Apr 29, 2010

Hong Kong FDC on "Hong Kong's Participation in Expo 2010 Shanghai China"

First Day Cover
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Hong Kong

Hong Kong's Participation in Expo 2010 Shanghai China

Date of Issue : 27 April 2010

A set of special stamps is issued to commemorate Hong Kong's participation in Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo) under the theme "Better City, Better Life". The event will be held at the waterfront on both sides of the Huangpu River in Shanghai from 1 May to 31 October 2010.

Hong Kong will participate in Shanghai Expo in four areas: constructing and operating a stand-alone Hong Kong Pavilion under the theme "Hong Kong - Potential Unlimited"; taking part in the Urban Best Practices Area Exhibition under the theme "Smart Card‧Smart City‧Smart Life"; taking part in Expo Shanghai Online to provide netizens with a realistic, virtual experience of Hong Kong's participation in Shanghai Expo; and organising events and activities before and during the Expo period to promote Hong Kong's innovation and creativity in cultural and other different fields.

In a modern, stylish design, this set of four stamps features an ingenious integration of our harbour view with images of a dragon dance, a green leaf, Tsing Ma Bridge and a smart card to highlight our uniqueness as a cosmopolitan city of pluralistic culture, quality life and sustainable development. This perfectly complements the theme of Shanghai Expo.

$1.40 - Dragon Dance
A traditional festive performance, the dragon dance is a distinct heritage of Chinese society. It is an icon of living cultural traditions in Hong Kong, a dynamic city where East meets West, and old merges with new.

$2.40 - Green Leaf
A symbol of beautiful nature, the green leaf represents an essential element of a vibrant eco-city - the harmonious coexistence of modern architecture and natural environment.

$3 - Tsing Ma Bridge
A magnificent landmark, this infrastructure interconnects with the Hong Kong International Airport and other major trunk roads to form an extensive transport network, securing closer links with Mainland cities and other parts of the world.

$5 - Smart Card
An exemplary technological innovation that brings breakthroughs to our city life, the smart card testifies to our commitment to developing innovation and technology for a better future with enhanced efficiency and quality of life.

China FDC on "Site of Shanghai Expo"
Algeria FDC on "Shanghai World Expo 2010"
Estonia FDC on "2010 World Expo"

On this FDC, one of the stamps (the $2.4 stamp without the "Hong Kong flying dragon" tabbed paper) is taken from the Block-of-4 Souvenir Sheet. Except the perforation and the paper used, there is not much difference between the "normal" stamps and the stamps on the Block-of-4 Souvenir Sheet.

Apr 28, 2010

Estonia FDC on "Republic of Estonia heads of state 1918-2018 - Juhan Kukk"

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Republic of Estonia heads of state 1918-2018 - Juhan Kukk

Date of Issue : 13 April 2010

Juhan (Johann) Kukk (April 13, 1885 Käru, now in Rakke, Lääne-Viru, Estonia - December 4, 1942, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Soviet Union) was an Estonian politician.

Kukk finished the Tartu High School of Sciences, studied in the Commerce Department of the Riga Polytechnical School in 1904-1910 and got additional education in Germany, graduated with the diploma of first degree.

In 1917-1918 Kukk was Head of the Financial Dept. of the Estonian Province Government (Maapäev), 1918-1919 Financial and State Property Minister of the Estonian Provisional Government, 1919-1920 Minister of Finance of the Republic of Estonia, 1920-21 Minister of Commerce and Industry, from November 18, 1921 to November 20, 1922 Speaker of the I Riigikogu, 1922-1924 Director of the Bank of Estonia. He was member of the I and II Riigikogu, in 1920-1926. From November 1922 to August 1923 Kukk was Elder of State.

Kukk was active promoter of the cooperative movement and also worked as Chairman of the Council of the Estonian Cooperation Union, Director of the Central Union of the Estonian Consumers Union, for some time also the Chairman of the Board of this Union. From 1920 he was also Chairman of the Board of Rahvapank (People's Bank) and 1924-1926 director of Bank of Estonia.

Kukk was arrested by the NKVD in 1940, he died in imprisonment in 1942.

