vintage and contemporary postcards and stamps from around the world

31 December 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 159

1989, USSR, Samovar

The first samovar factory was founded in Tula by gunmakers moving in a new direction, in 1778. By the mid 1800s, the town had 70 samovar manufacturers. The peak period for production was in the 1880s and Tula became synonymous with samovars. 

for the letter U - USSR

24 December 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 158

1977, Australia
designer: Roger Roberts

This Surfing Santa stamp was controversial when it was issued in 1977. Apparently, Santa could be too irreverent. This was only the second year a secular Christmas stamp had been issued, and the following year, AusPost returned to issuing only religious themed stamps. In 2007, it was reissued for a 50th year celebration of Christmas stamps. 
Merry Christmas to one and all!
For Christmas

17 December 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 157

1990, Trinidad & Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago are the most southerly islands in the Caribbean. They became independent nations in 1962 after being ruled by the Spanish and British - and in Tobago's case, also French and Dutch. This stamp, showing the more commonly called bamboo fungus, was issued for the World Stamp Exhibition.

for the letter T - Trinidad and Tobago

10 December 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 156

1995, South Africa, endangered animals

The Serinus citrinipectus is more commonly known as a lemon breasted canary. They are completely dependent on the lala palm where they breed and build their nests. These palms are increasingly being used for crafts and curios (the fruit) and even beer or wine (the sap) and the fronds for thatching and weaving. Successful breeding of these birds rarely happens outside of the protected areas.

for the letter S - South Africa

03 December 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 155

2017 Russia, Literary Heritage/Russian Fables
designer: V Beltukov

The Rooster and the Pearl is a Russian fable by V.K. Trediakovsky. It also seems to be accredited to other authors, including Aesop.
"While pecking in a compost mound,
A Rooster came upon a Pearl
And cried, amazed 'What's this I found?!
It has no use in all the world'
What fools are men to treasure such
Tough grains that no one can digest
Now, barley does not shine as much,
But fills the belly. Which is best?"

Thus, often in the world of man, a fools deems useless what he does not understand

for the letter R: Russia, rooster

26 November 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 154

1972, Canada, Quebec City
designer: Reinhard Derreth

Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America and has the only remaining fortified wall north of Mexico. Vieux Québec is a Unesco World Heritage Site. One of its most prominent buildings, shown here on the stamp, is the grand railway hotel, the Chateau Frontenac. Quebec has always been a capital city, from its earliest settlement in New France to Lower Canada to the Province of Quebec.

for the letter Q - Quebec

19 November 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 153

1940 Portugal
Designer: Antonio Lima
Engraver Gustavo de Almeida Araujo

Showing the emblem of the Portuguese Legion.

for the letter P - Portugal

12 November 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 152

1955 Canada, wildlife series
designer: Emanuel Otto Hahn
engraver: Silas Robert Allen

The Musk Ox (Ovibos moschatus) lives in the tundra of the Arctic. The name comes from the musky odour of the males during the rutting season. In winter, they live on roots, lichen and mosses and during the summer  months they feast on Arctic flowers and grasses. Its long, shaggy coat makes it appear larger than they really are. They are smaller than bison and about half the weight (4'-5', 400-900 lbs).

for the letter O - ox, ovibos

05 November 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 151

1975, Japan, Nature Conservation
designer: Takao Yamouchi

The Red crowned crane, also known as the Japanese crane, is among the largest of the cranes and can reach a height of 5' 2" (150-158 cm) with a wingspan of between 7' to 8' (220-250 cm). Hokkaido is a special breeding area and these cranes migrate less than 100 miles for the winter. Cranes are said to grant favours in return for acts of sacrifice. It is also the logo for Japan Air Lines. The name Japan is mostly used by for foreign branding, while Nippon is the name used since the seventh century. The kanji characters mean 'origin of the sun'.  In the Tang dynasty, the earliest record of the use of Nippon comes from a message brought to China by a delegation from Japan from the "Emperor of the land where the sun rises to the Emperor of the land where the sun sets" which refers to the fact that Japan lies east of China.

