29 March 2011


Today I have made a little research about Flora and Fauna definitive stamps from Singapore. They were first issued in 2007, consisting of 14 denominations ranging from 5 cents to $10. 
Why Singapore? Because I have received this beautiful cover from Francis :) 

I discovered many interesting things such as that Non Denominated stamps were issued to ensure that some types of Postage stamps retained their Postal Value even if the rates were increased. In many countries it is now known as No Value Indicator (NVI ) postage. The first Singapore NVIs were issued in 1995; almost every issue had a "For Local Addresses Only" stamp. Later, in 2004, a new NVI denomination was released: "2nd Local". Since then almost all issues have "1st Local" stamps, and some have "2nd Local" stamps, rather than the previous "For Local Addresses Only". 1st Local stamps are valid for standard letters within Singapore up to 20 g, and 2nd Local stamps are valid for standard letters within Singapore up to 40 g. 

In this issue we can see two beautiful flowers:

Domestic 1st Class -  Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) : native to Mexico, Central America and Venezuela, produces flowers ranging from yellow to pink depending on species or cultivator. It is related to the Oleander and both possess poisonous, milky sap. Contact with the sap may irritate eyes and skin. They are most fragrant at night.
Domestic 2nd Class - Torch ginger (Etlingera elatior) : is believed native to Sulawesi and Jawa, Indonesia. The plant is now grown in many tropical locations both for the extravagant 'flowers' and for food. In Malaysia, it is called kantan. The peduncles (stems) of the inflorescence are chopped and added to laksa pots (various curries or soups made with rice noodles).

Here come the bird stamps (only minimal information) :

5 c Crimson sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja) - this bird is only 10cm long, but the male´s bright red plumage and electric blue markings make it instantly noticeable, no matter how small it may be. Sunbirds are similar to hummingbirdsin that they feed on insects and nectar, and their small size and impressive speed can turn them into a colorful blur. 

20 c Yellow-rumped flycatcher (Ficedula zanthopygia) is a species of flycatcher found in Asia, about 13cm long. It breeds in eastern Asia including parts of Mongolia, Transbaikal, southern China, Korea and western Japan. They winter in parts of the Malay Peninsula and South Asia.
30 c Blue-throated bee-eater (Merops viridis) Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical mangrove forests. It is recognisable by its bright blue throat, chestnut head and upper back, black eye stripe and bluish tail feathers. Measures about 30cm in length, including the tail. In flight, its wings form a distinctive triangular shape. Bee-eaters are primarily insectivorous, feeding on a variety of insects, including bees, ants, moths and dragonflies.
45 c Yellow wagtail (Motacilla flava) is a small graceful yellow and green bird, with a medium-length tail, and slender black legs. It spends much time walking or running on the ground. As its name implies, it wags its tail from time to time.
50 c Stork-billed kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis) are the largest Kingfishers found in Singapore. But they are rarely sighted because they are shy and less noisy than other Kingfishers. They eat mainly fishes, using their large heavy bills to good effect to catch and kill their prey. From their perch, usually about 2-4 m above the water, they will plunge into the water. They also eat crabs, insects, frogs, mice, lizards, birds and their eggs.
55 c Blue-crowned hanging parrot (Loriculus galgulus) are found in Southern Thailand, Western Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, and Borneo. They inhabit forests, forest edges, secondary growth, marshland, bamboo thickets, mangroves, coconut groves, gardens, and orchards. They mainly eat fruits, nectar, buds, flowers, seeds, and occasionally small insects.
65 c Common goldenback (Dinopium javanese) is a species of bird in the Picidae (woodpeaker) family. It is commonly found in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines. It is a strikingly colourful bird with brown wings (as you can see from the picture on below). The woodpecker has a crest of either red or black, depending on the sex. 
80 c Jamnu fruit dove (Ptilinopus jambu)  It is a resident breeding species in southern Asia. The Jambu Fruit-dove inhabits mangrove swamps and lowland rainforests up to 1,500 m and is also found in second growth woodland. The male holds a breeding territory, advertised by raising its wings, bobbing its body and cooing. It will defend its territory with a quick peck if the territorial display fails. The female builds a flimsy nest of twigs, roots and grasses, which are collected by her mate, in a tree and lays one or sometimes two white eggs which are incubated for about 20 days to hatching, with a further 12 or more days to fledging.

