Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Vintage Christmas stamps


We know I don't use Christmas stamps, but... I've just listed some lovely vintage Christmas postage stamps in my etsy shop.

Above, vintage 1982-1983 Christmas stamps, 8 1982-1983 20-cent stamps. Four have artwork of Santa Claus, and four have artwork featuring outdoor winter scenes.

Vintage 1989 Christmas stamp booklet: Carracci artwork, mint condition

These stamps are in a vintage 1989 Christmas stamp booklet with Carracci artwork from the National Gallery. The booklet contains 20 25-cent stamps, all in mint condition.

From Arago:
"Lodovico Carracci’s “The Dream of Saint Catherine of Alexandria” begins to move into the Italian Baroque style esteemed by Samuel Kress, who donated this and other paintings from that period to the National Gallery. The stamps, designed by Bradbury Thompson, were issued in sheets and books of twenty: a new format for Christmas stamps (Postal Bulletin, Oct. 19, 1989).

The lithographed, engraved design for the stamp represents only a portion of the composition of the painting, which includes Mary and angels above the sleeping Saint Catherine, for whom the painting is named. The scene illustrates the “mystic marriage” of Catherine, who dreamed Jesus “placed a ring on her finger to signify betrothal,” and indeed, she wears a ring in the painting (De Grazia 1996). While the luminous colors of the painting are not communicated on the stamp, the elegant forms of the mother and child are, with Jesus appearing more child-like in this version than in many other Christmas stamp images (De Grazia 1996)."

Vintage 1990 Christmas stamp booklet: Antonello artwork, mint condition

From the next year, I also have the Vintage 1990 Christmas stamp booklet with Antonello artwork. This booklet also contains 20 25-cent stamps, all in mint condition.

From Arago on this stamp:
"The stamp depicts Antonello da Messina's (c. 1430-1479) "Madonna and Child," which is housed at the National Gallery. Designed by Bradbury Thompson, the stamps were issued in panes of fifty stamps and booklets of twenty. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing printed the stamps by the offset/intaglio process."


Finally, a mixed lot of vintage unused Christmas postage, with the following items:

1 - 29 cent Jack in the box Greetings stamp, self-adhesive
2 - 20 cent Fra Filippo Lippi National Gallery Christmas Mary and Jesus painting stamps
1 - 22 cent Luca della Robbia, Detroit Institute of Arts Christmas Mary and Jesus on blue
1 - 6 cent toy train Christmas stamp

I know a lot of folks send holiday or Christmas cards, and if you're looking to dress up those items with some themed postage, these may be right up your alley.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Postcards from Amsterdam

Writing postcards with my trusty LWA bag

This year for Thanksgiving we went to Amsterdam. I think it is our favorite city in the world. I won't go into why here, but suffice to say we had a fantastic time. Of course I sent postcards, and had an awfully fine time writing them in various wonderful Dutch bars. Pictured above and below is my favorite bar, a haunt right down the street from where we stayed (and we went there every single night!), Gollem Proeflokaal.


Here I spent some fine time writing, drinking, talking, listening to music, and communing with the fantastic bar cats. And thanks to the amazing bartender who fixed us up with two transcendant beer flights, I discovered my new love: Karmeliet Tripel beer. (For those of you that know about my gluten sensitivities: I am not celiac but don't consume any gluten in the USA, it causes me all kinds of problems. For reasons I don't understand - different farming practices? GMO rules? - I can have gluten in the Netherlands. Beer, bread, none of it bothers me over there. So I drank a hell of a lot of fantastic beer!)


Another bar where I wrote postcards, Parck, was an "American style" bar, but I didn't even know that until I looked up their website just now!

Postcards, beer, cat

The bar cat here was friendlier - I was about the only person in the place at this time - and she came up and was very interested in my postcard writing. She helped, for sure.

Last chance to mail postcards!

I forgot to get my picture taken when I mailed postcards from other mailboxes, but the very last batch went out at the airport, and I remembered to ask for a photo then. I had no idea I was matching my Letter Writers Alliance bag so well, with my blue sweater and red earwarmers. Incidentally, the LWA member bag (sorry, it really is for members only - but if you're reading this blog, why aren't you a member of the Letter Writers Alliance?!?) is my new favorite travel bag. I have carried it on trains, planes, in cars, and it's been all over the world now. It's a darn fine bag.

So that was my trip, my postcard fun, and why I've been a little absent lately. Now I'm home, in my very busy season at work, but I'll have a brief respite the second half of December so I do hope to have some more blog posts coming. November has not been a good month for blogging or for mail, but it's been a fine month for travel and adventure!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

1940s aerogramme-style Air Mail with wings

Air Mail with wings

What a find! I'm so excited about this World War II era stationery, just listed in my etsy shop. The little envelope with wings is my favorite part!

Wessel's Air-Mail Envo-Letters

This is a complete original set of Wessel's Air Mail Envo-Letters, in original packaging. The paper folder contains 12 sheets of aerogramme-style stationery, which fold up into their own envelopes. The 1940s air mail graphics are stunning! Though they do not have a specific date on them, I'm near certain they are from the 1940s, roughly in the World War 2 era.

Vintage air mail envo-letters stationery

The packaging folders do show some wear and age spots, as you can see in the photos, but the envo-letters contained inside are in excellent shape, perfect for modern retro letter writing (or for the collector, of course). Above you see the folded sheets on the outside, with the excellent red and blue air mail stripes...

Vintage air mail fold and mail stationery

...and they are mostly blank on the inside, except for the fantastic Air Mail with wings graphic shown in close-up at the top of this post.

For aficionados of vintage writing instruments, I have enjoyed these in my own letter-writing, and can attest that this vintage paper is very fountain pen friendly, and takes fountain pen ink beautifully.

These are not to be confused with V-Mails, which Wessel also manufactured - V-Mails were for correspondence with American troops stationed overseas, but these Envo-Letters looked to be for any international air mail. (I also sell vintage WWII V-Mail sets, too.)

Vintage Envo-Letters aerogramme

I have a few of these sets in the original packaging - fun to look at, and fun to write on. Check out an example of one I sent internationally a few months ago.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's that time of year again...

Magic and the menorah 2

It's the appropriate time of year to go ahead and direct folks to my oft-viewed "A word on holiday cards, or, why I don't do Christmas" post.

If you're really interested, there's some fairly in-depth dialogue in the comments section.

The short bit: don't send me a Christmas card, please.

The long bit: read why.