for the letter N - Nippon, nature

29 October 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 150

1954, Madagascar

This is a Uratelornis chimaera, or a long-tailed ground-roller that is only found in a small section of south-western Madagascar only 30-60 km wide and 200 km long. They were considered threatened in 1988 and have been vulnerable since 1994. The forests where it lives are not protected by the Malagasy government and there is widespread slash and burn agriculture as well as logging. This bird has the longest tail of the ground rollers at up to 12" of the bird's 19" length. It has a plump body and short wings and rarely flies, but it apparently can run very fast. Also, the female loses her magnificent tail feathers when nesting.

for the letter M - Madagascar

22 October 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 149

2014, Latvia, Lighthouses
designer: Arta Ozola Jaunaraja

This octagonal lighthouse on the Gulf of Riga was built in 1930. It has been painted white with an orange vertical stripe and orange roof. The harbour at Ainazi was bombed by the Germans during the war which meant the loss of the areas fishing industry - and the need for a lighthouse. The village and harbour was rebuilt by the Soviets and the lighthouse restored.

for the letter L - Latvia, Lighthouse

21 October 2017


received 2014

Eight very different lighthouses on the Atlantic coast of North Carolina.

Baldhead Island, first lit in 1794, current lighthouse lit in 1817, automated in 1985
Cape Lookout, first lit in 1812, current lighthouse lit in 1859, automated in 1950
Cape Hatteras, first lit in 1803, current lighthouse lit in 1870, automated in 1950
Currituck Reach, lit in 1875, automated in 1939
Ocracoke, first lit in 1798, current lighthouse lit in 1823, automated in 1955
Bodie Island, first lit in 1847, current lighthouse lit in 1872, automated in 1940
Oak Island, first lit in 1849, current lighthouse lit in 1958, automated in 1958
Prices Creek, lit in 1849, never automated

for Postcards for the Weekend - lighthouses

15 October 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 148

2000,  Denmark,  commemorative,

Showing the front page of the newspaper Kristeligt Dagsblad (Christian Daily Newspaper) from 5th of May, 1945 commemorating the liberation of Denmark. The man in the photo is Kong Christian X. This stamp was part of the Twentieth Century series issued for the Millennium. The Kristeligt Dagsblad was originally an evangelical newspaper when it was established in 1896, publishing articles on morality and religious and cultural topics, and no sports. King Christian X was King of Denmark from 1912 - 1947, and symbolized Denmark's resistance to the German occupiers during WWII. Occupation began in 1940 and after a speech in 1943 against the occupation forces he was imprisoned until the end of the war. He was known as the Riding King as he was often seen riding on horseback through the streets of Copenhagen to show he had not abandoned his claim to sovereignty.  Here you can see a video of him with his horse and his family.

for the letter K - King (Kong, in Danish), Kristeligt, København

14 October 2017

Morse Country

received 2014
M Peck

Marian Fielding Peck was a painter who produced over 60 maps of Great Britain for Salmon Postcards until her death in 1974. Oxford is the "sweet city of the dreaming spires".

for Postcards for the Weekend

08 October 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 147

1964, Jamaica

Jamaica is the fourth largest island country in the Caribbean. It was claimed for Spain in 1494 by Christopher Columbus, though the Awarak people had been living there since about 4000-1000 BC. The British claimed it for themselves in 1655. Independence was granted in 1962 and their new flag was adopted. It is the only country flag that does not feature any red, white, or blue. The gold saltire represents the natural wealth, and beauty of sunshine. The green triangles are for natural resources and hope; the black triangles for strength and creativity of the people.The original interpretation was that there are hardships (black) but the land is lush (green) and the sun shineth (gold). Jamaica was also the first British colonial territory to establish a postal service, in 1688.

for the letter J - Jamaica

01 October 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 146

1947, India International Postage
12 annas

One of three stamps issued by the newly independent Dominion of India. It wouldn't be until December that they were finally released, and the stock of old King George VI stamps would continue to be overprinted until they were finally used up and replaced in 1949. The stamp shows a Douglas DC4 Skymaster flying over the date of independence with the value of 12 annas on the bottom left and Jai Hind (Victory to India) in Devanagari script on the upper left. 

