The Botanic Gardens (Part 2)

Stamps a la Carte

Continued from Part 1…

‘It is still early, let’s just wait,’ the father replied, as he continued to arrange the items. I took a look at the time on my mobile phone. That was when I realised that it was not early anymore. I should be heading towards the Botanic Gardens. The stamp launch starts in a few minutes. I started to make my way to bus stop.

After taking bus service 174 from a distant bus stop opposite Clarke Quay MRT station, I alighted at the bus stop in front of the Botanic Gardens. Since the Tanglin Gate was not open, although another gate right next to it is open, the stamp launch is probably held at the Visitor Centre.

Tanglin Gate appearing closed

Tanglin Gate appearing closed

I walked along Cluny Road, passing by a row of bungalows and the unknowingly, the location of the stamp launch. One of them even had six luxury cars parked in it. As it was quarter to eleven, heat from the sun became more intense. The pedestrian walkway was paved with leaves, not fallen ones, but those that are green in colour.

Leaves on the Walkway

Shortly after spotting this sign which assured me that I was on the right track, I arrived at Nassim Gate and headed towards the Visitor Centre.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

10:55 am.

I looked around the main entrance. There was a cafeteria called where my secondary school principal was enjoying a cup of coffee. There was a restaurant called Casa Verde Restaurant next to it. There was a souvenir shop called the Botanic Garden Shop which sells magnets with the word ‘Singapore’ on almost every piece. There was water feature with fishes swimming in it, probably there is no name for it. However, there was no stamp launch anywhere in my sight. I decided to walk into the souvenir shop, thinking that the stamp launch may be inside, which obviously was not. I started to panic, thinking that the stamp launch could be over, and started walking towards the visitor services counter for help.

Garden Map

To be continued…

The Botanic Gardens (Part 1)

Stamps a la Carte

It was a cold Friday morning. I woke up early in the morning to attend a stamp exhibition at China Square Central. This stamp exhibition was in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Kreta Ayer Stamp Society. Booths were set up almost everywhere in China Square Central spanning from the main atrium to the furthest end of the second storey. Items sold included stamps, old black-and-white postcards, old phone cards, banknotes, coins, paintings, toys, action figures and even marathon medals. Quite a few collector friends are there as well.

Top View

Exhibits

Booths

Out of curiosity, I walked around to find out what items are for sale. A limited edition collectors’ box consisting of five books of first day covers from the torch relay of the 2008 Beijing Olympics caught the eye of one friend. We proceeded to the booth and a conversation started.

Beijing Olympics

‘This is from the Beijing Olympic Games last year,’ the sales representative explained.

‘The entire set of stamps from the Beijing Olympics?’ my friend asked.

‘No, this set of stamps is only for the torch relay.

‘Only the torch relay? That is indeed a lot of stamps!’

‘As you can see, the stamps from various countries are all in this collection. ‘

Note that the humble sales representative did not mention anything about its price.

My friend asked, ‘How much is it?’

‘$19000,’ the sales representative replied.

‘Is it in Singapore dollars or Renminbi?’

‘It is in Singapore dollars.’

My friend was very surprised that he looked at me and repeated, ‘S$19000. Maybe even all the stamps in my collection cannot fetch this price.’

That must be the most expensive set of stamps I have ever seen. Also on display at the exhibition was a S$8000 Penny Black stamp (the first stamp in the world) found in mint condition. Imagine those stamp collectors willing to spend such a hefty sum!

Torch Relay

As you can see, there are no customers viewing the torch relay stamp set spread out on two tables, as opposed to the table-wide neighbouring booth, where one can get a nice set of stamps for perhaps 0.05% of the price.

When passing by a booth on the second storey, I saw a man arranging his items on the square table while his son asks him in Mandarin, ‘Dad, why isn’t there anybody coming to buy our stuff? Is it too expensive?’

To be continued…

200th Anniversary Celebration of Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen (2004)

Not long ago, I came by this miniature sheet issued in Singapore to celebrate the bicentennial of the renowned Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen, who has written well-known fairy tales including Thumbelina and The Emperor’s New Clothes. This set of stamps was issued on 30 March 2005. On the 1st Local, 60 c, $1 and $2 stamps are Thumbelina, The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor’s New Clothes and The Little Mermaid respectively.

Stories written by Hans Christian Anderson have been translated into over 150 languages and are enjoyed by children and even adults. His success has been captured on stamps and other philatelic material from different countries. This stamp issue was the first in Singapore to feature a foreign celebrity and his renowned fairy tales. The set of four stamps was designed by Mr Wong Wui Kong, who also designed the recent flora and fauna definitive stamps.

150 Years of Singapore Botanic Gardens

Today, SingPost released a se-tenant set-of-four stamps and one miniature sheet to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Singapore Botanic Gardens. This set of stamps ‘150 Years of Singapore Botanic Gardens’ is designed by Singapore designer Mr Eng Siak Loy, who has won awards including Asia’s Most Beautiful Stamps Award and second place in the Most Beautiful Stamp in the World Award in 2003. In 2007, Mr Eng has also won the Singapore President’s Design Award (Designer of the Year).

Botanic Gardens (2009) Stamp Sheet

The stamps depict favourite sites in the Botanic Gardens, including the Band Stand, Swan Lake, the Girl on the Swing sculpture, and the Visitor Centre. A stamp launch was held earlier today at the Green Pavilion in the Botany Centre. I was very lucky to catch Mr Eng Siak Loy for an autograph. Also there was Mr Wong Wui Kong, the designer for the Flora and Fauna definitives issue.

Autographs

Official Launch of Singapore Post

 Official Launch of Singapore Post Cover (1 April 1992)

I have just received a first day cover dated 1 April 1992 from a collector friend. This was the date when the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore (TAS) was divided into three entities: the new Telecommunication Authority of Singapore, Singapore Telecommunications Private Limited and Singapore Post Private Limited. As the first Public Postal Licensee, Singapore Post can operate postal services for a 15-year period, with an exclusive privilege of receiving, collecting and delivering mail until 31 March 2007.

This piece of history bears the postmark of the official launch of Singapore Post on a 1990 20c Tourism definitive.