Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Collection of Singapore Stamps

2009 is coming to a close today, and I must say it has been a good year so far. We have joint issues with our ASEAN neighbours, and also for APEC event that spans regions. There are also issues of culture interests in sculpture and food (yes food is an important part of local culture).

2010 will look even better from the economic perspective and here's wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

I think it is somewhat meaningful to close off 2009 with pictures of the '2009 Collection of Singapore Stamps'. Yes the layout of this blog need some re-designing too since the background picture is missing. I will do that in Jan 2010, to mark a new start.

For those who are interested to buy the 2009 Collection, it is selling at the post offices for $54.90, and includes the following:
  • Zodiac Series - Ox
  • Greetings - Let's Celebrate
  • Cinema Theatres of Yesteryear
  • Definitives - Flora and Fauna
  • SMRT Circle Line
  • 150 Years of Singapore Botanic Gardens
  • Desserts
  • Sculptures
  • Countdown to the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games
  • Singapore - Philippines Joint Issue - Bridges
  • Singapore - Indonesia Joint Issue - Tourist Attractions
  • Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2009 Meetings

Friday, December 4, 2009

Jose Rizal Philippines Stamp during US Administration

Here's another piece of history of the ASEAN region, where the stamp marks the administration of Philippines by United States. That is part of the fun I had in sorting out old stamps.

I think the person being depicted in the stamp is Jose Rizal, but do correct me if I am wrong. However, I am not sure what the O. B. stands for in this case. It is interesting that the currency used back then was centavds. Is that a smaller unit compared to peso?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

State of Singapore Stamp

It is always interesting to see Singapore stamps that were used during the pre-independence days, i.e. before 9th August 1965.

Here's one such stamp, where the 'State of Singapore' stamp (blue stamp on the right) was used together with the Johor stamp. It sort of reminded me that not too long ago this region was still a relatively messy region with its many conflicts.

Anyone knows the 'national day' of the 'State of Singapore'? That date is not 9th August, but 3rd June, i.e. when Singapore was one of the many states of the Federation of Malaya.

Monday, September 7, 2009

贺 - 中国邮票 2007 (China Stamp Album 2007)

I acquired this album (贺 - 中国邮票 2007) sometime back and was tidying it together with the rest of my stamps. It struck me while I was flipping through the pages that the China album has a lot more stamps issues than Singapore mere 10+ issues per year.

It is also interesting to see that countries do go through somewhat similar path in development. The reason I said that is because from this set of Postal Saving Bank of China stamps, I see the Singapore POSB equivalent. Both saving banks started as a branch department of the postal agencies, simply because it was convenient for people to deposit saving money when they conduct their frequent visits to the post office. Given the less frequent travels to the post office, this habit died.

Given the rich cultural history of China, it is no wonder that they have more issues where artists can express their creativity. Of course, the larger population of stamp collectors properly helps a lot too.

Similarly, they have stamps with nation building theme in mind, e.g. this set of stamps commemorate their 17th National Congress. There are a lot more different stamps sets in the Chinese album but I guess a smaller number of stamps issues in Singapore's case properly also help to reduce the cost of stamps collecting, which is important to encourage the take up of stamp collecting as a hobby.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What Happens When You Post a Letter Without Stating Address

I was tidying some stamps pile and envelopes, and came across this envelope that I kept from some time ago. This is a pretty interesting envelope, and gives a good indication of what will happen when you post a letter in Singapore without stating any address.

I am guessing that the cancellation machine will still cancel the stamp, and the envelope will get stuck when the machines try to sort out where to post the letter.

Luckily in this case the envelope has the address of the sender (in this case it's the SPM!), and the letter was sent back, with a mark that says 'Return to Sender Received without address.'

Saturday, August 15, 2009

MyStamp - To Fu Set & Competition @ STGCC 09!

I was at the Singapore Toys Games and Comics Convention 2009 when I spotted the SingPost booth. Wondering what could SingPost be doing at the toys / comics convention, I popped by for a look, and surprise surprise - there is a MyStamps To-Fu Competition!

For info: To-Fu Oyako are toys modeled after soy beancurd and thus have cubic heads shaped after the squarish beancurd. They are toys designed by the Japanese designers Devilrobots. Details of the competition can be found here. So the competition is over and we have the different winners' products being displayed at the STGCC 09.

