Maritime Monday for February 11th, 2013: RMS Philately

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February 10, 2013


Jules Verne Stamps; First Day Covers ; France—3 June 1955


Canadian postage stamp (detail)
full size


For the last three years the Ã…land Islands have
featured passenger ferries on postage stamps

Here are the first two from 1 June 2009

The second set of passenger ferry stamps from Aland were issued
on 3 May 2010, and feature the MS Skandia and MS Prinsessan

 The Ã…land Islands (or Ã…land) are an autonomous, demilitarised, monolingually Swedish-speaking region of Finland that consists of an archipelago lying at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia in the Baltic Sea. The Ã…land archipelago consists of nearly three hundred islands, of which only about eighty are inhabited; the remainder are merely some 6,000 skerries and desolate rocks.

The Ã…land Islands were part of the territory ceded to Russia by Sweden under the Treaty of Fredrikshamn in September 1809. As a result, along with all other parts of Finland, they became part of the semi-autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland.

The Ã…land Islands occupy a position of strategic importance, as they command one of the entrances to the port of Stockholm. The islanders enjoyed safety at sea during WWII as their merchant fleet sailed for both the allied countries and the Germans. Consequently Ã…land shipping was not generally attacked as each side rarely knew which cargo was being carried to whom.

Ã…land Islands on wikipedia


SS Albatros was a cruise ship operated by the
Germany-based travel agency Phoenix Reisen.

Originally built as a transatlantic ocean liner in 1957 by John Brown & Co (Clydebank), Glasgow, Scotland for the UK-based shipping company Cunard Line, and named RMS Sylvania. She was later rebuilt as a cruise ship, sailed under various names for several different shipping companies, and was eventually scrapped in 2004.

Here is an image of a stamp depicting the Albatros in  Stockholm harbor. Designed by Swedish graphic artist Gustav Malmfors and issued by Sweden on May 14, 1998

RMS Sylvania on wikipedia




Bahamas; 1979Photograph of Rowland Hill

Sir Rowland Hill (1795 – 1879) was an English teacher, inventor and social reformer. He campaigned for a comprehensive reform of the postal system, based on the concept of penny postage and his solution of prepayment, facilitating the safe, speedy and cheap transfer of letters. He is credited with originating the basic concepts of the modern postal service, including the invention of the postage stamp.

By the 1830s, the British mail system had become inadequate for the needs of an expanding commercial and industrial nation. At that time, letters were normally paid for by the recipient, not the sender.  in 1833, advocates of free trade advanced the view that “nothing contributes more to facilitate commerce than the safe, speedy and cheap conveyance of letters.”

Hill’s famous pamphlet, Post Office Reform: its Importance and Practicability,  called for “low and uniform rates,” calculated according to weight, rather than distance. Hill proposed to lower the postage rate to a penny per half ounce.  right: The Penny Black, the first postage stamp

imageThe penny-post rate was instituted on 10 January 1840.  The volume of paid internal correspondence increased by 120% between November 1839 and February 1840.

In May 1840, the world’s first adhesive postage stamps were distributed. With an elegant engraving of the young Queen Victoria, the Penny Black was an immediate success. Refinements, such as perforations to ease the separating of the stamps, would be instituted with later issues.

In 1846, Hill became Secretary to the Postmaster General, and then Secretary to the Post Office from 1854 until 1864. For his services Hill was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1860. He died in Hampstead, London in 1879 and is buried in Westminster Abbey. +

A dark deed mapped by the originator of the Penny Black


Bathyscaphe Archimède

Designed and engraved by Albert Decaris – Issued by France on January 26, 1963 to publicize the research vessel’s successful dive to a record 9,200 meters

The bathyscaphe Archimède is a deep diving research submersible of the French Navy. On 15 July 1962, Archimede descended to 31,350 feet (9,560 m) into the Kurile-Kamchatcha Trench, making it the second deepest dive ever, at that point in time, second only to the Bathyscaphe Trieste dive on the Challenger Deep.

On 12 August 1962, Archimede descended to 30,511 feet (9,300 m) in the Japan Deep south of Tokyo.