And now the high value stamps:

1.10 $ Large indian civet (Viverra zibetha) they are nocturnal and solitary beings. In essence, they are terrestrial, yet they could climb as well. One marks his own place via the gland secretions, and this is not just for "territorial purposes", but as a simple means of identification of the place. It produces a substance called 'civet', which is used commercially in perfumes.
2.00 $ Banded leaf monkey (Prebytis femoralis) Arboreal and gregarious, travelling in troops, usually move in an extended line. Each monkey follows the same route through the tree tops. It can leap very well. It is an endangered species. Eats fruits and fresh leaves.
5.00 $ Malayan pangolin (Manis javanica) Most pangolins are less than one metre long. The Giant pangolin is about one and a half metres long. A pangolin's back and tail are covered with large, overlapping, horny scales. Its belly and chest are covered with soft hair. It has small eyes and hidden ears. Some kinds of pangolin have a tail that is longer than the body.
10.00 $ Cream-coloured giant squirrel (Ratufa affinis) is considered by some to be the most attractive of all the larger squirrels in Southeast Asia. With a head-body length of up to 38 cm, and a tail reaching 44 cm it is only eclipsed in size by the Black Giant Squirrel.

Since definitive stamps are stamps produced to meet normal postal demand, therefore after a period of time, depending on number of stamps issued and customers' demand, the reprint marking will be revised to 2007B (1st reprint), 2007C (2nd reprint), 2007D (3rd reprint), etc. The reprint marking is clearly indicated on the stamp and the stamp sheet.

Some links that I find interesting to share:

Interesting website with sounds and short movies http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/
Birds from Singapore http://www.naturia.per.sg/buloh/birds/birds.htm
Wildlife SIngapore http://www.wildsingapore.per.sg/
Birds on postage stamps http://www.bird-stamps.org/

Date of Issue: 6 June 2007
Country: Singapore
Denominations: 1st Local, 2nd Local, 5,20,30,45,50,55,65,80 cents, $1.10, $2, $5 and $10

24 March 2011


Monorail history has been made in Japan. On November 27th of 1998 officials cut ribbon for the first section of the Tama Monorail. The new monorail was 5.4 kilometers long.

Tama Intercity Monorail is one of the means of transportation from south to north in the Tama area in Tokyo, where about 3,800,000 people are living. The stamp illustrates a Hitachi Type 1000 monorail train on its way to Tachikawa-Kita Station.
Picture borrowed from The Monorail Society
Here is a link if you are interested in seeing a set of real pictures made by somebody who was visiting Japan: http://www.monorails.org/tmspages/Tamanew2.html
Please comment if you have further information or sugestions.

Date of Issue: 26 November 1998
Country: Japan
Denominations: 80 yen
Source: www.yushu.or.jp 

22 March 2011


The six postage stamps in more detail:
Pictured on the Talyllyn Narrow Gauge Railway in Wales, the 20p value stamp features the "Dolgoch" 0-4-0T locomotive which is believed to have been the first preserved steam train to power a passenger train on any UK heritage railway.
Seen travelling on the Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway in West Lothian, Scotland, the 28p value stamp features Caledonian Railway's powerful 439 0-4-4 locomotive at full steam.
The "Evalue stamp (Europe rate - this is the one I am still missing, so if anyone has a spare would be great) depicts the Great Central Railway's 8K 2.8.0 express freight locomotive travelling through Leicestershire in 1950s British Railways livery.
The Great Western Railway's "Bradley Manor" 4-6-0 locomotive is featured on the 42p stamp. The train is seen approaching Victoria Bridge to cross the River Severn in Worcestershire now operated as part of the restored Severn Valley Railway.
The 47p stamp shows Southern Railway's Wesst Country class locomotive "Blackmoor Vale" in Horsted Keynes Station on the famous Bluebell Line in East Sussex which was one of Britain's first preserved lines and featured as a location for many films and TV programs.
The top, 68p value stamp depicts a 1950s British Railways Standard Class locomotive near Haworth Station on what is now the preserved Keighley & Worth Valley Railway.

A miniature souvenir sheet featuring all six stamp values and a FDC was also issued by Royal Mail on the same day.
Here you can find some nice maximum cards featuring these wonderful stamps.

Date of Issue: 13 January 2004
Country: UK
Denominations: 20p, 28p, E, 42p, 47p, 68p

21 March 2011


Romfilatelia introduced into circulation in 2009 the postage stamps issue “Birds from the Danube Delta”, having four stamps and a perforated souvenir sheet.
By editing this philatelic issue, Romfilatelia joins the UNESCO project for the Danube Delta protection, project sustained also by other nongovernmental organizations from Romania and from Europe, which fight to protect and to save this invaluable natural habitat. 
The Danube Delta lodges over 3,400 species of vertebrate and invertebrate animals, many national, European but also world unique species living here. The ornitho-fauna from the Danube Delta totals more than 300 species, from which around 70 species are extra European ones.
Birds (the Aves Class) represent a group of four-footed vertebrates, which developed from reptiles, nevertheless preserving certain features of these ones. They are the first vertebrates which can maintain a constant body temperature. The most obvious feature of the birds is the adaptability to flight. Due to this fact, the birds are Globe´s most spread species, passing over geographical obstacles, travelling long distances, conquering even the regions with severe climate. Many species of birds migrate during winter and summer.