Other than displaying the winners' designs, SingPost has also launched the MyStamps series for To-Fu, complete with the To-Fu toys and also a game board set. The MyStamps is going for $29.90 while the game board set s going for $39.90.

I think this is a good move by SingPost to target the younger generation and promote stamps collecting. It is always good to link stamp collecting with the other hobbies / interests, of the target audience e.g. toys and comics. This is not the first time SingPost tried to link stamps with other toys and comics, and examples of previous attempts include the Hello Kitty collection as well as the DC Superheros MyStamps (2008). Actually SingPost had even launched a MyStamps set for the popular Taiwanese girl band S.H.E. earlier this year.

Guess we will have more of such interesting stamps sets in future from SingPost. :)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Post on Wheels @ Changi Airport

I was at the Changi Airport T3 departure when I saw this nice red eye-catching buggy / van like postal service. Imagine having a postal van in the airport itself!

So yes I snapped a few photos of it. Seems like the postal buggy / van will roam Terminal 1 & 3 of Changi Airport at different timings. Wonder if they have any special cancellations for the stamps purchase at the venue. :)

The funny thing about this whole postal setup is that there is actually a mascot for it. The mascot is a postbox modelled after the old style circular / tubular type, with a name of 'PoWee' I think. I am guessing that PoWee stands for Post on Wheels.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Local Desserts Stamps featured on Lian He Zao Bao

The latest stamps released by SingPost about local desserts were featured by Lian He Zao Bao.

Generally I think there is still a large group of mandarin speaking stamp collectors in Singapore, and it makes business sense to publicise about the stamps in the chinese papers.

Oh, originally I wanted to post this entry much earlier but ran into some ISP caching problems. Luckily blogger's help forum is extremely useful. :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

ZoCard Postcards

There were times in the past when my friends lamented that Singapore has no nice postcards. That became a problem when they want to participate in activities like Postcrossing. I think that has changed quite a fair bit in recent years with ZoCards and such companies.

ZoCard has produced interesting cards, often for marketing purposes of events and public messages, for examples those Public Health messages on Zocards. So it has become a habit where I will take a look at the postcard stand when I walk past locations with those stands.

Recently there was this set of artistic cards. I am not sure if they were commissioned by any organisation, but well they do look good. I've seen some of these postcards being used to decorate the office cubicles of my colleagues. So let me share these pictures with you. :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kreta Ayer Stamp Society 30th Anniversary

I read on the Facebook Sgstampers Group about Kreta Ayer Stamp Society's 30th Anniversary. Wow, it is good to know that stamps societies in Singapore continue to receive support from both stamp collectors as well as the authorities.

The actual celebration will be held on 20th June 2009 (Saturday) 6pm at China Square Central Exhibition Hall. The Guest of Honour is Dr Yaacob Ibrahim (Minister) and VIP includes Dr Fatimah Lateef (MP). Two books will also be launched in conjunction with the 30th Anniversary celebrations 1) Thematic Children Series - Stamp (Chinese) by Ms Tai Foong Choo, and 2) Our Heritage - Customs, Traditions, Culture - Stamps & Hong Bao (English) by Mdm Camalapan.

Looks like this week is an exciting week for stamps collectors, we have firstly the 150 Years of Singapore Botanical Garden issue, and then the 30th Anniversary of the KASS. It is somewhat rare to have so many stamps related events in 1 week. Hmm I thinnk we should have more events to drum up the signature and attractiveness of stamps colelcting. :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Singapore Botanical Gardens 150 Years Issue

Stamps often mark the important dates of a nation's development. So after the recent MRT - Circle Line issue, we have the coming issue of 150 Years of Singapore Botanical Gardens.

Botanical gardens is a wonderful place, really. It's a sea of peace and beauty in the middle of this concrete island. It offers some quiet places while at the same time is accessible easily geographically between Bukit Timah and Orchard Road.

They have done a good job of maintaining the place, and adding in events like concerts that make the place more lively. It is fun strolling along the path during evenings, and just enjoying the scenery. Of course, there are not just trees at the Botanical Gardens but many lakes of fishes and ducks (and tortoises).

So it's not surprising that its 150 years passing will be marked by a stamp issue on 19th June 2009. 150 years is just a short period of time compared to some of the older heritage trees at the Botanical Gardens.

