It has been way too long (two weeks and counting) since my last philatelic update. Much of that time was spent during a two-week Summer Camp at a temple school on the opposite site of the island and nearly a week of “recovery” as my body rebelled against my brutal schedule and our current heat wave. Earlier this week, I lost nearly 1-terabyte of data when an external hard drive (my main backup drive) became corrupted; this includes every stamp in my collection (duly scanned and catalogued over the course of about five years) and many other philatelic files. The good news is that I will be able to recover most of that data; the bad news is that it will cost me quite a bit of time and money.

Moving forward….

Macedonia – 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon Landing (March 21, 2019) first day cover

While I was ill, I started to read Dick Parry’s Moonshot in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. The first few stamps have been released in commemoration and the United States Postal Service announced their upcoming two-stamp release about a week ago. These will be released at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on July 19. The images have been publicized far and wide and there has been quite a bit of criticism about the “boring” nature of the  stamps, not to mention the fact that a living person appears on one contrary to U.S. stamp “law”. The designs have grown on me a bit (my first impression was probably, ho-hum). The fun, I think, will be in tracking down those being released elsewhere. I quite like the Apollo 11 stamp from Macedonia, seen above on a first day cover.

Thailand Post #1165 – Thai Heritage Conservation Day (April 2, 2019) set of four sheet stamps
Thailand Post #1165 – Thai Heritage Conservation Day (April 2, 2019) first day cover

The next new stamps to be issued by Thailand Post will be the annual set marking Thai Heritage Conversation Day on April 2. This is always one of my favorite issues each year and the 2019 edition features murals from Buddhist temples in Thailand’s southern provinces. While Songkhla is relatively safe, the far southern areas of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala (not featured here) have been war-torn for years due to border unrest with Malaysia. A majority of the population is Muslim and many in the region would like to see these provinces either returned to Malaysia or become their own independent state. Talks are virtually nonexistent and bombings frequent, often targeting teachers and schools. Needless to say, I have yet to visit this area of Thailand. The images used on the stamps were provided by Associate Professor Dr. Somporn Thuri of the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts at Rajamangala University of Technology in Thanyaburi. Google Translate tells me the murals are as follow:

Thailand Post #1165 – Thai Heritage Conservation Day (April 2, 2019) four sheets of 10 stamps each

3.00 baht (Type 1): Chumamani Chedi, Khok Khian Temple, Narathiwat Province
3.00 baht (Type 2): Tradition of giving alms to merit merit for those who passed away, Pa Si Temple, Pattani Province
3.00 baht (Type 3): The event in the story of Phra Wessadon Chadok, Khu Tao Temple, Songkhla Province
3.00 baht (Type 4): History of Buddhism at the time of descending from Dao Dueng Temple, Wat Pha Phra, Songkhla Province

As usual, there will also be a souvenir sheet although Thailand Post has not yet released any details about it other than the image below (which appears to me as a self-adhesive):

Thailand – Thai Heritage Conservation Day (April 2, 2019) souvenir sheet of one
Vatican City and Poland – 100th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations Restored (March 29, 2019) first day covers

I quite enjoy joint-issue stamps with the same or similar designs released by two different entities concurrently. On March 29, Poland and the Vatican City each released a single stamp marking the 100th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between Poland and the Holy See. I consider Vatican stamps to be some of the most beautifully designed in the world and Poland is a nation near and dear to my heart. I will be ordering these as soon as possible.

Free download from the Royal Philatelic Society London

It is always fun to find free resources, particularly when they pertain to our hobby.  The Royal Philatelic Society London is currently offering a 109-page PDF-format extract of Stamp Perforation: The Somerset House Years — 1848 to 1880, originally published in 2006 as the culmination of a number of years of research and collaboration. Parts 1 and 2 of the book dealt with the history and introduction of perforation, whereas Part 3 (the majority of which is included in the free download) covered perforation varieties, with a large section on constant perforation varieties, commonly known as broken perforation pin varieties. Visit this page for the download links for the extract and a few additional resources as well.

Canada – Canadians in Flight (March 27, 2019)

One of the few philatelic-related projects NOT on my (semi-)failed backup drive were my folders containing images for my New Issues pages as well as my spreadsheets detailing those releases. Within the next few days, I plan to get back on-track updating the information, seeking out quality images and updating the pages themselves. I have already brought the U.S. and Thailand pages up-to-date (several release dates and a few images added to the former, images and details added to the latter). The worldwide monthly pages are a bit more intimidating, particularly with numerous new issues having been announced or released recently. A particularly favorite from last week is a five-stamp set picturing Canadians in Flight.

