A fairly active week for me in my hobby of philately capped off by purchasing the year’s second Thailand stamp issue and some successful bids on eBay (where I’ve been looking at some classic U.S. stamps trying to fill gaps in my 1893 Columbians and 1869 pictorials sets as well as much more recent first day covers).  I received a few purchases made in December and am continuing to seek out news of upcoming releases for 2019. Canada recently revealed its first designs of the year, the first of which were issued on January 14, and Great Britain releases its Stamp Classics sheet today. I’ve also begun creating what I am calling my “Virtual Album”, placing scanned images upon digital pages. All of this amidst daily additions to the A Stamp A Day blog (and my day-job of teaching) has made for a very busy week indeed.

It wasn’t until last night that I had a chance to read a few philatelic news sites, learning that the National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. is yet another victim (as are all of the other Smithsonian Institution facilities) of the current U.S. government shutdown that began on December 22. The postal museum closed on January 2 and suspended all on-site programming and events. The Smithsonian Institution is about two-thirds federally funded, with the rest of the funding coming from other areas; including donations, endowments and revenues from product development and sales, concessions and other sources. The Smithsonian Institution reports that its federal appropriation for the 2018 fiscal year was $1 billion.

Continue reading “Weekly Phila-Bytes #2019-02”

Scan20151024-001As expected, local mail delivery was halted during the almost-two-week’s long Phuket Vegetarian Festival as the street processions with their accompanying unregulated fireworks (thrown by the spectators) would have put the motorbike-driving postmen at great risk.  Yesterday’s national holiday marking the birthday of Thailand’s revered fifth king, Chulalongkorn, provided yet another no-mail day but I finally received a few items this morning.

I was pleased to receive the latest edition of Thailand Post’s new issues bulletin with MOST of the upcoming releases for the fourth quarter illustrated.  At this point, there are just twenty-one individual stamps in seven different sets remaining in the 2015 stamp program.  Of course, Thailand Post always issues a few more in December with little or no warning.  The next upcoming issue is a pair to be released on 2 November marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka.  As usual, I love the English headlines accompanying each description.  One commemorating the Department of Corrections has the headline “A Pride of Corrections the Protects the Society” while the World Post Day issue is described as “National Economic Support and the Global Connectivity.”  The catalogue reminds me that I missed out on a few recent issues over the past couple of months so it’s time for a trip to the Phuket Philatelic Museum in the near future.

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I received a pair of postcards one via Postcrossing which, I can honestly say, is the first I have ever received that didn’t bear a single stamp.  Instead, there is a very ugly Deutsche Post meter with a QR code upon it.  I was surprised as many Postcrossing members seem to be stamp collectors or at least aware that their recipients are collectors (indeed, I mention it in my profile).  The second postcard was MUCH more interesting as the first thing I noticed was that it had been posted from Mauritius – a island nation in which I have become quite interested lately.  This is due in large part to my recent reading of the wonderful book Blue Mauritius: The Hunt for the World’s Rarest Stamps.  Imagine my surprise when I turned the postcard over and found it had been sent by that book’s author, Helen Morgan.  She’s enjoying her first visit on Mauritius in almost ten years and had discovered my blogs via a Google Alert.  How cool is that?

Scan20151024-008Next up, I received a “starter set” of Hawid stamp mounts ordered from a dealer in the UK.  I’m starting to find a few sources of supplies that don’t charge an arm and a leg to ship them to Thailand.  I’ve had bad luck recently in that packets of hinges I’d ordered happened to arrive in the midst of some of the words storms to hit Phuket since I moved here a decade ago, rendering them into a solid mass of stuck-together goo.  I felt that I would have better success with mounts, particularly since I have an increasing backlog of Mint Never Hinged stamps that I would like to take out of the stock books and onto my self-printed album pages.  I did take a few minutes from other pursuits to mount the first page of Abu Dhabi.  Very nice…

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Finally!  A stamp!  This one confused me as it arrived in an envelope mailed from Poland and I hadn’t ordered anything from there.  At any rate, it was a used copy of United States Scott #69, the 12c George Washington black from the 1861-62 series.  I’d won it from a dealer in Bissinghem, Germany.  No idea why it was mailed from Krakow…

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One final, semi-philatelic note on the Phuket Vegetarian Festival.  The post office left a stack of postal cards on a table in the new shopping center behind my home along with two baskets full of themed handstamps (most were made of metal) and three different colors of inkpads.  I’m lucky that I found this on the first day of the festival as the cards quickly disappeared and the ink dried up as very few people closed the lids when they were finished.  I spent an enjoyable few minutes applying the handstamps to both sides of perhaps a half-dozen cards.  With the post office inaccessible for the duration of the festival (it’s almost at “Ground Zero”), I haven’t yet had the chance to mail any of the cards.  I will have to think of some appropriate stamps as none have ever been issued commemorating this festival (this was it’s 190th year in Phuket!).  Perhaps next year, I will think to design a few for the Muang Phuket Local Post…

Happy Collecting!