I’m just beginning work on tomorrow’s article for A Stamp A Day (and you can probably guess the stamp I’m going to feature). I am quite excited about the “Eclipse Across America” as the media is billing it as many of my friends and my immediate family live very near the 70-mile wide path of totality that will sweep coast to coast. I really wish I’d followed-through with my original plans to pay the States a visit in order to view this grand celestial event. The thought of Kansas in August, however, kept those plans from ever becoming too serious (well, that and the general lack of cash for Thailand to USA air tickets at this point in time).
In doing research for this ASAD article, I found that there have been a great number of stamps released in the past fifty years or so marking solar eclipses. Of these, I have exactly two — one is tomorrow’s featured stamp from the U.S.A. (which received a Scott catalogue number just in time: #5211) and the one that I wrote about for ASAD just over a year ago for Thailand’s National Science Day, Scott #1118). While a few are quite boring in design, the majority of the solar eclipse stamps I found on eBay were quite striking. I also discovered a vast array of interesting covers commemorating the observances in addition to the regular first day covers. What an interesting topic to collect! Adding such items to my collection would (somewhat) compensate for never having seen a total solar eclipse in person myself. I’m already planning a trip back to the States for the next one in 2024, a scant seven years away. I don’t want to make the same mistake twice (and doubt if I will last long enough to see the next total solar eclipse due for Thailand — in 2070!).
If you are in the States tomorrow, please don’t hesitate to get out there and look skyward. Even if you are in a location that will receive only a partial eclipse. Make some covers — there are bound to be a number of special postmarks in towns and cities along the path of totality and elsewhere! I will be seeking these out to add to my new thematic collection. I am already mentally planning the album pages. Now, to listen to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon to get even more in the mood…
At the beginning of 2017, my favorite stamp blog (Big Blue 1840-1940) began a series “to present a postmark calendar for all the 366 possible days of the year, represented by interesting appropriate date cancellation stamps from the [Ralph A.] Kimble collection.” I thought this was a great idea and began going through scans of my collection to determine whether I could do something similar.
I came up with 255 stamps I could use for a Postmark Calendar of my own; this does include some duplicate dates. At the moment, the best-represented month is March. I did find out a couple of things in compiling stamps for my calendar: my eyesight is getting worse (time for a checkup!) and some dates are difficult to determine even when the postmark is clear. My criteria was simple: the month and date had to be clear; if I had to squint to figure out the date, I wouldn’t use it. I prefer to have the year included, but this wasn’t always possible. I also decided that I wouldn’t include postmarks from first day covers and other philatelic items.
While I was still going through my stamps examining their postmarks, I came across the Postmark Calendar thread on my favorite stamp collecting online forum, The Stamp Forum. The thread was started on August 11, 2013, and is now 122 pages strong! I began adding stamps to it around a month ago.
I love the format Jim has been following for his calendar entries on Big Blue so I’ll follow his model. After all, “imitation is the sincerest [form] of flattery” according to the quote by Charles Caleb Colton.
Philatelic Pursuits Postmark Calendar: August
Kingstown is the capital, chief port, and main commercial center of Saint Vincent. Surrounded by steep hills, the town was founded by French settlers shortly after 1722, although Saint Vincent had 196 years of British rule before her independence. The botanical garden, conceived in 1765, is one of the oldest in the Western hemisphere. William Bligh, made famous from the Mutiny on the Bounty, brought seeds of the breadfruit tree here for planting in 1793.
Accra is the capital and most populous city of Ghana, with an estimated urban population of 2.27 million as of 2012. The city stretches along the Ghanaian Atlantic coast and extends north inland. Originally built around three different settlements, including a port (Jamestown), it served as the capital of the British Gold Coast between 1877 and 1957. Once merely a 19th-century suburb of Victoriaborg, Accra has since transitioned into a modern metropolis; the city’s architecture reflects this history, ranging from 19th-century architecture buildings to modern skyscrapers and apartment blocks.
Lake Forest is a city in Orange County, California, that incorporated as a city on December 20, 1991. Prior to incorporation, the community had been known as El Toro. Following a vote in 2000, Lake Forest expanded its city limits to include the master-planned developments of Foothill Ranch and Portola Hills. This expansion brought new homes and commercial centers to the Northeastern boundary of the city. Lake Forest (along with its neighboring cities Mission Viejo and Irvine) is ranked as one of the safest cities in the country. The population was 77,264 at the 2010 census.
Founded in 1541, Santiago has been the capital city of Chile since colonial times. The city has a downtown core of 19th-century neoclassical architecture and winding side-streets, dotted by art deco, neo-gothic, and other styles. Santiago’s cityscape is shaped by several stand-alone hills and the fast-flowing Mapocho River, lined by parks such as Parque Forestal. The Andes Mountains can be seen from most points in the city. These mountains contribute to a considerable smog problem, particularly during winter. The city outskirts are surrounded by vineyards and Santiago is within a few hours of both the mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Wesel originated from a Franconian manor that was first recorded in the 8th century. In the 12th century, the Duke of Clèves took possession of Wesel. The city became a member of the Hanseatic League during the 15th century. Within the Duchy of Cleves, Wesel was second only to Cologne in the lower Rhine region as an entrepôt. It was an important commercial center: a clearing station for the transshipment and trading of goods. Wesel is situated at the confluence of the Lippe River and the Rhine in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Not here, but on my “other” stamp blog — A Stamp A Day. It just snuck up on me. I published an article a few minutes ago about Trinidad & Tobago, illustrating the ½ penny green Britannia (my copy might be Scott #1, released in 1913, but it’s probably a later issue as the postmark is dated in 1924), and noticed the post count. The amazing thing is that I started the blog just over one year ago — July 1, 2016. I never thought I would be able to maintain daily entries for more than a few months; the blog’s name kept me going — even when it was the last thing I wanted to do on certain days, even when work or the weather or unreliable Internet all seemed to transpire against me. Four hundred posts. Wow, indeed!
By contrast, I started this blog — Philatelic Pursuits — on May 25, 2015. This will be my 97th entry. I’ll have to think of something special for #100, just as I’ll need to pick a significant stamp for ASAD’s 500th post. I can’t let that one sneak past me like this one nearly did….