Monday, December 22, 2008

2008 Collection of Singapore Stamps

Recently I bought the 2008 Collection of Singapore Stamps for $59.90 from the post office. There are a number of interesting releases this year, including the Formula One Grand Prix, as well as the Peranakan collection, which made this purchase worthwhile. Here's a picture of the 2008 collection.

It is a dilemma at times, when a collector decides to buy the annual release and yet each individual presentation pack is also a separate worthwhile purchase, thus resulting in many copies of the same stamps. Nonetheless, I have to be selective in the stamps purchases due to my space constraints.

Interested in the album? If so, you better buy it before the price of the stamp album inflate next year, which typically happens when we cross over to the new year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When Sci-Fi meets Stamps Collectors

I was around Funan a few days ago and decided to pop by the Philatelic Museum.

That was when I saw this R2D2 Mail Box. Guess this would please those who are both stamp collectors as well as Sci-Fi fans.

By the way, the Singapore 2008 Stamps Collection 2008 is out for sale.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stamps - Postal Services Through The Years

I was at the SingPost Paya Lebar centre and saw this display of one of the latest stamp issues - Singapore Postal Services Through The Years. It is interesting to see the development of these postal services thru depiction on postal objects (i.e. stamps); there is an added reinforcing element of history progression somehow.

The monotone with oval frame design gives the whole set a nostalgic feel linking back to stamps of the straits settlement era. It is also quite encouraging to see postmen being the centre objects (together with postboxes) of these stamps. Afterall, these postmen had put in hard work to deliver our letters everyday, and some recognition is due.

If you want to purchase this set, you could do so via the SingPost online portal.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

WSC 2004, Hans C. Andersen & NUS Stamps Sheets

Personally I prefer to collect used stamps instead of unused stamps, for the simple reason that the postmarks and cancellations on the used stamps add to the fun of stamp collecting.

There are times when I do collect unused stamps, and that includes presentation packs as well as stamp sheets. Presentation packs, like used stamps, also add to the fun of stamp collecting because there are more information presented in the package. For the same reason, miniature sheets are also interesting. For large stamp sheets, the interesting information is the details of the printer..etc etc.

To illustrate the point, here's three pictures of NUS stamp sheet, World Stamp Competition 2004 sheet, and the Hans C Andersen miniature. For the NUS sheet, the details of the printer, the 5 colour proof dots..etc could be found by the side of the sheet.

For the WSC 2004 sheet, the background of the sheet featured the stamps from the mid-60s, superimposed with a merlion picture at the upper right.

For Hans C Andersen, the background has the same theme as the 4 stamps, with wordings that describe the occasion (i.e. 200th Anniversary Celebration), and that adds to the fun when one looks at these stamps.

All in all, stamps collecting is fun, not just because we are hoarding little piles of tiny papers, but because of the history and culture embedded in these papers that describe the world we lived in, often times stretching our imagination to times before our birth. Isn't that fun enough?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Some Singapore Frama Stamps

Not sure if any of you still remember that SingPost used to issue dinosaurs theme frama stamps? I was sorting through some stamps and found two of them. I am sure there are more than just these 2 in the set of frama. Afternote: I replaced the original 2 pictures with a clearer one.

SingPost has issued a number of frama stamps over the years. We used to have frama stamps with tree designs that we can 'buy' from POSB ATM machines. Pity I didn't keep any of these sheets. There were also frama stamps with just 3 Merlion heads or the word 'Singapore' repeatedly printed on them.

The more common ones recently are the rectangular frama stamps with Singapore skyline or the Merlion designs.

The two framas below have the codes of S258 and S275. I've never figured out what exactly do these codes represent. Quite frankly, there is not much philately literature on Singapore frama stamps (or at least I couldn't find them). I used to dislike frama stamps simply because you cannot wash them off the envelopes. Keeping them together with the envelope seems to be the only option.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stamps for the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix

Singapore is hosting the First Formula 1 Night Race, and there is even a stamp issue celebrating it!

Wow!... the issue will be released on th 26th Sep. The issue is a se-tenant strip of two $2 stamps, and there are 10 stamps per sheet. For those buying the presentation pack, it costs $5.85. The First Day cover will cost $4.90. The stamp designs featured a bright line silhouette of a race car, with the Singapore Skyline decorating the background of one stamp, and the checker flag for the other stamp.

I don't have the stamps (yet), and thus for those interested to take a look, you could visit the SingPost vpost site.

December 2008 - Yes I got the presentation pack, and here's it. Apologies for the poor resolution photo.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Flora & Fauna 2007 Definitives from SingPost

I've recently obtained the collector's sheet for the 6th June 2007 'Flora & Fauna' definitives. Here's a picture of the definitive set.