As we head into the Thai New Year holiday (Songkran), there is a distinct slow-down at work although my administrative duties will probably increase this week as our long-time Head Teacher departs and the new Head takes his place. As Deputy Head Teacher, it will be my responsibility to train my new boss as we begin accepting applications and assigning teachers to our contracted schools in advance of the next school year (which will begin in early May). With my putting A Stamp A Day “on vacation” for the foreseeable future, I should be able to handle my workload and still have time to get tackle quite a few philatelic pursuits in the next few weeks.  Now that my exhaustion/illness seems to have subsided, I am ready to move forward…

The final baker’s dozen ASAD articles since my last update covered a wide range of topics and I was very successful in avoiding such heavily-highlighted issuers as the United States, Germany and Canada. My current plan is to return to writing articles for that blog once I have the Philatelic Pursuits New Issues pages up-to-date. If I am lazy, that might be a while….

  1.  March 13, 2019:  “The Phoenix Lights” (San Marino — Scott #1396, 1997) 3,590 words
  2.  March 14, 2019:  “Birth of Einstein, Death of Hawking” (Isle of Man — Michel #2178-2179, 2016) 2,044 words
  3.  March 15, 2019:  “The Assassination of Julius Caesar” (Italy — Scott #217, 1929) 3,806 words
  4.  March 16, 2019:  “The Seal of St. Vincent Colony” (St. Vincent — Scott #197, 1955) 954 words
  5.  March 17, 2019:  “St. Patrick’s Day” (Ireland — Scott #121, 1943) 2,506 words
  6.  March 18, 2019:  “St. Vincent and the Grenadines:  Mickey’s School of Education” (St. Vincent and the Grenadines — Scott #2252 (1996) 1,726 words
  7.  March 19, 2019:  “Post #995:  Sydney Harbour Bridge” (Australia — Scott #2675e, 2007) 4,429 words
  8.  March 20, 2019:  “Post #996:  The Grenadines of St. Vincent” (The Grenadines of St. Vincent — Scott #909, 1992) 946 words
  9.  March 21, 2019:  “Post #997:  Natalicio de Benito Juárez” (México — Scott #1229, 1981) 4,368 words
  10.  March 22, 2019:  “Post #998:  World Water Day” (Uruguay — Scott #2067, 2004) 899 words
  11. March 23, 2019:  “Post #999:  Coastwatchers in the Solomon Islands” (Solomon Islands — Scott #333, 1976) 1,886 words
  12. March 24, 2019:  “Post #1000:  One Thousand (!)” (Free City of Danzig — Scott #127, 1923) 1,807 words
  13. March 25, 2019:  “A Thousand and One Posts…Going on Vacation!” (Mali — Scott #879, 1997) 1,074 words

Thank you, dear readers.  I hope I don’t take as long with the next update….

Thailand – Coronation 2019 (May 4, 2019)

Late this afternoon, March 14, Thailand Post revealed the design for the single 10-baht stamp commemorating the Coronation of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun (มหาวชิราลงกรณ บดินทรเทพยวรางกูร), the Tenth of the Chakri Dynasty. This followed the unveiling earlier this week (March 11) of the Royal Coronation Emblem which is portrayed on the stamp along with a portrait of the King wearing his Royal Thai Army uniform. An image of the Royal Grand Palace in Bangkok can be seen in the background. The stamp design is meant to echo that of the set of eight stamps issued to mark the coronation of Rama X’s father, the late King Bhumiphol Adulaydej, on May 5, 1950 (Scott #275-282). His Majesty the King personally gave the final approval to the stamp design.

Three million copies of the stamps have been printed and are claimed to be the first in the world to utilize a special four-color glass foil printing technique. This has been used on the lettering for the country’s name, denomination, and Royal Coronation Emblem which produces an embossed effect. Preorder reservations for first day covers began today and will continue until March 29 at a price of 20 baht per cover at www.thailandpostmart.com. More information can be found on the Thailand Post website or by phoning THP Contact Center 1545.

Thai Channel 3 reporter Meow Petcharat posted following images to an an album on her Facebook page this afternoon. I presume the second one is of an actual sheet of printed stamps rather than a Thailand Post mockup:


The Royal Coronation will be held from May 4 to 6 with the actual coronation taking place on the first day. Monday the 6th is a holiday. According to an announcement by the Bureau of the Royal Household, issued on January 1, stated that Vajiralongkorn “had ascended the Throne as the King of Thailand, following the invitation of the President of the National Legislative Assembly, acting as the President of the National Assembly, on behalf of the Thai people” and that “His Majesty the King deems it appropriate that it is time for the Royal Coronation Ceremony to be conducted in accordance with royal traditions and for the joy of the people and the Kingdom on this auspicious occasion of the country.”

