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Last year, I read a thread on one of the stamp collecting online forums about a man who collected covers postmarked on his birthday each year. I set out to do something similar and quickly found that this is no easy task. The search parameters I used on eBay tended to generate lists of magazine covers (mostly TV Guide or Life Magazine); changing the year didn’t help much. I considered going through the Scott Catalogue looking for stamps issued on or near my birthday each year. Searching through the issues of the United States first, I only found one — a stamp released on my fourth birthday (1969). However, I soon tired of the boredom of this task.

I did find an Air France first flight cover (Paris to Las Palmas) dated December 5, 1965, two days after the date on my birth certificate but the date I’ve celebrated each year since moving to Thailand a decade ago. This is because it is a national holiday here as His Royal Highness the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej was born on December 5. Due to the nature of my adoption, however, the exact date of my birth is uncertain. The French cover is illustrated in an entry I wrote for Philatelic Pursuits on May 11, 2016.

Recently, I wanted to add more German stamps to my collection, specifically those with a philatelic theme such as portrayed on the annual Stamp Day (Tag der Briefmarke) issues. My search soon expanded to Austria and I quickly found covers bearing the 1965 Stamp Day issue (Scott #B321) and realized the postmark actually had my date of birth within — December 3, 1965. From the same seller, I managed to find three different first day covers of this stamp: one with a regular circular CDS from Vienna, one with a pictorial first day of issue cancellation, and one from an international stamp exhibition held at the Vienna Messepalast as this was the 30th annual Austrian Stamp Day. The first was held in 1935, the year of my father’s birth.

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The stamp itself is denominated at 3s and bears a 75g surcharge to support Stamp Day. The engraved blue green stamp portrays a postman distributing mail into mailboxes. It is perforated 13½ x 14.

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The sole United States stamp issued on my birthday was Scott #1386, an entry in the American Painting series. The 6-cent stamp portrays William M. Harnett‘s still-life entitled “Old Models” which can be seen at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. The stamp was designed by Robert J. Jones and was issued in panes of thirty-two, with an initial printing of 130 million. Released on December 3, 1969, the stamp is perforated 11.

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I have many December 5th covers from Thailand. There were releases on His Majesty the late King’s birthday throughout his long reign (May 2016 was the 70th anniversary of his ascension). I believe last year’s issue (due to commemorate that 70th anniversary) was pulled as it disappeared from the schedule following his death on October 13. I never could get an answer at the local post office about it, either. The 2016 Thailand Post yearbook has yet to be issued (it’s usually available by early February) and the 2017 stamp release schedule doesn’t currently include anything on December 5.

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Maybe it’s time to start looking for a few of those elusive non-philatelic usages….

 

Not too long ago, I read a thread on the Stamp Bears forum which talked about one collector’s pursuit of covers posted on his birthday.  Most of his covers were regular mail (what we philatelists like to call “postal history”) and he talked about how difficult it was to find such items while flipping through dealers’ boxes at stamp shows or searching on eBay.  Despite having only the latter source available to me here in Thailand, I was inspired enough by the forum thread to begin my own pursuit of a birthday cover or several.

The date on my birth certificate reads December 3, 1965.  I was adopted sometime in late December 1965 or early January 1966 and have long had the understanding that December 3rd wasn’t my actual date of birth.  When I moved to Thailand more than a decade ago, I discovered that His Majesty the King, the much revered Bhumipol Adulyadej (known in the West as Rama IX), was born on the 5th of December which is also Thai Father’s Day.  Thus, I began celebrating my birthday on this particular date as it’s a national holiday.

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I soon found that it was easier to search for philatelic covers (first day covers, first flight covers, etc.) using dates than for postal history items.  I have yet to find anything on eBay with a 3 December 1965 date but came upon this first flight cover from Paris to Las Palmas posted on 5 December 1965 and quickly purchased it.  A couple of nice Paris Aviation postmarks grace the front while it’s backstamped with a Las Palmas arrival postmark, also on my “adopted” birthdate.

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I also found a number of first day covers with December 3rd postmarks from other years, giving me the idea for a new collection rather than just a one-off cover.  While I hope to find something posted on 3 December 1965 (preferably from Dallas, Texas, as this was where I was born – in Parkland Memorial Hospital, to be exact), I will seek out covers from as many as the following birthdays as possible.  These will be from the 3rd of December up until 2006, the first year I celebrated a birthday in Thailand after which I will search for covers postmarked on the 5th of December (much easier as most years see an issue honoring His Majesty released on that date).

I think these will make a great addition to the “My Life In Stamps” collection I’ve already started, helping me to organize that along more chronological lines rather than thematically.  As always, the pursuit will be as much fun as the additions…