Apr 24, 2010

Israel FDC on "150th Anniversary of the Birth of Herzl"

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150th Anniversary of the Birth of Herzl

Date of Issue : 14 April 2010

The souvenir sheet design is based on scenes from Herzl’s writings and letters, as they materialized from the early days of Aliyah to Eretz Israel to the present.
The bottom margins of the sheet depict pictures of Herzl’s life (1860-1904) (from right to left): with his friend Max Mendelsman; with his bicycle; speaking at the Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland (1898); with his children in his study in Vienna; his funeral in Vienna; his grave on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.
The upper margins of the sheet feature an adaptation of the seven star flag that Herzl proposed as well as an Israeli satellite signifying technological progress.

Theodor Herzl, son of Janet and Jacob, was born on 2 May 1860 in Budapest. The family moved to Vienna in 1878, where Herzl studied law at the university. He worked as a journalist for the Neue Freie Presse newspaper and wrote a number of plays.

On 14 February 1896 a small non-bound book with a yellow wrapper called Der Judenstaat (“The State of the Jews”) was displayed in the window of a publisher’s shop in central Vienna. The book examined a proposed modern solution to the Jewish question.

Herzl assembled the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in 1897. The idea of the return to Zion came forth from the narrow ghetto and became a global movement – a national-political movement that became linked to political entities of that time. The movement began organizing the people and created tools with which to achieve its objective. During his years of activity, Herzl assembled the Zionist Congresses, founded the World Zionist Organization and its institutions and organizations, and began establishing the Jewish settlement in Eretz Israel.

In 1898 Herzl visited Eretz Israel. Subsequent to that visit, he formulated his political, social and cultural plan and incorporated his ideas into his novel Altneuland (The Old New Land), published in 1902. The book opened with the sentence, “If you wish it, it will be no fable” and concluded with the sentence, “Dream is not very different than action, as many think. All men’s actions were once dreams; all their actions will one day be a dream.”

A very nice FDC. It seems to be my first souvenir sheet FDC from Israel.

Apr 23, 2010

China FDC on "Stories of Idioms (2nd Series)"

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Stories of Idioms (2nd Series)

Date of Issue : 18 April 2010

This set of stamps includes four Chinese Idioms often used to enlighten and encourage people.

(On the top FDC, from left to right)
4-1 : The Foolish Old Man Removed the Mountains
In ancient times, there was an old man in front of whose house were Taihang and Wangwu Mountains, which made it inconvenient for him to come and go. So, he gathered his family and began to dig the mountain and move the earth elsewhere, believing that with their unremitting efforts, the mountains would finally be leveled. This story implies that indomitable perseverance may lead to success.

4-2 : Sleeping on Brushwood and Tasting Gall
In the Spring and Autumn period, the State of Wu defeated the State of Yue, and captured the king of Yue, Guo Jian. After he was released and returned to his country, Guo Jian, never forgetting his humiliation, slept on a pile of brushwood and tasted gall before every meal. After several years of endurance and preparation, he finally conquered the State of Wu. This story encourages those who were once defeated or humiliated to inspire themselves and strive hard for recovery.

(On the bottom FDC, from left to right)
4-3 : Mao Sui Recommending Himself
During the Warring State period, the State of Qin besieged the capital of the State of Zhao. Duke Pingyuan of Zhao planned to ask the ruler of the State of Chu for assistance, and a man called Mao Sui volunteered to accompany him to Chu. At the crucial moment of negotiation, Mao Sui approached the ruler of Chu, brandishing a sword, and finally made him agree to unite Zhao against Qin. This story implies the spirit and courage to come forward to recommend oneself.

4-4 : Rising Up to Practice Swordplay upon Hearing the Rooster Crow
In the Jin Dynasty, to realize his wish of rendering meritorious service to the country, Zu Ti rose up every morning at the moment he heard the crow of a rooster to practice swordplay, and finally become a capable general. This story implies that ambition and diligence pay off.

Apr 21, 2010

Taiwan FDC on "Taiwanese Crabs (Issue of 2010)"

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Taiwanese Crabs (Issue of 2010)

Date of Issue : 15 April 2010

Chunghwa Post is following up with a third set of four stamps on Taiwan’s crabs, featuring Cardisoma carnifex, Scandarma lintou, Sesarmops intermedius, and Gecarcoidea lalandii.