The lead-up to the Coronation will begin with a water-drawing rite conducted by the governors of each of Thailand’s 77 provinces on April 6. This water will be consecrated the following Monday and Tuesday and then transported to Wat Suthat Thepphawararam in Bangkok for further purification on April 18 and then taken by procession the following day to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. A number of other pre-coronation rites follow and the three days from May 4 to 6 are full of additional ceremonies. A royal barge procession is expected during the Royal Krathin ceremonies later in the year (October or November, probably). A detailed explanation behind many of these, as well as a schedule, can be found in the article “The Crowing of A King” published by The Nation on March 2, 2019, That article mentions that the Ministry of Culture website includes free downloadable guides to the Coronation ceremonies but I have yet to find them.

Royal Coronation Emblem for HM King Maha Vachiralongkhorn

Thai people have been officially “encouraged” to display the Royal Coronation Emblem up until the actual ceremonies. Recommended places include coronation-related publications, decorative flags/arches and worship tables. I have already seen polo shirts for sale in Phuket bearing this new cipher. The following is a translated description from the Bureau of the Royal Household:

The Royal Emblem marked the upcoming Coronation of His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn (Rama X) which will be held on 4-6 May 2019, contains the King’s monogram in the white trimmed with gold in the centre. The Royal Cypher is decorated with diamonds which denote the origin from which his name is derived, whilst the gold trimming of the cypher represents the colour of Monday when he was born, according to the Thai traditional colours of the day.

The cypher lies on a dark blue background which is the colour of righteous kingship, contained within a lotus bud frame marked out in gold and green. The mixture of which two colours signifies the power and might of the King’s day of birth. The lotus bud frame begets inspiration from the shape of its foremost predecessor – which enclosed the Great Unalome insignis of the Royal Seal of State which belonged to King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (Rama I the Great). Surrounding the outer parts of the frame are the Five Royal Regalia, deemed to embody the symbol of Kingship itself, which contains:

  • The Great Crown of Victory, represents the great burden bearing down on the King for the sake of his people’s happiness.
  • The Sword of Victory, symbolises the King’s responsibility to protect the Kingdom from all harms threatening.
  • The Royal Sceptre, signifies the King’s virtues to bring forth peace and stability to the Kingdom.
  • The Royal Whisk and Royal Fan, symbolise the King’s righteousness as a ruler in relieving the suffering and hardship of his duties.
  • The Royal Slippers, represent the King’s care in fostering the sustenance and welfare throughout the Kingdom.

The Great Crown of Victory with the Unalome insignia includes within the sequence of number of this reign. The sword and whisk lie on the right, while the scepter and fan on the left. And below the cypher rest the royal slippers.

Standing behind the Crown is the Great Umbrella of State trimmed with bands of gold. The nine-tiered umbrella has the lotus bud finial showing Brahma Faces on top, while the lowest tier is decorated with golden Champa bouquets representing the extension in all directions yonder of his writ and authority. On the lowest part stretches of green-gold ribbon, trimmed in gold, bearing the Thai language phrase which is translated as: “The Coronation, 2562 B.E. (2019 A.D.)”.

On the tip of the ribbon stands the purple Kojasi lion, holding up the seven-tiered umbrella representing the Armed Forces, while the white Ratchasi lion holds the same but represents the Civil Service. Altogether represent the two pillars of public service. Inside the shafts of both umbrellas have golden Naga snake traceries denoting the year of the dragon, which defines the King’s birthyear according to the traditional belief. The golden colour of Naga traceries signifies the prosperity of the nation and her people.

I was about ready to call this a “slow philatelic news week” and publish a very short update article when the United States Postal Service chose today to announce three new stamp issues due later this year. Unfortunately, the anticipated issue for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 is not among them. The information about each issue comes directly from the USPS press release:

Sesame Street

United States – Sesame Street (2019) sheet of 16

The Postal Service honors Sesame Street as one of the most influential and beloved children’s television shows. For the last 50 years, it has provided educational programming and entertainment for generations of children throughout the country and around the world. The stamp art features photographs of 16 Muppets from Sesame Street — Big Bird, Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster, Rosita, The Count, Oscar the Grouch, Abby Cadabby, Herry Monster, Julia, Guy Smiley, Snuffleupagus, Elmo, Telly, Grover and Zoe. Art Director Derry Noyes designed the stamps.”

T. Rex

United States – T. Rex (2019) block of 4

With this pane of 16 stamps, the Postal Service brings Tyrannosaurus rex to life — some 66 million years after its demise. One design illustrates a face-to-face encounter with a T. rex approaching through a forest clearing; another shows the same young adult T. rex with a young Triceratops — both dinosaurs shown in fossil form. The third and fourth stamps depict a newly hatched T. rex covered with downy feathers and a bare-skinned juvenile T. rex chasing a primitive mammal. The “Nation’s T. rex,” the young adult depicted on two of the stamps, was discovered on federal land in Montana and is one of the most studied and important specimens ever found. Its remains will soon be on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamps with original artwork by Julius T. Csotonyi, a scientist and paleoartist.

