Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Andorra (Spanish Post Office)

The principality of Andorra lies in the centre of the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain. It is one of the smaller states in Europe, but it has an impressive and unique history. The valleys of Andorra have been inhabited since the Neolithic Age. Somehow they always managed to escape being invaded and conquered.

In 988 the lands were given to the Diocese of Urgell in Spain with the bishop becoming the ruler of the territory. A century later the bishop needed military protection. He turned to a neighbouring Lord for protection and they agreed to share the sovereignty over Andorra. A few generations later the Count of Foix was the successor of the Lord and both sovereigns signed a treaty in 1278, known as the paréage. Eventually the Count of Foix became King of France. Nowadays the bithop of Seo d'Urgell and the president of France, as successor to the kings, are both co-prince of Andorra.

The French and Spanish influence led to the use of two currencies and also to two post offices. Both the French and Spanish post issue stamps, have their own post offices and mailboxes in the street. For my collection I sent envelopes to both post offices with some stamps I bought earlier.

The postmark on the envelope from the Spanish post office is in line with the touristic and postal cancellations that Correos is providing in most tourist centres and towns. The special postmark (Matasellos turístico) is new, the first day was 3 April 2017. It shows on the left the Church of San Esteve (11th-12th Century) and on the right the modern Caldea Andorra spa centre (1994). In the background are the mountains surrounding the capital city.

Although I sent both envelopes to Andorra on the same date and they were both cancelled on the same date, the Spanish Andorran envelope arrived one day later.

Stamps and postmarks of Andorra can be found on the website of Correos, the Spanish post: correos.es/pagina-filatelia.

Date sent: 3 May 2017
Date postmark: 12 May 2017
Date received: 17 May 2017
Number of days: 14
Envelope in collection: 65



Germany - Gütersloh - Philatelie-Shop (datestamp)

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.

In the request for a postmark on my envelope I always ask for a second cancellation, in German a 'Blankostempel', on the left side of the envelope. Somehow the postal worker in Gütersloh misunderstood and put a second cancellation on the card inside the envelope.

The Philatelie-Shop in Gütersloh can be found in the Deutsche Post building on the square where also the central train station is. The address for postmark requests is: Kaiserstraβe 24, 33330 Gütersloh, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 9.00-18.00 h., Sat 9.00-12.30 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 priority label was put there by the Philatelie-Shop.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 15 May 2017
Date received: 17 May 2017
Number of days: 6
Envelope in collection: 64




France - Haute-Garonne - Blagnac - Bureau philatélique

In France the national postal company La Poste has named some 300 post offices as a Bureau philatélique in 2016. There customers can buy the recent French stamps at all windows (there is not one specific philatelic window). Also available are stamps of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Andorra, UNESCO and Council of Europe. A special postmark ('grand format illustré') is available. The post offices with this service can be recognized at a large display case. There is no sign on the post office doors.

Blagnac is a municipality in the department of Haute-Garonne in the south of France. It has circa 24.000 inhabitants and is part of the urban community of Greater Toulouse. Blagnac is best known for having the main office of Airbus, the European civil aircraft manufacturer.

The stamp I chose for the envelope is an airmail stamp from 2006 that features the Airbus 380, that is built in Blagnac. Although the stamp has a value higher than the international postal tariff, it is the only Blagnac stamp that France has issued.

The envelope was very neatly postmarked, but unfortunately three days later it went through a machine that left its mark on the envelope. Apparently that not only happens in Germany, Britain and the United States.

Date sent: 4 May 2017
Date postmark: 12 May 2017
Date received: 17 May 2017
Number of days: 13
Envelope in collection: 63



Monday, 29 May 2017

Germany - Berlin Zoologischer Garten - Philatelie-Shop (datestamp)

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 Berlin Zoologischer Garten can be found in the shopping center next to the Zoologischer Garten train station, only a few hundred meters behind the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche. The address for postmark requests is: Joachimstaler Straβe 41, 10623 Berlin Zoologischer Garten, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 10.00-19.00 h., Sat 10.00-17.00 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.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 12 May 2017
Date received: 16 May 2017
Number of days: 5
Envelope in collection: 62



Germany - Karlsruhe - Philatelie-Shop (datestamp)

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 Karlsruhe can be found in the Postgalerie shopping mall that is housed in the former central post office. The address for postmark requests is: Kaiserstraβe 217, 76133 Karlsruhe, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 9.30-20.00 h., Sat 9.30-16.00 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.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 13 May 2017
Date received: 16 May 2017
Number of days: 5
Envelope in collection: 61



Andorra (French Post Office)

The principality of Andorra lies in the centre of the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain. It is one of the smaller states in Europe, but it has an impressive and unique history. The valleys of Andorra have been inhabited since the Neolithic Age. Somehow they always managed to escape being invaded and conquered.