The values of the stamps are: Flowers: 1st Local, 2nd Local,
Birds: 5 cents, 20 cents, 30 cents, 45 cents, 50 cents, 55 cents, 65 cents, 80 cents,
Animals (civet cat, monkey, pangolin, and squirrel): $1.10, $2, $5 and $10.

The entire set cost over $20, which is primarily because of the $10 stamp inside the definitive set. I used to not buy such sets because the $10 stamp was considered 'more expensive', and end up years later I have to auction for these stamps when I get older. Here's a photo of one of the other definitive sets, some of which I bought from online auctions (i.e. the definitive set concerning tourism).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

History of the Postal Codes in Singapore

With advancement of the postal system and increase in postal addresses, Singapore had changed the postal system over the years. The postal code system is critical for fast sorting of mails, which is why during festivities, the postal operator will often remind people to put the correct postal codes, e.g. a reminder in the form of postal cancellation "Use the Correct Postal Code".

Back in 1950, Singapore only used a 2 digit postal codes to denote the 28 postal districts. This remained until 1979, when a 4 digits postal code system was introduced. The postal districts remained, with the 2 digits of the postal districts forming the first part of the 4 digits system, and the other half (i.e. remaining 2 digits) denoted the new postal sectors. As a result of the postal districts system, many properties in Singapore continued to be characterised by their original postal districts, and some districts obviously fetched a higher price compared to others. An example to illustrate this change: a housing with a previous district code of 09 could have a postal code of 0928 after the changed, i.e. the housing is located within postal sector 28. Housing in district 9 can fetch a very good price!

In September 1995, the 4 digits system was deemed as inefficient to allow for faster sorting of mails and packets. Thus a 6 digits system was introduced. The postal district part was dropped, and the postal sector part remained to form the first half of the 6 digits system. Using the previous example, the new postal code could be 280112. A '0' was added to the postal sector in cases of public housing. In cases when the building is commercial or industrial, another number would replace the '0'. For example, Ngee Ann City in Singapore has a postal code of 238872, a '8' instead of a '0'.

In cases of public housing (i.e. HDB flats), the last 3 digits are typically the housing block number. So if you lived in blk 112, then number 112 would form the last 3 digits under the new postal system. The current system seems alright to cope with the new demand of postal letters sorting. Looking at the years difference between past changes (1950 - 1979 = 29 years & 1979 - 1995 = 16 years) , and it has been 13 years since the last change, I do wonder how long can the system cope before we need to enlarge it to a 8 digits system.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Korean Stamps & Online Games

Firstly, my apologies for the content of this post since this post has nothing to do with Singapore related stamps.

Nonetheless I find these stamps interesting personally because of their theme: Online Games. These stamps are from S. Korea, a country well known for their online games industry, and featured online games of Korean origins like Maplestory and Ragnarok Online. It is quite remarkable how online games have now find a place among philately, together with other themes like Olympics and heritage related events. Perhaps this is an interesting way of getting young Koreans to cultivate an interest in stamp collecting.

Well, this also shows the maturity of a growing industry, when these online games could get featured in this 2006 Korean Stamp Pack.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Universal Postal Union & Singapore

According to the Universal Postal Union (UPU) website, Singapore has been re-elected to be a member of the 40 members strong Postal Operations Council. This may be somewhat dry for some stamp collectors, but I feel that it forms part of our postal history and is worth a mention. The election is part of the 2008 UPU Congress recently held in Geneva.

Singapore has been a member of the UPU for the longest time, and we have some old stamps (some before independence - 1965) from back then.

For those who are interested, UPU is a specialised agency under the United Nations, formed in 1874, that deals with postal matters for the member countries of UN. The headquarters is at Berne, and here's a postcard of the place.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Straits Settlement Stamps Collection - Part 2

Here's the other batch of my Straits Settlement stamps. I cut the picture from the original photo, and thus these pictures suffered from the same mis-alignment in the angle sense, with a bit of blur image effect. There are other Straits Settlement stamps, and once I captured them properly (in photo) I'll put them up.

The four cents stamp below is actually a mint, but due to an accident I washed it (regrettably).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Singapore Stamps with Colour Alignment Errors

I used to buy stamps online via Yahoo! Auctions, and made online friends with the sellers. One such seller is Zeetl. She is a keen stamps collector / seller, and often bought packages (or kilowares) of stamps both locally and from overseas. These kilowares would then be 'processed', i.e. soak and dry before Zeetl put them up for auction.

