New Stamp From Croatia

On April 8, 2013, Croatia Post issued a series of commemoratives entitled “Croatian Fauna — Amphibians.”  Pictured are a fire salamander, an olm (a fish-like amphibian), and a fire-bellied toad.


The Croatia Post web site has this to say about the species:  “Bombina bombina (Linnaeus 1761) is an amphibian living in lowland habitats throughout central and east Europe from Denmark to Sweden in the north-west to Ural in Russia and Turkey in the south-east. It can mostly be found in lakes and ponds that do not dry out and in flooding lowlands overgrown by thick vegetation. Although at world scale it is not an endangered species and falls in the category of the least endangered species it is strictly protected in Croatia because it is threatened to disappear from its natural habitat due to urbanisation and agriculture development.”

New Stamp From Latvia

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Riga Zoo, Latvia issued a set of three stamps featuring a lion (LVL 0.35, for regular mail within Latvia), a kiang (a wild donkey native to Tibet, LVL 0.55 for regular mail in the EU) and a European Tree Frog (LVL 0.60 for regular mail outside the EU).  The stamps were designed by Ludis Danilans and issued April 14, 2012.  This link to Latvia Post describes the first day ceremony and contest to win first day covers of each of the stamps.

The booklet pictured here was released in an edition of 5000 for the World Philatelic Exhibition in Essen, Germany, April 12-14, 2012.

According to the Latvia Post web site:  “The need to create a zoological garden in Riga was first discussed at the end of the 19thcentury. The day of birth of Riga Zoo was October 14, 1912. At that time, 88 species of animals were displayed. The layout of the zoo was created by the famous landscape architect Georg Kuphaldt, while the buildings were designed by the architect Hermanis Zeiberlihs.”  In 1988, the zoo launched a successful program to restore the European Tree Frog to Latvia.

FDC by S&T Cahcets

This first day cover is by Tom O’Hagan of S &T Cachets.  The illustration is from an trade card for Ayers Ague Cure, which claimed to cure fever and chills.  The stamp (Scott 2950) was issued in 1995 for the 150th Anniversary of Florida Statehood.

Ayer’s Ague Cure was one of a number of “medicines” manufactured by the J.C. Ayer’s Co. during the 19th century.  The Ague Cure, which claimed to cure all “afflictions which arise from milarious, marsh, or miasmatic poisons”, was made of alcohol and chincona bark (quinine) and so probably actually had some effect.  Ayer’s other products included Ayer’s Cherry Pectoral (which purportedly a cure for coughs and contained either morphine or heroin), Sasparilla (which claimed to cure jaundice, syphilis, ringworm, boils, ulcers, “female weaknesses” and rheumatism), and Hair Tonic.  The Ayer’s Almanac, discussed here, is worth taking a look at.

Original Ayer's Ague Cure Trade Card

United States Reptiles and Amphibians

In 2003, the United States issued a series of 37-cent, self-adhesive stamps featuring endangered reptiles and amphibians.  Designed by Steve Buchanan, the stamps feature the blue-spotted salamander, the ornate chorus frog, the reticulate collared lizard, the ornate box turtle and the scarlet kingsnake.   The stamps were part of the National Stamp Collecting Month:  each year in October, “the USPS   issues a commemorative stamp – or stamps – that appeal to young people. This year the Reptiles and Amphibians stamps help highlight this educational and family-oriented activity.”  First-day ceremonies were held at the San Diego Zoo.

For some reason, first day covers for this series abound.

Edken cachet featuring all five stamps in the series.

Heritage cachet.

Collins cachet

Artcraft cachet

Unknown cachet

FMPG cachet. Note that they pictured the wrong frog!

Cachet by Aquila

Armstrong cachet

Cachet by Colorano

Glen cachet

This cachet, by Jet Boy, depicts the stamp design made out of Legos.

A second cachet by Jet Boy shows Gulliver fighting the frogs.

S&T cachet

This cover, cachet by Salazar, includes all the US stamps featuring frogs.

Cachet by Taylor

Tom & Geri cachet

Unknown cachet

Wile cachet

New Issue–Ireland

An Post yesterday issued two sets of four stamps as a second phase of its Irish Animals and Marine Life definitive series, which illustrates “Ireland’s biodiversity from the seabed to the mountain top.”  The series includes–along with the Beadlet Anemone, the Squat Lobster, and the Cuckoo Wrasse–the Common Frog.

A second set of four stamps, featuring the Green Huntsman, the Elephant Hawk Moth, the (European) Goldfinch, and the Red Deer, was also issued.

U.S. Naval Cover: U.S.S. DuPont

A naval cover, according to the Naval Cover Museum, is “any envelope, postcard, or other postal medium that is mailed from or somehow related to a navy ship, location, or event. Beginning in 1908, post offices were established on board U.S. Navy ships and each ship had one or more postmarks to “cancel” the stamps used on the cover. The postmark, or cancellation, would usually have the ship’s name and the date that the cover was cancelled.”

This cover, postmarked May 13, 1933, Navy Yard, Boston, MA, is from the U.S.S. Du Pont (DD-152).  Named for Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont (yes, he was one of those Du Ponts), the destroyer was launched in 1918 and (apparently these are different things) commissioned in 1919.  At the time this cover was mailed, the Du Pont was operating out of Boston as a training vessel.  With the outbreak of World War II, she was recommissioned (for the second or third time) and became part of the Neutrality Patrol; eventually, she escorted convoys across the Atlantic and was one of the ships that brought casualties back from Normandy.  She was decommissioned for the last time in 1946 and sold in 1947.

When I get old covers, I like to see what I can find out about the addressee–in this case Ralph R. Spiker of New Philadelphia, OH.  It seems that he was a collector of naval covers–several have turned up on eBay and other auction sites.  He died in 1982.
The remaining question here:  why the frog cachet?  I can’t discover any connection to the U.S.S. Du Pont, no frogs in insignia or anything like that.  My guess is that it’s an add-on.  Oh, well.  It’s still an awesome frog.

Ohio Duck Stamp

Date of Issue:  1991 (valid through August 31, 1992)
Duck Species:  Lesser Scaup
Artist:  Gregory Clair
Cachet Maker:  Milford (Collins)
Stamps:  Ohio Bicentennial, Federal Duck Stamp 50th Anniversary
What is a Duck Stamp? 
According to the President of the National Duck Stamp Collectors Society:  “The federal duck stamp program began in 1934 with Scott #RW1 (see illustration).  . . . Federal Duck stamps are revenue stamps issued by the federal government to raise funds for wetlands preservation. The stamps validate a license to hunt migratory waterfowl when affixed to the license and signed by the hunter. Since the hunting season for waterfowl begins in the fall and may extend into winter of the following year, the stamps are issued midyear and display the date of expiration in the next year. The initial stamp was issued by the Department of Agriculture; in 1939, the duck stamp program was transferred to the Department of the Interior (DOI), where it is currently managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Through 1976, the stamps bore the inscription ‘Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp.’ In 1977, the inscription changed to ‘Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp’. “
So, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, anyone over the age of 16 who wants to hunt “ducks, geese, and brant” has to purchase a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp (available at the post office for $15.   In Ohio, one must also have an Ohio Wetlands Stamp.  Ohio issued its first Duck Stamp in 1982.
States sponsor junior and senior contests to choose the illustrations for the stamps.   It seems to have become a trend to create a First Day Cover with the state duck stamps tied to relevant USPS stamps–in this case the Ohio flag and the stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Federal Duck Stamp.
Oh, and the frog is on the lilypad in the lower right-hand corner.