Spooky Silhouettes

United States – Spooky Silhouettes (October 2019)

Halloween has long been a holiday that lets us delight in the things that scare us. With the approach of autumn, Spooky Silhouettes stamps will offer fun, frightful scenes that symbolize this annual celebration. Four stamps feature digital illustrations in which traditional Halloween motifs are rendered as black silhouettes in eerily backlit windows. Artist Tyler Lang created the artwork. Art Director Greg Breeding designed the stamps.

As a teacher, I should be thrilled with the Sesame Street stamps but I feel 16 different stamps is just too many. The T. rex stamps do nothing at all for me and we’ve had way too many dinosaur stamps already. I do like the design of the “Spooky Silhouettes” set, however. Any one of these could be the designated issue for National Stamp Collecting Month, or perhaps that will be the previously-announced (but no design yet revealed) Frogs issue.

With the announcement of these new Halloween stamps, I am reminded of one of the celebrations I miss from the years I lived in the American Southwest. This is Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, which pretty much replaces Halloween in portions of the Southwest as well as throughout México. México has released stamps for the holiday since 2009; I only have one of these (the 2012 release, on a first day cover), which I featured on ASAD in October 2016. A week or two following the Dia de Muertos stamp release each year, México issues one or more stamps marking Dia del Cartero, Postman’s Day. While seeking to add a few of these to my collection on eBay recently, I came across a stamp from 2017 which seems to combine the two special days:

Mexico – Dia de Muertos with Postman (2017)

I love this stamp and hope that someday México will release one picturing a skeletal teacher (perhaps in front of a class of skeletal students); the annual Día del Maestro (Teacher’s Day) in mid-May is also annually commemorated with attractively-designed stamps. I am beginning to obtain a few of these in preparation for an “education on stamps” Topical Pursuits. This will probably appear a couple of months down the road.

Last week saw very little time, once again, for any philatelic pursuits as it was the final week of the school year filled with testing and paperwork as well as an afternoon of activities for about 180 Kindergarten students. During the latter, I became quite dehydrated and nearly collapsed from heat exhaustion, having to cancel a business class later that evening. This week is perhaps busier (I am supposed to be on summer holiday) as I was asked to do a 10-day English camp in a temple school in the western portion of the island. I was told that the students would be high school level and spent several all-nighters preparing material for the camp (normally, we have weeks to put together these types of events). When I arrived, I found that the children were all between the ages of four and six and most had never even heard English spoken before! It has been a real struggle (none of the prepared material is appropriate and they won’t stay in one spot long enough for me to explain a game to them — nor would they understand if they did); I’ve been exhausted each evening and have been trying to pick “short subjects” for the A Stamp A Day articles. They have still taken about the same amount of time to put together each night as I have to constantly get up and walk around as my muscles tighten from the days spent chasing after tiny-tots. I will take a holiday once this camp finishes on March 23, which is two days before ASAD’s post #1000 and my planned hiatus from that.

Thailand – National Children’s Day, Scott #1170a (January 10, 1987)

Thailand Post has been very sporadic and random with their new issue and design announcements during recent years and this year is no exception. Details have yet to be revealed for the Royal Coronation issue (the ceremonies set to begin early next month with the actual Coronation occurring the first weekend in May), yet a rather blurry image of a stamp due the following week has just been revealed along with a few of the details but only in Thai. A single 3-baht stamp marking the 80th anniversary of the Foundation for the Blind in Thailand will be released on May 10:

วันแรกจำหน่าย : 10 พฤษภาคม 2562
ชนิดราคา : 3.00 บาท
จำนวนพิมพ์ : 500,000 ดวง
ขนาด : 48 x 30 มม. (แนวนอน)
ผู้ออกแบบ : ว่าที่ ร.ท.ปฏิพล ซอกิ่ง (บริษัท ไปรษณีย์ไทย จำกัด)
บริษัทผู้พิมพ์ :ไทยบริติชซีเคียวริตี้ พริ้นติ้ง จำกัด (มหาชน) ประเทศไทย
วิธีการพิมพ์และสี : ลิโธกราฟี่ – หลายสี
จำนวนดวงในแผ่น : 10 ดวง
ซองวันแรกจำหน่าย : 11.00 บาท

Thailand – 80 Years Foundation for the Blind in Thailand (May 10, 2019)

The next stamps to be released by Thailand Post will be the annual Thai Heritage Conservation Day issue on April 2.

