Maritime Monday for March 4, 2013: RMS Philately 4

Monkey Fist
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March 3, 2013




Egyptian War ShipKing Richard III ShipDanish War ShipNorman Snekkar
Grecian Bireme AGrecian Bireme BPhoenician Merchant Ship


left: stamp depicting the Argentine Navy training ship ARA Presidente Sarmiento
right: museum ship Presidente Sarmiento

2,750 ton sailing vessel built by Laird Brothers, Birkenhead, England & launched in 1897

ARA Presidente Sarmiento (originally built as a training ship for the Argentine Naval Academy) is now a museum ship named after Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, the seventh President of Argentina. She is considered to be the last intact cruising training ship from the 1890s

She has made thirty seven annual training cruises including six circumnavigations.  Retired as a seagoing vessel in 1938, she continued to serve as a stationary training ship until 1961.

more on City of Art: The Argentine Navy


Frigate President Sarmiento on the
1000 peso Moneda Nacional 1964


BARBADOS: Inter-Colonial Schooner

imageInitially visited by the Spanish in the late 1400s to early 1500s,  with the island nation first appearing on a Spanish map from 1511.

The Portuguese also visited in 1536, but they too left it unclaimed, their only remnants being an introduction of wild hogs for a good supply of meat whenever the island was visited.

The first English ship, the Olive Blossom, arrived in Barbados in 1624. They took possession of it in the name of King James I. In 1627 the first permanent settlers arrived from England and it became a British colony. +


First Day of Issue Cover:
350th Anniversary of the Founding of Bridgetown


CANADA: Otto Sverdrup 1854-1930

Otto Neumann Knoph Sverdrup (1854– 1930) was a Norwegian sailor and Arctic explorer.

imageIn 1872, at the age of 17, Otto went to work with his uncle Søren, who worked in transportation with his own vessels. Here, Sverdrup started his career as a seaman and not too long after was sailing abroad.

1875 – passed his mate’s examination and soon after, his shipmaster’s examination.

Sverdrup joined Fridtjof Nansen‘s expedition of 1888 across Greenland, and in 1892 was an advisor to Fridtjof Nansen when the ship Fram was built.

Left in charge of the ship while Nansen attempted to reach the North Pole, Sverdrup managed to free it from the ice near Svalbard in August 1896 and managed to sail to Skjervøy, arriving just 4 days after Nansen.

Sverdrup attempted to circumnavigate Greenland via Baffin Bay but failed to make it through the Nares Strait. Forced to overwinter on Ellesmere Island, he and his crew explored and named many uncharted fjords and peninsulas on the western shores of the island.

Between 1899 to 1902, he overwintered three more times on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic aboard the Fram and continued to explore and map, culminating in the discovery of islands to the west of Ellesmere Island…  now, collectively known as the Sverdrup Islands. +


KNM Otto Sverdrup name sign
more photos

KNM Otto Sverdrup is a Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate in current service


CANADA: Cavelier De La Salle – 300th Anniversaire

Ren̩-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, or Robert de La Salle (1643 Р1687) was a French explorer known for his forays into the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Mississippi River basin, which he named La Louisiane in honor of Louis XIV, and claimed in entirety for France.

During a final search for the Mississippi River, some of La Salle’s remaining 36 men mutinied, near the site of present Navasota, Texas. On March 19, 1687, La Salle was slain by Pierre Duhaut during an ambush. +


La Salle’s Expedition to Louisiana in 1684 by Theodore Gudin

The ship on the left is La Belle, in the middle is Le Joly, and L’Aimable, (which has run aground) is to the far right. The ships are at the entrance to Matagorda Bay.

In 1995, La Salle’s primary ship La Belle was discovered in the muck of Matagorda Bay. It has been the subject of archeological research. The collection is held by the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. +


Chile: 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Arturo Prat

Agustín Arturo Prat Chacón (1848 – 1879) was a Chilean lawyer and naval officer who was killed shortly after boarding the Peruvian ironclad Huáscar after the ship under his command, the Esmeralda, was rammed by the Peruvian monitor at the Naval Battle of Iquique.

image_thumb[19]Following his death, his name became a rallying cry for the Chileans, and Arturo Prat is considered a national hero.