Archimède on wikipedia


The Bluenose, a great classic, and in my view one of the world’s most beautiful stamps

Bluenose was a Canadian fishing and racing schooner from Nova Scotia built in 1921.  A celebrated racing ship and hard-working fishing vessel, Bluenose became a provincial icon for Nova Scotia and an important Canadian symbol in the 1930s. The name “bluenose” originated as a nickname for Nova Scotians from as early as the late 18th century.

The Bluenose on wikipedia


100 Years of the Canadian Navy

see also


French statesman Georges Benjamin Clemenceau

Artist’s conception of the French Navy battleship le Clémenceau (spelled with an accent mark over the first “e”), which was laid down on January 17, 1939 to be built by Arsenal de Brest.

In 1940, the still incomplete le Clémenceau was captured by the Germans. The hulk was floated out, bombed and sunk by the Allies on August 27, 1944. This stamp was designed and engraved by Albert Decaris, and issued by France on April 18, 1939.

Georges Benjamin Clemenceau (28 September 1841 – 24 November 1929) was a French statesman who led the nation to victory in the First World War. He was one of the principal architects of the Treaty of Versailles at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919.

Clemenceau made famous the line “War is too important to be left to the generals”. +


airmail stamp depicting the Commandant Charcot

French oceanographic exploration vessel, designed and engraved by Claude Haley, and issued for use in French Southern and Antarctic Territories on September 17, 1982


La seconde tentative du “Commandant-Charcot” (in French)
stamp: ADELIE LAND – South Antarctic conquest

Jean-Baptiste Charcot (1867 – 1936), born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, was a French polar scientist and leader of the French Antarctic Expedition (1904-07) +


Sur les traces du commandant Charcot (in French)


Sir Samuel Cunard and Sir Hugh Allan; issued in Canada

Sir Samuel Cunard, 1st Baronet (1787 – 1865) was a British shipping magnate, born at Halifax, Nova Scotia, who founded the Cunard Line. He was the son of a master carpenter and timber merchant who had fled the American Revolution and settled in Halifax.

Cunard was a highly successful entrepreneur in Halifax shipping and one of a group of twelve individuals who dominated the affairs of Nova Scotia. Early investments in steam included co-founding the steam ferry company in Halifax harbour and an investment in the pioneering steamship Royal William.

Cunard went to the United Kingdom, where he set up a company with several other businessmen to bid for the rights to run a transatlantic mail service between the UK and North America. It was successful in its bid, the company later becoming Cunard Steamships Limited.

In 1840, the company’s first steamship, the Britannia, sailed from Liverpool to Halifax, Nova Scotia and then on to Boston with Cunard and 63 other passengers on board, marking the beginning of regular trans-Atlantic passenger and cargo service. +


SS Canadian, 1855
Along with the Indian, these superior ships helped Allan
to secure the Royal Mail contract in 1856

Sir Hugh Allan (1810 – 1882) was a Scottish-born Canadian shipping magnate, financier and capitalist. By the time of his death, the Allan Shipping Line had become the largest privately owned shipping empire in the world.

Beyond mail and emigrating passengers, the Allan Line carried Royalty (converting one of its ships with no expense nor detail to attention spared), troops (in the Crimean and Zulu wars), general cargo, manufactured goods and much needed Canadian wheat to Britain.


left: Eight-man shell, designed by Czech artist Anna Podzemna-Suchardova (1909-1991) right: Sailboat and rest home, designed by Czech painter and illustrator Ruda Šváb (1909-1989)


Sculling, designed by Czech artist Vladimír Kovářík

Issued by Czechoslovakia on February 20, 1961 to publicize the European Rowing Championships held in Prague – engraved by Ladislav Jirka

see also:
Canoe racing, designed by Czech artist Jaroslav Kovář (1910-1966) issued by Czechoslovakia on January 25, 1958 to publicize the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Canoe Sprint World Championships held in Prague


Republique de Djibouti


SS Ferenc Deak paddling down the Danube

Passing scenic Schönbühel Castle in the Austrian valley of Wachau, and featuring the Austrian flag, this stamp was designed by Hungarian graphic artist Jozsef Vertel (1922-1993), printed by photogravure, and issued by Hungary in June of 1967.

The Danube Steamboat Shipping Company, Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaft was a shipping company founded in 1829 by the Austrian government for transporting passengers and cargo on the River Danube.