The stamp issues are much nicer than my photographs above, and here's some pictures from the SingPost website. There will be a set of 4 stamps, 2 'Local 1st' and 2 '$1.10', as well as a miniature sheet with a $2 stamp depicting a pair of black swans (or are they ducks?).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Embroidered Stamp - Pigeon Orchid definitives

I finally managed to get some sets of the embroidered flower definitives. Here's SingPost's description of this issue. The set was out since early May but I couldn't find time to queue at the post office. The queue during lunch time at the post office could get quite long. So here's how the collector's set looks like.

Here's a closer look at the embroidery where the flowers look 'special'. The face value of the embroidered stamp is $5, but I'm sure no one will really use it for postage purpose. I wonder how many collectors' sets did SingPost issue.

Unlike the earlier beaded stamp issue by SingPost, embroidered stamps have been around for some time. Swiss Post started it in June 2000, and Austria did so too in year 2005 and 2008. Nonetheless I think collectors do welcome such innovative issues from the Philatelic Bureau that add more fun to the collection.

Monday, May 11, 2009

SingPost Returned Mail Sticker

Ever wonder what happens if your mail / letter doesn't reach the addressee or that the address written is wrong? In such cases, the postman can't deliver the letter and the letter is returned. I also know of incidents when recipients would write a 'wrong person' and dumped the mail into the letterbox and it gets returned to the sender if the sender's address is written.

Here's a sticker on the letter (picture below) that couldn't reach the intended addressee. SingPost will tick on the correct box to let the sender know the reason for failing to deliver the letter. I remember that we used to have 'cancellation' type of returned mail instead of a sticker, i.e. it is a stamped mark with reasons. I guess a sticker is easier for the postman handling the returned mail.

Monday, May 4, 2009

2 new additions to the Flora & Fauna Definitives Stamps

SingPost has announced two new additions to the 'Flora & Fauna' definitives that were released in 2007. The two additions will be made available from 6 May onwards. The details of the two additions could be found on SingPost's website.

The additions are two stamps of first local, featuring the Blue Pea Vine and Pigeon Orchid. I suspect that the additions are due to the lack of flora representatives in the 2007 definitives. The descriptions provided at the SingPost website commented that additions were added for variety. Take a look at the 2007 release, and we could see that only the 1st Local and 2nd Local are flora (Frangipanni and the Torch Ginger), so maybe they added another two flora for balance. It is good that they engage the same Designer, Wong Wui Kong, as the 2007 definitive series for consistency in the overall designs.

It will be nice if they can include all definitives together, so that when we read the yearbook, we have a complete picture of the stamps descriptions. Oh well, I guess such additions also add a bit of variations to stamp collecting.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Singapore related stories in the Stamp Magazine

When I read through magazines like 'Stamp Magazine', I realised that there is a considerable amount of interest in Singapore's philately development. Part of the reason is our colonial heritage, where the British and Commonwealth collectors would be interested in each area's philately development.

The interest exhibited by the journalists covered both recent stamps issues as well as old Straits Settlement era items. For example the first beaded stamp issue attracted quite some attention. By the way, the item shown in the picture below is now fetching $68, and it originally cost only $8 (last year)!

Here's another two articles from Stamps Magazine, touching on the Straits Settlement era stories. Frankly I don't see how people of the early nineteen century would have enough money to keep a $500 postage stamp. So the stamp on the bottom left is rare indeed, and likely used more of revenue accounting purpose.

Occasionally one picked up snippets of historical development, e.g. Malayan Postage Union's Postage Due ceased to be in circulation in 1968, 3 years after Singapore gained independence. So one would expect to see these postage due stamps on letters between 1965 to 1968 then. What is also interesting is the story of how there is only 32 mint specimens left. These snippets of philately related development added much colour and fun to stamp collecting.

When you pass by our libraries, take a look at these stamp magazines and you may find other interesting stories inside.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Postcards from Thailand, London, Stockholm, and Berne

I have cultivated a habit such that I will send myself a postcard whenever I travel overseas. Over the years I have collected a number of these cards from Europe and Asia. I guess they served as mementos from the travel, with date and stamp attached.

Here's a few of the postcards from London, Berne, and Stockholm. The Christmas theme postcard (upper right corner) is shiny when under the right light conditions, and the postcard from London (left) depicting a postal activity is actually quite funny.

The back of the postcards, with the cancellations and stamps attached.