NT$5 stamp : Cardisoma carnifex
This land crab has a reddish or grayish purple carapace, yellowish cream colored abdomen and claws, and orange walking legs. It has unequal-sized claws and long, slender, flat walking legs. It burrows in swamps near estuaries, under shrubs and in the walls of fish ponds in coastal areas.

NT$5 stamp : Scandarma lintou
The color of this sesarmid crab is similar to a dry fallen leaf. It has a smooth and square carapace that is slightly wider than long. The claws are almost equal in size. With its long and slender walking legs (the third pair of which is the longest), it is an excellent tree climber. Its name is derived from the Chinese for screw pine (lintou), which is where the crab was first discovered by Dr. Liu Hung-chang

NT$10 stamp : Sesarmops intermedius
This sesarmid crab has an almost square-shaped carapace, and slightly unequal-sized claws. Its walking legs are flat with sharp terminal joints. It is bright red to dark red in color. Therefore, it is also called Christmas crab. Every year, from May to mid-summer, when the tide is high on the Hengchun Peninsula, droves of gravid females cross coastal roads for larval release at dusk in the sea.

NT$25 stamp : Gecarcoidea lalandii
This land crab has a dark purple to reddish purple carapace, a creamy yellow abdomen, and reddish purple claws and walking legs. Its carapace is transversely ovate, with scale-like wrinkles on the sides. Its claws are equal or slightly unequal in size and its walking legs are somewhat flat. It lives in burrows in coastlines that are rocky or near coral reefs.

Very nice stamps and FDC. I like this FDC. This time, I don't know why Hong Kong Post was so kind to wrap the FDC in a plastic bag.

Apr 20, 2010

Italy Postcard - Siena

Bilhete Postal


A beautiful view card of Siena, Italy.

Apr 19, 2010

Sri Lanka Postcard - Kandy Chieftains of Kandy Perahara

Bilhete Postal

Sri Lanka

A nice postcard featuring Kandy Chieftains of the Kandy Perahara from Sri Lanka. This time, there are two very special odd-shaped 2008 Beijing Olympic Games stamps affixed on the card. Thank You very much!

Apr 18, 2010

Algeria FDC on "Shanghai World Expo 2010"

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Shanghai World Expo 2010

Date of Issue : 24 March 2010

Shanghai World Expo 2010 will be held from May 1 to October 31, 2010. The theme of the exposition will be "Better City – Better Life" and signifies Shanghai's new status in the 21st century as a major economic and cultural center

In the Shanghai World Expo 2010, Algeria will rent a 1,000-square-meter pavilion. Algeria will feature old buildings and the planning of new cities, showing a harmonious concept of urban from the past, present and into the future.

A very nice FDC. Besides the two "Shanghai World Expo 2010" new stamps on the FDC, there is a very beautiful 20 dinars stamp depicting traditional pressure of olives. It is one of the stamps of the "Cultivation of Olive" stamp series issued on 25 Nov 2009.

Apr 17, 2010

Mauritus Postcard

Bilhete Postal


Another very nice postcard from Mauritus. Thank You very much !

Apr 16, 2010

Mauritus Postcard - Rochester Falls & Gris Gris

Bilhete Postal


A really very very beautiful postcard showing the Rochester Falls & Gris Gris, on the southern side of Mauritus. I just wish I was there. The stamps on the card are also nice too. Thank You very much !

Apr 15, 2010

Slovakia FDC on "400th Anniversary of the Žilina Synod"

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400th Anniversary of the Žilina Synod

Date of Issue : 30 Mar 2010

Ideas of religious Reformation had quickly spread in the 16th century also in our country. After the patriciate of Eastern Slovak royal towns and Medieval mining towns, the Hungarian nobility gradually inclined to Reformation and so at the beginning of the 17th century, a significant part of today´s Slovakia territory was Protestant. At the Country council in 1609 Count Juraj Thurzo from Betlanovce (1567 – 1616) became the Hungarian Palatine, a follower of the reformation of Augsburg confession which he supported and efficiently promoted by means of his authority. An important milestone was the synod, convened for March 28 – 30, 1610 to Žilina under the patronage of the Palatine Thurzo. The Žilina Synod meant constitution and creation of separate church organisation of the Evangelical Church of Augsburg Confession. The church congregations represented there defined basic symbolic issues and adopted the Formula of harmony. An important role in its preparation and wording of conclusions was played by Eliáš Láni, Bytča pastor and Thurzo´s advisor who was appointed to be one of the first Evangelical superintendents.

