28 April 2011


The keeper of an important part of the Romanian treasure - ingots, coins and gold objects - the National Bank of Romania also possesses masterpieces of the Romanian painting.  This set of stamps “Art reproductions - Paintings belonging to the National Bank of Romania Treasure” represent four paintings belonging to Nicolae Grigorescu, Eugeniu Voinescu and George Demetrescu Mirea, exhibited in the Council Chamber of the Bank. 

Nicolae Grigorescu (1838-1907) is considered to be the great master of the Romanian painting who illustrated in his works the symbiosis between the Realism of the Barbizon School, the Impressionism and the Symbolism.

On the postage stamp with the face value of RON 3.00 is illustrated the master’s painting entitled Rodica. Painted in 1894, the composition presents a hot summer season landscape when people harvest the wheat. The main female character, who may be seen in the foreground of the painting, is a woman carrying a water vessel.

On the postage stamp with the face value of RON 2.10 is illustrated the painting called Marine made by Eugeniu Voinescu (1842-1909). The painter studied literature and law in Cairo and Paris where he made friends with the Russian painter I.K. Aivazovski, a master of the marine landscape. As a painter of marine themes, Voinescu was the most famous Romanian painter of his time.

We must mention that Grigorescu’s Rodica and Voinescu’s Marine are the most remarkable examples of monumental painting in Bucharest besides the mural paintings of the Romanian Athenaeum.

On the postage stamps with the face value of RON 1.40  and RON 7.60 are illustrated the allegoric compositions Mercury and Prometheus made by George Demetrescu Mirea (1852-1934). The painter studied at the Belle Arte School in Bucharest with Theodor Aman. Among the important works of the painter G.D. Mirea we can mention the mural decorations from the National Bank of Romania and the Writers’ House in Bucharest, as well as those from the University of Iasi.

Date of Issue: 28 January 2011
Country: Romania
Denominations: 1L40, 2L10, 3L, 7L60


Price: 4,5 euro

27 April 2011


Joining the UN and UNESCO Programs and Projects and also many global organisations from which the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) stands out, Romfilatelia continues its mission to foster love and care for the environment.

The first postage stamps issue which Romfilatelia introduced into circulation in 2011, “Reptiles of Romania”, is related to the environmental protection and to the biodiversity preservation. 

The stamps illustrate the following reptile species belonging to the Romanian fauna: the Aesculapian snake, the Balkan wall lizard, the horned viper and the Moldavian meadow viper.

The Aesculapian snake (Zamenis longissimus) illustrated on the postage stamp with the face value of RON 0.60, has a slender body, with a small and narrow head. The tail is long and thin and the length of this snake is 1.50-2 m.  It can be found in the Southern and Central Europe, in Asia Minor and in Northern Iran.

The Balkan wall lizard (Podarcis taurica) is illustrated on the postage stamp with the face value of RON 2.40. It is small, the head, together with the body has a length of the 77 mm (male) or 66 mm (female). Its body is slightly flattened, has a small head and the tail is 1.5 times longer than the body and is very thin towards the end. The colour is dark brown, sometimes olive brown or greenish on the back side and white, with reddish reflexes on the abdomen. It lives in sandy areas, on sand dunes and in rocky places. It feeds on larvae and adult insects, spiders and other arthropods. It can be found in the Southern Crimea, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, in the North-East of Greece and in the European part of Turkey.

The horned viper (Vipera ammodytes ammodytes) shown on the postage stamp with the face value of RON 3.00, lengths range between 80 and 95 cm. One main feature of this species is the horn on the top of the snout, consisting of 2-4 scales and the dark zigzag on the back. The venom is very toxic. It prefers the sunny areas, with scarce vegetation. It feeds on small rodents and lizards. Usually, it can be found in Eastern Europe where, like in Romania, it has been a protected species since 2001.

The Moldavian meadow viper (Vipera ursinii moldavica) illustrated on the postage stamp with the face value of RON 9.10, has an approximate length of 65 cm and is less poisonous. Generally, its colour is grey and the zigzag pattern on the back is dark brown. It can be found in Delta area, in sandy and arid places and also in the Iasi County. The viper from this area is considered a distinct subspecies. It is protected throughout the European Union.

