Thursday, December 18, 2008

Airmail Labels from Fiji - Pacific Ocean Series

This is another pictorial airmail label, the label have a wording "From Sunny Fiji" and a large flying fish. This label help in promoting tourism in certain way. Instead of choosing bird and aeroplane, Fiji Postal Service intelligently chosen Flying Fish to symbolize airmail services in the island republic, which is very unique and can best represent the country.

Flying fish can be seen jumping out of warm ocean waters worldwide. Their streamlined torpedo shape helps them gather enough underwater speed to break the surface, and their large, wing-like pectoral fins get them airborne.

Flying fish are thought to have evolved this remarkable gliding ability to escape predators, of which they have many. Their pursuers include mackerel, tuna, swordfish, marlin, and other larger fish. For their sustenance, flying fish feed on a variety of foods, including plankton.

There are about 40 known species of flying fish. Beyond their useful pectoral fins, all have unevenly forked tails, with the lower lobe longer than the upper lobe. Many species have enlarged pelvic fins as well and are known as four-winged flying fish.

Flying fish are attracted to light, like a number of sea creatures, and fishermen take advantage of this with substantial results. Canoes, filled with enough water to sustain fish, but not enough to allow them to propel themselves out, are affixed with a luring light at night to capture flying fish by the dozens. There is currently no protection status on these animals.

Lastly, a brief profile of the country from Wikipedia:

Fiji, officially the Republic of the Fiji Islands, is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean east of Vanuatu, west of Tonga and south of Tuvalu. The country occupies an archipelago of about 322 islands, of which 106 are permanently inhabited, and 522 islets. The two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the population.

Flying fish photo and narrative are courtesy from National Geographic.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Airmail Labels from Westerm Samoa - Pacific Ocean Series

This is another island located in Pacific Ocean - Western Samoa. The label is in dark cyan colour with a prominent font stating the country name. This is the gum format label and after many years, it is still in very good condition as I stored it in the stamp mount and keep inside the dry box.

I believe this is also a rare find as the island population is small, number of letter affixed with labels may not be high in both commercial and personal mailing. Most official letter is with either preprinted label or with rubber stamping. Thus, this is one of my favorite collection although it is just in plain wording. And I like the cyan colour very much, I feel like the colour express the sunny island surrounded with beautiful sea and beaches.

Estimated population in 2008 are 188,540.

I believe this is an old designed labels and the country name already changed to Samoa instead of Western Samoa. Thus, if you have the latest design, kindly inform and share with me.

I extracted a brief summary of the country profile from Wikipedia:

Samoa, officially the Independent State of Samoa (formerly known as Western Samoa), is a country governing the western part of the Samoan Islands archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean. It was admitted to the United Nations on 15 December 1976. The entire island group, inclusive of American Samoa, was known as Navigators Islands before the 20th century because of the Samoans' seafaring skills.

The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, private family remittances from overseas, and agricultural exports. Agriculture employs two-thirds of the labour force, and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, noni (juice of the nonu fruit, as it is known in Samoan), and copra. Outside of a large automotive wire-harness factory (Yazaki Corporation), the manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. Tourism is an expanding sector which now accounts for 25% of GDP. Tourist arrivals have been increasing over the years with more than 100,000 tourists visiting the islands in 2005, up from 70,000 in 1996.

If you would like to know more or visit the country, this is a good site to visit:

Airmail Labels from Brunei

The first label was the old designed in gum format and smaller size then the standard airmail labels. The second designed is not the latest, it is in sticker format and the designed is similar to Sing Post previous designed label (as described in my previous article). 

I do not have the latest label, if you happen to have it, kindly share with me and help me in the collection. Thanks.

I collect airmail labels many years ago and stop for quiet sometime, I am now start to catch up with all the currently in circulation labels. If you have any good ideas how to build up the collection, I am glad to know.

Airmail Labels from Singapore - Part 2

This is the Part 2 series on Sinagpore Airmail labels. Above collections (first photo on left) shown 3 labels, the 1st design depicts Sinagpore Airline logo, this is the gum label (see my previous article for details).

2nd designed is a blue colour background with vertical strip and Sinagpore Telecom old designed logo on the left hand side. The label changed to self adhesive for ease of use, i.e. peel and stick label.

It is interesting to note that previous Brunei airmail label have the same design but with Brunei
post office logo. (shown on the 2nd photo, the top label). This may due to Brunei and Sing Post have collaboration in mailing services.

The last label is currently in circulation and it is in peel and stick form in roll and sheet format.

Airmail Labels from Vanuatu - Pacific Ocean Series

Above labels variance in colour (dark and light cyan). These are the used labels I cut from the envelope.

