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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