Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Guest Collection: Phillipe's Tongan Stamps

Hello friends, fellow stamp enthusiasts, nerds and hipsters...
This week here on iheartpost we have an exciting new development: I'm featuring a guest collection!

Spot the map stamp! :)
Phillipe, the 9 year old son of my work friend Meredith, collects stamps. And because he is a total champion, he was good enough to let his Mum bring them in to work for show and tell. (I love show and tell).

Click on any image for a better view!

As you can see, Phillipe has a fantastic collection of minisheets from Tonga. Aren't they pretty? Explorers, space and sheep. And a little bit of royal kitsch, just to make me especially happy:

It is possible that the King of Tonga one could be my favourite of all.

As well as the issues from the Kingdom of Tonga, one of the Tongan islands, Niuafo'ou, issues its own stamps.

Niuafo'ou was once known as "Tin Can Island" and it still issues its own stamps as a historic throwback (ahem) to when the mail delivery was thrown overboard from boats in tin cans, and bobbed to shore on the current! Or so Meredith tells me (and I believe her). Thankfully, their mail now arrives slightly less sodden, in a different sort of tin can (one with wings):

Thank-you, thank-you Phillipe for sharing these brightly coloured philatelic pieces of an island paradise with us!

In other iheartpost news... I am heading off on a little sojourn to Indonesia for the next couple of weeks. I am skipping the last two weeks of winter (I am SO OVER winter) and searching out some beach/sun/adventure etc. So, until September peeps... keep it real. Nerd out.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Animal Definitives: Sunday Stamps

Ok. If it is one thing Australia has, it is plenty of strange wildlife. The fauna (and flora) confounded the Europeans when they arrived here a couple of hundred years ago and the unique animals cohabitating our continent continue to amaze and inspire.

So it is no surprise that there are plenty of animal stamps issued by Australia Post, as our native fauna helps us to define ourselves. We are a young nation (albeit with a long indigenous past) and quirky animals are easy totems by which we can distinguish ourselves in the world.

 All of which is to say, our animals are basically kick-ass.

Australia Post has issued stamps on our reptiles, our birds, animal welfare and even our bugs. But I thought the above definitives issued in 1986 and 1987 were appropriate to share this week on Sunday Stamps which has an animal theme.

And just to prove how nationalistic animals can be, I also dug up this 1995 joint-issue with China which celebrates the Koala and the Panda.

But just for good measure, and a bit of frivolity, I thought I would also share this cute dog stamp from Japan, which is perhaps the cutest stamp in my whole collection.
You gotta love an irregularly shaped stamp. Especially one featuring a puppy. Awww. Cute.

That's it from me for this Sunday. Have a great week all!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

You Can Telephone All Over the World

I had another go at creating a collage card this weekend, and the above was the result. It was made using a 1960s editions of National Geographic with an advertising slogan from a 1964 edition - "You can telephone all over the world" underlined by a much more recent satellite image. But what a quaint slogan! So anachronistic in today's world. But it got me thinking.

Ross Coulter
Ross Coulter,  10 000 Paper Planes - Aftermath via Centre for Contemporary Photography
On the weekend I went to this wonderful exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Photography and heard several artists talk about their work. One of the artists was Ross Coulter, and his photographs depicted the aftermath of a performance art piece involving 10,000 paper planes being launched into the domed reading room at the State Library of Victoria. Now, for starters, the domed reading room is one of my favourite places. But, more than that, I loved Coulter's photographs because there was something incredibly compelling about the inherent rebellion in 10,000 paper planes being strewn across that hallowed space reserved for hushed tones and studious concentration. The photographs are big (156 x 200cm), glossy and wonderful.

Coulter explained during his floor talk that he worked at the SLV in 1999, right at that time when email was transforming the way we communicate with one another. The computer age was dawning, and Coulter described the paper planes as, in a way, symbolising the transmission of an idea through space. He was also asking a question about the role of libraries into the future, as we move from the analogue past into the digital future.

When I came across the Bell Telephone Company's 1964 slogan "You can telephone all over the world" that night after hearing Coulter's talk, it made me think of the cutting edge of communication - an international telephone call was a big deal in the sixties; and we were still adjusting to sending emails in the 1990s. How times have changed! Which is exactly what Australia Post was trying to capture in their "Then and Now" stamp release from earlier this year.

Actually, I think the stamps are a little ugly.  Despite the fact I have strict (ok, lax) rules about not collecting ugly stamps, I had to have them, because they had a cool gutter strip (and I love a good gutter strip). But really, the best way to find out about the "then" (as opposed to the "now") is to go directly to the source by looking at stamps issued at the time. So check out this fantastic stamp from 1985 visualising Electronic Mail:

Don't those triangles resemble Coulter's paper planes zooming through the aether, though his had landed and these are mid flight? It is such a space age image. I love it. So that is how Electronic Mail was imagined in 1985. 1985! Very cutting edge.

Could Australia Post have possibly imagined the transformative nature of e-mail for their industry at that point in time? I don't think so. I think at that point Australia Post might have presumed that they would be delivering, in some capacity, those electronic mails, and this 1985 stamp was advertising that futuristic hope.

So, as we ponder the roles of libraries and postal services as technology races ahead into the future, I think (and hope), for the time being at least, there are enough bibliophiles and philatelists (read: nerds) to keep these historic and vital institutions alive. And we can only imagine what people in thirty years might think of our communication practices today! Maybe our dependence on emails will be laughably quaint. Who knows?? Lets just hope that there are still postage stamps for us to gaze at, decipher and treasure.