UNOstamps comment -
The title of this comment sounds more dramatic than it is. The year 2006 is coming to an end and a new one is about to begin. For the UN collector important events will be International Heliophysical Year and International Polar Year. Both years are bound to generate a lot of attention and, of course, stamps. These two years are not yet on the UN calendar, but the UN Office for Outer Space and the World Meteorological Organization are key players.
2006 has been a busy year. In March I lost my job (and I still haven't found a new one). In July I started this website and over these few months it has grown to 21 countries (number 22 is almost finished, but I am keeping the name a secret for now) and 167 different subjects. Visitors from 20 different countries have viewed one or more pages. I hope that next year they keep coming and I hope that some of these visitors would send me an e-mail telling me what they think of the site.
September saw the presentation of my latest book on local history. During an official gathering in one of our local monuments, the old town hall, I could present it to the local alderman for culture (on the right). Bit by bit I am working on the next book. The last one took me two and a half years to complete, so we will see what happens. First item on the agenda is however the annual report 2006 for the local historical association.
Later today I will visit a friend in Tilburg. I will start the new year in the south of the country in one of the local pubs. Not far from Tilburg lies the village of Liempde. That is the place where the 23 million euro prize will be shared by the villagers. This means that my world travels will take place from behind my computer. I have found a lot of webcams over the past few weeks, islands, cities and there is even one that gives you a view from the 10th floor of the UN Headquarters (http://www.un.org/webcam/index.html).
I wish all visitors of this website all the best for the coming year.
At the Belgica in Brussels I bought a lot of stamps from Commonwealth countries in Southern Africa. Bit by bit I am putting these stamps in the right albums and in the right place. As I am sorting the stamps in alphabetical order the stamps of Zambia and Zimbabwe do not give much problems, but those of Ascension Island and Botswana generate a lot of work.
According to my list I had completed the collection of Ascension Island stamps and therefore the time was ripe to make a country page for this remote part of the British Empire. However, when studying the catalogue more carefully I noticed that I missed the stamp commemorating Churchill. It shows the former prime minister with the UN Headquarters in the background. And on top of that I discovered in the online edition of the Stanley Gibbons that two stamp booklets were overprinted with the logo of the World Stamp Expo 89 (part of the UPU Congress).
This made me think that it will be almost impossible
to make a complete catalogue of all UN related stamps. There may always be a
stamp that is not clearly described in the catalogue or that is overprinted and
therefore not clearly listed. A complete UN collection will remain an
impossible dream. Also an impossible dream is visiting the countries that I
describe. Sometimes I find a site with a live webcam and today I saw a the pier
at Ascension and I saw penguins walk by on
This night I was listening to the radio and working on the country page for Tunisia. The radio program "Night of the good life" (every Sunday night (or Monday morning) from 1.00 till 6.00 h. on Radio 1) was on and after a while they presented the weekly quiz. For the first time I knew the answer instantly ("the telephone directory") and picked up the phone to call in my answer.
I was the first with the right answer and got the opportunity to give it during the live broadcast. The presenter asked what I was doing awake at this time of the night and when I told her that I was working on my stamp collection looking for information on Tunisia, she kept asking about my stamps and my website. This resulted in a five minute free radio commercial for this website.
Sometimes bad things can happen also. Last week I went to a birthday party in Amsterdam. I decided to take the last train home so as not to be home too late. When the train approached the station Haarlem-Spaarnwoude I heard something hitting the train and bouncing under the floor. I was sitting downstairs in the front of the train, so I got all the sounds loud and clear. Of course the train stopped and it was announced that "we have hit an unknown object". That object turned out to be someone that jumped in front of the train. All passengers had to get out, a bus arrived almost forty minutes later and took us back to Amsterdam. There the night train to The Hague was still waiting for us. Fortunately if a train gets stranded the rail road company arranges to take you to your destination by taxi. The driver was so kind to drop me off at home where I arrived at 3.30 h.
