It has, indeed, been a “stampy” start to 2015, to use an adjective coined by one of my favorite online collector forums. Not only did I have a few days of holiday time during which I could sort, scan and catalogue many of my stamps and postcards but the first mail delivery of the year brought several philatelic – and other – goodies.
I hadn’t realized that my local post office was to be closed for a whopping five days for the New Year holiday. Actually, it’s the largest on the entire island with the exception of the facility at the airport way to the north and adjacent to the Phuket Philatelic Museum making the long closure even more surprising. The airport post office was one of only twenty-two in the entire country that remained open but it’s a lengthy (and expensive) journey. That meant that I had an entire week without mail delivery and that I couldn’t buy stamps at the museum shop during my time off from work. But, equally surprising, the first delivery day occurred on a Sunday!
What a delivery day that was – three Postcrossing cards (from Hong Kong, Germany and Finland), two holiday greeting cards from my sister (one was a family card, the other from her work), a Christkindl card from Austria via Germany, and a Belarus Postcrossing stamp via Lithuania! I’ve already blogged about the postcards on “Please, Mr. Postman!” so please check out the write-ups over there if you are interested.
The cards from my sister were even more special than in previous years as she has taken note of my increased stamp collecting activities and made sure that the envelopes were franked with real stamps this time around, the latest USA Christmas stamps in fact. She also sent me an email saying that she’d asked the postal clerk to hand-stamp the envelopes but he’d replied that they “don’t do that anymore!” This is a big difference to the service at my local post office where they actually hand me the cancelling device so I can apply the postmark myself!! At any rate, at least the machine-applied ink-jet cancellation on these two envelopes is a little less ugly than usual with a holiday theme.
My sister even included unused copies of several of this year’s Christmas stamps inside one of the card envelopes. A nice touch and, I hope, the start to an annual tradition. I also love the family card highlighting their Mediterranean travels last summer. Marilyn’s work card is one of a series portraying her staff at the Hand Rehabilitation Unit of the University of Kansas Medical Center, a facility she has worked at for nearly twenty-five years now!
Yes, Marilyn, we did have the Bucket Challenge here in Thailand but I didn’t participate…
Matthias, a fellow collector in Schenefeld, Germany, sent me one of the lovely stamps issued by Austria this year marking the Christmas holiday. The stamp itself has the annual special postmark applied by the town of Christkindl on Christmas Eve. Matthias enclosed this in a a Cunard Line envelope picturing the MS Queen Victoria which thrilled me as I’ve been an enthusiast of ocean liners for almost as long as I’ve collected stamps!
In 2014, two countries – Belarus and Guernsey (one of the Channel Islands) –issued stamps honoring Postcrossing. Gurgen in Lithuania was kind enough to send me a mint copy of the Belarus stamp. As a thought, I wonder if any stamps have commemorated other websites such as Google or Facebook? I seem to remember a stamp from the United States marking Facebook but other than that one, I’m not aware of any others.
Other than a few items won in eBay auctions that have yet to arrive (including my first stamp from the Confederate States of America!), my only purchases so far this year occurred on Monday at the Phuket Philatelic Museum. I wanted to buy the new Year of the Goat stamp and it’s official first day cover. A different clerk than usual was manning the counter; the other one had no problem separating individual stamps from the sheet so I could buy singles. But the lady on this particular day told me I could only buy full sheets. No matter as the sheets contained ten three-baht stamps which comes to about ninety-nine U.S. cents. I bought two.
The first day covers hadn’t arrived yet so I looked in the basket of older issues. Here they have the stamps in little plastic sleeves. Most of these stamps are sold in pairs (and in a few cases you are forced to buy four of the same design). Still, the cost is low so I don’t mind so much as I can use the duplicates when I send postcards and other mail. I believe Thailand Post is just trying to maximize profits in this way rather than increasing postage rates. I ended up spending just under 400 baht on stamps, filling in a few holes for the past couple of years of Thai issues.
The next Thai stamps due to be released are a set of five marking National Children’s Day scheduled for this coming Saturday. Because of my work schedule, I won’t be able to get to the post office to purchase these until more than a week afterwards. Hopefully, they will have all the first day covers by then as well.