21 June 2016

FDC-Look-Alike Private Covers

"Souvenir Covers of the World" collections produced by collectible companies receive some popularity among elementary collectors, popular themes include ships, pets, WWII and royal events.  While some of these covers have first day of issue cancellations or proper postal cancellations, some do not, collectors should be well alert of this.

British collectible company Bentham gives an illustrative case, this cover was produced for their "cats" series:

The cover features an oversize cachet on the left half, and a 1999 Cambodian postage stamp (Sc#1822) tied by a "1999 Cambodia Cats" "cancellation" on the top right corner.   The "cancellation" is not a postal cancellation of any kind, in fact it is a private made cachet, or a rubber stamp impression some people might call it, it is not even an official cachet from the Cambodia Post.  All 6 stamps of the set (Sc#1818-1823) have their corresponding souvenir covers by Bentham.

For comparison, the following is a cover from the same series, franked with an Antigua & Barbuda stamp (Sc#2014).  Notice the cancellation is a valid postmark.

13 June 2016

UNTAC Indonesian Contingent Cover

During the 1992-1993 United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) operation, Indonesia was one of the biggest contributors in terms of personnel.  Below is a 1993 cover sent from Phnom Penh to the Central Javan city Salatiga by a UNTAC Indonesian contingent member.  A 150r postage stamp (Sc#1259) tied by a 400r red ink meter fulfills 550r postage for Asian destinations.  There are two dates shown on the cover, the Phnom Penh Central Post Office date stamp gives 12-6-93, the hand written "18/6-93" between the addresses is probably the arrival date, so it was a 6-day travel.

The top left corner of the envelope has "KONTINGEN GARUDA XII" printed above the Indonesian coat of arms, national flag and UN emblem.  "Kontingen Garuda" is the Indonesian name for the Garuda Contingent, a peacekeeper group drawn from the Indonesian military to participate in UN peace keeping operations.  "Garuda" is a Hindu and Buddhist divinity, his image is used as the national symbol by Indonesia"XII" are Roman numerals for 12 to indicate that it is the 12th Garuda Contingent mission.

The return address on the left reveals the mail sender's identity.  He was a member of the "Garuda XII-C" battalion which stationed at the Phnom Penh UNTAC headquarters (the other Indonesian battalion stationed in Kampong Thom Province).  The word "Garuda" refers to the Garuda Contingent, while "XII-C" refers to the 12th contingent deployment C.  The Indonesian contingent had a total of four deployments in rotation to Cambodia, the first two, A and B were in 1992, while C and D in 1993.