By 1880, the DDSG was the world’s largest river shipping company with more than 200 steamboat ships and about 1000 cargo tubs. It owned its own coal mines in the Pecs area of Hungary, it ran river vessels from Germany to the Danube’s mouth in Roumania; and had salt water vessels running on the Mediterranean from Constantinople to Trieste. +


Issued by Faroe Islands in 1990 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the official British occupation, (Operation Valentine) by the Brits to prevent them from falling into German hands during WW2.

On 13 April, the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Suffolk arrived at Tórshavn and 250 Royal Marines were disembarked, later to be replaced by other British troops. An official announcement was later made announcing the occupation and ordering a nighttime blackout in Tórshavn and neighbouring Argir, the censorship of post and telegraphy and the prohibition of the use of motor vehicles during the night without a permit.

The Faroe Islands received occasional attacks by German Luftwaffe aircraft in the course of the war, but a full-scale invasion was never attempted. Drifting sea mines proved to be a considerable problem and resulted in the loss of numerous fishing boats and their crews.

Following the liberation of Denmark and the end of World War II in Europe, the occupation was terminated in May 1945. British troops left shortly after. In 1990 the Faroese government organised British Week, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the friendly occupation. The celebration was attended by HMS Brilliant and a Royal Marines band.  +

Designed by Faroese painter Bárður Jákupsson; The vessels depicted on the souvenir sheet are the Faroese steam trawler Nýggjaberg, torpedoed and sunk by U-701 (Horst Degen) on March 7, 1942 with no survivors, and the Faroese schooner Sanna, from Toftir, sunk by a German airplane in 1942 with a loss of eight lives. +


On 5 March 2012 Finland celebrated its maritime heritage
with the issue of this set of two postage stamps

photo: Finnish coast guard patrol ship Merikarhu


Gambia 1Gambia 2Gambia 3Gambia 4Gambia 5Gambia 6
Gambia 7Gambia 8Gambia 9Gambia 10Gambia 11Gambia 12


stamp depicting the French Navy cruiser
Georges Leygues and the battleship Lorraine

issued by France to honor its Navy on April 8, 1946

The Georges Leygues was a French light cruiser that served with both the Vichy French and Allied navies.  At the start of World War II, she was assigned to the Force de Raid, patrolling the Atlantic in response to German commerce raids. Her only incident, however, was when a French submarine was shelled in error.

She also supported Allied landings in Normandy in June 1944 and southern France in August. A French naval tradition says that beyond five months of campaigning, the war flag of a ship gets longer by one metre for each month spent off France; the war flag of the Georges Leygues is said to have been 60 metres long when she entered Toulon on 13 September 1944. +


Great Britain PHQ card from 1981 from the Fishing series


mini sheet from 2004 Great Britain – ocean liners


A gufa is a circular boat propelled by a pole or single paddle, rather like a coracle. Here is an image of a stamp depicting gufas on the Tigris River, designed by British artist Florence Edith Cheesman (active 1897-1923), engraved and printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co., and issued by Iraq in 1923


Israel issued a set of three postage stamps on 17 April 2012 showing The Renaissance of Jewish Seamanship – the first one is of the Sarah A, 1936, Haifa.

Inset: Captain Jeremiah Halpern, a certified ship’s captain, was known as Rav Hahovel (captain of the ship). After completing high school, he graduated as a Captain from the Italian Naval Academy in 1917.   In 1919 he graduated from the London School for Captains and Engineers.

See also: Hehalutz, 1919, Jaffa  &  Har Zion, 1936, Tel Aviv


The Sarah I (former Italian Quattro Venti) was a 190-foot four-masted schooner of 750 tons used by the Betar Naval Academy:  the “first Jewish Training Ship in modern history” established in Civitavecchia, Italy in 1934.

Jeremiah Halpern ran the school, was its driving force, and authored the book The History of Hebrew Seamanship.  The School trained cadets from all over Europe, Palestine and South Africa and produced some of the future commanders of the Israeli Navy. The Academy closed in 1938.

At the outbreak of World War II Halpern was sent to negotiate with the Canadian Admiralty for the establishment of a Jewish Naval School to train members of a special Jewish unit for the British Army.