A unique authentic monument of those times is the Thurzo altar Speculum Justificationis dated in 1611. Monumental wooden altar from the chapel at the Orava castle preserved today in the Evangelical church of Augsburg confession in Necpaly, is extraordinary in its form and contents. The form of the altar unit with nine pictures is based on an older graphic model from the workshop of Jost Amman, a Nuremberg engraver and publisher, designed by the Evangelical theologian Caspar Melissander. Smaller panel paintings on fixed wings, in the dividing line and altar extension depict Bible scenes. Complicated composition of the spacious central painting painted on canvas is the visualisation of the key symbolical questions of which it is expression. Presented motives and notices in one composition interpret topics of excusing the sinful man in front of God for the faith itself in the Protestant perception.

A nice FDC from Slovakia. The stamp is big and beautiful.

Apr 14, 2010

Belgium Postcard - Brugge mapcard

Bilhete Postal


An unexpected surprise from Belgium. Its a very nice mapcard of Brugge. I also like the 3 beautiful stamps on the card. Thank You very much !

Apr 13, 2010

Korea FDC on "Old & Historic Trees of Korea (2nd Series)"

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South Korea

Old & Historic Trees of Korea (2nd Series)

Date of Issue : 5 April 2010

As the second installment of the “Old & Historic Trees of Korea” series, four old and historic trees that have achieved their beauty over a long period of time are introduced.

Old Buddha's Plum at Baegyangsa Temple in Jangseong (Natural Monuments No. 486)
Every year when March arrives at Baegyangsa Temple located at Jangseong, Jeollanam-do province, plum tree blossom splendidly, with their delicate scent swirling around the entire temple. Among the plum trees that have been raised in the front yard of Baegyangsa Temple since 1700, a red plum tree was transplanted with the relocation of the temple to its current location in 1863. This is the tree that came to be called Gobulmae: it came to be called by its new name, Gobulmae, as Gobulchongnim, the Old Buddha's Monastery, was formed at Baegyangsa Temple to pay tribute to the original teachings of Sakyamuni

Pine tree at Samsong-ri, Goesan (Natural Monuments No. 290)
The pine tree at Samsong-ri, Goesan, also called Yongsong (dragon pine tree) since it resembles a wriggling dragon, is really beautiful in the way its trunk, split into two, twists together. It is also called “Wang-sonamu” (king pine tree) since it is 600 years old and as tall as 13.5 meters - tallest in the forest. People offer ancestral rites to this tree every January, praying for good harvest and peace for the coming year.

Thunbergii camphor, at Samsan-ri, Jangheung (Natural Monuments No. 481)
At Samsan-ri, Jangheung, three Thunbergii camphor mingle together as if they were just one tree. They show such a thick, lush green all year around that they are reminiscent of a little forest on its own. Taking unique and beautiful forms, they are 11 meters tall and about 400 years old. According to related legend, they were planted by the ancestors of the Gyeongju Yi clan in approximately 1580 when they settled in this area. Being the village’s guardian tree that has shared the same history as the village, the trees are highly valued in terms of folklore.

Pair of Chinese junipers of Songgwangsa Temple (Natural Monuments No. 88)
Pair of Chinese junipers at Songgwang Temple, Suncheon assume an amazing shape, as the two trees stand side by side with their trunks twisted together, looking as if the dragons are wriggling to prepare for an ascent to the sky. According to related legend, a Bojo national priest and a Damdang national priest during the Goryeo Dynasty placed their canes made of Chinese juniper, which they used on their travels back to Korea from China, and the canes turned into these marvelous pair of trees. They are about 800 years old and 12 meters tall.