Huáscar was built in Britain for Peru and played a significant role in the War of the Pacific against Chile before being captured by the Chilean Navy. Today, she is one of the few surviving ships of her type. The vessel has been restored and is currently commissioned as a memorial ship.

photo: Monitor Huascar 1903

1972 issue depicting Esmeralda BE-43 (1953)
steel-hulled four-masted barq & training ship of the Chilean Navy;
commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Arturo Prat Naval Training School

On 8 June 2011 Cyprus issued three ‘Tall Ship’ postage stamps – a Galleon, a Caravel and a Brig



see alsoand here


Danish Naval training ship Georg Stage
issued by Denmark on June 17, 1993

54 m (177 ft) three-masted,  iron-hulled, fully rigged sailing ship launched in 1934. The figure head is the original from the Georg Stage I (1882) and depicts the young Georg Stage, (son of shipowner Frederik Stage) who died from tuberculosis in 1880 at the age of 22.

Excepting the years during World War 2, the ship has had one tour per year, starting in April and ending in September. In 1956 the new Georg Stage participated in its first regatta, which turned out to be the predecessor to the current The Tall Ships’ Races.

In 1989 Georg Stage crossed the Atlantic Ocean for the first time, and there met its predecessor, now renamed Joseph Conrad.


Finland: Suomen Joutsen (The Swan of Finland)
issued by Finland on June 9, 1972 to publicize the Tall Ships Race

The Swan of Finland is a three-mast, 96 m long steel hull sailing ship that was used by both the Finnish Navy and the Finnish Merchant Navy as a training ship. Since 1991, she has been a museum owned by and moored in City of Turku, Finland.

Built in 1902 by Chantiers de Penhoët in St. Nazaire, France, as Laënnec, the ship served two French owners before she was sold to German interest in 1922 and renamed Oldenburg. In 1930, she was acquired by the Government of Finland, refitted to serve as a school ship for the Finnish Navy and given her current name. Suomen Joutsen made eight long international voyages before the outbreak of the Second World War.

image right: Suomen Joutsen preparing for the fourth international school sailing


Suomen Joutsen in a storm during her third school sailing, 1934
(1,287 × 843 pixels)

imageLaënnec was almost sunk on her maiden voyage when she collided with an English steam ship Penzance in the Bay of Biscay, sinking the fully laden steamer within minutes. Laënnec was also seriously damaged. Insufficient ballast was deemed to be a contributing factor to the incident.

On 12 December 1911, while unloading potassium nitrate at the port of Santander in Spain, she was severely damaged when a storm pushed her against the pier and ripped the ship from her moorings, causing the full rigged ship to drift against a Dutch steam ship Rhehania.

As there was no shipyard large enough to accommodate Laënnec in Santander, the ship was emptied and inclined until her damaged hull plating was exposed and could be repaired within the harbour. The repairs took 20 days and the ship, which by that time had become a popular attraction for the local people, left Spain on 1 February 1912.

When the First World War broke out, the ship spent the years trading along the United States East Coast. After the war, and a 150-day voyage from Australia, she arrived back to her home port of Saint-Nazaire to be stripped and laid up. On 1 December 1920, Laënnec was put for sale… +

source, image above right


Penola, a three-masted schooner which provided transportation
for the British Graham Land Expedition, 1934-37

Engraved and printed by Waterlow & Sons, Ltd., and issued for use
in Falklands Islands Dependencies on February 1, 1954

imageBritish Graham Land Expedition was a geophysical and exploration expedition to Graham Land in Antarctica between 1934 to 1937. Under the leadership of John Riddoch Rymill, (below) the expedition spent two years in the Antarctic.

Using both dog teams and motor sledges as well as a single-engine de Havilland Fox Moth aircraft for exploration, the team determined that Graham Land was in fact, a peninsula.

