Hello there! After a long hiatus in posting, I have here for you today a most wonderful cover from Taiwan, thanks to my friend Wu Wei Yi from Kaohsiung (高雄).
This is, in my amateur opinion, an interesting cover because it has many elements combined, those being: a first day envelope without the actual stamps, an ATM stamp, a special franking for Kaohsiung, and a stamp on one of my favorite themes: postal paraphernalia!
The first day envelope. Curiously, Chunghwa Post allows for the use of blank FDCs to send letters using stamps other than those intended to be used on the FDC. In this case, the stamps for this 2006 Year of the Pig issue were not used and, for reference, they are shown below:
The ATM stamp. The ATM used here was issued for the value of NT$4 (roughly USD 0.12) by machine number 89 (I cannot find any information as to where Machine 89 is located). It shows the Tung flower, the flower of the Paulownia tree. Festivals are held to celebrate the flower, the latest being the 2009 Hakka Tung Blossom festival held in Taiwan earlier this year.
The Paulownia tree is native to much of China (where it is known as 泡桐, or paotong) and southern continental Asia and is also cultivated in Japan and Korea. It is popular in its native China for reforestation, roadside planting and as an ornamental tree. The wood is also important in China, Korea, and Japan for making the soundboards of stringed musical instruments such as the guqin, pipa, koto, and kayagum. Interesting to note is that it was named in honour of Queen Anna Pavlovna of The Netherlands (1795–1865), daughter of Tsar Paul I of Russia. Scientific info on the plant available here.
The special postmark from Kaoshiung shows Kaohsiung harbor, or 高雄港. The first two characters spell out Kaohsiung in Chinese. Notice that the last Chinese character 港 (gang) is the second character for the Chinese spelling of Hong Kong (香港); this is because 港 means "harbor/port" in Chinese.
And, finally, to my favorite component: the stamp!
The stamp comes from a 4v set issued on 1996 to celebrate what I have come to understand as 100 years of philatelic service in Taiwan (郵政一百週年紀念). The particular stamp on the cover shows instruments and documents used when sending out mail, such as the scale and what seems to be receipts (there seems to be a small drawing of an EMS receipt in front of the green scale). How I wish I could have received the entire set! Maybe my friend Wu Wei Yi can send me an entire set? Or perhaps the FDC for this issue? :-)
Below is a scan of a beautiful cover sent on the first day of issue, along with other special postmarks. The special postmark at the bottom center shows the Philatelic Museum, if I am not mistaken. I plan to visit the Taiwan postal museum when I find the time.....