Nice stamp design as usual. This time, my friend affixed 3 definitive stamps on the back of the cover, with nice and clear datestamp cancellation. It is the first time I ever seen the new 1000 Won definitive stamp. It was introduced on 17 Nov 2009, featuring “Cheongjasajayugaehyangno” (Celadon incense burner with lion-shaped lid). To prevent counterfeit or forgery, this 1000 Won definitive stamp, has adopted both printing in optically variable ink as well as minute letters. The letters “한국우정KOREA POST” are printed in optically variable ink on the right side of the background, and these letters become visible when the stamp is tilted. And at the bottom part of the incense burner, “한국우정KOREA POST,” is inserted in minute letters.

Apr 12, 2010

China FDC on "Qingming (Pure Brightness) Festival"

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Qingming (Pure Brightness) Festival

Date of Issue : 5 April 2010

(The 1.20 Yuan stamps from left to right)
3-1 : Ancestor Worship
3-2 : Spring Outing
3-3 : Planting Willows

Qingming (Pure Brightness) Festival, also known as Tomb Sweeping Day, is a traditional festival featuring folk customs, named after one of the 24 solar terms on traditional Chinese calendar. It was early documented in an astronomical book of the Western Han (206B.C. - A.D.24), and become a popular festival during the Tang (618 - 907) and Song (960 - 1279) dynasties, falling in the third lunar month, or around 5 April of the Gregorian calendar. Traditional customs for the festival, such as sweeping tombs, going out for a walk in the countryside, and planting trees, have remained prevalent till today.

In 2006, the festival was included on China's National Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

Apr 2, 2010

Korea FDC on "Centennial of the Death of Martyr Ahn Jung-geun"

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South Korea

Centennial of the Death of Martyr Ahn Jung-geun

Date of Issue : 26 March 2010

Ahn Jung-geun was born in 1879 in Haeju, Hwanghae-do province. Influenced by his father, an enlightenment reformer, he formed a grand vision at an early age of Korea recovering its national sovereignty and achieving an era of enlightenment by nurturing national vigor and devoted himself to such educational movements as establishing schools. After realizing that it would be impossible to nurture Korea’s national power under Japanese imperialist rule which willfully suppressed the education of the Korean people, he went abroad to raise an army to fight in the cause of justice of reclaiming national sovereignty through armed resistance.

In March 1909, he and his 11 like-minded comrades formed a finger-cutting fraternity to display their commitment to the fatherland’s independence by cutting off their left hand ring-fingers and writing, with the resulting blood, the letters “Daehandongnip” (independence of Korea from Japanese colonial ruling) on the Taegeukgi (the national flag of Korea).

In October that year, he plotted an attack upon hearing that Ito Hirobumi, the chief ringleader in the Japanese deprivation of Korea’s sovereign independence, would visit Harbin. In October 26, 1909, he aimed his gun at Ito Hirobumi, as he stepped into the Harbin railway platform. This was the moment when a historical, heroic deed occurred.

After his arrest, he never lost his fortitude up to his very last day when his death sentence was carried out.

In commemoration of the centennial of the death of patriot Ahn Jung-geun, a commemorative stamp is issued, featuring his thumbprint and the letters written on the Taegeukgi with his blood. In the stamp, the will he left is expressed as minute letters on the image of his ring-finger, while “the cherished intentions of Ahn Eung-chil (patriot Ahn’s childhood name)” written in prison, are also written on the image of the Taegeukgi.

A nice stamp issue as a remembrance to a martyr of Korea.

Apr 1, 2010

Estonia FDC on "St Catherine's of Pärnu"

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St Catherine's of Pärnu

Date of Issue : 23 March 2010

In 1760 Catherine II of Russia decided to build an Orthodox church in Pärnu. She trusted the work to Pyotr Yegorov, an architect of Chuvash descent, for whom it was the first independent project. Building work started in 1764 and St Catherine’s of Pärnu, one of the most stylish and sumptuous Baroque churches in Estonia was inaugurated in 1768. It has Greek cross ground plan with an elegant belfry and several other slender towers. The faade has a rich repertory of elements of decor – cornices, frontals etc. The church is an outstanding building in Pärnu’s historical centre.

A very nice FDC issued on a very special date of 23 March, my birthday !