Sunday, 25 June 2017

Aland - ATM stamps 2017

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.

The postal service of Aland started issuing ATM stamps almost immediately after starting issuing its own stamps in 1986. The first ones were the well-known Frama labels. These days there are more local designs, like the 2017 issue showing beach finds.

At Aland Post it is only possible to buy the complete set of four different values, but at stamp shows Aland Post sells individual labels. At the Briefmarken-Messe in Essen I bought the EUR 1,40 label, wich covers the tariff for a letter to European countries. The priority label was affixed by the philatelic service in Mariehamn. The postmark is from the central postal terminal.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 15 May 2017
Date received: 18 May 2017
Number of days: 7
Envelope in collection: 80



Wednesday, 14 June 2017

United States of America - Arkansas

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 Arkansas, lying in the southeastern region of the United States. It was the 25th state, admitted in 1836.

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 Arkansas stamp from the 1981 State Bird & Flower series. I sent the envelope to the post office in the capital Little Rockto be postmarked. The envelope arrived back inside a large protecting envelope with two beautiful postmarks from USPS Little Rock Main Office Station. The envelope protected my stamps from the terrible wavy lines that end up on so many of my envelopes.

Date sent: 1 May 2017
Date postmark: 10 May 2017
Date received: 18 May 2017
Number of days: 18
Envelope in collection: 79




Liechtenstein

The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked German-speaking small state in Central Europe. It is a constitutional monarchy with the rank of principality, headed by the Prince of Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein is bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and Austria to the east and north. It has an area of just over 160 square kilometres, the fourth-smallest in Europe, and an estimated population of 37,000. Divided into 11 municipalities, its capital is Vaduz and its largest municipality is Schaan.

Liechtenstein is a member of the European Free Trade Association, and while not being a member of the European Union, the country participates in both the Schengen Area and European Economic Area. It also has a customs union and a monetary union with Switzerland.

The first stamps were issued in 1912 in Austrian currency since Liechtenstein was closely tied to its eastern neighbour. After the First World War Liechtenstein chose for a customs and currency union with Switzerland and stamps were issued in Swiss francs. Stamps of Liechtenstein are very popular and widely collected.

For the envelope I bought the latest Europa stamp from the Liechtenstein postal administration at the Briefmarken-Messe in Essen in May 2017 and left the envelope with them. Within a week it arrived at my home.

Website of Philatelie Liechtenstein (in English): philatelie.li.

Date sent: 12 May 2017
Date postmark: 16 May 2017
Date received: 18 May 2017
Number of days: 6
Envelope in collection: 78



Switzerland

The Swiss Confederation started in 1291 with three small cantons and became an independent country in 1648. It is a landlocked country situated in western-Central Europe. The country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation; it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815 and did not join the United Nations until 2002. Nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to numerous international organisations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association and it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market.

The first stamps were issued in the cantons of Zurich (1843), Geneva (1843) and Basel (1845). Of these stamps the Basel Dove was the first stamp in the world to be printed in three colours. After ratification of the constitution the first nation-wide stamps were issued in 1850. Instead of choosing one or more of the country's official languages for the country name on the stamps (French, German, Italian, Romanche), the stamps have the name 'Helvetia', the Latin translation of Switzerland.

During the Briefmarken-Messe in Essen in May 2017 I left stamped envelopes at almost every foreign postal administration hoping they would send them back when they arrived home. The stamp I chose for Switzerland is the 2016 definitive stamp in the international tariff showing the train station of Bellinzola. The postmark is from the philatelic service in Lausanne.

The philatelic website of the Swiss Post (in English): postshop.ch/Stamps.

Date sent: 12 May 2017
Date postmark: 16 May 2017
Date received: 18 May 2017
Number of days: 6
Envelope in collection: 77



Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Spain

The Kingdom of Spain is one of the larger countries in Europe situated in the southwest. Apart from mainland Spain, the country consists of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast of Africa and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla in north Africa. The first stamps were issued in 1850 and showed Queen Isabella II.

Spain issues a lot of stamps each year showing the rich culture and traditions of the country. For collectors the Spanish post offers special pictorial postmarks in post offices across the country, including postmarks for ships and the Antarctic stations.

During the Briefmarken-Messe in Essen in May 2017 I left stamped envelopes at almost every foreign postal administration hoping they would send them back when they arrived home. The stamp I chose for Spain is a new 2017 stamp commemorating the International Your for Sustainable Tourism, declared by the United Nations. The envelope received a perfect postmark from the capital city Madrid.

