Macau’s Chapas Sínicas stamps WIN!

Macau’s Chapas Sínicas stamps WIN!

Macau’s Chapas Sínicas stamps received high honours this year from the German Design Council. Each year the GDC issue awards in a number of categories ranging from architecture to documents. It’s an fascinating competition to watch because of the diverse topics considered. The Special Award in the Official Document Category went to Macau’s beautiful 2018 stamps that highlight the incalculable historical significance of the Qing Dynasty documents. 

“Chapas Sínicas” (Chinese Documents) is a collection of records of Macao 
during the Qing Dynasty. Preserved in the National Archive of Torre do Tombo of
Portugal, the collection comprises over 3,600 documents, including official letters
written in Chinese, the Portuguese translated copies of the letters and other
miscellaneous documents that were created mainly from the mid-eighteenth century to
the mid-nineteenth century. The collection was titled “Official Records of Macao
During the Qing Dynasty (1693-1886)” in its nomination for the Memory of the
World Register ^¤å¤å³¹ (

Designer Joaquim Cheong Kuok Wai created the stamp series to honour the Chapas Sinicas documents inclusion on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2017 as well as the Memory of the World Register for Asia-Pacific in 2016.  

Mind you, the material is stunning to begin with, so it’s hard to go wrong.

Macau’s Chapas Sínicas set

Chapas stamp two Chapas stamp three Macau's Chapas Sínicas Macau's Chapas Sínicas stamp four Macau's Chapas Sínicas stamp

Souvenir sheet

Macau's Chapas Sínicas (Chinese documents) souvenir sheet


The German Design jury awarded the prize to the “masterful” Chapas Sinicas design, in part, based on how Joaquim Cheong Kuok Wai “preserves and highlights the original emotions of the collection”   Chapas Sínicas – Special Mention Official Documents (

First Day Covers

Chapas fdc with souvenir sheet Macau's Chapas Sínicas Chapas fdc with 4 stamps

It is exciting to see stamps get high honours from such a broad design competition. More of this please.



Of cats & oxen & postage stamps

Of cats & oxen & postage stamps

So just what do cats & oxen & postage stamps have in common?  Why the Lunar New Year, of course.

Year of the Ox stamps just keep on giving. Each time I do a sweep of  2021, it seems like I find a few more late releases. Right on cue, I found 5 more. 

Late comers are Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Gambia, Antigua and Barbuda and Nevis. You can see all the stamps & covers at 2021 Year of the Ox stamps worldwide | Bitter Grounds Magazine. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to source much about the designers, a common issue with post offices.

Last month a FDC was added for Mongolia along with souvenir sheets for Cook Islands, Aitutaki, Guyana, Niuafo’ou, Penrhyn, Tonga. There were some fine designs, with the best being Gambia. The use of deep blue really sets the sheet apart. 

Gambia Lunar New Year 2021 Year of Ox stamps

One possible country left – Peru. They issue their Lunar New Year stamps about a year out of synch with the calendar. So, maybe late next year? I’ll be watching for it.

And now the cat part of cats & oxen & postage stamps

2022 Lunar New Year will be **trumpets please** Year of the Tiger! And yes, I’m 100 sorts of excited about this.  Japan and Åland have already released their Year of the Tiger stamps.

Åland is a charming “mini tigers in our homes” theme by designer Martin Mörck. Look for it Oct. 20.

Tiger striped cat Stamp showing tabby cats playing in an office cats & oxen & postage stamps

Japan’s series is … exceptional as always. 

Year of Tiger cancel Year of tiger cancel two 

Year of the tiger tiger face cats & oxen & postage stamps Year of the tiger Year of the tiger cats & oxen & postage stampsYear of the tiger

Designer Ayami Yoshikawa used paintings by Kyosen Kawasaki (1877-1942) to create this set. It will be released November 1, 2021. There’s a brief writeup about this series on the Japan 2021 stamp page. Skip down to November to enjoy them. 

I’ve begun to pull together the page for these issues and will have it up in early November. I’ll post a link here and in the navigation bar when it’s ready. 



