16 December 2018

Sunday Stamps - R

1976, Rwanda, African trees and shrubs
designer: J Van Noten

This Southern and Central African native tree, Ilex mitis, is commonly known as Cape or African Holly - or in the Kinyarwanda language of Rwanda as 'umunywande'. The stamp shows the tall, straight tree which can grow to 20 metres, and the leaves withe smooth edges which are unlike the traditional holly used for Christmas decoration in Europe and North America with its spiny leaves.

for the letter R - Republique Rwanda

09 December 2018

Sunday Stamps - Q

1972, Umm al-Qiwain, Masks of Africa
designer: Gyula Vasarhelyi

Most of the African masks in this set are rather scary or gruesome looking (as I imagine they are meant to be).  I could find no information on the masks as to where they originated, or why this theme was chosen. Umm al-Qiwain, or Quwain as it is sometimes spelt (or spelled), is one of the United Arab Emirates. It is the least populous within an area of around 300 square miles. The designer, Gyula (also known as Julian) Vasarhelyi is from Hungary and throughout his career as a freelance artist, designed  more than 7500 stamps in 650 countries.

for the letter Q - Umm al-Qiwain 

02 December 2018

Sunday Stamps - P

2010, Poland, Cats (koty = cats)
designer: Andrej Gosik

The Maine Coon is one of the oldest North American breeds of cats and is native to the state of Maine (and is their official state cat). Maine Coons are large, social creatures with long bushy tails and an uneven two layered coat.  No one knows exactly how the Maine Coon originated, but it may have been from a pairing of short-haired domestic cats with long-haired cats arriving on English or Norse ships (there is a resemblance to the Norwegian Forest Cat, a breed also thought to have traveled with the Norsemen).

for the letter P - Poland

25 November 2018

Sunday Stamps - O

2010, Austria, Churches
designer: Helga Herger

This Evangelical Church was first mentioned in documents in 927 and is thought to have been built in 888 for the visit of Arnulf of Carinthia, making it one of the oldest churches in Austria. It has been preserved in its original form with several Roman reliefs and inscription stones as well as remains of 13thC Romanesque murals.

for the letter O - Osterreich

18 November 2018

Sunday Stamps - N

1991, New Zealand, endangered species
artist: Pauline Morse

The Tuatara's ancestors have been known to have been around over 225 million years ago.  They are the only surviving members of the Sphenodontia (an order of lizard like reptiles).  There are still about 100,000 of them living on some of the off shore islands of NZ where predators such as rats, which eat their eggs and compete for food, are not present.  It is believed that there were no tuataras living on the North and South Islands by the time European settlers arrived.  An average tuatara life span is around 60 years, but they have been known to live to 100 years.

for the letter N - New Zealand

11 November 2018

Sunday Stamps - M

1975, Monaco, 125th anniversary of the Grammont Law
engraver - Pierre Gandon

In 1850, Jacques Delmas de Grammont, had a law passed in the National Legislative Assembly in France that would fine or imprison anyone caught abusing domestic animals. This became known as the Grammont Law.

for the letter M - Monaco

04 November 2018

Sunday Stamps - L

2004, Lithuania, Forest Fauna 
designer: A Ratkeviciene 

This is also known as an eagle-owl. He is a little smaller than a bald eagle and bigger than a snowy owl.  It has a wide range across much or Europe and Asia, but is also fairly sedentary in that they rarely travel out of their own territory.

for the letter L - Lithuania/Lietuva