June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson, the Pop icon passes away.

Michael Jackson, the legendary pop star died yesterday at his home in West Los Angeles. He was 50.

Jackson appeared on a postage stamp in the Virgin Islands in the mid-1980s after locals voted him the superstar they'd most like to honour.It was withdrawn later.

May his soul rest in peace.

June 18, 2009

Flagship Niagara

This Ship was originally built in 1812. During the battle of Lake Erie of 1813 it was relief flagship of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry which brought him victory. After this it was re-constructed 3 times. Niagara now serves as a reminder of one of the United States' greatest naval victories of the 19th century and of the nearly two centuries of peace between the United States and Canada that have followed. Her operating base is the Erie Maritime Museum.

The United States Brig Niagara is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Thanks, Mr.Todd for the Post card.

June 15, 2009

The Bannerghatta National Park. (Butterfly)

The Butterfly Park at Bannerghatta was inaugurated on 25th November 2006.I t is spread across 7.5 acres of land and includes a 'butterfly trail', which comprises a butterfly conservatory, museum and an audio-visual room for educational, scientific and training facilities. The butterfly conservatory has a polycarbonate roof and is a 10,000 sq ft.circular enclosure,it has been carefully designed to support over 20 species of butterflies. The environment has humid climate, an artificial waterfall and host plants and shrubs that attract butterflies. The second and dome have a museum that exhibits different species of butterflies and a media room showing video on butterflies.

A special cover was released on 23rd May 2009 of the butterfly cancellation at Bannerghatta Post Office. The cancellation depicts line drawing of the butterfly named "Malabar Banded Peacock".

My thanks to Zameer Ali, Bangalore, for the special cover.

June 12, 2009

Latest Release - India

Today a stamp on Rev.J.J.M Nichols Roy was released (12.06.2009)

June 2, 2009

Do you want to take up Stamp Collecting?

Of recent, I am getting many mails especially from kids, young beginners and a few who want to start afresh, with collection from their school days, asking for help with stamp collecting.

Here I present a short article which may help all of you with the basics of stamp collecting.

Stamp collecting started almost with the first prepaid stamp Penny Black way back in 1840 and since then it is collected in many ways like mint, used etc. There are also many forms of stamps like miniature sheets, coils, etc., which come in various shapes.

First of all, what do you collect and from where? a beginner starts with used stamps from the letters he receives (which has become a rarity with the advance of modern technology like the telephone, internet etc.) one can also collect mint commemorative stamps from the Post Office or buy both used and mint stamps from dealers. A very good initiative is to join a local stamp club or collectors club where stamp collecting is practiced wherein you can meet like minded collectors and seniors who will impart valuable knowledge and guide you. It is also be helpful when you want to take part in a competitive exhibition. There are many websites and blogs which has news on different sections of stamp collecting.

What are the basic materials you need, well not much, a few envelopes, some cardboard box (which are better than plastic for your stamps) and stamp stock books as per your need. Stamp stock books are albums with 10 to 20 cardboard pages with thin film of transparent glass paper through which you can insert your stamps and also view it for future reference.
A magnifying glass to which helps to see you stamps better for hidden markings, date of issue etc. A pair of stamp tongs, these are not the tongs (tweezers) with sharp pointed end, but with flat, rounded end.

Finally an Album to store your stamps (these come in various types) specially those stamps which you want to retain with you forever. Loose-leaf Albums are better as you can add more leaves when required and also for re-arrange the pages. You can add some bits of information like the country (when it is printed in an alien language) or any interesting tidbits.
Here I would like to stress upon the fact that graph sheets are meant only for exhibiting your stamps in public exhibitions and are different from albums or album page. Many of the beginners who view the same in exhibitions end up pasting their stamps to the graph sheets, as the hinges or mounts are not visible.

With this hobby you can learn as you go along, and each person will develop their own ways of collecting, presenting, displaying and finding amazing stamps. You can pass this hobby to any person with out any age restriction, even kids can begin in a small way.

My personal advice to all beginners, do not try to build a collection overnight after visiting a stamp exhibition (many of the dealers lure you to buy ready-made collections) Exhibiting and winning medals should not be the sole aim of this hobby, but enjoy it by collecting stamps and other materials over the years by taking your own time and facing challenges, then you will have a special sentiment toward each stamp in your collection and this will be the true essence of Philately. Awards and Medals should only be a by-product because if you aim only for Medals, your interest wanes off after you achieve an award. Remember you are the best judge of your own collection.

Finally I welcome comments from other readers, bloggers and philatelists so that it can be of additional help to the beginners.