Retrogasm!

Australia 2016 Nostalgic Fruit Labels stamp setHelloooo! Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. I’m going to make up for my stony silence with loads of pretty pictures, inspired by Australia’s Nostalgic Fruit Label stamps, over which I’ve been soiling myself since their release in June.

They celebrate the paper labels that used to be slapped onto the wooden fruit crates in the olden days before Styrofoam boxes.

What I love about these stamps is that they retain the microscopic details of the original labels. I wonder how many of the three people still using stamps will take a moment to appreciate the artist’s work seen, for example, on this River’s Pride label, and take in the fenceposts, the orchard and the veining on the half-peeled orange.

Australia 2016 Nostalgic Fruit Labels $1 River's Pride stamp

If you, like me, are a little fascinated by oldey-timey culture, it’s not out of the question that something would appeal to you about both these designs and also ye olde schoole world of stamp collecting. You may have been given the impression that it involves a lot of old stamps with kings and queens and presidents on them that cost a lot of money. Well, I have good news. There are no rules. We collect whatever the fuck we want. And one could do worse than start with collecting vintage graphic designs on stamps, because it’s so hot right now. Continue reading

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

…mainstream pop culture themes were only seen on stamps of desperately poor countries who churned out worthless collector-bait. So it was that nations like the Central African Republic and St Vincent and the Grenadines were among the first in the galaxy to bring us Star Wars stamps. The C.A.R. artwork was, admittedly, beautifully evocative of the era, even if they appear to think Han Solo was played by Ted Danson.

1994 CAR Star Wars strip

Fun fact: St Vincent and the Grenadines is my second-favourite Caribbean band after Bob Marley and the Wailers. Continue reading

Thank You Stamp of the Day

1970 France Edgar Degas balletJust a quick word to say thank you to WordPress for featuring one of my blog posts (this one) on their Freshly Pressed page a few weeks back, and thanks to everyone who has stopped by and followed my site since! I’ll be endeavoring to follow back everyone who’s not a spammer.

Thanks especially to those who have commented. I was afraid that only boring people would be interested in my efforts, but I’ve been lurking on many of your blogs and it seems that, as I suspected, there are other closet, latent and vicarious philatelists who are not boring at all.

I’ve been a bit snowed under at work lately, but I’ll keep the posts coming. Feel free to ask questions. This Punk don’t bite. You might inspire a post!

In the meantime, here is a Stamp of the Day, France’s 1970 release honoring Edgar Degas’s La Danseuse Au Bouquet (The Dancer with Bouquet). It’s a little bit how I felt last week, though I was wearing less girly clothes and my lighting was far more professional. x

Riding the sheep’s back… or is it a goat?

Once upon a time, the Lunar (or “Chinese”) New Year was just a thing that Asians did. Whitey went to Chinatown to watch the firecrackers and eat yum cha, but that was about it.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the 21st Century.

Asia got richer, and China boomed. As the Chinese (and Indian) middle class grew, it reawakened the cobwebbed hobby of stamp collecting. It’s a very middle-class hobby, which appeals to people who are really, really into their country. And Chinese people are really, really into their country. Because if they’re not, they get sent to prison camp.

Then someone invented the Internet, and people stopped sending mail. Meanwhile, old people insisted on dying, game consoles turned children into zombies, and the supply of new stamp collectors to Western postal authorities stopped dead… just when their cash-strapped governments started demanding impossible profit margins.

Then Chinese stamps started to attract ridiculous figures at auction.

And that’s when the West decided it should issue Lunar New Year stamps.

Australia Post disguised its cash grab by suddenly remembering that there are lots of ethnically Chinese people on the Australian territory of Christmas Island (no, not in the immigration detention centre). Naturally, they deserved a stamp, and in 1994, they got one. Or two, actually. (And a mini-sheet if you want to go looking for it.)

Australia Christmas Island 1994 Year of the DogIn 1996, AP began a 12-year cycle in which all the Lunar New Year stamps complemented each other, often with colours of red and gold. I wasn’t too interested in these at first, but over the course of the zodiac, I must admit, they won me over with their riotous vibrancy and playful cocks. Continue reading

Lots of love from abroad

As I wrote this rant on Australia Post’s annual stamp issue that isn’t really a Valentine’s Day stamp issue but just happens to always feature lots of love and roses, I came across a few examples of similar issues from overseas. So I thought I’d add them here for hopeless romantics or equally hopeless philatelists.

This year, the US has gone with this complicated little number tying eternal love in with their idea of Forever stamps (which I touched on in this entry.) Erm… yawn.

US 2015 Love Forever Valentine's Day stamp
Here’s a Filipino stamp from last year that I’m not allowed to make fun of because it was designed by a child.

Philippines 2015 Valentine's Day Love

The French, naturellement, embrace the idea of putting out a stamp de l’amour, and being French, they get fashion designers to design their annual ‘heart’ issue. This year Jean-Charles de Castelbajac followed in the footsteps of YSL, Lacroix, Chanel, Givenchy, Hermes and others, giving us this issue, pictured in stamp and minisheet form. I assume those people are French kissing.

France 2015 Jean-Charles de Castelbajac Heart stamp
France 2015 Jean-Charles de Castelbajac Heart minisheet

But Taiwan takes the heart-shaped cake in 2015 – if not for romance, then at least for cuteness. Chunghwa Post went with ten stamps depicting pairs of animals entwined in an embrace. Some of them are dressed as princes and princesses! Some of them are brides and grooms! Has heteronormativity ever looked so ADORABLE?!

Taiwan Chunghwa Post 2015 Personal Greetings Stamps Best Wishes
Finally, New Zealand Post released its Valentine’s Day stamp in January.

It's a picture of a sheep

YEAH! I WENT THERE BRO

Happy Valentine’s Day. x

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