Saturday, August 11, 2012


Postcard of Elmina Castle in southern Ghana. Elmina was the site of the first colonial war among European powers with a large naval battle that took place in 1478 between Castillian and Portuguese ships for control over trade in the region. It is the oldest European building in existence south of the Sahara. As the region's trade in gold, ivory, timber, and sadly later slaves grew in importance, the Castle changed hands many times. Countless slaves were held captive in the Castle before exiting through the its infamous “Door of No Return” to be transported and resold in new colonies in the New World.

Stamp featuring an African elephant, Loxodonta africana, an estimated 2000 of which live in parks and forest reserves in Ghana.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Postcard of the small Irish town of Kilcar, in the north part of the country in County Donegal. The town is famous for tweed and is also holiday home to Hollywood couple, Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Hybrid meter-stamp stickers from a series featuring Irish animals and marine life. Seen here are the beadlet anemone, Actinia equina, and the common frog, Rana temporania.
Thanks to David and Cormac who continue on their tour of the island.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Russian Federation III

Postcard showing the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, home of the overwhelmingly large Hermitage Museum – one of the largest and oldest art galleries in the world, founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and open to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display, comprise nearly 3 million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world.

If that wasn't impressive enough, the red granite Alexander Column is the tallest of its kind in the world, measuring is 14 stories high and, although it weighs some 600 tonnes, is set so well that no attachment to the base is needed.

Part of the Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments World Heritage site.

Self-adhesive stamp from a set of twelve on famous kremlins. Featured here is the Ryazan Kremlin, located near Moscow, which dates back to the twelfth century. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

France VII

Card showing the emblems of various kings and queens of France built in the ornate plasterwork of the châteaux of the Loire. Upper left shows the salamander of Francis I, who reigned from 1515 to 1547 and was instrumental in launching the Renaissance in France. Upper right show the porcupine of Louis XII, Francis I's predecessor. Lower right shows the ermine of Anne of Brittany, queen to Charles VIII and later to Louis XII. Lower left, shows the pierced swan of Queen Claude of France, wife to Francis I.

Two permanent, domestic rate Mariane stamps from the definitive set of "Mariane in Europe".

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Thailand III

Postcard of Wat Arun, วัดอรุณ, or the Temple of the Dawn, a Buddhist temple on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, opposite the Grand Palace. Named after the Indian God of Dawn, Aruna, it is considered one of Bangkok's most recognized landmarks. I can attest that the vertiginous, nearly vertical stairs to the top offer some of the most fantastic views in the capital.

Cutesy, heart-shaped stamp commemorating the sixtieth wedding anniversary of King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit, making them the longest-serving royal couple.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

United Kingdom – Wales

Postcard showing an early twentieth century view of the high street of Prestatyn in northern Wales. After the arrival of railways in the nineteenth century, "Sunny Prestatyn" became famous for its beach, clean water and seaside promenade. Thanks to Ceri who was visiting her hometown.

Literally the day after learning of the existence of definitives for each of the United Kingdom's constituent countries from a Northern Irish postcard, I received a postcard from Wales with a Welsh definitive! Curiously, it features a daffodil rather than a leek. I guess they needed to make soup on photo day.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

United Kingdom – Northern Ireland

Multiview of great Belfast pubs: The Crown Liquor Saloon; White's Tavern; The Duke of York; Robinson's; The Botanic Inn; Fibber Magee; Bittles Bar; McHuge's Bar; Hatfield House; Morning Star and The Crown Liquor Saloon (again -- I guess they ran out of great pubs).

There's a whole wiki page about craic, or "crack" as some prefer. I'll let you discover the delights of craic on your own, here, but rest assured, there is indeed substantive craic to be had in great Belfast pubs.

Although Northern Ireland uses the United Kingdom's Royal Mail, in researching this stamp I learned that there are definitive stamps issued for all four constituent countries of the Kingdom. In a certain way, it makes four more countries to collect. Only 119 left for me in that case! Seen here is the Northern Ireland definitive featuring lace doilies. 

Thanks to David and Cormac who were on holiday.

Philippines II

Boracay is a small island in the central Philippines whose beaches have been named "best in the world" many number of times since tourists first started trickling in in the 1980s. Thanks to DJ who was visiting.

Stamps from a previously featured 2011 definitive set of marine life of the Philippines. Shown here are the triton trumpet, Charonia tritonisand the picasso trigger, Rhinecanthus aculeatus.