Postugal

Portugal on stamps

A birthday card

Hello!

I’m a Portuguese living in the UK and this is a ‘show and tell’ site about my home country. The rest of this page explains how the site and my stamp collection are organised.

If you spot a mistake, if you have any further information on the stamps shown, if you have any queries or suggestions, I’m all ears. You can contact me by e-mail, on LinkedIn, or with the form at the end of this page.

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you enjoy the visit.

Michel Wermelinger

About the website

The site’s name is a wordplay on Portugal and ‘post’, which has multiple connotations (postage stamp, Post office, posting a blog entry) and is also the acronym of ‘Portugal On STamps’.

Navigating the site

This site is organised as a blog, each entry being a virtual album page. Each album page contains information about a complete set of stamps as issued by some postal administration. Clicking on a thumbnail image shows a large high quality image of the stamp. Each album page is backdated to the issue date of the set of stamps, except for 19th century issues, which cannot be backdated due to limitations of my blogging installation. So far, this affects only one issue.

The album pages form four virtual stamp albums, each one presenting a different view on my collection. The albums are opened by selecting the corresponding category on the sidebar drop-down menu. The chronological album organises pages by date of issue, so that following the ‘Prev’ and ‘Next’ links in the top right corner allows you to browse the chronological album like flipping the pages in a real stamp album. The chronological album is indexed by yearly archives, listed on the sidebar. The thematic album organises pages by subject (gastronomy, landmarks, etc.). A set of stamps may cover multiple subjects. The designer album organises pages by designer. The philatelic album contains stamps that have some philatelic interest, e.g. a printing error, or that illustrate a philatelic term particularly well. Philatelic terms can be looked up in the glossary (top right button).

You can also use the tags listed on the sidebar to find issues with particular characteristics, like those with a beautiful or interesting design, and the search box to look for anything, be it a designer’s name, a printing technique, a paper type, a place name, stamps issued on your birth day, etc.

When looking at an index page, i.e. showing only thumbnails, like e.g. the home page or a search result page, you can sort the listed stamps in reverse chronological order (i.e. most recent first) of the date they were issued, updated or added to the site.

Building the site

Although the pages of a virtual stamp album can be done with a wiki, I’m using the WordPress blogging platform because I was familiar with it. I chose The Unstandard theme due to its compact and highly visual layout, which reinforces the impression of a stamp album. I’m using version 1.2 of the theme, which I have modified slightly as described here. I use several plugins:

Images

Most of the images were obtained by scanning my stocksheets with a CanoScan Lide 20 in 400 dpi US Letter magazine mode (photo mode introduced granularity), and cropping the JPEG files with Microsoft Office Picture Manager. I now use Mac OS X and a Canon MG5300 to scan in 600 dpi, then crop and reduce to 300 dpi in Preview, and finally compress the images with JPEGmini.

The image file names are mostly of the form CC-min.jpg, where CC is the 2-letter ISO code of the country of the stamp, and min is the Michel catalogue number (I had to use my namesake’s catalogue, obviously). Portugal’s mainland stamps don’t have the PT prefix so that they are always listed first. Stamps from former Portuguese oversea provinces are prefixed with the code of the corresponding current country, e.g. IN for Portuguese India, GW (Guiné-Bissau) for Portuguese Guinea. Furthermore, AC is used for the Azores, AD for Madeira, and AF for common Portuguese Africa issues. For any stamps that clash with this system, the 3-letter ISO code is used. Stamp issuing districts and provinces have these codes:

  • AC-AN AC-HO AC-PD for the Azorean districts of Angra, Horta, and Ponta Delgada
  • AD-FU for Madeira’s Funchal district
  • AO-CO for Angola’s Congo province
  • MZ-CO and MZ-NY for the Mozambique Company and the Nyassa Company
  • MZ-IN MZ-LM MZ-QE MZ-QI MZ-TE MZ-ZA for the districts of Inhambane, Lourenço Marques, Quelimane, Quionga, Tete and Zambezia

Sources

Philatelic information presented on this site is drawn from the following sources. Note that most catalogues number stamps from Madeira and Azores separately from those of the mainland, while Afinsa numbers them together from 1981 onwards.

  • Selos Postais das Colónias Portuguesas, Afinsa, 2011
    Specialised catalogue of former colonies
  • Selos Postais e Marcas Pré-adesivas, Afinsa, 2010
    Specialised catalogue of Portugal and islands
  • Carlos Kullberg, Selos de Portugal, 15 volumes
    A complete annotated collection of Portugal
  • Dmitry Karasyuk, Literature on stamps
    Includes over 30 Portuguese writers
  • James Mackay, Philatelic Terms Illustrated, Stanley Gibbons
    The philatelic jargon explained with examples
  • Stanley Gibbons Catalogue Part 9, 5th edition, 2004
    Includes Portugal and former colonies
  • WADP Numbering System
    UPU-supported world catalogue, since 2002
  • Selos de Portugal, vergelijkingslijst catalogusnummers, KSP, 2000
    Cross-catalogue list of Portuguese stamps

About the collection

Glued to letters, postcards and packages, postage stamps go places. They are beautiful miniature ambassadors of a country’s culture, history and geography. In that spirit, a stamp collection is as good a way as any to showcase my home country. And it occupies much less shelf space than most other collectibles…

I used to accumulate stamps as a kid, and after 30 years I decided to pick up again the hobby, but in a more systematic way. I don’t collect Portuguese stamps, I collect stamps about Portugal. This means on the one hand that I’m interested in foreign stamps as they relate to Portugal (like these), and on the other hand that I’m not interested in Portuguese stamps about foreign events, organizations or people. More specifically, I’m interested in the subjects listed under the thematic album category on the sidebar. I do make exceptions for stamps that are interesting from a philatelic or design point of view.

I store my collection in the most flexible way I could think of: loose stocksheets in a ring-binder. This allows me to rearrange and introduce stocksheets at any time, without having to plan ahead in leaving space for future acquisitions or having to shift many stamps around as new ones are added. Moreover, stocksheets come in a variety of formats, allowing me to store covers, miniature sheets and stamps all next to each other. I separate stocksheets by subject, using the normal A4 separator index sheets sold in office supply centres to quickly access each subject.

It’s not only a versatile, but also a cheap solution: packs of stocksheets cost about the same as stockbooks with the same capacity, and any cheap ring-binders bought in a supermarket will do.  In particular, I use the 7-hole double-sided Diamant (215×280mm black card) stocksheets from Prinz, with 1 to 8 strips on each page, but other manufacturers have a similar range of products.



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