26 October 2014

More on 1993 40th Independence Anniv of Cambodia Stamps

 40th Anniversary of Independence, 1993 (Sc #1323-1325 / Mi#1394-1396), printed in Cuba.

Regarding the 40th anniversary of Cambodian national independence commemorative issue (Sc#1323-1325 / Mi#1394-1396) of 1993, I wrote about the theft and replacement way back in August 2009.  If you missed it, click here to read.

The replacement set printed by Russia.

The Cuban printed stolen set has FDC, they were prepared in Cuba and sold by agencies.  All major world stamp catalogues only list the stolen set which is in fact invalid for postage, the Russian replacement is not acknowledged.  Michel makes the following comment on the replacement set:

"Der Status von drei weiteren, motivgleichen (Ansicht von Angkor Vat) Marken zu 400, 500 und 600 R ist ungeklärt."

This blog entry is to provide examples of commercial use of the Russian replacement as a solid proof of legitimacy.  For each denomination (400r, 500r and 600r), a commercial cover franked with it is shown.

Phnom Penh to St Louis of France, 400r Russian replacement with two 150r (Sc#1295 / Mi#1371) from 1993 "120th Birth Anniversary of Alberto Santos-Dumont" to make up 700r postage, CPO postmarked 26th Mar 94:

Phnom Penh to La Baule-Escoublac of France, 500r Russian replacement with two 150r (Sc#1340 / Mi#1416) from 1994 "Vintage Cars" for 800r postage, CPO postmarked 11th Aug 94:

Phnom Penh to Rigny-sur-Arroux of France, 600r Russian replacement with 200r (Sc#1341 / Mi #1417) from 1994 "Vintage Cars" for 800r postage, CPO postmarked 10th Jun 94:

This Russian replacement was produced by Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga (Международная книга), the Soviet/Russian state enterprise for import and export which has also printed banknotes for Cambodia.  The following is one of the proof cards by Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga, a full set of three proof cards was sold early this month (October 2014) by Auktionshaus Christoph Gärtner GmbH & Co.

The Cuban printed set was not officially sold in Cambodia, as a result it has no authentic postal use sample.  However there are recent cases that the stamps are brought to Cambodia from overseas and then used on mail and for making fake covers / philatelic items.  Collectors are warned of the hoax.

9 October 2014

Cambodian Ox Cart on Stamps

 1985 S/S for the National Day of PR Kampuchea (Sc#551 / Mi#631)

The squeaky Khmer ox cart is as old as it sounds, it has such a long history that dates back to the Angkorian times.  The cart used to be a popular transport means for both military and civilian, and now the wooden wheels still proudly leave tracks on the rural muddy roads.

Legend says that the cart was invented by Preah Bath Mhou Sot.  One day his wife Preah Neang Ommara brought him food while he was working in the rice field. The lady decorated an egg with thorns and put a tamarind above it, this decoration made Preah Bath Mhou Sot think that his wife hinted for needing a wheel transport, and so he made a cart with features looking like that food arrangement.

Issued in 1985 (Sc#548 / Mi#548) to celebrate the 6th National Day,
this 0.5r stamp depicts a boy driving a Khmer ox cart loaded with rice.

There is a variety of Khmer ox carts for different use.  Traditionally the cart is from head to toe made by the best Cambodian timber such as Chakrom and Thnong, each set upon two 16-spoked wheels 1.24 meters high.

A 2010 maxicard shows an ox cart in the
picturesque Cambodian countryside.

Just as many traditional tools, currently Khmer ox cart is gradually giving way to modern counterparts like box van and tractor since ox cart is comparatively less efficient.  Nevertheless in rural areas ox cart is still commonly seen as some farmers cannot afford modern conveniences.

Photo of an ox cart on the roadside.  (Photo: Doug Landrum)

To combat the graduate loss of ox cart tradition due to modernization, local authorities have started to revitalize ox cart racing.  Ox car racing had been an ancient Khmer sport for centuries but almost died out because of the Khmer Rouge.  Now once again communes and villages hold ox cart races after the rice harvest season to pay respects to the earth and water spirits, the events are getting to become such a popular tourist attraction and drawing crowds from the cities to attend.