Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

Posts tagged "philately"

It’s been 15 years today since Paulo flipped the switch to turn Postcrossing on — 15 years! 🎉 Can you believe that?! We’re a little incredulous ourselves… but immensely happy and grateful for the opportunity to come on this journey that has delivered millions of postcards around the world. Who could have imagined such an unlikely adventure?!

Awhile back, we asked you guys to upload a selfie with your mailbox to our anniversary wall, and almost 1000 of you accepted the challenge and showed us your happy mailboxes. It’s such a joy to browse the gallery now, and see your smiles and the places where all the postcards land! Mailboxes and mail slots seem to come in all shapes, sizes and materials, and quite a few of you even receive your mail directly from your mail carrier’s hands at your doorstep or on your local post office. So much color and diversity of mailboxes and ways of receiving mail!

We wanted to do a little surprise with these nice photos, so we put together a video filled with smiles to share with you all:

selo postcrossing brazil

Sorry that we couldn’t put all of the photos in without making the video too long — we tried to include as many as we could. You can see all the photos on the 15 Years of Happy Mailboxes page, and the submissions will be open until the end of the month.

A big thank you to every single one of you out there, sending postcards to strangers across the world and helping make this planet a happier place — you are the stars of this celebration! 🤩 Join us in a little celebratory dance and enjoy this special day!

Before I get all weepy, let me just share some more good news: we have been working with Brazil Post on a new Postcrossing-themed stamp that is being released today! It’s a beautiful stamp by São Paulo’s illustrator Daniel Lourenço, showing 2 people connected through postcards. It’s a big, beautiful stamp (click the image to see a bigger version), and we have no doubt Brazilian postcards will look extra nice with it.

We’re so proud of the Postcrossing community in Brazil, whose persistence and dedication to their hobby resulted in this gorgeous stamp coming to life. Sadly, they cannot yet get together to celebrate the stamp launch right now… but there will be an online launch event (on Instagram and Youtube), and we’re certain postcrossers will make up for lost time when it is safe to meet in person again. Enjoy your new stamp, and we look forward to seeing it on many future postcards from Brazil 🇧🇷!

PS – Postcrossers in China 🇨🇳, if you can’t see the video above, try here.

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Ancient Postal Routes

It’s time to vote on the EUROPA stamps competition for 2020!

The theme for this year is “Ancient Postal Routes”, and it invites us to rediscover the old paths through which mail was transported in Europe. This really seems like an appropriate topic for this year, which has seen so many postal routes being disrupted… and re-invented.

Curious to know where and how did mail travel around in Europe in the past? This year’s stamps tell a tale of horseback riders, boats, pigeons, mail carriers brandishing their postal horns… and naturally lots of maps as well. There’s even one cheeky interpretation of the theme, featuring Santa Claus’s sleigh. 😜

Ancient Postal Routes - EUROPA stamps 2020

Go check out all the stamps and vote on your favorite on PostEurop’s website until September 9th!

And if you do, leave a comment below as well to let us know which one is your favorite! We think it’s going to be a tough competition this year, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on it. Which ones do you think have good chances of winning?

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Smithsonian National Postal Museum Streetview

Have you ever been to a Postal Museum? If not, well, there’s never been a better time to start — if only from your own home!

We’ve been looking into Google Arts & Culture, and we’ve discovered that you can use it to visit places like the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, in Washington DC, and then hop straight over to the UK’s Postal Museum in London, no air travel needed!

It’s not just that you can walk around these museums via Google’s Streetview, although that’s kind of cool as well. Depending on the museum, there are also “Stories” and collections, showcasing some of the museum’s exhibitions and holdings. For example, the Museum for Communication Frankfurt has an exhibition on the birth of express mail! Check out the sealed watch which the mail-carriers had to take with them, to prove they were delivering the mail on time:

Sealed watch
Pocket watch used on the mail coach service, with lockable case, Museumsstiftung Post und Telekommunikation

In a similar vein to our previous post about the lost letters of the Brienne archive, we found an online exhibition from the Postal Museum in London on 717 letters found aboard a sunken ship, the Gairsoppa! They’ve recovered 19 bundles of undelivered letters from the ship including old Christmas cards! Wonder if there were any postcards on board…

Gairsoppachristmas
Christmas card from the Gairsoppa, The Postal Museum

If you’re interested in stamps, there’s always the Smithsonian’s Women on Stamps exhibitions, or Amelia Earhart’s stamp collection… Or how about a collection of love letters from the Mexican Archivo General de la Nación?

And of course, they have all kinds of other museums — art museums, exhibitions on Mayan graffiti, natural history collections… I think I have to say the Gairsoppa story is my favourite, so far.

Have a look, and if you find other interesting virtual exhibitions that we should check out, let us know in the comments below! 😊

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Some weeks ago, the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first humans walking on the moon. Reliving the experience of the Apollo 11 mission was an emotional event all around the world, not just for the millions of people who remember watching the live broadcast on TV with bated breath, but also for the younger generations of dreamers that those astronauts have inspired.

As you can imagine, landing on the Sea of Tranquility is a risky adventure, requiring all sorts of preparations. There’s physical and scientific training to go through, and checklists for all sorts of procedures, but there’s also a more down-to-earth side of things, like life insurance. Can you imagine the price of the insurance for such a perilous and unique mission though? Yup, it’s pretty much astronomical! So how were astronauts supposed to make sure their families were looked after in the event they didn’t make it back to Earth?

When faced with this situation, Apollo 11 astronauts Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong came up with a cunning secret plan: postal covers! Apollo Mission covers

They were famous and their autographs were greatly prized, so they decided to sign dozens of special envelopes in advance, featuring space-themed stamps and motives. These were to be hand-cancelled by friends at the post office on the day that they landed on the moon, and later delivered to their families. In case something happened to them, they hoped these autographed covers could be sold to collectors, in order to give their families some financial security.

Thankfully, they all came back safe and sound from this grand adventure, and didn’t need to use the postal covers as insurance. 😅 But it was still a brilliant plan! And as expected, these special philatelic items became collectibles, and are highly sought after by astrophilatelists, the branch of philately that focus on space-themed stamps. They continued to be made by astronauts until the 16th Apollo mission, and you can discover more of them on this page. Neat! 🌔

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May is here, and it’s time to vote for the best EUROPA stamp of the year!

This year’s EUROPA stamp competition is all about our feathered friends: kingfishers and storks, eagles and cranes, robins and swallows, they all have their place in the philatelic spotlight. Here’s a small selection:

EUROPA stamps 2019

Even if this is a topic that has been covered many times before, there are still some interesting illustrations and colorful sights in this year’s choices. A few of these stamps can even be scanned with an app, so that you can hear the birds chirping away!

Voting is open until September 9th, so go have a look at the all the pretty stamps and cast your vote!

PS – If your country is participating this year, what did you think did of your national bird stamps? And which one did you vote for? 🐦 Let us know in the comments below!

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