Wednesday, 13 November 2019

United States of America - Mississippi

In my World envelope collection I do not just want to have envelopes from stamp-issuing countries and territories, but also from other regions. This includes the 50 states of the United States of America. This envelope comes from the state of Mississippi, lying in the Southeastern region of the United States. It was the 20th state, admitted in 1817.

The stamps were affixed by me and come from the Flags of our nation and Greetings series and the stamp commemorating the 200th anniversary of statehood. I sent the envelope to the post office in the capital Jackson to be postmarked. It arrived back in just seventeen days with very nice datestamps, but unfortunately there was a terrible machine cancellation put over my stamps.

Date sent: 6 June 2017
Date postmark: 16 June 2017
Date received: 23 June 2017
Number of days: 17
Envelope in collection: 190



Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Curaçao

Curaçao is a Lesser Antilles island in the southern Caribbean Sea and the Dutch Caribbean region, about 65 km north of the Venezuelan coast. It is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The country was formerly part of the Curaçao and Dependencies colony in 1815-1954 and later the Netherlands Antilles in 1954-2010, as "Island Territory of Curaçao" and is now formally called the Country of Curaçao. It includes the main island of Curaçao and the much smaller, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao ("Little Curaçao"). Curaçao has a population of 149.600 (July 2017 est.) and an area of 444 km². Its capital is Willemstad, which is now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I sent an envelope with an international reply coupon to Curaçao in the hope they would return it. After waiting for two months I got it back inside a larger envelope. A perfect service of CPost International.

CPost has awebsite with a small philatelic section. Some pages are outdated or even non-existent: cpostinternational.com/philately.
Recent stamps are sold on the website of WOPA+: wopa-plus.com/CW.

Date sent: 17 April 2017
Date postmark: 12 June 2017
Date received: 23 June 2017
Number of days: 67
Envelope in collection: 189




Thursday, 31 October 2019

Norway - Svalbard - Bear Island

With postmark and cover collectors the polar regions have always been very popular. A collection is not complete without mail from bases in Antarctica. On the other side of the world post offices above the Arctic Circle exist in Norway, Greenland, Finland, Alaska, Canada and Russia.

In Norway there are post offices above the Arctic Circle on the mainland. Also the island of Jan Mayen has a post office. The region of Svalbard has four post offices on the largest island Spitsbergen and two on the islands of Hopen and Bear Island (Bjørnøya).

Bear Island (Norwegian: Bjørnøya) is the southernmost island of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago. The island is located in the western part of the Barents Sea, approximately halfway between Spitsbergen and the North Cape.
Bear Island was discovered by the Dutch explorers Willem Barents and Jacob van Heemskerk on 10 June 1596. It was named after a polar bear that was seen swimming nearby. The island was considered terra nullius until the Spitsbergen Treaty of 1920 placed it under Norwegian sovereignty.
Despite its remote location and barren nature, the island has seen commercial activities in past centuries, such as coal mining, fishing and whaling. However, no settlements have lasted more than a few years, and Bear Island is now uninhabited except for personnel working at the island's meteorological station Herwighamna. Along with the adjacent waters, it was declared a nature reserve in 2002.

The postmark shows a thick-billed murre, a bird in the auk family, and the geographic coordinates of the island, although only part of the location because the western longitude is missing. It has been in use for many years. As stamps I bought the most recent Norwegian Svalbard stamps from 1996. Although the postal rate for an international letter is only NOK 17, I used the complete series because they look very nice on the envelope.

Date sent: 28 April 2017
Date postmark: 26 May 2017
Date received: 23 June 2017
Number of days: 56
Envelope in collection: 188



Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Germany - Frankfurt am Main - Philatelie-Shop

Deutsche Post has established special philately windows in 26 major post offices throughout the country. Each uses a datestamp with the letters 'ps' in it to distinguish it from normal datestamps. The letters ps stand for Philatelie-Shop.

The Philatelie-Shop in Frankfurt am Main can be found in the Postbank Building in the city center on Goetheplatz (Goethe Square). In the middle of the square is a statue of the poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe by Ludwig Schwanthaler. The address for postmark requests is: Goetheplatz 6, 60313 Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 9.30-19.00 h., Sat 9.00-14.00 h.

For the envelope I used the new definitive 90 cent stamp from the flower series, issued on 11 May 2017 that I bought at the Philatelie-Shop in Essen on the first day of issue. The first envelope I sent in 11 May 2017 came back. The address in the official publication was incorrect. I sent a second envelope with the same stamp to the right address and it came back in seventeen days with two perfect datestamps.

Date sent: 5 June 2017
Date postmark: 19 June 2017
Date received: 22 June 2017
Number of days: 17
Envelope in collection: 187



Tuesday, 29 October 2019

United States of America - South Carolina

In my World envelope collection I do not just want to have envelopes from stamp-issuing countries and territories, but also from other regions. This includes the 50 states of the United States of America. This envelope comes from the state of South Carolina, lying in the Southeastern region of the United States. It was the 8th state, admitted in 1788.

The stamps were affixed by me and come from the Flags of our nation, State birds and Greetings series and the stamp commemorating the 200th anniversary of statehood. I sent the envelope to the post office in the capital Columbia to be postmarked. It arrived back in just seventeen days with very nice datestamps, but unfortunately there was a giant machine cancellation put over my stamps.