Transportation to the Antarctic was in an elderly three-masted sailing ship called Penola, which had an unreliable auxiliary engine. Additional supplies had to be brought in on the Discovery II. All sixteen members of the landing party received the Polar Medal+

Detailed description of the expedition

image above rt:
Southern Lights: The Official Account of the
British Graham Land Expedition, 1934-1937
by John Rymill, with Two Chapters by A. Stephenson. with an Historical Introduction
by Hugh Robert Mill; London: The Travel Book Club, 1939. Third Edition

on ebay


Crossing of Graham Land. J.R. Rymill with beard
Freeze Frame: historic Polar Images (more)
Images of Penola


Unloading aircraft from ‘Discovery II’, January 1935

Antarctic Peninsula: De Havilland Fox Moth biplane with floats but without wings, tailplane or propeller hangs from ropes over the ship’s rail. One man stands watching from a raised wooden platform on the deck, another, pushing the fuselage of the aeroplane, stands in a lifeboat which hangs from the derricks. –Freeze Frame

more stamps, same subject


Scientific vessel Gauss, airmail stamp with se-tenant tab
designed and engraved by Claude Haley, and issued for use in
French Southern and Antarctic Territories on November 3, 1984

Gauss was a ship built in Germany specially for polar exploration and named after the mathematician and physical scientist Carl Friedrich Gauss; launched on 2 April 1901.

Modeled on Fridtjof Nansen’s ship “Fram”, and rigged as a barquentine. At 46 m (150 ft 11 in) in length and with a 325 hp (242 kW) triple expansion steam engine to augment the sails, she was capable of 7 knots.

She was designed to carry 700 tons of stores, enough to make her self-sufficient for up to three years with a crew of 30 aboard. The hull was exceptionally strong, and the rudder and prop were designed to be hoisted aboard for inspection or repairs.


German Antarctic Expedition 1901-03: Postcard of the “Gauss” under sail
addressed to Potsdam and signed by Expedition leader Erich von Drygalski with handwritten message dated “4 I 02” mentioning safe arrival at Kerguelen.
via Grosvenor Philatelic Auctions

The Gauss Expedition (1901–1903) was the first German expedition to Antarctica, led by Arctic veteran and geology professor Erich von Drygalski.  The expedition started from Kiel on August 11, in the summer of 1901. Despite being trapped by ice for nearly 14 months until February 1903, the expedition discovered new territory in Antarctica, the Kaiser Wilhelm II Land with the extinct volcano Gaussberg.  see map (auf Deutsch)

The expedition arrived back in Kiel in November 1903. Subsequently, Erich von Drygalski wrote the narrative of the expedition and edited the voluminous scientific data. Between 1905 and 1931, he published the 20 volumes and 2 atlases documenting the expedition.

The ship was eventually abandoned in 1925 and left to rot at her moorings.

see also:  Gauss enclosed in the ice
Photo taken from a balloon, the first aerial photography in Antarctica, and
Excerpt from Siege of the South Pole; includes picture of Gauss under sail


stamp depicting Cape Horner Antoinette under full sail
issued by France on April 10, 1971

In the background, Solidor Tower, a strengthened keep with three linked towers, located in the Rance river estuary in Brittany. It was built between 1369 and 1382 to control access to areas up-river. Over the centuries, the tower lost its military interest and became a jail. It is now a museum celebrating the Breton sailors that explored Cape Horn.

Antoinette was a four-masted barque built in 1897 and used in the nitrate trade between Chile and France; she was lost in 1918.

more about the Antoinette on shipstamps.UK


Semi-postal stamp depicting a small lateen sail- and oar-propelled Genoese felucca, designed and engraved by Albert Decaris, and issued by France on March 16, 1957 on Stamp Day for the benefit of the Maritime Postal Service


Nevis: The Windjammer Polynesia
left: first day of issue cover rt: stamp detail


Sailing Vessel Polynesia

About the Polynesia (1938):
This legendary 248-foot schooner was acquired by Windjammer in 1975 and christened Polynesia. Originally built in 1938 and christened Argus, she was one of the last of the Portuguese Grand Banks Fishing fleet.

She was featured in the May 1952 edition of National Geographic magazine and in the late maritime writer, Allen Villers’ book, “The Quest for the Schooner Argus.” Under her new name, Polynesia, she was completely refurbished with comfortable luxury accommodations, while still retaining the charm of her maritime history.

