Monday, December 28, 2009

Logo of Trinidad and Tobago Postal Corporation



Have you ever noticed logo of postal corporations or postal authorities? There are always interesting facts and stories about it. If you take closer look at the official logo of Postal Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago, it consists of a red colored bird adjoining TT POST. Do you know what bird is it? If you live in South America or Caribbean, you would easily know its name. It is a Hummingbird common to the gardens and landscape in many parts of the New World. Yes, Hummingbirds are small yet colorful birds that live on flower nectar. There are 337 species of hummingbirds worldwide and out of which 21 species are found in Trinidad and Tobago. Not only the do they adorn the Postal Authority logo of Trinidad and Tobago but they have appeared on TT$ 20.00 bank notes as well.

The wings of these minute birds flap so fast that the birds look as if they are suspended and hover in mid air. These birds are the only family of birds that can fly backwards and some of them migrate during the winter months. They have unusual long beaks to be used to suck sweet nectar from flowers.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays





The Holiday season is here. It is the time of giving, sharing and bringing out our joy. I see happiness and celebration everywhere. I can see the eyes of little children gleaming and twinkling with enjoyment and expectation as their parents buy the gifts that the kids have wished for. It is certainly a nice time of the year and I feel that I am a child again on December 25th when I open my gifts!

Most of the stamp collectors I am sure are getting Philately related gifts like I am. I mean, what is Christmas without one more addition to our ever expanding collection or what is Christmas without sets of nice thematic folders, right? I think I already know what I am getting this year !

Even better during the holidays are the Christmas stamps that are issued all over the world. I enjoy getting Christmas cards with nice Christmas stamps on the envelope, but the problem nowadays is that many of my friends are opting more and more for e cards and holiday emails. I do not get that many cards like I used to but receiving some of those regular Christmas cards are always enjoyable.

For me, it has been a good year as far as Stamp collection is concerned. I moved to a new country and still trying to collect some stamps from Trinidad and Tobago. I have long list of friends to whom I need to send the stamps from Trinidad and Tobago. I also started blogging recently and I am still learning as I go along. I hope to blog frequently in 2010 with new information, ideas and stories to tell you.

Before I sign off, I would like to wish you MERRY CHRISTMAS, and Happy Holidays. Enjoy the holidays, stay safe, and if you get a free time from your family and friends, think about what you are going to do something new for the year 2010 in terms of collection. I always look forward for the time alone by myself when I go through my collection.

God Bless.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

STAMPS AND 1ST DAY COVER "WILD ORCHIDS OF BRUNEI DARUSSALAM SERIES-2


Brunei Darussalam is well known for its diverse natural environment and rich rainforest. In this regard, the Postal Services Department through its Philatelic Unit today issued stamps and 1st day cover called "Wild Orchids of Brunei Darussalam Series Two".

The public can obtain the stamps in the denomination of one dollar, 20 cents and 10 cents at all postal offices throughout the country. Meanwhile 1st day cover with stamps is priced at $1.95 while without stamps costs 45 cents. Stamp collectors as well as SODA and SODA kids members can also purchased the souvenir pack and completed pack for $5 dollars and $10.45 respectively. They also can place their booking at the postal counters. Stamp booklet, postcards, maximum cards and key holders carrying the thematic stamps are also available for sale. The 1st series of Wild Orchid of Brunei Darussalam was issued in October this year. For more information, click here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Stamp on Pillars of Ashoka from Nepal


The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of 33 inscriptions on the Pillars of Ashoka, as well as boulders and cave walls, made by the Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty during his reign from 272 to 231 BC. These inscriptions are dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Pakistan, Nepal and India, and represent the first tangible evidence of Buddhism. The edicts describe in detail the first wide expansion of Buddhism through the sponsorship of one of the most powerful kings of Indian history. According to the edicts, the extent of Buddhist proselytism during this period reached as far as the Mediterranean, and many Buddhist monuments were created. For more from M.DAMODHAR.RAO's blog.

Image courtesy of Rajan.com

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Orchids in Postage Stamps of Nepal






Nepal’s first ever stamp on orchids came out in 1994 known as Orchid Series. So far three different issues have been made until the end of 2009. The first issue had four different species on se-tenant block of four in sheet of sixty-four, while the second issue had just one orchid species under Flower Series with other 2 stamps with different flowers and the third issue in 2007 with 16 various Orchid species on mini sheets. So far 21 different orchid stamps have been issued by the postal authorities in Nepal.