for the letter I - India, Independence, International

30 September 2017


1940s, Curt Teich

On the reverse is a listing of each image within the individual letters

A - Boulder Dam
R - San Francisco Peaks
I  - Saguaro Cactus
Z - Queen Creek Gorge
O - Petrified Forest
N - Hopi Snake Dance
A - San Xavier Mission

sharing with Postcards for the Weekend - multiview

24 September 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 145

2017, Switzerland, Postcrossing
illustrator: Max Spring

A brand new stamp, issued September 7, 2017, this is the international rate stamp showing a postcard flying off to various parts of the world. Switzerland uses four different variations of its name - Schweiz (German), Suisse (French), Svizzera (Italian), Svizra (Romanish) and for official purposes adds 'Confederation of' in front of the country name. The latin name Helvetia comes from the Helvetii who were a Celtic tribe that were settled in the area during Julius Caesar's time, and CH (Confoederatio Helvetica) is used for all banknotes, postage stamps, and the internet.

for the letter H - Helvetia

23 September 2017

solid fall

received 2016 from Russia

Leonid Afremov is a Russian artist whose works are created by using only a canvas, oil paints and a pallet knife - no brushes.

for Postcards for the Weekend - fall scenes

17 September 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 144

2004, Canada, 100th anniversary of the Canadian Open

These stamps are the same size as a golf ball (43mm or 1.6"), complete with dimpled edges. The left stamp depicts a scene from 100 years ago with a silver silhouetted golfer driving, while the one on the right shows a scene from this century with a silver silhouetted golfer putting. The crowd scenes are from the RCGA archives. Off to the right is the cup as it would have been in each of those years. The first Canadian Open (36 holes in one day) was held at the Montreal Royal Golf Club and the 100th (72 holes over four days) was held at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville.

for the letter G - Golf

16 September 2017


The Araguaya was built in 1906, the second of the modernized fleet for travel to South America. Each of these ships were named with the letter A, with Araguaya being a river in Brazil. The Royal Mail Steam Packet Company was started in 1839 and by 1840 had an agreement to carry all of Queen Victoria's mail to the West Indies. There were fourteen ships - all named for rivers - sailing twice a month to Barbados. Nearly every 20 years a new Royal Charter was granted to extend the destinations. The Araguaya's maiden voyage was Southampton to Brazil then on to Montevideo and Buenos Aires. With the advent of WWI she was requisitioned and adapted as a military hospital ship to serve with Canadian forces. After 1920 there was a refit and she again was destined from Southampton to South America as well as occasionally on a Hamburg - New York route. Later, in 1926, another refit as a cruise liner and she was on her way to the Norwegian fjords. By 1930 she was sold and renamed Kraljica Marija and sailing under a Yugoslavian flag.

10 September 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 143

1961, Republic of Congo
engraver: Rene Cottet

Argyropelecus gigas, or giant hatchetfish can be found in tropical waters of all the oceans and is native to around 90 countries, including the Republic of Congo. Giant Hatchetfish aren't really all that giant - they usually reach only 4-6 inches, but that is much bigger than many of the other 40 species of hatchetfish. They have big eyes that are extremely sensitive to light and shadow in depths of 400-4,000 feet. Their eyes are also focused upwards which helps them find food. Another interesting feature is their ability to fly by fluttering their pectoral fins.

for the letter F - fish, flying, fins

I am away on an internet free holiday for a week, so will visit you all next Sunday

03 September 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 142

2017, Estonia, 100 years
designer: Indrek Ilves

Estonia's 100th anniversary of independence will be a long celebration. It started in April 2017 with the centenary of Estonian settlement areas, peaks with the anniversary of the republic on February 24th, 2018, continues into 2019 with commemorations of important victory battles and finally ends in 2020 with the anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty when Russia unreservedly recognized the independence of Estonia. Until then, Estonia had been a province of Imperial Russia since 1710 and had been dominated by one nation or another since the13th century.
As from July this year Estonia is holding the Presidency of the European Council. The theme is 'Unity through Balance' and this stamp shows the combined logo for the presidency and the centenary. From the creator of the identity logo: a narrow rectangle and two circles are the building blocks for the Presidency's symbol of balance, the symbol of Estonia 100 and the binary code pattern used by both.
for the letter E: Eesti/Estonia, European Union

02 September 2017

Midway at The EX

1970s, Canadian National Exhibition

The CNE, or more commonly known as simply 'The Ex' has been around since 1879. 
This postcard shows a night view of the midway with the Shell Oil Tower rising high behind the Flyer roller coaster. Both were built in the mid 1950s but unfortunately demolished in 1982 and 1995 respectively.
The CNE runs for 18 days until Labour Day, which this year is Sept 4th, 2017
(see also here for an older version of the Shell Oil Tower)