Date of Issue: 19 January 2011
Country: Romania
Denominations: 60 Bani, 2L40, 3L, 9L10


Price: 4,60 euro

26 April 2011


Today I will invite you to see some locomotives from Mauritius, in a mini-sheet from 1979, received from Steve.

The first railway on the island of Mauritius opened in 1864 between Port Louis and Grand River South East, a distance of some 50km. By the early decades of the 20th century a network of approaching 200km of standard gauge line had been established, fed by many more km of narrow gauge plantation railways.
The predominant traffic of the railways was sugar cane, but they were also very important to communications on the island, enabling wasy movement of passengers and general freight. 
One of the locomotives (lower right corner) is a large Garratt locomotive built for Mauritius Railways in 1927 by Beyer Peacock in the United Kingdom.  Garatt locomotive is a type of steam locomotive that is articulated in three parts. Its boiler is mounted on the centre frame, and two steam engines are mounted on separate frames, one on each end of the boiler. Articulation permits larger locomotives to negotiate curves and lighter rails that might restrict large rigid-framed locomotives. Many Garratt designs aimed to double the power of the largest conventional locomotives operating on their railways, thus reducing the need for multiple locomotives and crews.You can see some pictures here.
Following the Second World War traffic declined in the face of road competition and passenger services ceased in 1956. Further competition and decline in sugar cane production led to complete closure in 1964. Lines were closed and lifted and although routes may still be traced, few tangible artefacts remain today. Narrow gauge railways fared rather better in this respect, and although most of them closed about the same time, a number of locomotives and other items are now on static display in various locations.

Date of Issue: 1979
Country: Mauritius
Denominations: 20c, R1, R1,50, R2

Source: http://www.mauritiuspost.mu

15 April 2011


A very nice FDC illustrating a steam locomotive from South Africa received these days from Domenico. Thank you.

A steam locomotive is a locomotive that produces its power through a steam engine. The term locomotiverefers to any self-propelled vehicle. This may also include a road locomotive such as atraction engine or steam car, however when the term is used on its own, it commonly refers to a railway locomotive. Its purpose is to haul a train for freight wagons or passenger coaches along a railway track. The locomotive is usually fueled by coal, wood or oil. This fuel is burned to produce steam in a boiler, which drives the steam engine. Both fuel and water supplies are carried with the locomotive, either on the locomotive itself or in wagons pulled behind.
In South Africa an oil embargo combined with an abundance of cheap local coal and a cheap labour force, ensured steam locomotives survived into the 1990s. By 1994 almost all commercial steam locomotives were put out of service, although many of them are preserved in museums or at railway stations for public viewing. Today only a few privately owned steam locomotives are still operating in South Africa, namely the ones being used by the 5-star luxury train Rovos Rail, and the tourist trainsOuteniqua Tjoe ChooApple Express and (until 2008) Banana Express. (Source: wikipedia)
Unfortunately I couldn´t find out which steam locomotive is represented on the MS, so if somebody knows this please inform me too. 
I was wondering what SAPDA means; well it is the abbreviation for South African Philatelic Dealers Association.

Date of Issue: 30 April 1999
Country: South Africa
Denominations: Standardised Mail - R5.00

08 April 2011


This set of stamps arrived as a birthday present from Som and Donata, together with a nice card and a cover with birds (will post it later). Thank you for this lovely surprise.

The first stamp shows a Stock Pigeon (Columba oenas) member of the family of Columbidae, doves and pigeons. 
The Stock Pigeon constantly inhabits the Curonian Spit and Kazlų Rūda forests in Lithuania. Larger colonies of these birds are distributed in the southern and eastern regions of the country – Dainava, Rūdninkai, Lavoriškės, Labanoras forests where pine trees dominate. 
The Stock Pigeon generally inhabit mature pine forests and mixed forests. It nests in a naturally rotten hole in a tree. The eggs (usually 2) are laid in late April/early May. The Stock Pigeon is capable of raising 2–3 broods per season. Most of its food is vegetable. 
Cutting down hollow dry trees and mature forests and abundance of pine martens pose the greatest threat to the Stock Pigeon. Since 1970, this species is listed in the Red Data Book of Lithuania, as well as the Berne Convention, Annex III.