The philatelic website of the Spanish post, Correos (in English): correos.es/filatelia.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 16 May 2017
Date received: 18 May 2017
Number of days: 7
Envelope in collection: 76



Sunday, 11 June 2017

Estonia

The republic of Estonia is one of the Baltic republics in the northeast of Europe with 1,3 million inhabitants. After centuries of foreign rule, the Estonians experienced a national awakening that culminated in independence from the Russian Empire after the First World War.

During World War II, Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940, then by Nazi Germany a year later and was again annexed by the Soviets in 1944, after which it was reconstituted as the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1988, during the Singing Revolution, the Estonian Supreme Soviet issued the Estonian Sovereignty Declaration in defiance of Soviet rule, and independence was restored on 20 August 1991.

During the Briefmarken-Messe in Essen in May 2017 I left stamped envelopes at almost every foreign postal administration hoping they would send them back when they arrived home. The stamp is a 2017 definitive and the postmark is from Tallinn. The priority label was put there by Eesti Post.

The website of the philately section of Eesti Post: pood.omniva.ee.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 12 May 2017
Date received: 18 May 2017
Number of days: 7
Envelope in collection: 75



Germany - Mannheim - 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 Mannheim can be found in the office building next to Paradeplatz in the city centre. The address for postmark requests is: O 2 2-10 (am Paradeplatz), 68161 Mannheim, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 9.30-18.30 h., Sat 9.30-13.00 h. The street name is O 2. Since the 17th century the inner city of Mannheim has been divided into quadrants, which gave the city the nickname Quadratestadt. The use of letters and numbers as street names started around 1798, although almost all street names were abolished in 1684.

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: 18 May 2017
Number of days: 7
Envelope in collection: 74



Germany - Berlin 2 - 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 Berlin 2 can be found on the corner of Alexanderplatz in former East Berlin close to the Rundfunkturm. When I visited East Berlin in 1985 there was a DDR post office on this exact spot. I bought DDR stamps and first day covers there. The address for postmark requests is: Rathausstraβe 5, 10178 Berlin 2, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 9.00-19.00 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.  The priority label was put there by the Philatelie-Shop.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 15 May 2017
Date received: 18 May 2017
Number of days: 7
Envelope in collection: 73



Saturday, 10 June 2017

Germany - Stuttgart - 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 Stuttgart can be found in the Königsbau Passagen shopping center in the centre of the town. The address for postmark requests is: Bolzstraβe 3, 70173 Stuttgart, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 10.00-20.00 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: 15 May 2017
Date received: 18 May 2017
Number of days: 7
Envelope in collection: 72



Luxembourg

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a landlocked country in western Europe. A separate state from 963, it eventually became one of the Seventeen Provinces of the Habsburg Netherlands and later part of the Spanish Netherlands. The present-day state of Luxembourg first emerged at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. The Grand-Duchy, with its powerful fortress, became an independent state under the personal possession of William I of the Netherlands with a Prussian garrison to guard the city against another invasion from France. In 1839, following the turmoil of the Belgian Revolution, the purely French-speaking part of Luxembourg was ceded to Belgium and the Luxembourgish-speaking part became what is the present state of Luxembourg.

At the Treaty of London in 1867 Luxembourg was recognized as an independent state in a personal union with the Netherlands. In 1890 this union was dissolved since at his death King and Grand Duke William III did not have any sons, only a daughter. Another branch of the Nassau family took over the reign of Luxembourg. The city of Luxembourg, which is the country's capital and largest city, is the seat of several institutions and agencies of the EU.

For the envelope I bought the definitive stamp with the portrait of Grand Duke Henri with a value for letters up to 50 gr to Europe from the Luxembourg postal administration at the Briefmarken-Messe in Essen in May 2017 and left the envelope with them. It was postmarked with a normal datestamp, that looks exactly like those of Germany.

Website of the philatelic service of Post Luxembourg: postphilately.lu/home.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 15 May 2017
Date received: 18 May 2017
Number of days: 7
Envelope in collection: 71



Thursday, 8 June 2017

Czech Republic

The Czech state was formed in the late 9th century as the Duchy of Bohemia under the Great Moravian Empire. In 1198 the duchy became the Kingdom of Bohemia. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Bohemian Kingdom became part of the Austrian Empire. In the 19th century, the Czech lands became the industrial powerhouse of the monarchy and were subsequently the core of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, which was formed in 1918 following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I.

The Czech part of Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in World War II, and was liberated in 1945 by the armies of the Soviet Union and the United States. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia won the 1946 elections. Following the 1948 coup d'état, Czechoslovakia became a one-party communist state under Soviet influence. In 1968, increasing dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in a reform movement known as the Prague Spring, which ended in a Soviet-led invasion.