The postage stamps of the philatelic issue illustrate the following birds from the Danube Delta, which are legally protected:
The Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis athis) - illustrated on the stamp with the face value of 50 Bani

It is just 16-18 cm long and it has a vivid color, so that it looks like a jewel, blue-green on upperparts, red-orange on underbelly and white on gizzard and the scruff side parts. It nestles on sweet water banks. Twice a year (in April and in June) it lays 6-7 eggs which it batches around 20 days. He feeds with small fishes and his flight is fast as an arrow.
The Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) - 1.60 RON

It can be easily recognized by its very long dark red or pink legs. Its general plumage is white and only the wings are seen black when it flies. Its beak is long, black, flat and thin. It is a summer guest in the Danube Delta, where it nestles in small colonies, formed in salting areas. 
The Great Egret (Egretta alba) -  2.10 RON
It is also called the Great White Heron. It is the rarest heron from the Romanian fauna and it was declared nature´s monument. It is a member of the Ciconiiformes order, Ardeidae (herons) family. It is 90 cm long and can be seen in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. In Romania the bird is a summer guest and can be seen mostly in the Danube Delta.
The Danubian Falcon (Falco cherrug) -  3.10 RON

It is around 50 cm long and his wingspan is over 120 cm. It is lightish brown on upperparts and white on the head. It lives in steppe areas. It nestles in trees on water banks. In the Danube Delta it uses the White-tailed Eagle´s nests. It usually feeds with ground squirrels and birds.

The White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) - illustrated on the souvenir sheet  8.10 RON

It is 77-92 cm long and its wingspan has between 190 and 240 cm. It prefers isolated areas, wet or flooded zones, like the deltas. It is one of the biggest birds of prey from our country, with very wide spanned wings and strong unfolded at the cap. The adults are brown and have white tail, chisel-shaped. It feeds with slow flying birds, fish, carcasses and sometimes with reptiles and rodents. It nestles in trees. Usually it has one or two chicks per year.

Date of Issue: 28 February 2009
Country: Romania
Denominations: 50 Bani, 1L60, 2L10, 3L10 and Souvenir Sheet 8L10

Source: www.romfilatelia.ro

19 March 2011


Railway is an important infrastructure of a country, a fundamental industry for the national economy, an artery of the comprehensive transport system. Here is a four-piece set of special stamps entitled `The Harmonious Railway Construction` and a souvenir sheet (this one I would like to have).

Rail transport is the most commonly used mode of long-distance transportation in the People´s Republic of China. Almost all rail operations are handled by the Ministry of Railways, which is part of the State Council of the People's Republic of China. By the end of 2010, the operating rail network traverses the length and breadth of the country, covering a total length of 91,000 km (56,545 mi).
The two main categories of conventional Chinese locomotives are the Dongfeng diesel locomotives and the Shaoshan electric locomotives. In the first decade of the 21st century the railways of China began to import and produce AC-DC-AC transmission electric locomotives; the most numerous of these are the HXD series "Harmony" (Hexie Hao) locomotives for freight work, of which over 3000 were ordered. Most modern trains, for example for the China Railway High-Speed service, are either imported or produced in China using technology transfer agreements.

The sixth great railway speed acceleration

High-speed rail services were introduced in 2007 and are operated using CRH trains. These run on existing lines that have been upgraded to speeds of up to 250km/h and on dedicated high speed track up to 350 km/h.

Title: The Harmonious Railway Construction
Date of Issue: 28 December 2006
Country: China
Denominations: 4 x 1,20 yuan + 6 yuan

Source: www.cpi.com.cn 

18 March 2011


Issue of a stamp in the Italian Artistic and Cultural Heritage regular series, dedicated to the Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina Landscapes, on the centenary of its completion. 
The line across Albula and Bernina is regarded as a true masterpiece of the railway engineer's art. Designed from the start to exist in perfect harmony with its surrounding countryside, the line stands as a proud monument to the pioneering days of railway-building, a tradition that continues to this very day.

Since July 2008, the Albula and Bernina lines have been on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites. The stamp features a section of the Rhaetian Railway with the characteristic red train that connects Tirano (Italy) and Thusis (canton of Graubünden, Switzerland) via St. Moritz and crosses through the Swiss Alps with their many passages, tunnels, bridges, and viaducts.

Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes, brings together two historic railway lines that cross the Swiss Alps through two passes. Opened in 1904, the Albula line in the north western part of the property is 67 km long. It features an impressive set of structures including 42 tunnels and covered galleries and 144 viaducts and bridges. The 61 km Bernina pass line features 13 tunnels and galleries and 52 viaducts and bridges. The property is exemplary of the use of the railway to overcome the isolation of settlements in the Central Alps early in the 20th century, with a major and lasting socio-economic impact on life in the mountains.

