Saturday, September 28, 2013


Postcard of Christmas Island (one of many with that name), also known as Kiritimati in local Gilbertese language. Measuring 388 square kilometres, Christmas Island has the greatest land area of any coral atoll in the world and makes up over 70% of the total land area of Kiribati. The island was uninhabited at the time of European discovery, although it may have served as a waystation during long sea voyages by Oceanic people in the past. 

Interestingly, when Spain sold its North Pacific possessions to Germany in 1899 following its defeat in the Spanish–American War, Christmas Island was not included in the description of the transferred territory. As a result, Spain in theory retained its sovereignty over the island. When the oversight was discovered in the 1940s, the Spanish Government declared that it reserved special rights to the island, although it has never made any attempt to exercise their rights to this odd fluke of history.

Thank you, or ko rab'a as they say in Kiribati, to David of "Postcards A world Travelogue" for all these fantastic cards.

Two stamps from the 2008 definitive series of twelve featuring birds. On the left, the band-rumped storm petrel, Oceanodroma castro, a common sea bird found across the tropical Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. On the right, the Eurasian teal, Anas crecca, a common waterbird found across Europe, North Africa, and Asia, although not in Kiribati! Loving the cancellation stamp.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Postcard showing the Royal Palace in Tonga's capital, Nukuʻalofa. The wooden building was built in 1867 in ornate Victorian style. Although Tonga was a British protectorate until 1970, it maintained its sovereignty, and remained the only Pacific nation never to have given up its monarchical government, as was the case elsewhere such as in Tahiti and Hawaiʻi. The Tongan monarchy follows an uninterrupted succession of hereditary rulers from a single family stretching back hundreds of years. While the current king, Tupou VI, has been reigning for just over a year, his great-grandmother, Sālote Tupou III, reigned for nearly fifty years, assuming the throne when she was only 18, in 1918, until her death in 1965.

Thank you, or mālō ‘aupito as they say in Tonga, again to David of "Postcards A world Travelogue" for all these amazing cards from his travels.

Tonga is famous (in the philatelic world at least) for its uniquely-shaped stamps. Seen here are three stamps from a set of five about fruit issued in 2001.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

American Samoa

Postcard of Mount Matafao and Pago Pago Harbour in American Samoa. Pago Pago has been the capital of  the territory since 1899 when the US Navy negotiated facilities for a coaling station from the Samoan high chief. The town site is backed by densely wooded mountains, and is situated on an inlet that deeply indents the southeast shore of Tutuila Island, almost bisecting the island while forming an extensive naturally protected deepwater harbour.

Again, deep-felt gratitude to David of "Postcards A world Travelogue" for helping cross so countries off my list. For being such a beautiful part of the world, the South Pacific receives few visitors. Getting so many Pacific island cards all at once has been a real pleasure.

American Samoa, like all American territories, uses standard US stamps. Stamp on the left is the 36th stamp in the Black Heritage series. It commemorates Althea Gibson, a famous tennis player and the first Black Wimbledon champion, winning the title in 1957. Stamp on the right is from a 2011 set of five featuring Disney and Pixar characters. Third stamp is a self adhesive from 2011 featuring the United States of America's first president, George Washington.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Another new country added with my many kind thanks from David's South Pacific sojourn, which you can all follow at  "Postcards A world Travelogue". 

Card shows a sunset view of Beach Road, the main thoroughfare in the Samoan capital, Apia, with Matafele Methodist Church in centre frame. Apia began as a chief's village, but rose to prominence during the European colonial period due to its fine harbour. It was designated the capital of German Samoa in 1900, as Samoa was indeed one of the rare places in the world to be colonised by the German Empire. The German colony lasted until the outbreak of the First World War when the colony was occupied by an expeditionary force from New Zealand in 1914. There were no shots fired during the takeover as there was no German military presence on the island, only a small local police force. New Zealand continued to oversee Samoa in a United Nations trusteeship until independence in 1962.

Stamp depicts a tooth-billed pigeon, Didunculus strigirostris, the national bird of Samoa. The large bird is endemic to the islands and is endangered and poorly understood. It faces threats from habitat loss in its limited range and competition from introduced invasive species.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Super woohooo! Welcoming new country Vanuatu into the collection, stamp-issuing entity No. 159! Card shows sites on the island of Espiritu Santo, the largest island in Vanuatu. The islands was named by Portuguese navigator Fernandes de Queirós, who arrived in 1605, claiming the archipelago for Spain and naming it Espiritu Santo, Spanish for "Holy Spirit". The Spanish never maid much of their claim to the region and by the 1880s France and the United Kingdom both claimed parts of the country. In 1906 they agreed on a unique form of government for jointly managing the archipelago as the New Hebrides through a British–French condominium, until independence was achieved in 1980.

Deep, heartfelt thanks and merci to friend of friend Juliette for helping me strike one more country off my list! :-D

Stamp from a 2011 set of four featuring beaches in Vanuatu, seen here the beach on Eratrap Island, a small island off the coast of Vanuatu's main island, Efate. To really get you in the mood, the stamp actually features a special coating mimicking the feel of real sand on the beach!

Fiji II

Bula, the Fijian word for "hello". A multiview card from that country, landing in my mailbox just a few days after my first card from Fiji. Almost like when I added Uzbekistan to my collection with three cards from three different people that all arrived on the same day; the more the merrier, I say! My many thanks and vinaka to David from "Postcards: A World Travelogue" for taking some time out of the palm trees to send this to me.

Stamp on the left is from 2003 (I think) and features tagimoucia, Medinilla waterhousei, a flowering vine endemic to Fiji and the country's national flower. Stamp on the right from a 2012 set of four on renewable energy in Fiji, commemorating the United Nations 2012 International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. It features biomass, plant material which generates energy directly by being burnt or once it is transformed into biofuel.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Woohoo! New country: Bhutan!

Rather spectacular card showing the Paro Taktsang Monastary, also known as the Tiger's Nest Monastary, a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and temple complex, located on a cliffside in the upper Paro valley, Bhutan. The temple complex was first built in 1692, on the site where a Buddhist sage is said to have meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours in the eighth century, and thus introduced Buddhism to Bhutan. Part of the "Sacred Sites associated with Phajo Drugom Zhigpo and his descendants" site on Bhutan's Tentative List for World Heritage.

Many thanks to friend Ed for helping me strike Bhutan from my list, after years and years of waiting for an opportunity to present itself!

Couldn't really find much info about this stamp commemorating, presumably, the years of the Chinese Zodiac, in this case "Male Water Dragon Year 2012".