One of the countries that I frequent more often is Thailand for both work (mostly) and leisure reasons, and so I have three of the postcards. Sometimes I will use the free postcard available from the hotels, but at other times I simply buy an interesting looking card from the shops.

Postcards are interesting, and I think recent years there seems to be more interests surrounding postcards, e.g. post-crossing and such. I think that is partly due to the casual networking associated with such a postcard, with relevant pictures depicting the cities, that make them interesting.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

SingPost's MyStamp - Hello Kitty & The Stars

I was walking past the post office at night and saw these cute displays at the glass windows. It seems SingPost has recently release the Hello Kitty and The Stars MyStamp Collection to celebrate Hello Kitty’s 35th anniversary. These stamps are released from 18 Mar 2009 and here is a picture of the cute looking stamps.

The set is selling at $68.00 with the 12 horoscopes in sheets and encased in a hard album. There is also the pop up effect for the centre page as shown below. The set up is clearly targetting at kids or Hello Kitty fans.

Collectors can also buy the Hello Kitty MyHoroscope MyStamp in a single sheet featuring one horoscope at $5 or a complete set of single sheets of 12 horoscopes at $60. SingPost has also thrown in a special Hello Kitty 4GB USB thumbdrive that I understand is a limited colelction item, and it will only be available from 30 Mar 2009.

I guess it is pretty clear this release is targetted at niche audience, and possibly non-stamps collectors? Personally I think the cuteness of these pictures does not really match with the stamp collecting theme and look somewhat too commercial. It reminded me of the Hello Kitty toys craze some years ago where people queued overnight to buy Hello Kitty soft toys from MacDonald. Oh well, different people collect stamps for different reasons.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Postboxes from London & Stockholm

I was away for a work trip in London and Stockholm, and I took some pictures of their post boxes. The London postbox looks historical, i.e. like those postboxes from the colonial era. I think Singapore no longer has such red tubular postboxes, except for the one outside the Philatelic Museum. Posting personal letters from such historical looking postboxes should be fun. The postboxes from Stockholm look a lot more modern and fancy.

London Postbox with details about posting timing

Stockholm Postbox - Outside the Central Train Station

I didn't have much time for any philatelic related visits, partly because my work meeting timings were pretty tight. There is this Post Museum in Stockholm which looks interesting, and given time I would have pay a visit. Nonetheless I've sent some post cards back home, and once they reached I could post the pictures of them on the blog.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cinema Theatres of Yesteryear Stamps - Cathay, Majestic, Capitol, Queens, & Rex

I read in the Zaobao Weekly that SingPost is releasing a set of 'Cinema Theatres of Yesteryear' stamps featuring the old cinemas of Cathay, The Majestic, Capitol Building, Queens, and Rex cinemas. The details about the stamp release (First Day Cover $4.65, and presentation pack costs $5.60) could be found in the SingPost pdf file. The SingPost writeup has some interesting historical details about these 5 cinemas.

According to the papers, the launch of this 'Cinema Theatres of Yesteryear' will be accompanied by an exhibition of Singapore's cinematic materials (my own translation from Chinese to English, thus please forgive any errors) from 20th March to 22nd March at The Cathay Gallery located at 2 Handy Road, #02-16 The Cathay (located near Dhoby Ghaut MRT). The First Day Cover, presentation packs... etc will be on sale at the event.

Those collectors who want to grab the release, mark the date on your calendar!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Postcards - Health Promotion Board ZoCards (set of 12)

We are all familiar with postcards, but this set of pop-up postcards by Health Promotion Board is especially interesting. It seems there is a whole set of 12 cards, but I've managed to obtain only 5 of them.

Each card contains a simple message about health and living. For example the green card in the upper left corner says 'the more we get together' (front), 'the merrier we'll be' (back), with a additonal para of 'Dear ______, you are invited to a) a game of tennies, b) a makan (eating) session, c) a party, d) _______. Make your way to __________.

Very meaningful message isn't it. Imagine receiving this postcard in your letterbox, which serves both as a postcard as well as an invitation. An example of the front and back of another card is shown below.

This is a series launched from April 2008 to March 2009. I noticed that whenever the cards are put on the ZoCards rack, it will be gone within 1-2 days. The card below is the last of the series. I guess it is a pretty popular series. The cards also contain a message to check out '', the promotional website for Health Promotion Board, and the entire set of cards could be viewed on that website.

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