The second stamp, Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) is a dragonfly of the family Aeshnidae.
It is found in Ignalina, Lazdijai, Molėtai, Prienai, Trakai, Ukmergė, Varėna, and Vilkaviškis districts in Lithuania. The Lesser Emperor usually inhabits the surrounding areas of forest lakes and ponds. 
The female of the species insert their eggs into water plants’ stems. Larval development depends on water temperature and usually takes 1–2 years. The Lesser Emperor is most commonly seen from May to August. It feeds on insects. 
Water pollution and recreational activities in its natural habitats are major threats to the Lesser Emperor. Since 1989, this species is under protection in Lithuania.

Title: The Red Book of Lithuania 
Date of Issue: 11 September 2010
Country: Lithuania
Denominations: 2 x 1,35 Lt


Thanks to Carlos who sent me these stamps from Itay. Now I can truly start my collection on gastronomy stamps too. Why food related stamps? Because I like enjoying a good meal :) 
I can only admire how great Chef´s combine tastes and reveal on a plate small masterpieces. 
So here we go with a set of 4 stamps about cheese. I guess these could go great with an Italian pizza (Am I getting hungry?).

Gorgonzola is a veined Italian blue cheese, made from unskimmed cow's and/or goat's milk. It can be buttery or firm, crumbly and quite salty, with a 'bite' from its blue veining. Today it is mainly produced in the northern Italian regions of Piedmont and LombardyUnder Italian law Gorgonzola enjoys Protected Geographical StatusGorgonzola may be eaten in many ways. It may be melted into a risotto in the final stage of cooking, or served alongside polenta. Pasta with gorgonzola is a dish appreciated almost everywhere in Italy by gorgonzola lovers. Because of its distinctive flavor, it is frequently offered as pizza topping.
Parmigiano reggiano is a hard granular cheese, cooked but not pressed, named after the producing areas near ParmaReggio EmiliaModena, andBologna (all in Emilia-Romagna), and Mantova(in Lombardia), Italy. Under Italian law only cheese produced in these provinces may be labelled "Parmigiano-Reggiano", while European law classifies the name as a protected designation of originUses of the cheese include being grated with a grater over pasta, stirred into soup and risotto, and eaten in chunks with balsamic vinegar. It is also a key ingredient in alfredo sauce and pestoSlivers and chunks of the hardest parts of the crust can also be employed as an ingredient in soups (to which they add a subtler flavour) or even be slowly chewed until soft; Italian mothers have fed parmigiano crusts to their children for generations, trusting in their high calcium content to help them develop stronger teeth and bones. One traditional use of a whole Parmigiano round is to use it as a serving pot. On special occasions, when one has dozens of guests to serve the whole head is used up and thoroughly hollowed out so that the bare crust remains, steaming pasta can then be poured in it and served from therein.
Mozzarella di Bufala Campana is a mozzarella made from the milk of the domestic water buffalo rather than from cow milk. In Italy, the cheese is produced in areas ranging from Rome in Lazio to Paestum (near Salerno) inCampania, and there is a production area in near FoggiaPuglia. It is an Italian trademark. Generally, buffalo mozzarella is enjoyed with pasta, calzone, vegetables, salads, on pizza (a low moisture content buffalo mozzarella is preferred), on grilled bread, or by itself accompanied by olive oil.
Ragusano is one of the most favorite Italian cheeses produced in Sicily. The cheese usually has a shape of a brick and it is made from unpasteurized cow's milk. This cheese is most commonly considered a cooking cheese and is quite salty and flaky. It can be served in a number of dishes, but is best suited to mild dishes as these balance out its saltiness. It pairs well with mild, sweet 
wines and dark beers such as stouts and porters.