Today she told me that she found stamps with mis-alignments in the printing colours, and here's a picture of the stamps. Click for a larger view. I guess she will be keeping these stamps instead of selling them.

While the bottom right stamp is obvious (spot the 'Singapore' name mis-alignment?), the rest of the errors could be harder to spot. Both stamps on the left have some 'blur' lines caused by the colour mis-alignment. I think it might be easier to spot the errors with normal versions side by side.

P.S. Earlier I mentioned the painted postboxes that could be found around the island, and recently these painted boxes were replaced with the usual metal / white painted versions. I wonder if there will be another painted postbox competition coming?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Visit to the Singapore Philatelic Museum - Part 2

We spent quite some time on the ground floor before moving up to the Rat's Tale gallery located on the second floor. SPM has done a fair amount of work in decorating the place in a 'Rat's theme, and you can see these pictures of rats everywhere, including on the floor and walls. It should be fun to the kids (and adults) who visit the museum.

Before we moved to the Rat's Tale gallery, we visited the permanent gallery located on the second floor, where the stories about Singapore's early trades (e.g. wooden barrel making) were displayed.

We also visited the gallery with displays of early Straits Settlement stamps and envelopes. There is auite a fair bit of philatelic history being displayed in the gallery. There is even this mail chute, which is interesting to me from a philatelic perspective. Mail chutes were used by employees located at the upper floors of a building to drop their letters straight into the postbox below for collection by postmen. Wonder if people used to drop parcels straight into the post chute / box?

Ok, now let's see pictures of the Rat's Tale display. Earlier this year SingPost just released the holographic Rat stamps, and here at the gallery we see many other interesting versions of rat stamps as well. There is even a quiz about the different famous rats.

Rats are interesting as rat is the first animal in the eastern / Chinese zodiac. So there is some explanation of the zodiac myth involved, and how the rat irritated the cat because of their race to be among the animals included for zodiac.

The second floor also has another gallery of Vietnam stamps. Well I figured that there is great interest in collecting the Indo-Chine series of stamps for some collectors, although I actually didn't have that many Indon-Chine stamps. Overall the SPM visit is enjoyable, and well worth the money / time spent for a leisure weekend visit.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Visit to the Singapore Philatelic Museum - Part 1

I decided to visit the Singapore Philatelic Museum (SPM) on Saturday with my girlfriend, just to show her the world of philately (and to explain why I spent so much time poring over little pieces of papers). I have not visited the SPM for quite some time actually. Currently there are three exhibits in display, Vietnam Specials, Rat's Tale, and Herbs & Spices: Flavours of Life, in addition to the usual permanent ones.

The SPM building really looks attractive, and the colonial feel of the building adds a certain flavour to the philately visit. Located in front of the SPM is an old red tubular postbox, which is one of the last old style postbox that is actually functioning.

As usual, I spent some time just leafing through the loose stamps and made purchases of some 1960 Malaya definitives. The tickets for the museum is $5 per pax for adults and $4 for children. Two floors of philatelic experience for just $5 is quite worth it. One could easily spend nearly 2 hours in the museum.

The ground floor hosted both the usual philately 101 materials, as well as a function area with the Vietnam exhibits. The exhibits have changed somewhat from my last visit, and there is now a talking 'Penny Black' display (see picture below) to charm the visitors! Wow! For the kids, there are 'stamp booklet' stamping activities where the kids could self-cancel a booklet using some of the stamping chops.

Here's the display on the ground floor about the Vietnam exhibits, and I'll write more about the Rat's Tale exhibits in the next post.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Straits Settlement Stamps Collection - Part 1

I don't really have as complete a collection of the Straits Settlement stamps as I like. I guess there will never be 'enough' for a stamp collection, and here's some of the stamps from my SS category. Pardon about the big pictures, and so I think I will separate the pictures into a few different posts. Blogger also has a habit of re-sizing the pictures to fit some dimensions and thus feel free to click on the pictures to enlarge them for proper viewing.

I gess I took the pictures without proper alignment, and currently I don't have the tools for re-shaping them. Nonetheless I will try to get the software (soon I hope).

It is amazing to look at stamps that are older 'in age' then yourself sometimes. Amazing because that is part of history of a place with events that existed before one is born, and makes one wonder how was the life like back then?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Postcrossing - Postcards from around the World

I was introduced to Postcrossing by a good friend of mine. Postcrossing is an interesting group activity / project, and the goal is to:

allow people to receive postcards from all over the world, for free. Well, almost free! The main idea is that: if you send a postcard, you'll receive at least one back, from a random Postcrosser from somewhere in the world.
Why? Because, like the author, there are lots of people who like to receive real mail. The element of surprise of receiving postcards from different places in the world (many of which you'd probably never have heard of) can turn your mailbox into a box of surprises - and who wouldn't like that?

