Oh my stars!

Portugal 2019 Christmas €3.50 nativity LED stamp

Hello readers! Just a note to kick 2019 out the door and let you know that I’m still alive. I’ve had a busy few months, but sadly zero to do with philately. I was stuck in one of those chained-to-the-screen, too-much-work-and-not-enough-time, OH GOD WHEN WILL IT END kind of freelance jobs on which late capitalism thrives. My free time was then spent working out which dirty dishes can go into the washing machine with the clothes while I make a flying visit to my family so that I still remember everyone’s name come Christmas time.

So the blog’s been a bit quiet, sorry about that. There are a few posts in the works, but I haven’t managed to finish anything to a publishable standard! My apologies to a couple of individuals that I’ve been in touch with over the last few months, who have probably given up on wondering if I’ll ever post that piece I assured them I was working on. But I’m now unshackled from the helldesk, so you should hear more from me in coming months.

Thank you all for your ongoing support. It’s wonderful to read your comments or see the pieces shared here on WordPress or on other social media. Although it’s been around a few years, this blog is still in a discovery phase – I enjoy waking up to find I’ve had 76 hits from Norway, breaking down into one per article. That tells me that someone has found the blog and is enjoying it enough to scroll through the back-catalogue.

Even in my busiest times, I’m still chatty on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. And when this blog goes quiet, don’t forget that there are plenty of other sites to poke through. Look for my Read more! list, which appears next to this article if you’re on a desktop. (On a smartphone or tablet, you’ll find it by scrolling to the bottom, but first you’ll have to scroll through all the other autoloading articles. I think I just realised that those 76 hits from Norway may have been someone desperately looking for a different blog to read.)

The most EXCITING development of the last few days is that I’ve booked my flight to attend the London 2020 International Stamp Exhibition in May! I hope it presents the chance to meet some of my British and European friends in person. I mention the Brits separately, of course, because by then, they will no longer be ‘European’. Some sort of minor administrative adjustment apparently.

To take us out this year: a couple of festive additions to this site’s catalogue of novelty stamps. Portugal’s Christmas issues included the miniature sheet seen at the top of this article, featuring a traditional nativity scene. A less traditional inclusion is the light-emitting diode (LED) embedded in the star, activated by a smartphone using near-field communication technology. Apparently it illuminates the whole scene; I watched the video, and I gotta admit, I’m struggling to see much going on beside a blinking star. Maybe it looks better in person:

Meanwhile, Austria embedded a crystal on top of a Christmas tree. Austria likes to chuck Swarovskis on its stamps. This one evokes the spirit of those frugal, crafty-type people who use old CDs as Christmas decorations and because it’s Christmas, visitors have to smile and pretend it doesn’t look hideous.

Austria 2019 €2.70 Christmas tree with crystal ornament stamp

These high-tech Christmas stars triggered a memory from long ago, when lots of my friends were travelling abroad. It was a world where — it’s hard to imagine — social media was yet to exist. Email was around, but it had not yet entirely killed the art of letter writing.

Back then, I had encountered the work of a local artist who illustrated envelopes by incorporating the stamp design into the surrounding scene. So I thought, why not give it a go? I reached for the pencils, and a friend who was living in the UK soon received my own Christmas masterpiece. And if you’re thinking, ‘Sorry Punk, but I’m only interested in historical anecdotes if they are accompanied by a scan of a poorly-focused, poorly-lit photograph from twenty years ago’, then do I have news for you!

Punk Philatelist Christmas 1996 illustrated cover

It’s cartoonish, but that’s as good as you’ll get from me. The Star of this show is the Diamond stamp from Australia’s 1996 ‘Pearls and Diamonds’ issue, which features an impressive, big-arse hologram. And thanks to the Australian territory of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, we have a couple of quarantined alpacas standing in for the stable animals. Somewhat anachronistic in 0th-century Bethlehem, sure, but at least I didn’t have to chuck a kangaroo in there. And just for good measure, the navy blue Australia Post Air Mail cachet, with its Southern Cross, adds a few background stars into the night sky.

Cocos (Keeling) Islands 1996 Quarantine Station 50c llamas stamp and Australia 1996 $1.20 Diamond hologram stamp

Here’s how those stamps look when they’re not in a blurry collage (don’t be confused, I made the diamond one bigger). Apart from being almost perfect for a nativity scene, in philatelic terms they were contemporaneous, and made up the correct postal rate of the era. I wonder what the commercial cover aficionados would make of it these days. I reckon that at auction, this could now sell for as many as a dozen dollars.

Looking now on that effort, I am filled with wonder. Not so much at the philately, nor the magic of Christmas. No, I mainly wonder: how did I ever have the time?

See you in 2020! x

Follow the Punk Philatelist site to enjoy more philatelic musings in 2020! And don’t forget to look me up on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

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

Storytime! Weekend at Punkie’s

There’s a new post on the way shortly, but let me put the reviews and rants aside for a moment and tell you about my weekend. It was exciting, but in a way that only my people will understand. (Philatelists are much like those who like fishing: we LOVE telling you all about our big catch.)

So I’d I popped into a local club auction to check out a set of commemorative covers. One of those not-strictly-what-I-collect-but-maybe-I-could-have-it-around kinda deals. In the end, I decided I didn’t need them. Game over for me. I began to mosey through the rest of the viewing tables on my way out.

And that’s when I spied them.

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Stamp blogging: it’s the new Punk!

Philippines P5 Marikina Shoe Capital stampSo, um… hi…

Just a follow-up to the previous post, you know, that one where the founder of the website up and left.