In 1942 Halpern opened a school for frogmen in France, established a school for skipper cadets in London and was successful in attracting support from British officers and members of the Rothschild family. Around 350 officers, mechanics and fishermen graduated from these schools.

Halpern returned to Israel in 1948 and lived in Eilat, where he studied oceanography and founded the Eilat Naval Museum, which was subsequently named after him. +


MS Ivan Franko was a cruise ship owned by the Soviet Union’s Black Sea Shipping Company, based in Odessa.  She was built in 1964 by V.E.B. Mathias-Thesen Werft, Wismar, East Germany. Tonnage: 23000 GRT. She was scrapped in 1997 at Alang, India.

Here is an image of a stamp depicting the Ivan Franko, designed by German graphic artist Jochen Berthold (1936- ), engraved by Margot (Sachs-) Bitzer, and issued by East Germany (DDR) on August 24, 1971.


MS Ivan Franko


 Designed by Bernard Minne, engraved by Raoul Serres, and issued by Monaco on February 23, 1953 to commemorate the 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympic Games sailing events held July 20–28, 1952 off the coast of Harmaja, Finland


Nantucket sleighride, anyone?
stamp depicting Prince Albert I (1848-1922)
manning the harpoon gun in a whaleboat

designed and engraved by Raoul Serres, and issued by Monaco on March 5, 1949


Stamp depicting two cable ships, old and new, SS Great Eastern and Alsace 

Inset: emblem of the International Telecommunication Union, designed and engraved by Jean Pheulpin, and issued by Monaco on May 17, 1965

The first transatlantic telegraph cable was laid between 1857–58. It briefly enabled telecommunication between Europe and North America before misuse resulted in failure of the line. In 1866 the SS Great Eastern successfully laid two transatlantic cables, securing future communication between the continents. +

History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications


The Centenary of Reaching the South Pole

Roald Amundsen & Fram were the subject of a set of stamps issued by Norway on 15 April 2011.


Issued by Norway on June 7, 1991 to commemorate the centenary of the Sea Rescue Society

shown: Skomvær III (left) and Colin Archer, 1893 (right)

imageThe Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue was founded on 9 July 1891. The first rescue boat went into service in 1893, and in 1894 the Colin Archer saved 37 lives in a storm. Colin Archer (1832 – 1921) was a Norwegian naval architect and shipbuilder from Larvik, Norway.

He and his shipyard were known for building durable and safe ships. The most notable single ship built by Colin Archer was the Fram, which participated in expeditions to the North Pole and, later, in Roald Amundsen’s historic first expedition to the South Pole; Fram is now preserved in the Fram Museum on Bygdøy, Oslo, Norway.

Today, there are 43 vessels continuously manned and on standby along the coast of Norway. The society has about 6000 engagements every year. 13 of the 43 boats are operated by volunteers,  the rest of the boats are manned by a professional crew who live and work onboard on a 28 day rotation.


SS Pasteur was a turbine steam ship built for
Compagnie de Navigation Sud-Atlantique

Launched in August, 1939. The Pasteur was 29,253 gross tons, 212.4 m long and 26.8 m wide. She had 11 decks, possessed extensive loading spaces, and was designed to carry 751 passengers. Her usual service speed was around 22 knots, making her the third fastest ship of her time.

Although she was sometimes referred to as an SS (Steamship), Pasteur really was a TSS or TS (Turbine Steam Ship). In 1957, she was acquired by North German Lloyd and renamed TS Bremen.

In all, she sailed for 41 years, and was considered as one of the most beautiful passenger liners of her time. This semi-postal stamp depicting Pasteur was designed and engraved by Albert Decaris, and issued by France on July 17, 1941.

SS Pasteur (1939) on wikipedia



Five stamps in a set honoring Poland’s Merchant Navy
issued March 16, 1956


engraved stamp depicting the Canadian-built paddle-wheeler SS Royal William

designed after an oil painting by naval artist S. D. Skillett. Issued by Canada on August 17, 1933 to commemorate the centenary of the Royal William’s 25-day voyage from Nova Scotia to England in August 1833, the first transatlantic crossing made entirely under steam power


SS Royal William

The 1,370-ton SS Royal William (named after the ruling monarch, William IV) was 160 feet (49 m) long and 44 feet (13 m), a large steamship for the time. She was commissioned by brewer John Molson and a group of investors from various colonies in British North America, and built in Cape Blanc, Quebec. She made several trips between Quebec and the Atlantic colonies in 1831, but lost money because of a cholera epidemic in 1832.