Date sent: 5 June 2017
Date postmark: 13 June 2017
Date received: 22 June 2017
Number of days: 17
Envelope in collection: 186



Monday, 28 October 2019

South Africa - Transkei

Transkei, meaning the area beyond [the river] Kei), officially the Republic of Transkei, was an unrecognised state in the southeastern region of South Africa from 1976 to 1994. It was a Bantustan - an area set aside for black South Africans of Xhosa descent - and operated as a nominally independent parliamentary democracy. Its capital was Umtata (renamed Mthatha in 2004).
Transkei represented a significant precedent and historic turning point in South Africa's policy of apartheid and "separate development"; it was the first of four territories to be declared independent of South Africa. Throughout its existence, it remained an internationally unrecognised, diplomatically isolated, politically unstable de facto one-party state, which at one point broke relations with South Africa, the only country that acknowledged it as a legal entity. In 1994, it was reintegrated into its larger neighbour and became part of the Eastern Cape province.
The South African government set up the area as one of the two homelands for Xhosa-speaking people in Cape Province, the other being Ciskei; it was given nominal autonomy in 1963. Although the first election was contested and won by the Democratic Party, whose founder Chief Victor Poto was opposed to the notion of Bantustan independence, the government was formed by the Transkei National Independence Party. Of the 109 members in the regional parliament, 45 were elected and 64 were held by ex officio chiefs.
The entity became a nominally independent state in 1976 with its capital at Umtata (now Mthatha), although it was recognised only by South Africa and later by the other nominally independent republics within the TBVC-system. Chief Kaiser Daliwonga Matanzima was Transkei's Prime Minister until 1979, when he assumed the office of President, a position he held until 1986.

The Transkei consisted of three disconnected sections with a total area covering 45.000 km². The large main segment was bordered by the Umtamvuna River in the north and the Great Kei River in the south, with the Indian Ocean and the Drakensberg mountain range, including parts of the landlocked kingdom of Lesotho, served as the eastern and western frontiers. A further two small segments occurred as landlocked isolates within South Africa. One of these was in the north-west, along the Orange River adjoining south-western Lesotho, and the other in the uMzimkhulu area to the east, each reflecting colonially designated tribal areas where Xhosa speaking peoples predominated. A large portion of the area was mountainous and not suitable for agriculture.
Conflicting data exist about the number of inhabitants. According to the South African Encyclopaedia, the total population of the Transkei increased from 2.487.000 to 3.005.000 between 1960 and 1970. An estimate of 1982 puts the number at about 2,3 million, with approximately 400,000 citizens residing permanently outside the territory's borders. Fewer than 10.000 individuals were of European descent, and the urbanisation-rate for the entire population was around 5%.

I had noticed on Facebook that stamps from the four homelands were still valid for use in South Africa, so I began buying old stamps to put on envelopes. When the homelands issued their stamps (until 1994) the postal rates were much lower than now so only small values were issued. This means that a lot of stamps are needed to make up the current tariff. On the positive side it makes a very attractive envelope.
I sent the cover to the post office in the former capital city of Transkei, Mthatha, and it arrived back in almost three months. The envelope was damaged and repaired with tape.

Date sent: 28 April 2017
Date postmark: 30 May 2017
Date received: 21 June 2017
Number of days: 54
Envelope in collection: 185


Wednesday, 23 October 2019

United States of America - Wyoming

In my World envelope collection I do not just want to have envelopes from stamp-issuing countries and territories, but also from other regions. This includes the 50 states of the United States of America. This envelope comes from the state of Wyoming, lying in the mountain region of the Western United States. It was the 44th state, admitted in 1890.

The stamps were affixed by me and come from the Flags of our nation, State birds and Greetings series and the stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of statehood. I sent the envelope to the post office in the capital Cheyenne to be postmarked. It arrived back in almost a month with just the one very light datestamp and a giant machine cancellation.

Date sent: 26 May 2017
Date postmark: 14 June 2017
Date received: 21 June 2017
Number of days: 26
Envelope in collection: 184



Tuesday, 22 October 2019

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - Chatham - The Dutch Raid on Medway

In June 2017 the 350th anniversary of the Raid on the Medway was celebrated, one of the most iconic Dutch victories by national hero Michiel de Ruyter who sailed his ship through the chain across the river Thames.

The Raid on the Medway, during the Second Anglo-Dutch War in June 1667, was a successful attack conducted by the Dutch navy on English battleships laid up in the fleet anchorages off Chatham Dockyard and Gillingham in the county of Kent. At the time, the fortress of Upnor Castle and a barrier chain called the "Gillingham Line" were supposed to protect the English ships.
The Dutch, under nominal command of Willem Joseph van Ghent and Lieutenant-Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, over several days bombarded and captured the town of Sheerness, sailed up the Thames estuary to Gravesend, then sailed into the River Medway to Chatham and Gillingham, where they engaged fortifications with cannon fire, burned or captured three capital ships and ten more ships of the line, and captured and towed away the flagship of the English fleet, HMS Royal Charles.
Politically, the raid was disastrous for King Charles' war plans and led to a quick end to the war and a favourable peace for the Dutch. It was one of the worst defeats in the Royal Navy's history, and one of the worst suffered by the British military. Horace George Franks called it the "most serious defeat it has ever had in its home waters."

On 9 June 2017 a special postmark was used in Chatham on request from Internet Stamps Ltd. from Folkestone, Kent. It is the parent company of Buckingham Covers and GB First Day Covers. Both companies issue special made 'first day covers' and other collectable envelopes.

I sent a cover to the London Special Handstamp Centre. I used a regional England definitive of £ 1,17 which was the standard international postage rate. It arrived back in sixteen days in a plastic protective bag.

Date sent: 5 June 2017
Date postmark: 9 June 2017
Date received: 21 June 2017
Number of days: 16
Envelope in collection: 183