The label background is white in colour and depicts the Post Office official logo in the center (shown above).

Vanuatu is a group of 83 islands in the South West Pacific, governed as an independent Republic by its indigenous people.

The Ni-Vanuatu, as they are known, is a peaceful, loving, gentle race, who enjoy life's pleasures in a country of unique and diverse customs and culture.  Bislama (Pidgin English) is the national language of Vanuatu, but English and French are also widely spoken.

It is believed the first settlers arrived in Vanuatu approximately 3,500 years ago, from New Guinea and the Solomon Islands by sea-going canoe. 

The early stamps of Vanuatu followed the tradition established during the days of the New Hebrides Condominium with stamps always printed in two forms – English and French. 

With effect from the 1980 Christmas stamp issue this practice was abandoned and bilingual stamps were introduced to better reflect the independence and unified status of the Country. 

First day covers, however, continued to receive separate French and English cancellations, until the Christmas 1991 stamp issue when bilingual cancellations were introduced. The 1981 Royal Wedding issue was the first bilingually cancelled cover before this change of general policy.

To know more on the island republic, I extracted a brief history from Wikipedia:

Vanuatu, officially the Republic of Vanuatu, is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is some 1,750 kilometres (1,090 mi) east of northern Australia, 500 kilometres (310 mi) north-east of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and south of the Solomon Islands.

Vanuatu was first inhabited by Melanesian people. Europeans began to settle in the area in the late 18th century. In the 1880s France and the United Kingdom claimed parts of the country and in 1906 they agreed on a framework for jointly managing the archipelago through a British-French Condominium as the New Hebrides. An independence movement was established in the 1970s, and the Republic of Vanuatu was created in 1980.

Photo of volcano in Vanuatu is courtesy from National Geographic.

Airmail Labels from Nauru - Pacific Ocean Series

Airmail labels from a small island, the Republic of Nauru. The main economy is phosphate exports. It is located in the central Pacific Ocean 2,800 miles to the southwest of Hawaii; in Micronesia to the west of the Gilbert Islands.

The island had 9265 residents at end 2006, and 96 percent speak Nauruan at home. The population was previously higher but in 2006 some 1500 people left the island during a repatriation of immigrant workers from Kiribati and Tuvalu. The repatriation was motivated by widescale redundancies in the phosphate industry. The official language of Nauru is Nauruan, a distinct Pacific island language. English is widely spoken and is the language of government and commerce.

There were traditionally 12 clans or tribes on Nauru, which are represented in the 12-pointed star in the nation's flag. The Nauruan people called their island "Naoero"; the word "Nauru" was later derived so that English speakers could easily pronounce the name.

The label resemble the national flag with wording Air Mail and Par Avion. This is another unique design label. The middle picture in the national flag image and the last photo is the block of 12 labels.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Airmail Labels from Singapore - Part 1

This is the Singapore early designed airmail labels, very rare. The labels are in good mint condition with gum at the back. The design depicts the Singapore Airlines logo in yellow and black as background. One of the unique design label as opposed to the common blue colour used for most of the airmail labels.

Airmail Labels from Papua New Guinea

Collection from Papua New Guinea (PNG). The label depicts the national bird - Bird of Paradise.

The birds of paradise are members of the family Paradisaeidae of the order Passeriformes. They are found in eastern Indonesia, Torres Strait Islands, Papua New Guinea, and eastern Australia.

PNG is a parliamentary democracy on the eastern half of the island of New Guinea; in 1975 it became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations.

Bird photo courtesy from Wikipedia.

Introduction to Airmail etiquette / label

An airmail etiquette, often shortened to just etiquette, is an adhesive label used to indicate that a letter is to be sent by airmail.

Because the etiquettes are basically just instructions to postal clerks, and have no monetary value, their printing and distribution need not be as carefully controlled as for postage stamps, and most are privately produced. The usual design is a plain blue oblong, with the phrases such as "AIR MAIL" and/or "PAR AVION" (French, traditionally the international mail language) in white letters. 

However, at various times, airlines and hotels have produced more elaborate designs, some quite attractive.

The airmail etiquette may be omitted if airmail stamps are used on the letter, and in some cases even this is not necessary if a country sends out all its foreign mail by air. In some countries, such as, the United Kingdom you may simply write "PAR AVION -- BY AIR MAIL" on the envelope, even though etiquettes are available free from post offices.

An early catalog of etiquettes was published in 1947 by Frank Muller; more recently the Postal Label Study Group has put out the Mair Airmail Label Catalog, a 627-page work illustrating 3,289 types of etiquettes.

Source: Wikipedia