Czechoslovakia remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed and a democracy and federalization was deepened. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

For the envelope I bought the latest Europa stamp from the Czech postal administration at the Briefmarken-Messe in Essen in May 2017 and left the envelope with them. Within a week it arrived at my home. The priority label was put there by someone in the Czech postal service.

The website of the philatelic service of Česká pošta: ceskaposta.cz/filatelie-a-postfila.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 15 May 2017
Date received: 17 May 2017
Number of days: 6
Envelope in collection: 70



Germany - Regensburg - 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 Regensburg can be found in the central post office next to the central train station. The address for postmark requests is: Bahnhofstraβe 16, 93047 Regensburg, Germany. Opening hours: Mo-Fr 8.00-18.30 h., Sat 8.00-12.30 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.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 15 May 2017
Date received: 17 May 2017
Number of days: 6
Envelope in collection: 69



Rwanda

The republic of Rwanda is situated in Central and East Africa. The Kingdom of Rwanda dominated from the mid-18th century, with the Tutsi kings conquering others militarily, centralising power and later enacting anti-Hutu policies. Germany colonised Rwanda in 1884 as part of German East Africa, followed by Belgium, which invaded in 1916 during the First World War. Both European nations ruled through the kings and perpetuated a pro-Tutsi policy. The Hutu population revolted in 1959. They massacred numerous Tutsi and ultimately established an independent, Hutu-dominated state in 1962. The Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front launched a civil war in 1990. Social tensions erupted in the 1994 genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed an estimated 500,000 to 1.3 million Tutsi and moderate Hutu. The RPF ended the genocide with a military victory.

The first stamps of independent Rwanda were issued in 1962. The first years Belgian artists were responsible for the designs of the colourful stamps. Due to the civil war in 1994 hardly any stamps were issued in that period and in later years.

I sent a request to the Rwandese post with an international reply coupon. Within a month I received my envelope back with three stamps from 1980 (painting by Paul Gauguin), 1989 (Rural self-help year) and 2010 (Folklore). These stamps are clearly still in use and available. The clear postmark comes from the capital city Kigali.

Website of the philatelic service of Iposita Rwanda: i-posita.rw/philately/.

Date sent: 17 April 2017
Date postmark: 11 May 2017
Date received: 17 May 2017
Number of days: 30
Envelope in collection: 68



Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Norway - Svalbard - Ny-Ålesund

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).

This envelope was postmarked in the city of Ny-Ålesund. It lies in the Oscar II Land on Spitsbergen. The company town is owned and operated by Kings Bay, who provide facilities for permanent research institutes from ten countries. The town is ultimately owned by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and is not incorporated. Ny-Ålesund has an all-year permanent population of 30 to 35, with the summer population reaching 120. Its facilities include Ny-Ålesund Airport, Hamnerabben, Svalbard Rocket Range, a port and Ny-Ålesund Town and Mine Museum, as well as fifteen permanent research stations. It is the northernmost functional civilian settlement in the world, which makes the post office the northernmost functioning post office in the world.

The postmark shows a seal and the geographic coordinates of the town. It has been in use since March 2012. 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: 9 May 2017
Date received: 17 May 2017
Number of days: 19
Envelope in collection: 67



Latvia

The republic of Latvia is one of the Baltic republics in the northeast of Europe with almost 2 million inhabitants. Despite foreign rule from the 13th to 20th centuries, the Latvian nation maintained its identity throughout the generations via the language and musical traditions.

The Republic of Latvia was founded on 18 November 1918. However, its de facto independence was interrupted at the outset of World War II. In 1940, the country was forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union, invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany in 1941, and re-occupied by the Soviets in 1944 to form the Latvian SSR for the next fifty years. The peaceful Singing Revolution, starting in 1987, called for Baltic emancipation of Soviet rule. It ended with the Declaration on the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia on 4 May 1990, and restoring de facto independence on 21 August 1991.

During the Briefmarken-Messe in Essen in May 2017 I left stamped envelopes at almost every foreign postal administration hoping they would send them back when they arrived home. The envelope from Latvia was the first to arrive after the Messe closed. The stamp is a 2014 definitive and the postmark is from Riga. The meaning of 'VSO' in the postmark is unknown to me.

The website of the philately section of Latvijas Pasts: pasts.lv/Philately.

Date sent: 11 May 2017
Date postmark: 15 May 2017
Date received: 17 May 2017
Number of days: 6
Envelope in collection: 66