In 988 the lands were given to the Diocese of Urgell in Spain with the bishop becoming the ruler of the territory. A century later the bishop needed military protection. He turned to a neighbouring Lord for protection and they agreed to share the sovereignty over Andorra. A few generations later the Count of Foix was the successor of the Lord and both sovereigns signed a treaty in 1278, known as the paréage. Eventually the Count of Foix became King of France. Nowadays the bithop of Seo d'Urgell and the president of France, as successor to the kings, are both co-prince of Andorra.

The French and Spanish influence led to the use of two currencies and also to two post offices. Both the French and Spanish post issue stamps, have their own post offices and mailboxes in the street. For my collection I sent envelopes to both post offices with some stamps I bought earlier.

The postmark on the envelope from the French post office is in line with the datestamps used all over France. Interestingly, although I sent both envelopes to Andorra on the same date and they were both cancelled on the same date, the Spanish Andorran envelope arrived one day later.

Andorran stamps are sold through the website of La Poste of France: boutique.laposte.fr/timbres-andorre.

Date sent: 3 May 2017
Date postmark: 12 May 2017
Date received: 16 May 2017
Number of days: 13
Envelope in collection: 60



Sunday, 28 May 2017

Germany - Bonn - Philatelie-Shop (datestamp)

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 Bonn can be found in the central post office on the central Cathedral Square just behind the monument for Ludwig van Beethoven. The address for postmark requests is: Münsterplatz 17, 53111 Bonn, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 9.00-20.00 h., Sat 9.00-16.00 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.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 12 May 2017
Date received: 16 May 2017
Number of days: 5
Envelope in collection: 59



Germany - ATM stamps 2017

On 3 January 2017 Deutsche Post issued two new ATM stamp designs to replace the ones from 2008 (Brandenburger Tor Berlin and Post Tower Bonn). This time the stamps feature two very important mail events: writing letters and receiving letters. Deutsche Post deals with 61 million letters every day, although personal letters are an increasingly smaller part of the mail stream, being replaced by e-mails and social media.

The new ATM stamps were introduced in machines a limited number of cities and are gradually being made available throughout the country. When I was in Essen the machine at the central post office still had the old designs, but at the Briefmarken-Messe the new designs were available.

I got both designs out of the machine with the rate for international letters and had them cancelled just before I left for home on 12 May. Behind the counter was the same lady that was at the Philatelie-Shop the day before. I asked for a normal date cancellation and she even cleaned the cancel for me so I would have nicely postmarked envelopes.

Date sent: 12 May 2017
Date postmark: 12 May 2017
Date received: 16 May 2017
Number of days: 4
Envelope in collection: 57


Date sent: 12 May 2017
Date postmark: 12 May 2017
Date received: 16 May 2017
Number of days: 4
Envelope in collection: 58



Germany - Dresden - Philatelie-Shop (datestamp)

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 Dresden can be found in the Postbank centre on the edge of the old inner city. The address for postmark requests is: Antonsplatz 1, 01067 Dresden, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 9.00-18.00 h., Sat 9.00-15.00 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. Next to the datestamp the Philatelie-Shop put the pictorial postmark of the Philatelie-Shop, which I thought was withdrawn by Deutsche Post. Apparently it is still in use.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 13 May 2017
Date received: 16 May 2017
Number of days: 5
Envelope in collection: 56



Germany - Kiel - Philatelie-Shop (datestamp)

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 Kiel can be found in the Postbank centre close to central station. The address for postmark requests is: Andreas-Gayk-Straße 15, 24103 Kiel, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 9.00-18.00 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.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 13 May 2017
Date received: 16 May 2017
Number of days: 5
Envelope in collection: 55



Saturday, 27 May 2017

Germany - Berlin Pankow - Philatelie-Shop (datestamp)

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 Berlin Pankow can be found in the shopping mall Rathaus-Center in the centre of this north Berlin quarter. The address for postmark requests is: Breist Straße 20, 13187 Berlin Pankow, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 9.30-18.30 h., Sat 9.30-14.00 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 priority label was put there by the Philatelie-Shop.