27 August 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 141

1977, Djibouti

Before its Independence in 1977, Djibouti was known as French Somaliland as well as The French Territory of the Afars and the Issas. It lies in the Horn of Africa bordering Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Currently (2016) there Are 846,690 people living there.

for the letter D
we're using a new linky host as the other one has disappeared, taking all the past links with it!
click on the little box that says 'add your link' and the linkup will appear

20 August 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 140

2016, Norway, 200th Anniversary Norges Bank
21 kroner
designer and engraver: Sverre Morken

A 19th century Norwegian coin and 20th century banknotes are shown on this stamp commemorating the 200th anniversary of the central bank of Norway Norges Bank. This stamp won second place in a poll for Norway's most beautiful stamp of 2016.
21 kroner = 2.30 euros

for the letter C - currency

13 August 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 139

1995, Belarus, Belovezhski Bison Bonasus

A European Bison in the Belovezhskaya National Park within the Bialowieza Forest (a UNESCO site on the Belarus-Poland border). in 1996, they were declared an 'endangered' species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, though that has been upgraded to 'vulnerable'. There are now around 800 in Belarus and the population is growing. The bison in the Bialowieza Forest were protected by the Polish kings with a death penalty for killing any instituted in the mid-16th century. Later, the Russian czars continued to protect them but their numbers still dwindled until there were none left by 1928. Slowly, captive bison from zoos were bred to be reintroduced to the wild with the first pair finally leaving captivity to live in the forest in 1952. The modern day bison bonasus are all descended from only seven animals.

for the letter B - Bison, Belarus

08 August 2017

blue cats

received 2017 from Belarus
artist Irina Zeniuk

International Cat Day

06 August 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 138


The US postal service started constructing airway beacons between 1923-1933 to aid navigation before there were good aviation charts for pilots. A series of lighted beacons were placed every 10 miles or so along with a brightly painted concrete arrow for navigation during inclement weather and at night. The lights would flash a code to identify each beacon's number. By 1940, when technology had improved, the beacons were torn down and the steel went towards the war effort.

for the letter A - air mail

30 July 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 137

1971, USSR, Space Exploration

The Lunokhod - "Moonwalker" - was a robotic lunar rover, and this stamp shows the Lunokhod 1, the first remote controlled rover which landed on the moon in 1970. It has a rather cartoonish look here, which I love.  On the lid is a solar cell for powering the batteries. It landed on Sea of Rains and travelled 6.5 miles during its 322 day sojourn. No one knew exactly where it was when the final signals failed, but in 2010 A NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter found it and found that the reflectors are still useful.

for stars, moon or planets

28 July 2017

international bridge

 Canada 1950 above, 1910 below
The World's Smallest International Bridge
Zavikon Island, 1000 Islands Canada

The 1000 Islands are an archipelago of some 1800 islands that straddle the border between Ontario and New York in the St lawrence River. It has been an enduring myth that this 32' bridge between the main Zavikon island and the one used as a backyard by the owner of the two has the bigger one in Canada and the smaller one in the U.S. It has been a great tourist ploy since around 1880 and is still touted as the shortest international  bridge on boat tours. Apparently, the official border is a couple hundred feet south of the smaller island making both of them in Canada.

for Sepia Saturday

23 July 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 136

1984, Vietnam, Halong Bay

Ha Long Bay was made a World Heritage site in 1994. There are some 1600 monolithic islets, mostly made of limestone, that has weathered over 500 million years. These stamps show Hon Dua (top) and Nui Yen Ngua (right). The name Ha Long (or sometimes Halong) means descending dragon. Legend has it that when Vietnam was starting to develop as a country, to help defend against invaders, the gods sent a family of dragons as protectors. These dragons spat out jewels which became the islands and by using magic, they had mountains suddenly appear in front of enemy ships. After the battles were over and the bay became peaceful, the dragons decided to stay. 

for a place you would love to see

In August we will start a new "alphabet theme" where you may choose any stamp on any theme that begins with that week's letter. This should prove less restrictive, but hopefully still challenging. Any language spelling is acceptable so we might also all get to learn a few new words!

