemorative note
40 on a banknote, is not a common denomination for a circulation note.
But just in case of any doubt, this IS a commemorative note...

just in case ...
40 refers to the 40th anniversary of the independence from Pakistan.

The revolution was lead under the leadership of sheikh Mujibur Rahman, later first president and afterwards also Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

Sheik Mujibur Rhaman
Back side of the note :

back side of the note

Friday, October 4, 2013

Odd Banknotes - 08 Bangladesh

Another odd note today, not special because of the size, and also not because of the face value (25 is not a special number), but the following commemorative note, is more or less celebrating itself...

Bangladesh' banknotes are printed by the Security Printing Corporation of Bangladesh.
The company was founded in 1988 and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2013.
No better way to celebrate that anniversary with an own banknote.

The colours of this banknote is not that common either.
We see different shades of pink, purple, over light blue to white.
I haven't been eating funny mushrooms, but to me this note leaves a very pshychedelic impression.

If we look at the front side of the note, in a more detailed way, we see another odd thing :

In detail on the front side of the note : the National Martyr's Monument in Savar, Bangladeshi taka banknotes and postage stamps.
This is probably also the first time that 'stamps' are depicted on a banknote.

Two other symbols that can be found, are: three spotted deer, magpie robin (doyel) bird.

On the back side of the note, the Headquarters of the Security Printing Corporation are depicted in the same colours as the front side.
Headquarters of the Security Printing Corporation
Headquarters of the Security Printing Corporation
Overall, a weird banknote, that - due to the chosen colours - depict the own countries flag (green and red) in blue and pink.
detail with flag of Bangladesh
Special thanks to my friend in Bangladesh who provided me these (and other) notes.