When Windjammer Barefoot Cruises ceased operations in 2007, Polynesia was acquired by Portuguese interests, returned to Portugal and renamed Argus, where she will be providing sail training to youth, a great next step for a true classic.


designed by French artist Henri Émile Vollet (1861-1945)
engraved by Jules-Jacques Puyplat and issued for use in New Caledonia in 1925

The British first sighted New Caledonia (located in the southwest Pacific Ocean) in September of 1774, during the second voyage of Captain James Cook. He named the territory New Caledonia because the island reminded him of Scotland.

From then until 1840, only a few sporadic contacts with the archipelago were recorded. Contacts became more frequent after 1840 because of the interest in sandalwood and “Blackbirding”, a euphemism for enslaving people from New Caledonia to work in sugar cane plantations in Fiji and Queensland.  Victims of this trade were called Kanakas like all the Oceanian people, after the Hawaiian word for ‘man’.

Cannibalism was widespread throughout New Caledonia. In 1849, the crew of the American ship Cutter was killed and eaten by the Pouma clan.

Under orders from Napoleon III, Admiral Febvrier Despointes took formal possession of New Caledonia and Port-de-France (Nouméa) was officially founded 25 June 1854. New Caledonia became a penal colony, and from the 1860s until the end of the transportations in 1897, about 22,000 criminals and political prisoners were sent there. +


Norfolk Island
cutter sailing from Botany BaySydney Cove

Norfolk Island is a small island in the Pacific Ocean located between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. It was first settled by East Polynesian seafarers either from Islands north of New Zealand or from the New Zealand’s North Island. They arrived in the fourteenth or fifteenth century, and survived for several generations before disappearing.

Later colonised by the British as part of its settlement in Australia in 1788, it served as a convict penal settlement until 1794 (when it was abandoned) until 1856, when permanent residence on the island for civilians began.

In 1901, the island became a part of the Commonwealth of Australia which it has remained until this day. +


stamp depicting a 19th century Paraguayan paddle
steamer underway with its auxiliary sails set

Printed in London, and issued by Paraguay in 1945

The text on the stamp indicates that this merchantman sailed prior to the “tragedy” of the Paraguayan War, also known as War of the Triple Alliance, a military conflict in South America fought from 1864 to 1870 between Paraguay and the Triple Alliance of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay.

Proportionally, this war caused more deaths than any other war in modern history, and particularly devastated Paraguay, killing most of its male population.

see Naval battle of Riachuelo


Study for the Naval Battle of Riachuelo
by Victor Meirelles (1832-1903)

see also: Paraguayan War on




Penrhyn Atoll: French frigate Boudeuse; 1760

Penrhyn Atoll is the most remote and largest atoll of the 15 Cook Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean, 9 degrees south of the equator.

Named  after the Lady Penrhyn and commanded by Captain William Cropton Sever, who landed on 8 August 1788. The Lady Penrhyn was one of a fleet of 11 ships which sailed from the Isle of Wight to found the earliest convict colony in Australia. Population according to the 2001 census was 357.

*Monkey Fist notes: Possible sloppy research on this issue; no references to the frigate La Boudeuse  exists prior to 1766, the year wikipedia lists it as having been launched.

It is famous for being one of two ships sailed in the First French circumnavigation commanded by  Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, which took place in the years between 1766 and 1769.

A Google search using keywords “Boudeuse, ship, Cook Islands” yields no other references.

see also:
Penrhyn; Northern Cook Islands / Fir Day of Issue cover; Pacific Sailing Ships:
cover detailBounty 1787Boudeuse 1760 (full size)


Captain Otto von Kotzebue meets the inhabitants of Penrhyn Atoll, 30 April 1816

Kotzebue (1787 – 1846) was a Baltic German navigator in Russian service. In 1823, he was entrusted with the command of an expedition of two ships and  a staff of scientists on board who collected much valuable information and material in geography, ethnography and natural history.