22 July 2017

covered bridge

1970s Canada Hartland Covered Bridge
photo by E Otto

This 391m bridge was opened in 1901 but wasn't covered until 1922 after repairs were needed when it was seriously damaged by ice in the St John River.   The signs on the front say

you are now entering the longest
covered bridge in the world
1282 feet

on the water

Relaxing after a long weekend of hard work.

for Sepia Saturday

16 July 2017


1967 postcard book

The annual Calgary Stampede has been on all week and ends today. 
Billed as The Greatest Show On Earth, for 10 days the city hosts rodeos, chuckwagon races, competitions, concerts, stage shows, a midway, and food.

And definitely HATS

The Stampede has been ongoing for 105 years

which featured a prompt with crowds, hats, and sports

Sunday Stamps II - 135

1964, Pakistan, Save the Monuments of Nubia

When the Aswan Dam was being built, UNESCO helped with a publicity drive to educate the rest of the world about the importance and value of the Nubian Monuments which would have been flooded if something wasn't done. Several countries issued stamps in support. The top stamp shows carved figures at Abu Simbel. These were cut into blocks, numbered and reassembled above the new dam. On the right is shown the Temple at Karnak reflected in the Sacred Lake.

for statues or monuments

15 July 2017

church map

received 2013
Bulgaria has some great map shaped cards showing everything they are proud to show off - architecture, landscapes, flora, fauna, foods ...
Here we have churches from various cities, including the capital, Sofia, with the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral which can hold 10,000 people. There are 15 churches from medieval times in Nessebar on the Black Sea coast, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. And a 21st C church, the Cathedral of St Vissarian, built 2006, in Smolyen.

09 July 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 134

2008, USA, Scenic American Landscapes
International letter rate

photographer: George H Huey

The U.S. Virgin Islands, in the Caribbean, consist of three main islands - St Croix, St John, St Thomas, as well as a few uninhabited outlying islands. In 1956 The Virgin Islands National Park was established and covers 60% of St John and a portion of St Thomas. Of the 146,888 acres, 5,650 are underwater. This stamp shows Trunk Bay, which has consistently been named as one of the top beaches in the world. The name comes from the leatherback turtle which are known locally as trunks. 

for aerial views

02 July 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 133

1976, Bermuda
The Tall Ships Race that took place in 1976 during the American Bicentennial was from Bermuda to Rhode Island. The EAGLE was the only US ship in Class A. Originally named Horst Wessel, this 1936 built barque was renamed the Eagle when it was transferred from Germany to the US in 1945. It is currently used as a training vessel for the US Coast Guard.

for Tall Ships

Starting in August, we will have an alphabet theme for each week. You are invited to share any stamps from a country beginning with each week's designated letter, or showing something beginning with that letter. Any language may be used. So, 'N' may feature 'Netherlands', something orange ('naranja'), 'nautical',  an 'N tariff' on a stamp from Belarus, or even 'new' - as in a new issue, or simply new to your collection.

01 July 2017

Quebec City

Québec is the capital city of the province of Quebec. The city has an accent, while the province does not. The name Quebec comes from an Algonquin word meaning "where the river narrows", in this case, the St Lawrence River. First settled in 1535, it is one of the oldest European cities in North America. Its World Heritage old town (Vieux-Quebec) is the only city in the US or Canada that still has fortified walls. This view shows the iconic Chateau Frontenac Hotel, built as one of the chateau style hotels for the Canadian Pacific Railway.

25 June 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 132

1967, Canada Expo 67
designer: Harvey Prosser

Expo 67 was Canada's premier celebration during its centennial year. It ran from April 27 to October 29 1967., then for a few years as "Man and His World", which was the theme. The stamp shows the Canada Pavilion which was a nine storey inverted pyramid called Katimavik - an Inuit word for 'meeting place'.  On the upper left is the logo consisting of eight pars of a pictogram of "man" with arms linked and in a circle of "worldwide brotherhood and friendship".  Expo was held in Montreal on Ile-Sainte-Helen in the St Lawrence River. It was expanded, and another island built, using earth excavated from the building of the metro. Today, these islands are called Parc Jean Drapeau (who was Montreal's mayor from 1960-86 - so during the Expo and Olympic years)

for expositions/fair/events

18 June 2017

Sunday Stamps II - 131

2015, Germany, Most Beautiful Panoramas

This is the Chiemsee with a view to Gstadt and the Chiemgau Alps in Bavaria. The sun is shining on the water, but the mountains are not clear. And the side panels show a misty view of trees. I am imagining this is early morning. 

for views with weather