Landscape and railway blend into one, in a series of wide expanses and imposing man-made structures along the winding route through abruptly-sloping Alpine valleys. The line’s designers and builders were careful to harmonise it with the area’s natural attractions. Monumental landmarks and photo opportunities along the way include the Landwasser Viaduct, the series of winding tunnels between Bergün and Preda and the Circular Viaduct at Brusio. Man cannot live by the railway alone, but he can use it to make his way to all that’s worth seeing in three of the Alpine region’s different cultures.

The Rhaetian Railway offers a wide diversity of technical solutions for the establishment of the railway in often severe mountain conditions. It is a well designed construction that has been realised with a high degree of quality and it has remarkable stylistic and architectural homogeneity.

Title: Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina Landscapes

Date of Issue: 6 May 2010

Country: Italy

Denominations: 0,65 EUR


Well, I don´t have the stamp yet, but it is on it´s way :)

The mini-sheet shows the Frecciarossa High Speed train standing out against a background of green and red shades. The name Frecciarossa (meaning Red Arrow) represents the new brand name for trains with top speeds in the 300-350 km/h range. ETR 500 trains have a million passengers a month, run on the high speed line connecting Turin to Salerno, Northern to Southern Italy in 4h13´. The train stop in Milano Porta Garibaldi e Rogoredo, Bologna Centrale and  Firenze Campo Marte.

The words “LINEA FERROVIARIA ALTA VELOCITÀ TORINO-SALERNO” (Turin-Salerno High Speed Rail Line), “ITALIA”, and the denomination “€ 0,60” complete the stamp.
The stamp is printed in a perforated rectangle in the centre of the sheet, featuring the same colours as the stamp. The outline of the train on the design of the stamp continues outside the rectangle; on the left, at the top and bottom respectively, are the logos of Ferrovie dello Stato (the Italian State Railways) and Poste Italiane.

Date of Issue: 2 October 2010
Country: Italy
Denominations: 0,60 EUR

Source: www.post.it, www.trenitalia.com

15 March 2011


Joint issue Romania - Austria, souvenir sheet of the “Orient Express”, the legendary train, which once connected the two countries in a very luxurious manner, in order to mark the special cultural relationships between Bucharest and Vienna, built over time.

The stamp with the face value of 4.70 Lei represents the Orient Express train in May 1921, at Sinaia station. It had been pulled by a Pacific engine, type 2C1-h4, which belonged to the Bucharest Travelers Depot and was used on the route Bucharest North – Ploiesti – Sinaia – Brasov and back.
The stamp with the face value of 2.40 Lei represents the Orient Express train, in 1909, at Salzburg station, consisted of a four-axle restaurant car and pulled by a compound engine, type 2B-n2v from the Austrian series K.k.St.B. 206.01-206.70 belonging to Depot Wien II and which was used to pull the Orient Express train on the route Salzburg – Vienna and back.
In the background the image shows a map on which the corresponding track is recorded, the Paris Ostbahnhof, the Giant Ferris Wheel and the famous mosque “Hagia Sofia”.

The Orient Express train made the connection between Paris and Constantinople, namely between the Occident and Orient, and was undoubtedly the most famous and romantic of all trains. Writers, musicians, painters and cinematographers got inspired from the history of this famous train and contributed to the creation of its legend.

This train began operating in June 5th 1883, under the name of Le Train d’Orient or Express d’Orient and its first route, Paris (East Station) – Nancy – Strasbourg – Stuttgart – Munich – Salzburg – Vienna – Bratislava – Budapest – Jimbolia – Timisoara – Caransebes – Varciorova – Craiova – Pitesti – Bucharest – Giurgiu – Smarda, 2,638 kilometers long, lasted for 59 hours and 15 minutes. The first Orient Express left Giurgiu for Paris on June 8th 1883, at 13:30, arriving into the capital city at 15:00 and, after a 15 minutes halt, it left on its route to Paris.

On this occasion, the Postal and Telegraph Service in Giurgiu saluted their Parisian fellows by a telegram with the following Latin text: “Sequanam Danubius amice salutat.” (“Danubius friendly salutes Seine”) The Parisian Postal and Telegraph Service promptly answered, also in Latin, to the greetings of the people from Giurgiu: “Gratae Danubii fratris salutationi respondet Sequana soror.” (“Sister Seine thanks brother Danubius for his greetings.”)
Date of Issue: 6 September 2010
Country: Austria/Romania
Denominations: 0,65 EUR x 2 and 4.70 Lei, 2.40 Lei
Source: www.post.at, www.romfilatelia.ro

Stamps for trade

Here are some used and mint stamps ready for trade. Interested? Please leave a note.