Inside the envelope there was a nice surprise. The Philatelie-Shop official had put in two cards. One with the message that this shop also uses a pictorial postmark and one with an impression of that postmark and the datestamp. Of course I sent another envelope to Berlin to get the second postmark as well. Now this is what I call service.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 12 May 2017
Date received: 16 May 2017
Number of days: 5
Envelope in collection: 54





Germany - Saarbrücken - Philatelie-Shop (datestamp)

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 Saarbrücken can be found in the shopping mall just opposite central station. The address for postmark requests is: Am Hauptbahnhof 16-18, 66111 Saarbrücken, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 9.00-18.00 h., Sat 9.00-13.00 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 priority label was put there by the Philatelie-Shop.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 13 May 2017
Date received: 16 May 2017
Number of days: 5
Envelope in collection: 53



Germany - Hamburg - Philatelie-Shop (datestamp)

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 Hamburg can be found in the Mönckebergstraße, the large shopping street between the central station and town hall. The address for postmark requests is: Mönckebergstraße 7, 20095 Hamburg, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 9.00-19.00 h., Sat 9.00-15.00 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.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 12 May 2017
Date received: 16 May 2017
Number of days: 5
Envelope in collection: 52



Germany - Münster - Philatelie-Shop (datestamp)

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 Münster can be found in the historical city centre just opposite the St.-Paulus-Dom. The address for postmark requests is: Domplatz 6-7, 48143 Münster, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 9.00-18.30 h., Sat 9.30-13.30 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. Since Münster postmarked the stamp also on 11 May it makes the envelope a sort of a first day cover.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 11 May 2017
Date received: 16 May 2017
Number of days: 5
Envelope in collection: 51



Germany - Berlin 21 - Philatelie-Shop (datestamp)

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.

In the request for a postmark on my envelope I always ask for a second cancellation, in German a 'Blankostempel', on the left side of the envelope. Somehow the postal worker in Berlin misunderstood and put a second cancellation on the card inside the envelope.

The Philatelie-Shop in Berlin 21 can be found in the Moabit quarter in the western part of the city. The address for postmark requests is: Lübecker Straße 1, 10559 Berlin 21, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 9.00-18.30 h., Sat 9.00-13.30 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.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 12 May 2017
Date received: 16 May 2017
Number of days: 5
Envelope in collection: 50




Germany - Köln - Philatelie-Shop (datestamp)

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 Köln can be found in the shopping centre on the ground floor of the WDR Arkaden, the building of the Westdeutsche Rundfunk (public broadcaster). The address for postmark requests is: Breite Straße 6-26, 50667 Köln 1, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 9.00-19.00 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.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 12 May 2017
Date received: 16 May 2017
Number of days: 5
Envelope in collection: 49



United States of America - Florida - Kissimmee - Celebration

In all countries, regions and other stamp issuing authorities there are many thousands of post offices. Of course collecting postmarks of them all would be almost impossible, but sometimes I come across one I want to have.

In Florida there is a community called Celebration. It was founded by the Walt Disney Company in 1994 and houses several Walt Disney business units. Many buildings are designed by well-known architects. The Celebration Post Office was designed by Michael Graves (1934-2015), who also designed the Ministry of Public Health and the Louwman National Automobile Museum, both in The Hague, Netherlands. Celebration is part of the town of Kissimmee, Florida.

For the envelope I bought a series of US Disney stamps from 20008 and stuck them all on the envelope. The total value of the stamps was more than the international tariff, but I didn't want to split the set. On the back of the self-adhesive stamps, the bit you peel off, was a description of the Disney character on the stamp. I didn't throw them away but put them in the envelope to let them travel to and from Celebration with the stamps.

The envelope came back with perfect Celebration postmarks, but as so often in the United States the envelope went through a machine and an Orlando machine cancellation was put over the top two stamps. There are enormous differences between US Post Offices when it comes to handling philatelic mail. There are some more examples to follow on this blog in the next few weeks.

Date sent: 3 May 2017
Date postmark: 10 May 2017
Date received: 16 May 2017
Number of days: 13
Envelope in collection: 48



Friday, 26 May 2017

United States of America - California

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 California, lying in the southwestern region of the United States. It was the 31st state, admitted in 1850.

