Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Theme : 1st issues : 09 Belgium

The first stamp ever issued, was the Black Penny in the UK.
This happened in 1840. In the first ten years, only few countries followed this idea, where the cost of sending a letter was no longer paid by the receiver of the mail, but by the sender.

Two Swiss cantons, Zürich, and later Geneva, followed by Brazil, joined the system in 1843.
In 1847, the first US-stamp was issued, and the isle of Mauritius has its first stamp too in that year.
Bermuda issued its first stamp in 1848, and in 1849,  3 European countries, France, Belgium and Bavaria (independent at that time), closed the list of the 10 countries that issued stamps before 1850.

Belgium was a relatively young country in 1849.
In 1815, after the lost of Napoleon in Waterloo, 'The Netherlands' got independent.
The forced 'marriage' between the mainly protestant, and Dutch speaking north, and the catholic, french bourgeoisie in the south, didn't last very long. In 1830 both parts split up, the north remains 'the Netherlands' while the southern part becomes Belgium.

Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (later Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) who rejected the Greek throne in 1830, became Belgium's first King in 1831.
Yes, we survived a year without king, between 1830 and 1831, as well as we survived 541 days without newly elected gouvernment in 2010-2011 (world record!)

Under Leopold I, the first railway line (Brussels-Mechelen) was established in 1835, and the first postal stamp was introduced in 1849.

Belgium's first 1849

The stamp was lithographed by Charles Baugniet (1814-1886) after a painting by Liéven De Winne (1821-1880).

Leopold I by Liévin De Winne

This first issue of Belgium's postal stamps is called 'the epaulettes' (shoulder pads).
The watermark is the monogram of the king, an intertwined letter L.

Monogram Leopold I
watermark intertwined L - Belgium

This stamp of 10 cents (brown), was followed by a 20 cents (blue).
Catalog prices for a cancelled stamp are around € 100 for a nr. 1 and € 50 for a nr. 2.

To be continued...

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Currency Today : Venezuela 16

By 23 April 2020, the exchange rate for the Venezolan Bolívar Soberano, was 1 USD = 144,697 BsS.
One day later it was already 1 USD = 171,140 BsS

New notes were needed once again...
Similar to the notes issued in 2019, the 2020 notes are predominal in one colour.
The many zeros on the new notes (200,000 - 500,000) are replace by the word MIL (thousand).

200,000 BsS

200,000 BsS - verso
The 200 MIL BsB (or 200,000 BsS)-note is in a soft brownish-grey colour.
And the 500 MIL (or 500,000 BsS)-note is purple.
500,000 BsS

500,000 BsS - verso
In the same set, a 1,000,000 -note (1 millón) concludes the series.
Although the colour is not very expressive, for this note, at least two colours were used.
One small addition to this note, is the image of the Battle of Carabobo, which took place 200 years earlier.
1,000,000 BsS

1,000,000 BsS - verso
In 2020 the minimum wage in Venezuela was about 1,2 million BsS.
However, by the time the 1 million note was announced, its value had already dropped to a depressing half US dollar.
Similar to the paper note, a 'digital' version was introduced too.
The 6 notes in use in 2020 therefore had a 'digital' equivalent, with less zeros.

to be continued ... ?

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Currency Today : Venezuela 15

The banknotes in use in Venezuela, in 2018 had a 500 Boliváres soberanos as highest denomination.
Since the Boliváres "soberano" already replaced the previous 'Boliváres fuertes' by 100,000 to 1, this 'high value' note, represented 500,000,000 of the old units.

And yet, in 2019 the need for even higher face values was so urgent, that 3 new banknotes had to be issued.

The Venezolan national bank skipped the logic line of notes, and did not issue a 1000, 2000 or 5000 note, but issued directly a 10,000 BsS note, replacing 20 of the highest value notes in circulation.
At the same time, also a 20,000 BsS and a 50,000 BsS note were issued.

10,000 BsS - 2019

10,000 BsS - 2019 reverse
The new notes all bare the date of 22 January 2019.

20,000 BsS - 2019

20,000 BsS - 2019 reverse
As inflation was (is) progressing in an unseen speed, the quality of the notes, is mediocre.
All 3 notes come in one colour, blue, green and brown.
No effort was done to create a different image on the notes. Each of the note shows Simón Bolívar on the front side, and his mausoleum on the reverse side.

Except for a security thread and a double serial number on the front side, the back side has no extra printings.
This set does not longer issue endangered animals of Venezula on the notes.

The notes with a narrow security thread segments were printed by Goznak (Russia), the others, elsewhere.

to be continued....

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

0-euro notes : 0 e. 20 Years of Euro

In 2022, the majority of Europe is used to travel abroad and use one currency in nearly all European countries. 20 years ago, 12 countries started to use the common currency and left their own national valuta.

Meanwhile, the design of the notes has changed, and more countries has joined the Euro-zone.

To celebrate this second decade of euro money, Belgium has issued a commemorative 0-euro note.

United in Diversity - 20 years EURO

On the 0-euro note, that was issued in 20,000 copies, we see the map of Europe, with all countries that use the Euro-currency, in a dark colour.

Detail 20 years Euro

From Finland in the north, to Cyprus in the south east.
The text 'United in Diversity' is written in English. A bit strange, since except for Ireland and Malta, English is not an official language in any of the other countries in Europe.

to be continued...

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Theme : Zodiac signs 20

The Swedish post has a long tradition of very nicely designed stamps.
Despite that, or maybe because that, they also emitted a set of 12 stamps in 1999, dedicated to the zodiac signs.

Zodiac signs Sweden 1999 A

Zodiac signs Sweden 1999 B

Each stamp is triangular, and six of them form a hexagon.
The colours are alternatively light blue and brown/yellow, on a dark blue background.
All stamps mention 'Brev Inrikes' which means the stamp is ment for use within Sweden only.

On each stamp, we find the name in Swedish as well.
Note that the indefinite article in Swedish, is placed behind the word.

ConstellationEnglish NameSwedish Name
Ariesthe RamVäduren
Mar. 21–Apr. 19
Taurusthe BullOxen
Apr. 20–May 20
Geminithe TwinsTvillingarna
May 21–June 21
Cancerthe CrabKräftan
June 22–July 22
Leothe LionLejonet
July 23–Aug. 22
Virgothe Virgin/the Maiden
Aug. 23–Sept. 22
Librathe Balance / the Scales
Sept. 23–Oct. 23
Scorpiothe ScorpionSkorpionen
Oct. 24–Nov. 21
Sagittariusthe Archer / the Centaur
Nov. 22–Dec. 21
Capricornthe Goat(-fish hybrid)
Dec. 22–Jan. 19
Aquariusthe Water BearerVattumannen
Jan. 20–Feb. 18
Piscesthe FishesFiskarna
Feb. 19–Mar. 20

Gemini (Tvillingarna)

to be continued...