I noticed this piece of information on a dealer’s site last week:

Confirmed from the North Korea Post Office that they no longer sell any Anti-US stamps (including those already issued and to be issued) due to political reasons. This causes the price hike and shortage of these types of stamps in the market.

I have mentioned on this blog and elsewhere that I have long “enjoyed” collecting the propaganda poster stamps from North Korea, especially those issued around the time of the annual “Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism Month” which runs from June 25 until July 27.  North Koreans flock to war museums such as the Sinchon Museum of American War Atrocities and attend rallies against the “evils” of the United States. Over 100,000 gather in Pyongyang’s Kim II Sung Stadium to speak out against “the fatty monster U.S. imperialists” as part of the ‘Mass Rally on the Day of the Struggle Against the U.S.”, An stamp issue has been a part of the anti-American celebrations off-and-on since 1952, with most featuring images taken from fairly graphic propaganda posters. Despite the June 12, 2018, summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and 3rd Supreme Leader of the DPRK Kim Jong-un (김정은) in Singapore last year, North Korea released their anti-U.S. stamp set right on schedule on June 25.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – Joint Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism (issued April 2018) – imperforate variety

One of my primary reasons for wanting to travel to North Korea was to easily purchase these stamps (and the associated post cards, propaganda poster books, etc.) directly from the source. I planned to use these to mail postcards to my home in Thailand and to various friends (although I don’t think I would have tried to send any to the United States). I do have other reasons for wanting to travel to this very strange place before it changes and had been close to booking a trip when President Trump basically made it illegal to travel there  (since August 2017, Americans who have their passports scanned at a border checkpoint that points to a crossing into North Korea will generate a “revoke” code with the U.S. Department of State). I hope that the current round of talks will lead to a reversal of this policy very soon (the recent summit in Vietnam didn’t seem to end that well). The stamps on a postcard from there do not have to be anti-American to still be “cool”. For much more, please see my ASAD article from last year.

France – Caves of Lascaux (April 26, 2019) first day of issue postmark

On April 26, La Poste of France will release a single stamp depicting the cave paintings of Lascaux Cave (Grotte de Lascaux) in a complex of caves near the village of Montignac, in the department of Dordogne in southwestern France. Over 600 parietal wall paintings cover the interior walls and ceilings of the cave. The paintings represent primarily large animals, typical local and contemporary fauna that correspond with the fossil record of the Upper Paleolithic time. The drawings are the combined effort of many generations, and with continued debate, the age of the paintings is estimated at around 17,000 years (early Magdalenian). Lascaux was inducted into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 1979, as element of the Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley. Apparently, this is the first stamp France has issued honoring the site since 1968.

France – Cave of Lascaux (April 26, 2019)

Last week began with an extremely lengthy ASAD articles with the Monday blog about Hernán Cortés approaching 11,000 words (largely put together Sunday night into Monday morning) despite ONLY dealing with his conquest of the Aztec empire, a subject I have long been interested in. Wednesday’s article was big as well, topping out at more than 6700 words about Michelangelo. The others were much more reasonable with several maritime themes popping up. As I count down to a much-needed break from the blog, I am trying to include stamps from the lesser-featured stamp issuing entities. I am doing my best to avoid using stamps from the United States, Thailand, Great Britain, and Germany. The articles published since my last update:

  1.  March 4, 2019:  “Hernán Cortés & His Conquest of the Aztec Empire” (Spain — Scott #754, 1948) 10,929 words
  2.  March 5, 2019:  “Learn From Lei Feng Day” (People’s Republic of China — Scott #4071a, 2013) 2,025 words
  3.  March 6, 2019:  “Michelangelo:  Sculptor, Painter, Architect”  (Afars & Issas — Scott #C93, 1975) 6,744 words
  4.  March 7, 2019:  “Ross Dependency, Scott Base, and HMNZS Endeavour” (Ross Dependency — Scott #L12, 1972) 3,195 words
  5.  March 8, 2019:  “The Spanish “Find” Copán” (Honduras — (Honduras — Scott #C619, 1978) 1,608 words
  6.  March 9, 2019:  “Jukong Boat of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands” (Cocos (Keeling) Islands — Scott #292a-c, 1994) 972 words
  7.  March 10, 2019:  “The Mining Disaster at Courrières” (France — Scott #3190, 2006) 1,216 words
  8.  March 11, 2019:  “Bon Om Touk: The Cambodian Water Festival” (Kingdom of Cambodia — Scott #1997, 2000) 1,075 words
  9.  March 12, 2019:  “The Dory” (British Honduras — Scott #122, 1938) 2,430 words

That’s all I have for this week. Cheers!