I registered but didn't really send any postcards (oops!). Eventually my account got deleted due to inactivity. My friend did participate and he has sent (and received) quite a number of the postcards from around the world. It is a novel idea, and brings the world together, effectively making it smaller.

There are a significant number of users from Singapore, 568 users who have sent 7711 postcards to be exact (as of now). For a country that barely sent out any number of personal letters / postcards, having such Postcrossing figures is quite impressive. :)

An additional interesting feature is the showcasing of the different postcards sent and received, such that through this website, one could almost see the different postcards from around the world! Here's the page from Singapore (again), where the postcards and the users are shown.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

DC Comics Super Heroes on SingPost's MyStamps

SingPost's MyStamps is going to feature DC Comics Super Heroes, e.g. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. I think I see Green Lantern and Aquaman also. The MyStamps will come in a comic like booklet that features scenes from the respective comics. The different stamp values range from S$0.26 to S$1.10 or you can get the the entire set for S$39.90. SingPost has also put in a comic style carrier bag with A2-sized full-colour poster featuring all the DC Super Heroes with every purchase. The sets will be available from 16 June 16 to 3 October at the 62 or so SingPost offices. Of course, you can also place orders via the online portal vPost.

SingPost also included a lucky draw for buyers to win a trip for two to New York, and an exclusive visit to DC Comics’ headquarters. The lucky draw is till 31 August only though.

But course it's a MyStamps set and not really a stamp issue, I'm not sure if I would buy the set... heh. These stamps featuring Super Heroes are not new. A couple of US Stamps already have these heroes on them, e.g. this USPS set in 2006.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sea Creatures on Stamps

Singapore has a number of stamp issues with sea creatures on stamps, perhaps due to the nature of Singapore being an island state.

Ever since the early days of 1962 (pre-independence), Singapore already had the definitive series featuring sea horse, hariequin fish and other creatures. One of the stamps in this series, the 4 cents 'six banded bard fish' was later 'overprinted' in 1981 to become a 10cents stamp. Both stamps are shown below, and can you spot the overprint?

In 1977, there was another definitive series on marine life, but there wasn't any fishes and the series was about shell creatures instead. There was the 1 cent Lyrate cockle, 15 cents scorpion conch, the 75 cents Troschel Murex (pic below), and others.

In 1989 Singapore was back to featuring fishes, but with a limited set of 4 fishes of 15 cents Clown Triggerfish, 30 cents Majestic Angelfish, 75 cents Emperor Angelfish, and Royal Empress Angelfish. I know not all the fishes belong to the saltwater family but well, at least there is the clown triggerfish! After that the crabs clawed into the pictures in 1992 with 4 crabs; 20 cents Mosaic, 50 cents Johnson's freshwater, 75 cents Singapore freshwater, and $1 Swamp Forest crab. These series are all non-definitive.

The next definitive series with marine creatures was in 1994, featuring corals and reef life. There was 12 stamps in the series from 5 cents cowrie (pic below) to the $10 Octopus coral.

There was fishes again, and this time round the fishes were all marine fish. The series is the 1995 Marine Fish series of 4 stamps, bearing the Local Post Yellow-faced Angelfish (the designers like Angelfishes for some reason), 60 cents Harlequin Sweetlips, 70 cents Lionfish, and $1 Longfin Bannerfish. After the fishes Singapore was back to shell life in 1997. I think they alternate between fishes and non-fishes when featuring the water creatures. The 1997 series had 4 stamps on the different shells; Local 22 cents Drupa morum Roding, 35 cents Nerita chamaeleon, 50 cents Littoraria melanostoma, and $1 Cryptospira elegans.

1 fish (local postage Archer Fish) and 1 crab ($1 orange fiddler) were featured in the 2000 wetland wildlife series but the other 2 creatures were a bird and an otter.

Then we are back to definitive series in 2001 with a number of different marine fishes, including 5 cents moorish idol, 30 cents perlscale, and 80 cents palette tang fish. This set is a bit peculiar because the entire set was not released at a single date. Parhaps it was because of changing postage rates that caused the peculiarities. For example, this 31 cents butterfly fish was released only in 2004, for the second tier of local postage.

Then after the fishes and shell life, Singapore has a set of stamps on 4 dolphins in March 2006, followed by the Shores and reef series of 4 stamps in 2007. Once I have more pictures of these stamps, I will add them.

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