SAM_6859Two days in a row of mail – thank goodness for sunny days.  We really needed a break from the monsoonal rains so flood waters can dissipate a bit and we can all dry out somewhat.  It won’t be long before we’re slammed by another storm.

Today was more of a book and FDC day aside from my morning visit to the Phuket Philatelic Museum.  All six of the Muang Phuket Local Post covers I prepared for ASEAN Day arrived, albeit a little worse for the wear.  As the philatelic staff had closed shop here in order to attend THAIPEX up in Bangkok last week, I had to drop the covers into a pillar box at the shopping mall where my school is located.  Most of the covers were somewhat battered as a result but managed to travel the two kilometers in just one week!

Scan_20150814 (40)I’ve been fascinated by the German occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II for quite some time and have a nice collection of the stamps and a few covers as well.  My interest to learn more led me to seek out Ralph Mollet’s Jersey Under the Swastika after having found a copy of a Jersey War Museum pamphlet of extracts.  The copy I found which arrived today was published in 1945 and formerly a part of the Royal Philatelic Society’s library holdings.  It may be too lengthy and fragile to scan, which is my preferred method of preserving (and then reading) these older softbound works, but I will give it a go.

Scan_20150814 (39)My interest in the Channel Islands goes back to the late 1970s and early 1980s when I began corresponding with a noted maritime author who lived on Jersey for most of the year (he wintered in Alicante, Spain).  In addition to collecting the issues of Alderney, Guernsey and Jersey, I’ve also accumulated a few of the local posts from Herm and Jethou.  Thus, when I came across an old catalogue of these types of carrier labels at a price of less than a U.S. dollar I couldn’t resist.  There looks to be a lot of useful information in this one…

Scan_20150814 (41)The last book to arrive today is one that I intend to begin reading this weekend.  Well, I actually started to read Blue Mauritius: The Hunt for the World’s Most Valuable Stamps as a Kindle sample from Amazon.com a couple of months ago.  I decided that I would rather have a physical copy than an eBook to read so I tracked down a used copy.  Although I have many stamp-related books in .pdf or .epub format (including most of my stamp catalogues),  I would much rather have a tree-book instead.  This one came all the way from Belfast, Northern Ireland.  I intend to write a full review here once I finish it…

Angra Mix

Finally…some stamps!  I received six from the first of the King Carlos definitives released by the Portuguese administrative district of Angra.  This covered three islands in the Azores and only issued its own stamps from 1892 until 1905.  This is another “new” country for me – stamp issuer number 266, in fact.  The stamps I received were Scott #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 9 – all mint hinged, except #5 which is used. 

Angra - 2 - 1892

I now have but one outstanding stamp order – a Hawaiian provisional issue coming from a dealer in Israel.  Perhaps that will arrive tomorrow.  I’m winding down my stamp-buying somewhat in an effort to get caught up on scanning and cataloguing.  When stamps arrive in a trickle, it is fairly easy to get them done on the same day (my goal) but I’m still working on a massive lot that arrived at the end of July. 

The amount of time I have to work on stamp-related activities (including this blog) is also reduced right now as the rainy season tends to breed weekend English camps that my agency calls upon me to run.  Not only that, but I am starting work at a huge high school this coming Monday – covering classes until the end of the term (early October) because of the hasty departure of the previous teacher.  I doubt this particular school has WiFi so my blog-posting may be fairly irregular for the next couple of months.  But, stay tuned…

Happy Collecting!

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Today is listed on my calendar as Thailand Post Co. Ltd. Establishment Day, marking the date in 2003 that Thailand’s postal services were privatized.  The stamp at left was released to mark the 10th anniversary two years ago and is Thailand’s biggest stamp released to date, measuring 62 x 62 mm.  I’m not really sure what rate the 10-baht face value was intended for (first class domestic letters are 3 baht; international postcards are 15 baht); it was released in a sheet of four.

I’d already planned a trip to the Phuket Philatelic Museum to buy a few new issues released since my last visit on 29 July (the release date of the Thai Alphabet set), this being my last day off until early October.  But first I needed to visit Phuket Immigration Office; foreigner residents are required to check-in every 90 days.

While walking back home from the immigration office, I witnessed the totally unexpected local celebration of Thailand Post Day:  Led by a highway patrol car with lights and siren to clear the traffic, I first saw perhaps a half-dozen red-and-white Thailand Post and EMS trucks.  This was followed with around 50 motorbikes ridden by local mail carriers wearing their red-and-white jackets and helmets.  It was quite a site – particularly as they were circling a locally-iconic clock tower at the time.  It’s a shame that I didn’t have my camera with me – one of the rare occurrences that I’d left it at home!  Next year, I will be waiting…

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As for the post office visit, the ladies manning the philatelic museum shop counter were sporting the red 12th anniversary polo shirts which I commented on.  To my shock, they offered me one but they didn’t have one in my size (a Thai XXL which, back in America would be a loose-fitting XL).  Thai people are nothing but hospitable.  They had all the stamps I needed but were sold out of the first day covers for the THAIPEX issues (beautiful purple-based stamps portraying musical instruments played by HRH Princess Chakri Maha Siridhorn who is celebrating her 60th birthday this year) as well as the FDC for National Communications Day (which happens to be on the anniversary of the very first stamps released by Siam in 1883).  They did have the covers for the Royal Thai Army stamp and ASEAN Day stamp, both released on 8 August.

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The ASEAN Day stamp is quite striking and will make a nice accompaniment to my Muang Phuket Local Post ASEAN flags stamps on outgoing postcards (the 15-baht rate is the international postcard rate).  Since it also saw a souvenir sheet release, it took some effort to explain to one counter-lady that I wanted that plus a full sheet of ten.  I discovered that they call the souvenir sheet a “sheet” and a full sheet should be ordered by saying, “per sheet”.  This was the first time I ever had a real lost-in-translation moment at Phuket Philatelic Museum as they are usually pretty good at interpreting my stamp needs. 

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While I’m thinking about it, I’ll go online this afternoon and try to find the missing first day covers; the post office also sold out of the princess’s 60th birthday stamp issued in March and I haven’t yet tracked one down.

The next Thai stamps won’t be released until 18 September, a pair commemorating a half-century of diplomatic relations with Singapore and picturing tasty desserts (sticky rice with mango for Thailand, ice cream sandwiches for Singapore), followed on the 22nd with a single stamp marking the 103rd annual World Congress of the World Dental Federation to be held in Bangkok.

Happy Birthday, Thailand Post!