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Philately Foolery

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2021
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This article was part of Vekllei’s Mail Week in February 2021

We’re going to do a deep dive on stamps today.

You can tell a domestic Vekllei stamp from its international counterpart quite easily:

  1. Domestic stamps have a coloured square, called a chromacode, used for sorting mail automatically within the country by a special machine called a kinosemimatia.
  2. Domestic stamps do not show a price in Vekllei Kroner, and generally do not use the Vekllei hieroglyph to announce its origin.

We can deduce that the stamps pictured above are all domestic stamps used for sending mail to other Vekllei people, regardless of whether they live in Antarctica, Vekllei’s lunar colonies or anywhere in-between.

Stamps are valuable records of their time, particularly as memories of celebration. You can learn a lot about a place and what it values by looking at its stamps.

Let’s take a look at some of Vekllei’s domestic postage stamps from the last few years. From the top left:

  1. 2063 marked the launch of the third generation of Vekllei rocket booster since independence in 2015. The introduction of these boosters, spaced evenly across the postwar decades, marked eras in themselves for Vekllei’s extraterrestrial ambitions. By the 2060s, most metals were mined off-world, marking one of the greatest weapons for peace in the atomic era — vast new worlds of untapped resources. This particular postage stamp was released as part of a set celebrating Vekllei rocketry, including recent expeditions to planetoids on the very periphery of our solar system.
  2. Puffins are the national bird and appear everywhere. You can see why — they’re pretty birds and very common in Vekllei. They are popularly circulated on stamps in a variety of styles simply because people like to see them when sending and receiving mail.
  3. This stamp may look abstract at first, but is actually a message in Vekllei Semaphore. Green and gold represent nature and living blood, which alternated like this usually refers to natural chaos. But there’s more to it — this striping pattern, called a sunburst in Vekllei hieroglyphs, refers to the sun, and can mean warmth. These swooping white lines mean purity, or delicateness, and those patterned squares are used for the borders of announcements from the Prime Minister’s Office. So can you guess what this stamps says? It’s announcing Vekllei’s success in the Olympics in skiing, of course. Vekllei Semaphore is rarely straightforward — it has a thousand quirks built over a thousand years.
  4. Speaking of the Prime Minister’s Office, this is Ms. Prime Minister Jo Sismiosnah, one of two Prime Ministers in the country.
  5. Atomic weaponry is a fact of life in the 2060s, and Vekllei has a complex psychological relationship with nukes as both a victim and retainer of nuclear weapons. It is also the only country in the world to have detonated nuclear weapons for a cultural purpose. This stamp depicts such a detonation. In the absurdity of the Royal Mail Press, antinuclear stamps are also produced simultaneously, depicting white doves urging world leaders to denuclearise.
  6. This flower, called a Lava Rose, is common to the Lumiousniyah region on the West of the country. Not by coincidence, its chromacode is destined for Copette.
  7. Vekllei retains a great many nuclear icebreakers to keep shipping traffic moving in and out of its Northern regions. The country depends heavily on foreign shipping for its bizarre peripheral markets and such icebreakers are often celebrated on stamps.
  8. This is Vekllei’s lovely agricultural belt throughout its rich volcanic interior, specifically based off Kyala’s wheat fields. By no coincidence, its chromacode is destined for Kyala.
  9. Finally, we see a celebration of Anglo-Vekllei relations in the post-occupation period. Although historical tensions will linger for many generations more, and disputes over fishing rights in the Atlantic continue to threaten friendly relations, Vekllei is very keen in a political context to celebrate the diplomatic successes achieved with the U.K. since occupation, and you’ll find the U.K. generally overrepresented on Vekllei’s ‘foreign’ domestic stamps.

Now that’s a lot of stamp facts! Before we go, Tzipora has just a couple of words on starting your own stamp collection:

  • NEVER PEEL STAMPS. Cut them off the envelope and soak it in water for an hour or so, until it separates freely.
  • Dry your stamps on a tea towel. Press them with books so they don’t curl.
  • Keep your stamps safe by keeping them in an album, preferably.
  • Share your stamps. Stamps are meant to be shared, so never be afraid to trade your boring Vekllei stamps to some friendly Soviet or American for theirs.

That’s all for now. We’ve got one more post left in “Mail Week” (more like Mail Month at this rate), before we head off to something new. It’s going to be very exciting!