The stamps were affixed by me and come from the Flags of our nations and Greetings series, a stamp commemorating the 150th anniversary of statehood and the California stamp from the 1981 State Bird & Flower series. I sent the envelope to the post office in the capital Sacramento to be postmarked. The envelope arrived back with three beautiful postmarks from USPS Royal Oaks post office. It is always a surprise what the name in the postmark will be.

Date sent: 26 April 2017
Date postmark: 11 May 2017
Date received: 16 May 2017
Number of days: 20
Envelope in collection: 47



United States of America - Idaho

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 Idaho, lying in the northwestern region of the United States. It was the 43rd state, admitted in 1890.

The stamps were affixed by me and come from the Flags of our nations and Greetings series, a stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of statehood and the Idaho stamp from the 1981 State Bird & Flower series. I sent the envelope to the post office in the capital Boise to be postmarked. The envelope arrived back with one postmark on the bird stamp and a faint Boise machine cancellation. One stamp was left without a postmark. This was the second US state envelope in a row to have not all stamps cancelled.

Date sent: 26 April 2017
Date postmark: 8 May 2017
Date received: 16 May 2017
Number of days: 20
Envelope in collection: 46



Thursday, 25 May 2017

Germany - Weiden in der Oberpfalz - Sonderstempelstelle

Germany has two special centres where postmark collectors can send their request for special postmarks to: Berlin and Weiden. Each centre carries its own permanent postmark and they both have their own special datestamp.

The special postmark for Weiden shows the old Rathaus (town hall). It was built between 1539 and 1548 as seat for the local government. It was renovated between 1914 and 1917 that preserved its historic charm. Especially the ceiling of the grand hall is very impressive. In the facade of the building there is a carillon, installed in 1983, that plays every day at 11.35 h. and 16.35 h.

There is now a new town hall in Weiden, but once a year the mayor invites the local council for a special session in the old hall. Also the building houses the tourism office, some small shops and restaurants. Furthermore the old Rathaus is used for special cultural events.

For this postmark I used the normal 90 cent definitive from the flower series.

Date sent: 20 April 2017
Date postmark: 11 May 2017
Date received: 13 May 2017
Number of days: 23
Envelope in collection: 45



Germany - Bonn - Sonderstempelstelle (datestamp)

Germany has two special centres where postmark collectors can send their request for special postmarks to: Berlin and Weiden. Each centre carries its own permanent postmark. There used to be a fully functioning Sonderstempelstelle in Bonn (the former capital of West Germany) but that now only functions as a counter where collectors can go to for first day of issue postmarks. For each new German stamp there are two different first day postmarks, from Bonn and Berlin.

Bonn is still considered a Sonderstempelstelle so it has its own pictorial postmarks. While Berlin and Weiden have only one, Bonn has two. One with the Post Tower, the Deutsche Post Headquarters building, and one with the famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven. The Sonderstempelstelle Bonn also has a special datestamp.

The datestamp differs from the ones normally used at post offices. It has the text Deutsche Post / Philatelie, two small Deutsche Post emblems and a letter s on top.

For this postmark I used the normal 90 cent definitive from the flower series.

Date sent: 20 April 2017
Date postmark: 11 May 2017
Date received: 13 May 2017
Number of days: 23
Envelope in collection: 44



Germany - Weiden in der Oberpfalz - Sonderstempelstelle (datestamp)

Germany has two special centres where postmark collectors can send their request for special postmarks to: Berlin and Weiden. Each centre carries its own permanent postmark and they both have their own special datestamp.

The datestamp differs from the ones normally used at post offices. It has the text Deutsche Post / Philatelie, two small Deutsche Post emblems and a letter s on top.

For this postmark I used the normal 90 cent definitive from the flower series.

Date sent: 20 April 2017
Date postmark: 11 May 2017
Date received: 13 May 2017
Number of days: 23
Envelope in collection: 43



Germany - Bonn - Sonderstempelstelle (Beethoven)

Germany has two special centres where postmark collectors can send their request for special postmarks to: Berlin and Weiden. Each centre carries its own permanent postmark. There used to be a fully functioning Sonderstempelstelle in Bonn (the former capital of West Germany) but that now only functions as a counter where collectors can go to for first day of issue postmarks. For each new German stamp there are two different first day postmarks, from Bonn and Berlin.