Sneak peek at Canada’s 2022 stamp program

Sneak peek at Canada’s 2022 stamp program

Canada’s 2022 stamp program offers a few teasers for the coming year. The usual holiday events will be covered as well as a number of reoccurring thematics. Highlights for the year will be:

  • Black History month
  • singers
  • spring flowers
  • endangered animals
  • Canadians in flight
  • Aboriginal leaders
  • a very special hockey anniversary

One big disappointment is the lack of anything for the Lunar New Year.  2021’s stamp was actually a sheet of all twelve from the completed 12 year cycle. I guess Canada Post feels the theme has run it’s course, but 2022 will be the Year of the Tiger and well, cats. What more can I say?  

Black History Month

2022 will start with the annual Black History stamp. Some of the most interesting Canadian stamp designs are coming out of this series.

Jazz singer Eleanor Collins, Canada’s “first lady of jazz” will be featured.  Get a start on learning about her here Eleanor Collins | The Canadian Encyclopedia. Collins intersects with the 2021 Amber Valley set. Her parents were among the 1000 black immigrants who moved from Oklahoma to Amber Valley around 1905 (see Canada Post’s 2021 Black History month issues – Amber Valley | Bitter Grounds Magazine).  I hope the designer of the Amber Valley set, Lara Minja of Lime Design, will have a hand in this year’s stamp. 

Another influential voice will have her day. Later in the year Salome Bey, Canada’s First Lady of the Blues, will be featured. Her death last year left a huge hole in hearts of blues lovers. Bey was one of the first blues singers I was exposed to in my younger days, so I’m looking forward to this one. 

Spring has sprung

Spring brings a mixed lot from flowers to foot guards.  It’ll be a busy time for collectors, as usual. You know spring is here when Canada Post’s flower stamps hit the stores. This year they’ll be callas. 

The Governor General’s Foot Guard will be 100 in 2022 and there will have their very own stamp. And we can expect the 4th in the Canadians in Flight series. Hard to say who’ll be featured this time around. 

Also sometime in the spring, Canada Post will release a stamp encouraging Canadians to donate organs and tissues. I’m betting this one will be a semi-postal.

CAPEX 22 will be held in Toronto June 19-22, and a souvenir sheet will be issued for the event. Thankfully it’ll be held in a place that is easy to get to for public transit users. The show will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, just a short walk from Union Station. 

Random vintage stuff

We can also expect vintage carousels and 5 stamps featuring vintage travel posters from across Canada. These will be pure fun. 

Tribute to Indigenous leaders

2022 will recognize Indigenous leaders with 3 stamps. No word on who will be featured. 

Another in the long, long list of overdue tributes will Tommy Prince of the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation. His stamp will be released for Remembrance Day,  

Wildlife at risk  

Canada is a good bet for wildlife stamps each year. 2021’s Snow Mammals proved to be so popular, Canada Post re-issued them. 2022 will be endangered whales. Canada has produced a number of great whale stamps over the years, starting with the 1979 .35c Bowhead. It’ll be hard to top the 2010 $10 Blue Whale. Jorge Peral’s engraving made this a king of stamps. 

Has it really been 50 years? 

Now the stamp many will be waiting for – the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Canada-Russia Hockey Summit. This is a set you’ll have to grab early or you’ll miss your chance. It is one of those “where were you” moments in Canadian history. Given the near mythical status the series has in Canada, it will sell out quickly.  I’d recommend pre-ordering online. 


You can look forward to the traditional Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas stamps to round out the year. 

As 2021 wraps up, I’ll be running a poll to find the most popular Canadian stamp for the year. Take a look at all the issues from 2021 and check back in Dec vote.

Cheers for now.


The TTC is 100 – Trains, trollies & stamps

The TTC is 100 – Trains, trollies & stamps

The TTC is 100 and it’s only right to celebrate with a stamp and some statistics. First the stamp.  Well, a couple of stamps from 2004, but the top one with the red logo is shows the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) subway cars. These are older cars now, slowly being phased out. 

Modern Transit stamps showing different subway trains TTC at 100

Urban transit in Canada


And this is the only stamp I could find. The set is titled “celebrating urban transit and light rail“, issued 2004. by designer Debbie Adams. Given it’s the 100th year, I expected Canada Post to issue something. But no joy for train lovers. 