Today is International Women’s Day. I had originally planned to write about it for today’s entry on A Stamp A Day.  However, I found that I don’t have a single stamp in my collection marking this annual special day. I do have several that commemorated International Women’s Year in 1975 (including the United States and Canada, neither of which have issued a stamp for International Women’s Day). My “rule” on ASAD is that each featured stamp MUST be in my collection so my usual modus operandi when such a thing occurs is to mark it on the calendar for “next year” and then order an appropriate stamp from a dealer on eBay. In doing a search on that site this morning, I discovered a huge variety of stamps and took an interest in seeing how different countries honored women each year. Rather than choose one or two and then wait a year, I have chosen to share many of the stamps I found here on Philatelic Pursuits today where I haven’t placed any “must be in my collection” constraints (or, is that restraints?).

Australia – Scott #3412 (2011) marking the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day

 International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. After the Socialist Party of America organized a Women’s Day on February 28, 1909, in New York, the 1910 International Socialist Woman’s Conference suggested a Women’s Day be held annually. After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.

Today, International Women’s Day is a public holiday in some countries and largely ignored elsewhere. In some places, it is a day of protest; in others, it is a day that celebrates womanhood.

The earliest Women’s Day observance, called “National Woman’s Day,” was held on February 28, 1909 in New York, organized by the Socialist Party of America at the suggestion of Theresa Malkiel. Though there have been claims that the day was commemorating a protest by women garment workers in New York on March 8, 1857, researchers have described this as a myth.

People’s Republic of China – Scott #1587 (2010) – featuring Clara Zetkin

In August 1910, an International Socialist Women’s Conference was organized to precede the general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen, Denmark. Inspired in part by the American socialists, German Socialist Luise Zietz proposed the establishment of an annual Women’s Day and was seconded by fellow socialist and later communist leader Clara Zetkin, supported by Käte Duncker, although no date was specified at that conference. Delegates (100 women from 17 countries) agreed with the idea as a strategy to promote equal rights including suffrage for women. The following year on March 19, 1911, IWD was marked for the first time, by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. In the Austro-Hungarian Empire alone, there were 300 demonstrations. In Vienna, women paraded on the Ringstrasse and carried banners honoring the martyrs of the Paris Commune. Women demanded that they be given the right to vote and to hold public office. They also protested against employment sex discrimination. The Americans continued to celebrate National Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February.

German poster for International Women’s Day, March 8, 1914. This poster was banned in the German Empire.

In 1913, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Saturday in February (by the Julian calendar then used in Russia).

In 1914, International Women’s Day was held on March 8 in Germany, possibly because that day was a Sunday, and now it is always held on March 8 in all countries. The 1914 observance of the Day in Germany was dedicated to women’s right to vote, which German women did not win until 1918.

In London, there was a march from Bow to Trafalgar Square in support of women’s suffrage on March 8, 1914. Sylvia Pankhurst was arrested in front of Charing Cross station on her way to speak in Trafalgar Square.

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – Scott #1339 (1949)

On March 8, 1917, on the Gregorian calendar, in the capital of the Russian Empire, Petrograd, women textile workers began a demonstration, covering the whole city. This marked the beginning of the February Revolution, which alongside the October Revolution made up the Russian Revolution. Women in Saint Petersburg went on strike that day for “Bread and Peace” – demanding the end of World War I, an end to Russian food shortages, and the end of czarism. Leon Trotsky wrote, “23 February (8th March) was International Woman’s Day and meetings and actions were foreseen. But we did not imagine that this ‘Women’s Day’ would inaugurate the revolution. Revolutionary actions were foreseen but without date. But in the morning, despite the orders to the contrary, textile workers left their work in several factories and sent delegates to ask for support of the strike… which led to mass strike… all went out into the streets.” Seven days later, the Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II abdicated and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote.

Following the October Revolution, the Bolshevik Alexandra Kollontai and Vladimir Lenin made it an official holiday in the Soviet Union, but it was a working day until 1965. On May 8, 1965, by the decree of the USSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet International Women’s Day was declared a non-working day in the USSR “in commemoration of the outstanding merits of Soviet women in communistic construction, in the defense of their Fatherland during the Great Patriotic War, in their heroism and selflessness at the front and in the rear, and also marking the great contribution of women to strengthening friendship between peoples, and the struggle for peace. But still, women’s day must be celebrated as are other holidays.”

People’s Republic of China – Scott #405-406 (1959)

From its official adoption in Soviet Russia following the Revolution in 1917, the holiday was predominantly celebrated in communist countries and by the communist movement worldwide. It was celebrated by the communists in China from 1922. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949, the State Council proclaimed on December 23 that March 8 would be made an official holiday with women in China given a half-day off.

Communist leader Dolores Ibárruri led a women’s march in Madrid in 1936 on the eve of the Spanish Civil War.

The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day in the International Women’s Year, 1975. In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.