First issue: On November 7, 1994, se-tenant block of four in sheet of 64 orchid stamps were issued. These stamps were printed in government printing office, Vienna, Austria in stamp paper with perforation of 13.5 x 13.5. Size of stamp is 29.6 x 38.5 mm. The four species are Dendrobium densiflorum (Sungava), Coelogyne flaccida, Cymbidium devonianum and Coelogyne corymbosa (Chandigava.) All these orchids are found in mid hills at an altitude of 1,200 to 2,000 m in Central Himalayan region of Nepal. Denomination for each stamp is Nepalese Rupee 10. Image of this orchid stamp is from Rajan.com. For more image on stamps of Nepal.

Second issue: The second issue is from December 28, 2000. Three various flower stamps were issued on this day, and out of three one is orchid. This issue is regular part of Flower Series for commemorative stamps. Dactylorizha hatageria known as Panchaunle in Nepalese is a famous orchid/herb found in Western Himalayan hills of Nepal. It is found above 2,800 m in cooler climates are the roots of this orchid are known to aphrodisiac properties. This stamp was printed in Helio Courvoisier S.A., Switzerland on a high quality stamp paper with photogravure technique. Size of the stamp is 29.23 x 28.56 mm. The denomination for this stamp is Rs. 5.

Third issue: Third issue came out in April 12, 2007. There are 16 stamps on mini sheet depicting flowers of various species. There is a nomenclature error in this issue which was mentioned in my earlier blog from November 28, 2009. The whole design of this mini sheet could have been better.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nepal’s first issue of aerogram from 1959



In 1959, Nepal issued its inland first aerogram. This aerogram had a preprinted rectangular stamp of Garuda, a mythical creature with a strong human body and eagle’s beak and wings. Garuda is associated with Lord Vishnu, who uses Garuda as his mount (Bahana) or mode of transportation. Garuda is revered and worshiped in Hindu and Buddhist religion and mythology.

Denomination for this aerogram is 8 paisa (100 paisa = 1 Rupees; Current exchange rate 75 rupees= 1 US dollars approx.), which are written in both Nepalese (Devnagari script) and in English in left and right of Garuda respectively. Garuda himself is above the mountain and temples on the bottom of the stamp.
The inscription and stamp both are in blue color. This aerogram was issued in celebration of Nepal’s admission in to U.P.U.

This aerogram was printed at printed at Gorkhapatra Press in Kathmandu on cream colored paper. Gorkhapatra press is the oldest government owned press in Nepal which was established in 1899 AD is now 110 year old. The size of the aerogram itself is 145 x 90 mm when folded.

Aerogram picture is courtesy of Mr. Geoffery Flack and his website Tibetanpost website.

For more pictures of this aerogram, click here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Stamps and Buddhist Philosophy



When I was a kid, I remember asking my father a question. “Why do you collect stamps?” He then asked me back, “Why do you ask, son?” Well I told him that I had just heard Buddha’s teaching that said “Do not collect worldly possessions” and to me then stamp collecting was a whole world in itself. That question did not go well with my father at that particular time and moment. And now as I have come to understand some parts of Buddhist philosophy, I know that Lord Buddha was right.

What is the use of amassing all those valuable items when you have to leave them when you die anyway? The people are not going to bury you with your worldly collection, are they? Unless you are in ancient Egypt, may be… But who could arrange for a burial spot with a huge chamber to house your collection? I am not arguing against stamp collection, but just a mere thought that came across when I started writing this blog.

Having a hobby or interest on anything can occupy the thought for a prolonged time. And for health reasons, it is good since or the people with high blood pressure or hypertension, it is good to keep the mind occupied in interesting activities so that the mind refreshed and thought do not wander away to the point where one has to be under the medication.

When I talk to non collectors, they are very much surprised that “stamp collecting” is still done. Most of the people without any interests on such prestigious hobby think that stamp collection is the thing of the past due to the age of computers, and due to use of emails and internet. I know that usage of stamps and sending letters through the regular mails have decreased drastically in last 25 years, but interest on stamps I think have not decreased a bit. Have you heard of any country or stamp issuing nation saying “Okay, our countrymen are using computers and emails completely. Per capita usage of computers and internet is 100 % in our country; therefore we will stop issuing new stamps!” I mean, the reality is that the stamps are going to be with us until the human civilization is here in our sphere called Earth. You can argue with me, you can refute my stance but I strongly believe that the stamps are here to stay. Yes, stamps have evolved, and they will continue to evolve. No more licking and pasting. In some countries you can print the stamps as you speak. No more of going to Post Office on a cold wintery morning to buy some stamps. We will keep seeing the changes in stamps and the way that our postal services work as things around us become more and more wireless.