Her owners decided to sail her to Europe and find a buyer. She departed from Pictou, Nova Scotia on 18 August 1833 with seven passengers, a small amount of freight and a load of coal and arrived at Gravesend on the River Thames after a 25-day passage. The Royal William was eventually sold to the Spanish Navy.

One of Royal William’s co-owners was Samuel Cunard, a merchant from Halifax Nova Scotia who drew important lessons from the ship which he applied when he founded the Cunard Steamship Company a few years later.

SS Royal William on wikipedia


Saint Pierre and Miquelon issued a set of four postage
stamps on 28 September 2011 showing Support Boats

Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a self-governing territorial overseas collectivity of France, situated in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean near Canada. The islands are situated at the entrance of Fortune Bay, near the Grand Banks.

Located 25 km southwest of Newfoundland, the archipelago of Saint Pierre and Miquelon is composed of eight islands, totalling 242 km2, of which only two are inhabited. The 2009 census  estimated the islands to have a population of 6,345.

The name of Miquelon was first noted in the form “Micquelle” in the Basque sailor Martin de Hoyarçabal‘s navigational pilot for Newfoundland,  in 1579. +

Les voyages aventureux du Capitaine Martin de Hoyarsal, habitant du çubiburu was published in French and was widely used by French and Spanish mariners for centuries.

Britain invaded and razed the colony in 1778, during the American revolutionary war, and the entire population of 2,000 was sent back to France. The British colony was in turn sacked by French troops in 1796.

Smuggling had always been an important economic activity in the islands, but it became especially prominent in the 1920s with the institution of prohibition in the United States. +


MS Selandia was the world’s first ocean-going diesel motor ship

She was built at Burmeister & Wain Shipyard in Copenhagen, Denmark, and launched in November 1911. Selandia was designed for cargo and passenger carriage. Tonnage: 6,800 dwt; 4964 GRT; Length: 370 ft (112.8 m); Beam: 53 ft (16.2 m); Installed power: 2 x eight-cylinder, four-cycle, 1,250 hp diesel engines; Propulsion: twin-screw; Speed: 12 knots.

Here is an image of a stamp depicting the Selandia, designed by Danish marine artist Rasmus Nellemann (1923-2004) and issued in Denmark on June 14, 1962.


The Danish Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating Selandia‘s 50th Anniversary

Selandia didn’t have a funnel; instead smoke from her engines escaped through the rear mast.

The ship had “very ample and rather luxurious” cabins for 20 first class passengers, single-berth cabins of “exceptional size, with toilet and bath for every two cabins, and an extra feature is the servants’ rooms, arranged in connection with private cabins.

Selandia was wrecked Omaisaki, Japan 26 January 1942.

MS Selandia on wikipedia

Documentary SELANDIA: The ship That Changed the World (2012) on IMDb
commemorates  100 year anniversary


Ysabel canoe, designed by I.R. Stinson, engraved by Nigel Alan Dow

Printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co., and issued for use in the (British) Solomon Islands
on March 1, 1956


traditional Solomon Islands canoe

see also:
Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, 1729–1811; First French circumnavigation of the world


Traditional Solomon Islands War Canoe – Morovo Lagoon 2012


Boats in dry dock, Papeete, Tahiti

designed and engraved by Jean Pheulpin, and issued for use in French Polynesia (Oceanic Settlements) on October 22, 1956 to publicize the Economic and Social Development Fund


Canada Titanic 100 Yr Anniversary

see also

see also
(detail 1) – (detail 2) – (detail 3) – (detail 4)


United Nations Inter-Governmental
Maritime Consultative Organization 1964

detail onedetail two

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) until 1982, was established in Geneva in 1948, and came into force ten years later, meeting for the first time in 1959.

IMO is the source of approximately 60 legal instruments that guide the regulatory development of its member states to improve safety at sea, facilitate trade among seafaring states and protect the maritime environment. Headquartered in London, United Kingdom, the IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations. +


Jules Verne Stamps; First Day Covers
France—3 June 1955


Adventures of the Blackgang on tumblr
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