The day is an official holiday in Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia.

Pakistan – Scott #1095 (2007) first day cover

In some countries, such as Cameroon, Croatia, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Chile, the day is not a public holiday, but is widely observed nonetheless. On this day it is customary for men to give the women in their lives – friends, mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, colleagues, etc. – flowers and small gifts. In some countries (such as Bulgaria and Romania) it is also observed as an equivalent of Mother’s Day, where children also give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers. In Russia, the day has lost all political context through the time, becoming simply a day to honor women and feminine beauty.

Soviet poster: “8th of March is the day of rebellion of the working women against kitchen slavery. Down with the oppression and narrow-mindedness of household work!”

In the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, huge Soviet-style celebrations were held annually. After the fall of Communism, the holiday, generally considered to be one of the major symbols of the old regime, fell into obscurity. International Women’s Day was re-established as an official “important day” by the Parliament of the Czech Republic in 2004 on the proposal of the Social Democrats and Communists. This has provoked some controversy as a large part of the public as well as the political right see the holiday as a relic of the nation’s Communist past.

International Women’s Day sparked violence in Tehran, Iran on March 4, 2007, when police beat hundreds of men and women who were planning a rally. A previous rally for the occasion was held in Tehran in 2003. Police arrested dozens of women and some were released after several days of solitary confinement and interrogation. Shadi Sadr, Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh and several more community activists were released on March 19, 2007, ending a fifteen-day hunger strike.

Italy – Michel #3246 (2011) oddly, the Scott catalogue doesn’t list this particular stamp (I am not sure why)

In Italy, to celebrate the day, men give yellow mimosas to women. Communist politician Teresa Mattei chose the mimosa in 1946 as the symbol of IWD in Italy because she felt that the French symbols of the day, violets and lily-of-the-valley, were too scarce and expensive to be used effectively in Italy.

In the United States, actress and human rights activist Beata Pozniak worked with the Mayor of Los Angeles and the Governor of California to lobby members of the U.S. Congress to propose official recognition of the holiday. In February 1994, H. J. Res. 316 was introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters, along with 79 cosponsors, in an attempt to officially recognize March 8 of that year as International Women’s Day. The bill was subsequently referred to, and remained in, the House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service. No vote of either house of Congress was achieved on this piece of legislation.

Women on the street celebrating International Women’s Day in Cameroon. Photo taken by Mbiele Happi on February 11, 2015. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

As of 2019, International Women’s Day will also be celebrated as a public holiday in the federal state of Berlin, Germany.

The following is listing of International Women’s Day stamps. It is by no means complete, but it is an interesting topical. All images in this article have been sourced from eBay or Wikipedia.

Albania

Albania – Scott #553-554 (1960)

Australia

Australia – Scott #3412 (2011) marking the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day
Australia – Scott #3412 (2011) first day cover

Belgium

Belgium – Scott #1336 (1990) first day cover

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina – Scott #616 (2008)
Bosnia and Herzegovina – Scott #616 (2008) miniature sheet of 6, plus 2 center labels

Bosnia and Herzegovina (Croat Administration)

Bosnia and Herzegovina (Croat administration) – Scott #229 (2010)

Bulgaria

Bulgaria – Scott #892 (1955)

Chile

Chile – Scott #1132 (1995) miniature sheet of 4
Chile – Scott #1452 (2006)

People’s Republic of China

People’s Republic of China – Scott #175-176 (1953)
People’s Republic of China – Scott #405-406 (1959)
People’s Republic of China – Scott #1114-1116 (1973) ‘International Working Women’s Day’
People’s Republic of China – Scott #1218-1221 (1975) ‘International Working Women’s Day’ – these stamps depict rural teachers, something near and dear to my heart
People’s Republic of China – Scott #1587 (1980) ‘International Working Women’s Day’ was founded by Clara Zetkin, according to the Chinese Philatelic Agency
People’s Republic of China – Scott #2265 (1990) block of 4

Costa Rica

Costa Rica – Michel #BL82 (2017) miniature sheet of 3

Ecuador

Ecuador – Scott #1565 (2001) Personally, I don’t like it when the Scott catalogue assigns one number to two se-tenant (joined) stamps that are not in a miniature sheet, assigning subletters to the individual stamps; in this case, the top stamp is Scott #1565a while the bottom is #1565b.

Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands – Scott #548 (2011)

France

France – Scott #1861 (1983)
France – Scott #1918 (1984)
France – Scott #4353-4364 (2013) issued in a booklet of 12 stamps titled, “Values of Women, Women of Values” for International Women’s Day
France – miniature sheet (2016) commemorative cover; I couldn’t find this one on Colnect

German Democratic Republic

German Democratic Republic – Scott #233-234 (1955)
German Democratic Republic – Scott #233-234 (1955) first day cover

Greece

Greece – Michel #2985-2986 (2018)
Greece – Michel #2985-2986 (2018) first day cover

Greenland

Greenland – Scott #567 (2010)

Hungary

Hungary – Scott #2911 (1985)

India

India – Scott #2189e (2007) miniature sheet
India – International Women’s Day (2014) special commemorative cover

Italy

Italy – Michel #3426 (2011)
Italy – Michel #3426 (2011) first day cover

Laos

Laos – 1265-1267 (1996)

Macao

Macao – Scott #1308a-1308d (2010) miniature sheet of 16
Macau – Scott #1308a-1308d (2010) first day cover
Macao – Scott #1309 (2010) souvenir sheet
Macao – Scott #1309 (2010) first day cover

Mexico

Mexico – International Women’s Day (1988) special commemorative cover using Scott #1436 World Health Day stamp issued in 1986
Mexico – Scott #2065 (1998) first day cover
Mexico – Scott #2279 (2002) International Women’s Institute
Mexico – Scott #2438 (2005) first day cover
Mexico – Scott #2518 (2006) first day cover

Mongolia

Mongolia – Scott #191-192 (1960)

Pakistan

Pakistan – Scott #1095 (2007)
Pakistan – Scott #1095 (2007) first day cover

Romania

Romania – Scott #1318 (1960) block of 4
Romania – International Women’s Day (1962) postal card

Spain

Spain – Scott #3785 (2011)
Spain – Scott #3785 (2011) first day cover

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – Scott #1123-1124 (1947)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – Scott #1339 (1949)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – Scott #2306 (1960) maximum card
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – International Women’s Day (1964) postal card
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – Scott #3301 (1967)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – Scott #3301 (1960) bock of four
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – Scott #3705 (1970) ‘International Women’s Solidarity Day’

Uruguay

Uruguay – Scott #1350 (1990); although imprinted with a date of 1989, this was actually issued on June 26, 1990, in sheets of 25 – issued stamp is on the right, two color trial proofs are pictured on the left
Uruguay – International Women’s Day (2018)

Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam)

Democratic Republic of Vietnam – Scott #118 (1960)

Yugoslavia

Yugoslavia – Scott #2403 (1998) first day cover

Women’s demonstration for bread and peace – March 8, 1917, Petrograd, Russia. — Hungarian: Nemzetközi Nőnap. A felvétel 1917. március 8-án (a Gergely naptár szerint, az orosz szerint ez a nap február 23-a, az első Nőnapon készült Petrográdban (jelenleg Szentpétervár). Ismeretlen fényképész felvétele. Ezen a napon Oroszországban nők tüntettek. Jelszavukː Kenyeret és békét. A tüntetés előzménye azt volt, hogy a bolsevik Pravdában hetek óta cikksorozat jelent meg a dolgozó nők sanyarú sorsáról. A propaganda kampány csúcspontját a szerkesztők erre a napra időzítették. (Hvg.2017.03.01 – 43.old). A tüntetés után négy nappal II. Miklós cár lemondott, polgári kormány alakult, mely szavazójogot biztosított a nőknek. Ezzel vált véglegessé a nőnap dátuma is. Bár már korábban elhatározták Nőnap tartását, ennek időpontja azonban változó volt. Ezzel a tüntetéssel rögződött a Nemzetközi Nőnap időpontja: március 8-a. — Google Translation (unedited): International Women’s Day. Recording on March 8, 1917 (according to the Gregorian calendar, according to the Russian, this day was February 23, the first Women’s Day was made in Petrograd (currently St. Petersburg). The photograph of an unidentified photographer. The antecedent of the demonstration was that the Bolshevik Pravda had published a series of articles about the fate of working women for weeks. Tsar Nicholas II resigned, a civilian government was formed, which gave women the right to vote, and the date of the Women’s Day became definitive. .

Unfortunately, I didn’t have much of a philatelic week last week as most of my time was spent working on school-related tasks. The end of the long school year is upon us and next week is comprised solely of final exams — tests in English and Chinese subjects Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with the Thai language exams occurring on Thursday and Friday. My M3-level students (roughly equivalent to the Sophomore level of high school in the United States) will take entrance exams for different schools on Monday before starting their holidays next Tuesday). The 2019-2020 school year will begin in early May, probably the Tuesday following the Royal Coronation of HM King Maha Vajiralongkhorn (Rama X). There should be plenty of Thailand Post philatelic items surrounding that long-awaited event.

Postccrossing postcard received on March 2, 2019, bearing one stamp from 2017 and two from 2018, nicely postmarked (many covers and cards from the U.S. miss postmarks entirely).

Continue reading “My Philatelic Pursuits #2019-08”