Postcrossing Blog

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

Posts tagged "philately"

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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Visiting the Basel Dove postboxes

During the summer, British Postcrossing members and old university friends Richard (aka roestimann) and Adam (aka mluc32) met in the city of Basel with a mission: to find all of the six “Basler Dybli” maiboxes!

Why are these mailboxes special, you ask? Well, for one, they’re beautiful! They were designed by Swiss architect Melchior Berri between 1843 and 1844, when Basel re-organised how mail was transported in the city. Upon completion and installation, they were considered the district mailboxes and served as direct connections to the postal network.

Basel Dove stamp

Local postmaster Johannes Bernoulli liked them so much that he requested 10 more to be made — and a stamp as well to commemorate the occasion! The stamp issued in Basel (this was before Switzerland had a unified post office for the whole country and cantons could issue their own postage) was called “Basler Dybli” (or the Basel Dove). The 2½-Rappen (cents) stamp was launched on July 1st, 1845 and featured an embossed white dove on a field of red, carrying a letter in its beak.

Although the stamp wasn’t very popular at the time, years later it became a prized symbol of Swiss philately for its classical beauty, but also for being the first stamp ever on several different categories… Can you guess which ones before having a peek? 🕊

Visiting the Basel Dove postboxes

Amazingly, almost 175 years later, these beautiful mailboxes featuring the same dove motive are still in use! Richard and Adam located all six of them, mailed some postcards from them and took some photographs to document their outing in Basel.

If you’re ever in Basel and are curious to follow their footsteps to discover these special mailboxes, you can find them at: Spalentor, St. Alban Vorstadt, Münsterplatz, Schneidergasse, Lindenberg (Kleinbasel) and at the old chambers in Riehen, which is a little outside the city.

What a brilliant postal adventure! Thank you Richard and Adam for taking us along on your trip around Basel to learn some interesting facts about the postal history of Switzerland!

Visiting the Basel Dove postboxes
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postcrossing moldova2018

Good news from Moldova, the most recent country to issue a Postcrossing-themed stamp!

Isn’t it a cute one? We love how the postcards zoom all around the world, taking a happy Moldovan postcrosser with them.

The stamp was drawn by Lilian Iaţco, and 120,000 stamps have been printed, as well as postcards and first-day covers to mark the occasion. Sadly, we believe these will only be available in local post offices for now, as Moldova Post doesn’t have a philatelic online shop yet.

As is becoming a tradition, a meetup is taking place today to celebrate the launch of the stamp and use the cancellation mark made for the occasion. The event will take place in Chisinau’s Central Post Office, which might be familiar to some from last year’s event that brought together Moldovan and Romanian postcrossers.

We look forward to seeing this new stamp make its way around the world on many future postcards!

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May is here, so it’s time to choose the best EUROPA stamp of the year!

This year’s theme is “Bridges”, a theme which we are particularly fond of, for what are postcards if not metaphorical bridges between two worlds? Sadly, most post offices took a less poetic approach to the theme, and featured almost exclusively physical constructions…

EUROPA stamp 2018

Nothing wrong with that, but personally, we would have liked to see a bit more imagination in the chosen approach. Still, there are some beautiful stamps in the selection, so please go check out all the entries and cast your vote to help PostEurop choose the best bridge stamp of 2018! 🌉

P.S. – We’re curious to know… which bridge did you vote for? And how many of them have you crossed yourself? Let us know in the comments!

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