Bonn is still considered a Sonderstempelstelle so it has its own pictorial postmarks. While Berlin and Weiden have only one, Bonn has two. One with the Post Tower, the Deutsche Post Headquarters building, and one with the famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven. The Sonderstempelstelle Bonn also has a special datestamp.

This envelope shows the special postmark with composer Ludwig van Beethoven postmarking a letter, something he probably never did during his lifetime. It can be obtained by collectors by sending an stamped self-addressed envelope to the Sonderstempelstelle in Weiden.

For this postmark I used the normal 90 cent definitive from the flower series.

Date sent: 20 April 2017
Date postmark: 11 May 2017
Date received: 13 May 2017
Number of days: 23
Envelope in collection: 42



Germany - Bonn - Sonderstempelstelle (Post Tower)

Germany has two special centres where postmark collectors can send their request for special postmarks to: Berlin and Weiden. Each centre carries its own permanent postmark. There used to be a fully functioning Sonderstempelstelle in Bonn (the former capital of West Germany) but that now only functions as a counter where collectors can go to for first day of issue postmarks. For each new German stamp there are two different first day postmarks, from Bonn and Berlin.

Bonn is still considered a Sonderstempelstelle so it has its own pictorial postmarks. While Berlin and Weiden have only one, Bonn has two. One with the Post Tower, the Deutsche Post Headquarters building, and one with the famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven. The Sonderstempelstelle Bonn also has a special datestamp.

This envelope shows the special postmark with the Post Tower. It can be obtained by collectors by sending an stamped self-addressed envelope to the Sonderstempelstelle in Weiden.

For this postmark I used the normal 90 cent definitive from the flower series.

Date sent: 20 April 2017
Date postmark: 11 May 2017
Date received: 13 May 2017
Number of days: 23
Envelope in collection: 41



Germany

With all my effort to get pictorial postmarks and datestamps from Germany I almost forgot that I needed an ordinary country envelope from Germany in my collection. On 10 May I was in Essen so I bought a recent 90 cent stamp (international tariff), put it on the envelope and left it with the post office.

Three days later it arrived home. The envelope went through the central sorting centre in Essen and got a machine cancellation. The image shows a map of the postal district of Essen. All postal codes there start with 45.

Before the unification of Germany in 1871 some German states issued their own stamps. From 1871 the Reichspost took over the postal services until 1945. After the war the allied powers took care of the mail and issued stamps for that. In 1949 Germany was split into two countries that issued their own stamps. In West Germany the Deutsche Bundespost was established from 1949 to 1995. In East Germany (the German Democratic Republic it was the Deutsche Post (DDR) from 1949 to 1990. There were also separate stamps from the Bundespost for West Berlin (1949-1990). A few years after the reunification the Deutsche Post AG was formed.

Website of the philatelic service of the Deutsche Post (in German): shop.deutschepost.de.

Web page of Deutsche Post with the postmark bulletins (in German, every two weeks, also archive from 2017): shop.deutschepost.de/stempel-und-informationen.

Date sent: 10 May 2017
Date postmark: 11 May 2017
Date received: 13 May 2017
Number of days: 3
Envelope in collection: 40



Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Germany - Essen - Philatelie-Shop (datestamp)

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.

I wanted to have all 26 of these postmarks so before I went to the Briefmarken-Messe in Essen in May 2017 I prepared 26 envelopes to send to the different post offices. The reason I sent requests to all 26 Philatelie-Shops at the same time was because since I was in Germany I could send letters for the national postal tariff of 70 cents instead of the Dutch international tariff of 1,33 euro, a difference of 63 cents per envelope.

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 lady behind the counter had a rough day. Not only was it her first day in the Philately-Shop (the colleague that normally was there was on holiday), but it was also the first day of issue of five series of stamps. This meant she got a lot of stamp collectors that wanted single stamps, horizontal pairs, vertical pairs, block of four, sheets of ten. And then there was me with a list of stamps from the last three years. The next day I saw her again sitting in her normal place. She had survived the stampede and was still smiling.

She cancelled my envelope and kept it to send to my home. It arrived there only two days later, the first of the 26 to make it to the Netherlands. 