I spend a lot of time lurking around transit lines. There are a couple of spots you can safely stand and take photos of the tracks & subway cars as they pop up out of their holes. 

TTC Tracks Davisville - TTC at 100

TTC Tracks Davisville from the overpass. These are older train cars slowly being replaced.

 A few (pre-pandemic) fast facts about my personal mode of transportation around Toronto:

  •  there are 75 TTC stations with something like 22 more currently under construction
  • daily ridership 1.69 million passengers. That’s every weekday!
  • 4 subway lines, 10 streetcar routes & about 150 bus routes

It’s a big operation that makes moving around this big city easier. And I’m disappointed there was no stamps to celebrate their 100th. So, I’ll send happy birthday wishes to the TTC on behalf of train & stamp collectors around the world. 

If you’d like to read about the TTC check out View the Vibe’s fun article Then vs. Now: The History of the TTC – The Turn of the Century (


Canada’s 2021 fall stamps

Canada’s 2021 fall stamps

Canada’s 2021 fall stamps are going to keep some of us hopping. Four sets will be released in September alone. The first issues will  include a rarely seen semi-postal. A stamp a week will arrive, starting on the 8th with a mystery – it’s simply listed as “A Novel Topic”. A book? An author?  

September stamps 

In order::

  • Sept. 8  A Novel Topic  
  • Sept. 14 Cartoonists, also called Drawing the Line – 5 stamps         
  • Sept. 20 semi-postal form the Canada Post Community Foundation
    1 stamp, booklet of 10
  • Sept. 29 A stamp with universal appeal. 

The last stamp is vague, I suspect on purpose. Canada Post seems to be teasing us with September. So the month starts and ends with a mystery. 

October’s offerings

October will be equally busy starting with Canada Post’s 40th anniversary. Although, not confirmed, there is a tentative release for the event. Royal Mail began, in Canada, in 1869, and changed to Canada Post sometime in the 1960s. However, it wasn’t until 1981 that the government made Canada Post’s name official and it became a crown corporation. 

  • October 14 Canada Post’s 40th anniversary as a crown corporation (this has not been confirmed)
  • October 21 & 29 with two sets in time for Remembrance Day:
    • Valour Road 
    • Poppy 
  • October 19 Diwali 

Militaria collectors should note one of the issues for Remembrance Day, Valour Road. Valour Road is named in honour of Lionel B. (Leo) Clarke, Fred Hall and  Robert Shankland, 3 WW1 soldiers who all lived on the same street in Winnipeg, Manitoba. At the time the road was called Pine Street. By war’s end, each won the Victoria Cross, with Clarke’s and Hall’s being awarded posthumously. Pine Street was renamed Valour Road shortly after the war ended. 

November issues

Christmas comes early to Canada Post via their annual Christmas stamps. November 1st will see a release of angels, for those who prefer a traditional theme. Also issued the same day will be a trio featuring Santa, reindeers and an elf. But it’s hard to imagine how CP will top last year’s delightful Maud Lewis set. Her cats make the set that much more special. 

Souvenir sheet of Maud Lewis stamps showing all three issues and her black cats

Maud Lewis’ cats were the best!

Rounding out the year, Hanukkah stamps on November 8. 

A bit of this and a bit of that

So, a bit of this and a bit of that for the fall collector. You can keep an eye on CP for advance releases through the Canada Post online store.

Sometime in the third week of November I’ll be posting the “Best 2021 Canadian Stamp” poll so remember to come back and vote on your favourite. To see all of the 2021 stamps, wander on over to the Awesome 2021 Canadian stamps where you can see all the issues with bits of information on designers and when possible the theme. 

Happy collecting


New Stamp Feature

New Stamp Feature

 I finally figured out what’s been missing from the site – smaller articles filling in details about upcoming stamps and few random thoughts about philately.  This section will be a great way to post supplemental info that doesn’t really fit into the longer format posts. Hopefully this will be come an almost daily feature.  

Not much here at the moment but it’ll slowly fill in over the next week or two. If you have philately or postcard news you’d like to share, drop a message to be contact @