Shoutout to StampShow 2018

USA 2018 Dragons Orange Forever stampA big hello to any US (or visiting) readers attending this weekend’s Stampshow in Columbus, Ohio!

USA 2018 Dragons Green Forever stampI read in a news report that organizers (jointly the American Philatelic Society and the American Topical Society) are seeking to tap into more of the pop culture appeal of stamps at this exhibition. Sounds like a good idea to me. I appreciate the effort that old-school philatelists put into their exhibits on obscure paquebot markings or the plate proofs of Upper Biddlonia, but the hobby is evolving with the times. If that means that more fun begins to sneak into philatelic exhibitions in the form of stamp art or dragon mascots, then I’m all for it. Continue reading

New Zealand has worms

New Zealand 2016 Native Glowworms miniature sheet

Missed a few great releases during my time away from the blog, but wanted to give this one a mention. Back in March, New Zealand released an issue on native glowworms. And fittingly… these stamps GLOW IN THE DARK!

New Zealand 2016 Native Glowworms miniature sheet

Oh wait. You can’t see them glowing, can you? That’s always been the obstacle faced when advertising stamps with this gimmick.

Fear not! Continue reading

African stamps: the hairdos and the tortoise

Central African Republic 2016 Homage to David Bowie 3000f minisheet

Sorry for my long absence from the blog, folks! You’d think a hired assassin working for top dollar would be offered a decent wifi connection, but covert black ops budgets aren’t what they used to be. A big welcome to new followers. I promise not to hit you with a ninja star from behind a tree before you even know I’m there.

So, I’m home now and back to the hobby of punks. If you, like me, were a kid collecting stamps in the 70s or 80s or 90s – or even if you’re collecting now, in which case: hello! I thought you were dead –  your album was probably brimming with big, colourful stamps from developing countries that had little relevance to the issuing nation. Because who’s to say that Equatorial Guinea can’t celebrate the centenary of Japanese railroads?

Equatorial Guinea 1972 3ptas Centenary of Japanese Railroads

The motivation for this phenomenon is Continue reading

Riding the sheep’s back… or is it a goat?

Once upon a time, the Lunar (or “Chinese”) New Year was just a thing that Asians did. Whitey went to Chinatown to watch the firecrackers and eat yum cha, but that was about it.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the 21st Century.

Asia got richer, and China boomed. As the Chinese (and Indian) middle class grew, it reawakened the cobwebbed hobby of stamp collecting. It’s a very middle-class hobby, which appeals to people who are really, really into their country. And Chinese people are really, really into their country. Because if they’re not, they get sent to prison camp.

Then someone invented the Internet, and people stopped sending mail. Meanwhile, old people insisted on dying, game consoles turned children into zombies, and the supply of new stamp collectors to Western postal authorities stopped dead… just when their cash-strapped governments started demanding impossible profit margins.

Then Chinese stamps started to attract ridiculous figures at auction.

And that’s when the West decided it should issue Lunar New Year stamps.

Australia Post disguised its cash grab by suddenly remembering that there are lots of ethnically Chinese people on the Australian territory of Christmas Island (no, not in the immigration detention centre). Naturally, they deserved a stamp, and in 1994, they got one. Or two, actually. (And a mini-sheet if you want to go looking for it.)

Australia Christmas Island 1994 Year of the DogIn 1996, AP began a 12-year cycle in which all the Lunar New Year stamps complemented each other, often with colours of red and gold. I wasn’t too interested in these at first, but over the course of the zodiac, I must admit, they won me over with their riotous vibrancy and playful cocks. Continue reading

Lots of love from abroad

As I wrote this rant on Australia Post’s annual stamp issue that isn’t really a Valentine’s Day stamp issue but just happens to always feature lots of love and roses, I came across a few examples of similar issues from overseas. So I thought I’d add them here for hopeless romantics or equally hopeless philatelists.

This year, the US has gone with this complicated little number tying eternal love in with their idea of Forever stamps (which I touched on in this entry.) Erm… yawn.

US 2015 Love Forever Valentine's Day stamp
Here’s a Filipino stamp from last year that I’m not allowed to make fun of because it was designed by a child.

Philippines 2015 Valentine's Day Love

The French, naturellement, embrace the idea of putting out a stamp de l’amour, and being French, they get fashion designers to design their annual ‘heart’ issue. This year Jean-Charles de Castelbajac followed in the footsteps of YSL, Lacroix, Chanel, Givenchy, Hermes and others, giving us this issue, pictured in stamp and minisheet form. I assume those people are French kissing.

France 2015 Jean-Charles de Castelbajac Heart stamp
France 2015 Jean-Charles de Castelbajac Heart minisheet

But Taiwan takes the heart-shaped cake in 2015 – if not for romance, then at least for cuteness. Chunghwa Post went with ten stamps depicting pairs of animals entwined in an embrace. Some of them are dressed as princes and princesses! Some of them are brides and grooms! Has heteronormativity ever looked so ADORABLE?!

Taiwan Chunghwa Post 2015 Personal Greetings Stamps Best Wishes
Finally, New Zealand Post released its Valentine’s Day stamp in January.

It's a picture of a sheep

YEAH! I WENT THERE BRO

Happy Valentine’s Day. x

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© Philatelic product images remain the copyright of issuing postal administrations and successor authorities