The Philatelie-Shop can be found in the central post office, located opposite the central station (Hauptbahnhof). The address for postmark requests is: Willy-Brandt-Platz 1, 45127 Essen, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 8.30-19.00 h., Sat 9.30-15.30 h.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 11 May 2017
Date received: 13 May 2017
Number of days: 2
Envelope in collection: 39




American Samoa

The Samoan Islands are a group of islands in the South Pacific, first sighted by the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen in 1722. The western part of the archipelago eventually became a German protectorate and is now the independent state of Samoa. The eastern islands became a territory of the United States after the Second Samoan Cilvil War and the Tripartite Convention of 1899. In 1925 Swains Island was annexed and added to the territory.

Nowadays American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States. The head of state is the US president. The governor of American Samoa is the head of government. There is a territorial legislature, the Fono, that consists of a House of Representatives and a Senate. Capital of the territory is Pago Pago.

Since there are no American Samoan stamps, I chose for my envelope the four United States stamps that were issued with a Samoan theme. The most prominent is the issue of 17 April 2000 with the alia, traditional canoe, issued for the centenary of the islands belonging to the United States. Then there are the flag from the Flags of our nation series of 2009, the coral reefs issue of 1980 and the cardinal honeyeater from the tropical birds issue of 1998.

The coral reefs stamp was damaged during its voyage from the Pacific to the Netherlands, but the envelope remains a beautiful piece in my collection.

Date sent: 14 April 2017
Date postmark: 27 April 2017
Date received: 13 May 2017
Number of days: 29
Envelope in collection: 38



Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Germany - Frankfurt am Main - Museum for Communication

A few entries back on this blog I showed the special postmark for the Museum for Communication in Berlin. The Museum has two other branches, in Frankfurt am Main and Nürnberg. Both postmarks can be obtained through the Sonderstempelstelle or by posting mail in the letterbox in the museum shop.

The postmark has the words Museum für Kommunikation, the place 60313 Frankfurt am Main and an image of an historical telephone in front of the skyline of Frankfurt. The postmark has been in use since 7 February 2006.

For this postmark I used the normal 90 cent definitive from the flower series.

Website of the Museum für Kommunikation in Frankfurt (in German): mfk-frankfurt.de.

Date sent: 20 April 2017
Date postmark: 10 May 2017
Date received: 12 May 2017
Number of days: 22
Envelope in collection: 37



Monday, 22 May 2017

Germany - ATM stamps 2008 - Post Tower Bonn

ATM stamps are not my specialty and not a necessary part of my World envelope collection, but sometimes I come across the possibility of sending an envelope with an ATM stamp on it and then I can't resist it.

Germany issued its first Automatenmarken in 1981. The sixth series is from 2008 and has two designs: the Brandenburger Tor in Berlin and the Post Tower in Bonn (Deutsche Post headquarters). When I visited Essen in May 2017 I wanted to post some letters as soon as I arrived. The philately window was closed because of a lack of staff so I got some ATM stamps instead. I miscalculated and I was left with one stamp for the international tariff. I stuck it on a blank addressed envelope I always carry with me and put it in the mailbox.

The stamp I had was one with the Post Tower on it. Of course I should have made sure to have both designs for my collection, but I thought of that when it was too late. The envelope arrived only two days later after being cancelled at the Essen sorting centre.

Date sent: 10 May 2017
Date postmark: 10 May 2017
Date received: 12 May 2017
Number of days: 2
Envelope in collection: 36



Sunday, 21 May 2017

Albania

The republic of Albania is situated in the southeastern part of Europe, on the Balkans. The Albanians speak a language that is no family of other languages on the continent. Before the Second World War Albania was occupied by Italy. After the war the country got a communist government that turned the Albania in one of the most closed countries in the world. In the end they only had real relations with China. Now Albania is a democracy finding its way back to Europe. The country has become a NATO member and wants to join the European Union.

The first stamps of Albania were issued in 1913. During the communist era the stamps were used to promote the government policies and to attract foreign currency for the country.

I sent an envelope with an International Reply Coupon to Posta Shqiptare in Tirana. They chose the stamp and put it on the envelope. The stamp is one of the Europa stamps from 2015 with the common theme of children's toys.

Website of the philatelic section of Posta Shqiptare (in Albanian): postashqiptare.al/Philately.

Date sent: 17 April 2017
Date postmark: 27 April 2017
Date received: 11 May 2017
Number of days: 24
Envelope in collection: 35