English translations of both Kotzebue’s narratives are readable online:  A New Voyage Round the World in the Years 1823-1826 (1830); Volume 1 and Volume 2. (illustrated)


His Majesty’s Armed Vessel Bounty
engraved and printed by Waterlow & Sons, Ltd.
issued for use in Pitcairn Islands on October 15, 1940


Soviet Navy training ships, designed by Russian artist Anatoly Martynovich Aksamit
set of six issued by Russia (USSR) on September 18, 1981


stamp depicting Admiral Nakhimov and several Russian warships
designed by Russian artist Evgeny Nikolaevich Gundobin (1910-1975)
and issued by Russia (USSR) on September 9, 1952 to commemorate
the 150th anniversary of the admiral’s birth

imagePavel Stepanovich Nakhimov (Russian; 1802-1855) was one of the most famous admirals in Russian naval history, best remembered as the commander of naval and land forces during the Siege of Sevastopol in the Crimean War.

In February 1818, he passed examinations at the Naval Academy for the Nobility and became a midshipman; immediately assigned to the second Fleet Crew of the Russian Imperial Navy’s Baltic Fleet.

During the Crimean war, Nakhimov distinguished himself by annihilating the Ottoman fleet at Sinope in 1853. On July 10, 1855, while inspecting the forward-defense positions at Sevastopol, he was fatally wounded by a sniper and died two days later.

The Order of Nakhimov was preserved as one of the highest military decorations in Soviet Union and, upon its dissolution, in Russia.

above right: The Order of Nakhimov


full size; Toronto Public Library

see also:
stamp depicting the sailing ships Vostok and Mirni, used during the Bellingshausen-Lazarev expedition to Antarctica, issued by Russia (USSR) on October 23, 1965


Spain; 1930’s


Tin can mail. Busta di Mirko indirizzata ad Ocean island

Tin Can Mail

tincanoeIn the early part of the 20th century, philatelists began seeking out postal cancellations from Niuafo’ou, a volcanic Tongan island. Since Niuafo’ou lacked a deep water harbor to accommodate ships, postal deliveries were received via the so-called “Tin Can Mail” system of having mail thrown overboard in biscuit tins and retrieved by local swimmers.

see this image for a contemporary account of Tin Can Mail

StampBoards collection of Tin Can Mail Ephemera

Tin Can Mail and the drive to communicate


Photo postcard c 1930 of swimming postmen bringing inward mail


Interruption of Service: explanatory slip; Dec. 10, 1946


The 1949 U.P.U. omnibus issue from Tonga (set of four)

In 1963, Tonga issued the world’s first self-adhesive stamps, much to the delight of philatelists. In 1983, an airstrip was completed eliminating the need for Tin Can Mail. +


The Captain’s mail is always the last to leave the ship
Tin Can Mail Drop on Pacific Dawn Ship Blog


tall ships set engraved and printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co.,
issued for use in the British territory of Tristan da Cunha on June 1, 1969

imageTristan da Cunha is a remote volcanic group of islands in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, lying 2,816 kilometres (1,750 mi) from the nearest land.

Tristan da Cunha is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.[3] This includes Saint Helena 2,430 kilometres (1,510 mi) to its north and equatorial Ascension Island even further north. The island has a permanent population of 275 (2009 census).

The islands were first sighted in 1506 by Portuguese explorer Tristão da Cunha, although rough seas prevented a landing. He named the main island after himself. +

image above right: Tristão da Cunha


Dhow on Lake Victoria – Uganda / Kenya Tanganyika


 stamp depicting La Eolo (Aeolus), a three-masted full rigged ship

Airmail stamp engraved and printed by Colombino Bros., Ltd., Montevideo, and issued by Uruguay on October 31, 1945.


 stamp depicting a sailing ship and a map of the Atlantic Ocean

Issued by Venezuela on March 10, 1966 to commemorate
the bicentenary of maritime mail service


Drake Commemorative; British Virgin Islands

detail 1, stamp leftdetail 2; Drake’s Passagedetail 3; Drake’s Channel
detail 4; Capture of the Cacafuegodetail 5; Straight of Magellan


(original) Guernesy; Channel Islands / header: unknown nautical stamp detail

Adventures of the Blackgang on tumblr
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