Newly added to the website is Tunisia, but it is still under construction. And of course this new country will in due course result in new subject pages, like the inauguration of UNESCO headquarters (1958), the UN Regional Cartographic Conferences, the International Anti-Apartheid Year (1978) and the Global eradication of smallpox.
Some things in life we take for granted. I thought of this when I heard a radio interview this evening with a manager of one of the energy companies. The subject was power cuts and how without electricity almost everything stops. This year the electricity failed three times in my neighbourhood and I always spend some time looking for a candle to at least have some light. These power failures always happen when it's dark outside.
Earlier on I was sending text messages to a friend of mine who is on holiday in Malaysia. It is amazing how fast such a message flies across the world in a matter of seconds (or even less). It is really a wonder of technique and it has only be here for a couple of years. I got my first mobile phone in 1998 and it was almost the size of a video tape. Now even the video tape is becoming extinct.
During all this I managed to add three 'simple' countries to the website: the states that formed the French Occupation Zone of Germany after the war. These states (Baden, Württemberg-Hohenzollern and Rhineland-Palatinate) issued their own stamps, the last of them being commemorative stamps for the 75th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union. Making this website and studying these stamps more closely is like walking through a history book. New chapters in the book are also the subject pages on UNDP and IMO. Also there is now an extra list of persons that are depicted on one or more of the stamps, but do not have a relation to the UN.
General elections are over. My party lost three of its six seats in parliament and now we are picking up the pieces. The voters left the country with a parliament where it takes at least three parties to form a government with a majority. The people have voted for those parties that either want to keep things as they are or return to the old days (christian-democrats, social-christians, socialists and very right wing liberals). Losers are those parties that look to the future (social-liberals, liberals, social-democrats and greens).
Now the process is in the hands of the Queen who consults the party leaders and senior advisors and next week will decide what will be the next step on the road to a new cabinet.
Work on this website continues. I have added a new country: the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Although a lot of people do not recognize these stamps as 'real', the Order has concluded postal agreements with numerous countries and there its stamps are valid. Personally I feel that these stamps should be included in the major catalogues and be treated as normal stamps like those of the United Nations itself.
Most of the pages I announced in my first comment are now available: Cousteau, World Population Day and World Day to Combat Desertification. Also added are the Yvert catalogue numbers for Benin, Germany and Niger. And of course all the links on the subject pages to the SMOM stamps are in place.
UNOstamps comment - 21 November 2006 - Belgica 2006
Frequent visitors have noticed that during a few days (after 7 November) no new additions have been made. It has been a busy time and I have been occupied with cataloguing my collection. Now I have a fairly accurate list of all the stamps, souvenir sheets, booklets and stationary in my collection.
During my visit to Sofia, the Stamp Day exhibition in Rotterdam and the international philatelic show Belgica 2006 in Brussels (photo: the Atomium at ten in the morning) I have bought loads of stamps, sheets, postmarks and coins.
It will take some time to put these in the right place in my collection. Among others I have completed the collection of Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Also some other postal administrations (Viet Nam, Ukraine, Republika Srpska) sold some older issues. As often I bought too much from M. and N. Haworth from Lancashire. They have an enormous stock of stamps from all corners of the British Commonwealth and this time I bought stamps from Southern Africa (Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tristan da Cunha, Saint Helena, Ascension, Lesotho, Swaziland) and the states on the Persian Gulf (Qatar, Umm al Qiwain, Dubai, Ras al Khaima).
Tomorrow the general elections take place in the Netherlands and unfortunately my party is not doing very well in the polls. In any case after tomorrow I can add more pages to the website. Still to come are the new subjects that are connected to the Niger stamps: IMO 30th anniversary, UNDP and its 40th anniversary, World Population Day and World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. Also a page on Jacques-Yves Cousteau will be added.
UNOstamps Comments 2007 (12 January - 30 December)
UNOstamps Comments 2008 (28 January - 31 December)
last revised: 1 August 2010