We can only wait and see what happens in the future, right? Only time will tell….

Monday, November 30, 2009

Trinidad and Tobago issue to commemorate CHOGM



The Trinidad and Tobago Postal Corporation (TTPOST) just issued some beautiful stamps including one of Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) to commemorate Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) from November 27 to 29, 2009 in Port of Spain capital of Republic of Trinidad & Tobago. There are five different stamps and one souvenir sheet. You can get more information in TT Post website:www.ttpost.net/stamps. Stamp of Scarlet Ibis (TT$ 5.25) is going to be a good addition for the collectors who collect bird stamps.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Error in 2007 orchid stamps from Nepal




Interesting set of mini sheets were issued on April 12th, 2007 by the Government of Nepal. This is the 3rd issue on Orchids from Nepalese Postal Authorities. This mini sheet has 16 species found in the Himalayan region of Nepal. Though it is commendable that Nepal is issuing such type of commemorative stamps bringing joy to the thematic collectors on orchid stamps from around the world, there are two concerns that I would like to point out regarding this issue:
1. The nomenclature (Scientific name or Latin name) is incorrect for one of the orchid stamp. See the circled stamp. The picture is of Aerides multiflora but it is written Rhynostylis retusa on the bottom of the stamp. The flowers, shapes, and number of flowers are completely different in two species even though from faraway both the flowers look very much alike. Rhynostylis retusa in its inflorescence has many flowers clustered closely together whereas in Aerides multiflora, flowers are larger and distinctly apart. Even the shape of labellum or lips and the color differ in both orchids when the flowers are placed next to each other.
2. It is just my personal view but the whole design not good. Thanks to the computers nowadays, it is easy for the designer to use Photoshop or any other software to play around with the pictures and lo and behold, the designing is complete. It has become easier and simpler to design the stamps now. They should have added extra effort in making the stamps look better.
I have been able to tell the different since I have been involved with orchids from Nepal for last 16 years and I have had lots of these orchids in my personal collection as well as in photographic collection.

Friday, November 27, 2009

My interest on Stamps

When I was a child I had a knack of collecting everything. Everything and anything small or big that interested me, I collected. I even cut out pictures from Newspapers and pasted them neatly in a piece of paper. I remember collecting bus local tickets at one time. Once it got to the point that my room was cluttered with lots of collectible materials but my family considered them junk.

As I wrote in my previous blog, I had special interest in stamps since my father collected them. He was not a professional collector but he always bought mints and first day covers on the first day of issue and kept them neatly. I also remember helping him taking stamps out of envelopes, and drying them in a cloth to dry.

I remember going to a stamp exhibition around 1980 or 1981 in Kathmandu, and getting impressed by the collection and the exhibits there. I even received small packets of used stamps from the Philatelic Society.

Stamps have always fascinated me but nowadays due to technological advancements, their usage has become limited. We used our emails and do internet shopping more than writing a note in a piece of paper. I love writing letters, but I like using a nice fountain pen on crisp plain ivory bonded paper with watermark. Though the writing style may not have changed but the art of writing has definitely changed. And licking stamps to affix them on the envelopes? That kind of charm is there no more. We have premade stamps readily available in our computers and use pre cancelled stamps. No more of stamp licking in the future I assume……

But it is definitely interesting since this hobby is evolving with time and heading towards new direction.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

How I got interested in Philately?

When I was a young boy I remember going to the general post office situated in Sundhara, Kathmandu with my dad every time a new stamp was issued. I tagged along because I was just curious boy. I started liking stamps because they were colorful and had many interesting pictures and images. By the time I was a teenager, I had my own collection pasted in some cheap stamp album. I preferred large commemorative stamps issued by countries like Mongolia and Thailand because they were just colorful. Later on, I went to States for my college degree and I completely forgot but my stamp collection and the collection that my father had until a few years back when I went back home. I had this massive work ahead of me to sort, separate and organize my father's collection in a professional way, which I still am working on. It is a small collection but definitely an interesting one because there are many covers and issues from Nepal that are not common.

Now that I am away from Nepal for a while, I have expanded my interest on local stamps of Trinidad and Tobago, Orchid stamps, aerograms and bank notes.

Friday, November 20, 2009