I’m Gerard (a name?! This website is going to the dogs already). I’ll be your Punk for the foreseeable future, and as she mentioned in her farewell speech, I’ve been a little bit of Punk in the past. I want to add my voice to those on this website and on Punk’s social media channels who bade Punk #1 a loving farewell. She wanted no serenade on her way out, but she undoubtedly blazed a unique trail in the philatelic world. She’s spending some time wandering off trails now, so I wish her all the very best. My involvement in this blog began as a delighted reader and avid follower, so I’ll aim to be as surprising and entertaining as she was, but hey… let’s not count our chickens. Continue reading

A new year, a new Punk. Get drinking.

France 1938 300th Anniversary of the Birth of Dom Pierre Pérignon - Traditional Costume of Champagne 1.75F stamp

It’s not very often I get meta about blogging this blog, but indulge me for one New Year’s Eve post.

A naughty little secret has been hiding in plain sight for a while now, alluded to in the ‘Punk Philatelist Manifesto’ page. If you haven’t spotted it, prepare to have your MIND BLOWN. Continue reading

Hello, new friends!

UK 2017 Classic Toys 1st Spacehopper stamp

Just a quick note to say thank you to the pals who have shared some of my older posts around the internet this week, and a warm hello to any new eyeballs. I’m a bit quiet right now due to day job commitments, but I’m taking the opportunity to tweak a few things in the back end to make this a bigger and better site.

We’ve re-established in the last few days that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, but please, poke around, have your say, swear at me, pass things on to collectors who you think might enjoy something a bit different, or non-collectors under whose noses you think you could sneak some philately without them noticing…

PP x

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

A thousand thankyous!

1923 Germany 1000 mark Punk Philatelist special

1923 Germany 1000 mark Punk Philatelist specialMy website gained its 1000th follower this week! How fabulous! I know, at least half of you are spammers, but it’s still a nice round number to attain.

I’d just like to thank my actual human people readers for your support. This site has already gone larger and more global than I could have hoped in such a short time, and your appreciation and comments inspire me to carry on (even if the output isn’t quite as frequent as I’d like sometimes).

Also, thanks to the Weimar Republic of Germany for issuing a stamp back in 1923 to celebrate my blog reaching the 1000 mark. What amazing foresight.

As you were.

Punk x

Busy Punk!

China Revolutionary Ballet Company

Whoa, where have I been? One moment I’m slapping stamp posts up on the internet like a ’60s actor slapping arses on a bus full of French nurses, and the next, I’ve gone AWOL.

The truth, dear readers, is that I work in a freelance world, and sometimes, a punk’s just gotta drop everything to hit a deadline. It’ll be rough for the next few months, but I’ll still be loitering around, even if I’m not always posting.

Despite that, I’ve been so excited to see people still find and enjoy this site, and a big welcome to those who have followed my Facebook page!

China Revolutionary Ballet CompanyOne of them was Stampboards (the Facebook arm of the chat board), who kindly said they enjoyed my post on China’s revolutionary ballet, and supplied a stamp of the full company. Not to be messed with! Not only are they armed, but they’re ballerinas, so they’re probably hungry.

As for me, I’m cooking up a few new posts, so stay tuned. They’ll cross your feed soon enough.

Love, Punk x

If you like this blog, please like, link, share, and help me get the word out! I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr. x

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

Thank You Stamp of the Day

1970 France Edgar Degas balletJust a quick word to say thank you to WordPress for featuring one of my blog posts (this one) on their Freshly Pressed page a few weeks back, and thanks to everyone who has stopped by and followed my site since! I’ll be endeavoring to follow back everyone who’s not a spammer.

Thanks especially to those who have commented. I was afraid that only boring people would be interested in my efforts, but I’ve been lurking on many of your blogs and it seems that, as I suspected, there are other closet, latent and vicarious philatelists who are not boring at all.

I’ve been a bit snowed under at work lately, but I’ll keep the posts coming. Feel free to ask questions. This Punk don’t bite. You might inspire a post!

In the meantime, here is a Stamp of the Day, France’s 1970 release honoring Edgar Degas’s La Danseuse Au Bouquet (The Dancer with Bouquet). It’s a little bit how I felt last week, though I was wearing less girly clothes and my lighting was far more professional. x

 

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

My header: stamps that rock, and what graphic designers did to fashion designers

The header of this blog comprises two images that I felt were thematically and philosophically apt.

The colourful stamps in the background come from Australia’s 2006 ‘Rock Posters’ release, showcasing the talents of Australian designers as demonstrated in posters for various festivals, tours and gigs. I loved this issue. It was a kick in the balls compared to our usual diet of cute furry animals and dreary royals. Nice to see Australia Post acknowledge the possible existence of Australians who might not be as obsessed with sport and wildflowers as it seems to think most of its market is.

Australia, 2006, Australian Rock Posters(Nerd note: if you’re wondering where I got these stamps in a se-tenant sheet format as seen in my background, I made it myself. It doesn’t exist.)

The image I’m using as my avatar is that of a stamp released by the UK in 2012 as part of a Great British Fashion issue. This particular stamp features a harlequin dress designed by Vivienne Westwood in 1993 – not exactly punk in itself, but the Dame was instrumental in popularising punk fashion back when it was a thing, working with Malcolm McLaren to outfit the Sex Pistols and all that. Her ethos of using shock to stick a spoke in the system might be something to which this blog can aspire. Here’s the full set:

UK 2012 Great British FashionWhat a coincidence, Punk is wearing that little black Alexander McQueen number at her desk as she types.

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