The artist responsible for the images on these stamps from Curacao, Mirjam Griffioen, loves to paint animals and she finds goats particularly interesting. Goats, like many other grazing mammals, have horizontal eye pupils that allow their eyes to stay level with the horizon when they bend their heads down to graze. This gives them a better view of encroaching risks and danger. Mirjam chose vibrant background colours for this very attractive stamp set.
Japan has produced some brilliant stamps over the years. The two 10-stamp sets above depict important cultural items connected to the Edo period in Japan’s history and Tokyo landmarks. The history of the city of Tokyo stretches back some 400 years. Originally named Edo, the city started to flourish after the warlord Tokugawa Ieyasu established the Tokugawa Shogunate there in 1603. As the centre of politics and culture in Japan, Edo grew into a huge city with a population of over a million by the mid-eighteenth century. Throughout this time, the Emperor resided in Kyoto, which was the formal capital of the nation. The Edo Period lasted for nearly 260 years until the Meiji Restoration in 1868, when the Tokugawa Shogunate ended and imperial rule was restored. The Emperor moved to Edo, which was renamed Tokyo. Thus, Tokyo became the capital of Japan.
The first stamp sheets in the series “My Journey” were issued by Japan Post in 2016. Here we have the two 10-stamp sheets from 2017. And below 2022’s production.
Austrian Post is famous for presenting very special, exclusive stamps and in 2016 produced a glass stamp, the first stamp valid for franking ever made out of glass anywhere in the world. The glass stamp shows one of the famous “Sandlbilder” – a reverse glass painted Pietà from the Upper Austrian municipality of Sandl. The traditional design of the Pietà (also known as a Vesperbild in German) dates back to the 14th century. The stamp shows the Virgin Mary weeping over the dead body of her crucified son, Jesus. In reverse glass painting the design is painted on the back of the glass, enabling the front to be cleaned easily, which was a big advantage in the smoke-filled farmhouse parlours of bygone years. There is a long tradition of reverse glass painting in Sandl. This is because there were many glass works in the nearby Bohemian forests, from which sheets of glass could be acquired easily and cheaply.
Ten years after the world’s first postage stamp, the Austrian Empire produced its first stamps. They showed the Austrian coat of arms with the double-headed eagle. Values of 1, 2, 3, 6 and 9 Kreuzers were issued. The stamps for the Kingdom of Lombardo-Venetia, which also belonged to the Habsburg Empire, showed the same motif in the same colours but with the denominations of 5, 10, 15, 30 and 45 centesimi – they were valid throughout Austria, while the Austrian was not allowed to be used in Lombardy and Veneto. The first day of issue was June 1, 1850. Initially, the stamps were printed on hand-made paper with sheet watermarks, then from 1854 on machine-made, smooth paper without watermarks. The stamps were not yet perforated, they were cut off the sheet with scissors. Depending on how carefully the stamps were cut off and the different types of paper and printing methods, there are many colour and quality variants of the coat of arms edition. As Austria’s first stamp issue, it is extremely popular with philatelists and collectors today. The stamp block shows the Austrian issue with a value of 2 Kreuzer and an issue from Lombardo-Venetia with a value of 15 centesimi. The background is a 1 Kreuzer stamp, entwined with flowers and oak leaves, as depicted on the stamps. Austria’s first perforated postage stamp was the “Kaiserkopf issue” of 1858, which followed the coat of arms issue. This stamp sheet is also shown below.
Some wonderful bird stamps have recently been acquired and a small selection is shown here. As I write there are 15,405 stamps featuring birds in stock, to view go to postbeeld.com or freestampcatalogue.com.
In 1965 Czechoslovakia issued a “Mountain Birds” stamp set. In order of value they depict: 30 haléřů the Eurasian Dotterel (Charadrius morinellus), 60 haléřů a Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria), 1.20 Korun the Lesser Redpoll (Acanthis cabaret), 1.40 Korun a Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), 1.60 Korun a Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus) and the 2 Korun stamp a Spotted Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes).
Thailand 1967, from top left: Talking Mynah (Gracula religiosa), White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus), Diard’s Fireback Pheasant (Lophura diardi), Spotted-necked Dove (Spilopelia chinensis), Sarus Crane (Antigone antigone), White-breasted Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) and Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis).
A more recent issue from Kyrgyzstan, a beautiful stamp sheet featuring the European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster).
Then back to 1965 from Upper Volta (now known as Burkina Faso), left to right: the Pygmy Sunbird (Hedydipna platura), an Olive-bellied Sunbird (Cinnyris chloropygius), the Splendid Sunbird (Cinnyris coccinigastrus) and an Abyssinian Roller (Coracias abyssinicus).
Above, just added to stock, one set mint never-hinged and another unused (hinged) set of bird stamps from Hungary. From top, left to right are: Great egret (ardea alba), Glossy ibis (plegadis falcinellus), European bee-eater (merops apiaster), Red-footed falcon (falco vespertinus), Great Bustard (otis tarda), Lesser grey shrike (lanius minor), Black-winged Stilt (himantopus himantopus), Kentish Plover (charadrius alexandrius), Eurasian Golden Oriole (oriolus oriolus), White Stork (ciconia ciconia) and Pied Avocet (recurvirostra avosetta).
PostBeeld has used and unused (hinged) sets of these 1934 “Airplane over Copenhagen” air mail definitives.