So if you like cheese, these stamps are great, though you cannot use them in a recipe to get this result:

Aubergine Parmigiana

Title: Made in Italy - fromaggi (cheese) 
Date of Issue: 25 March 2011
Country: Italy
Denominations: 4 x 0,60 euro

06 April 2011


I think it would be nice and useful to have a list of recent issues all over the world.
For example what new stamps will be issued this month by your country?
Can you help me out by sending a link to the website of the post office or philatelic bureau in your country?
I will list everything here, on a monthly basis. If available, I will add pictures too. And in your comments, I will really appreciate if you can mention weather you can procure those stamps for others (resell or exchange, as you wish). So if somebody needs an item knows whom to contact. For now I know these:

- no other pictures found - 
  • 04.04 Odilon Redon 
  • 11.04 Angers and Wooden Bridge in Crest
  • 18.04 Gothic art - booklet
  • Bridge over Oyapock
  • OCDE
- I only found the stamps issued in March -
ISRAEL (http://english.israelphilately.org.il/new_issues/)

  • 12.04 Flags - booklet
  • Memorial day
  • Butterflies
  • Visit Israel
  • ATM Postage Label - Persian Deer

ITALY (http://www.ibolli.it/cat/italia/11/11.php?uu=1)

  • 12.04 Gagarin and Vostok I
  • 21.04 Rome, capital city
  • 23.04 100 years from the death of Emilio Salgari

POLAND (http://www.poczta-polska.pl/znaczki/en/index.php)

  • "Smile of the World" on the Photography of Elżbieta Dzikowska
  • Beatification of Pope John Paul II

ROMANIA (http://www.romfilatelia.ro/marci/calendar.php?Lang=en)
- unfortunately they don´t have pictures available on the website until the day of issue, and the date is also unknown -

  • Butterflies
  • The Parlament - interior decorations
  • Europa 2011 - Forests
USA ( http://www.stamps.org/newissues/index.htm#April)

  • 07.04 Herbs
  • 08.04 Lady Liberty and American flag - definitives
  • 11.04 New River Gorge Bridge, Voyageurs National Park, G.Washington, Wedding Cake
  • 12.04 Civil War
  • 21.04 Wedding Roses
  • 28.04 G. Peck, H. Hayes, Oveta Culp Hobby
  • Go green
To be continued...

04 April 2011

UNESCO Heritage Sites Germany

The German Post has issued a set of two stamps illustrating two famous world heritage sites of UNESCO – Yakushi-ji Temple of Nara (Japan) and old town of Regensburg (Bavaria, Germany).

Yakushi-ji (55 cents) is one of the Seven Great Temples of Nara and the head temple of the Hosso sect of Japanese Buddhism. It was constructed by Emperor Tenmu in the late 7th century for the recovery of the emperor's sick wife. One of Japan's oldest temples, Yakushiji has a strictly symmetric layout, with the main and lecture halls standing on a central axis, flanked by two pagodas, shown on the stamp.
The main hall was rebuilt in the 1970s after being destroyed by fire, and houses a Yakushi trinity, a masterpiece of Japanese Buddhist art. The East Pagoda is the temple's only structure to have survived the many fires and dates from 730. It is an UNESCO site since 1998. For those who would like to visit it, here is a link.
The Old Town of Regensburg (75 cents) was registered as UNESCO world heritage in 2006. Located on the Danube River, Regensburg with Stadtamhof is an exceptional example of a central-European medieval trading center, which illustrates an interchange of cultural and architectural influences. A notable number of buildings of outstanding quality testify to its political, religious, and economic significance from the 9th century. The historic fabric reflects some two millenniums of structural continuity and includes ancient Roman, Romanesque, and Gothic buildings. Regensburg’s 11th to 13th century architecture still defines the character of the town marked by tall buildings, dark and narrow lanes, and strong fortifications. The buildings include medieval patrician houses and towers, a large number of churches and monastic ensembles as well as the 12th-century Stone Bridge. 
The stamp illustrates St. Peter's Cathedral surrounded by medieval buildings. St Peter’s Cathedral is indisputably the city’s spiritual center. When you look up towards the spires of this imposing Gothic building, you will see kings on horseback, foolish virgins, and gargoyles with animal and human faces. Website here.

I will surely go to visit them, at least Regensburg, that is one hour away from my home, by car :)

Title: UNESCO World Heritage Site
Date of Issue: 3 February 2011
Country: Germany
Denominations: 0,55 and 0,75 euro