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I was very suprised to find this very large cover in my postbox.  And even more suprised I became, when I opened the cover.

A very large cover from South Africa - it didn't even fit my scanner srceen.

A very large cover from South Africa - it didn't even fit my scanner srceen.

As one can see, it was definitely not sent by a stamp collector. There was no stamps on the cover, just an airmail label (which I do collect too). The logo on the right as well as “On Postal Service / In Posdiens” got me thinking that it was sent by South African Postal administration, and the cancellation found on the back of the cover confirmed my thoughts.

Philatelic Services Private Bag cancel

Philatelic Services Private Bag cancel

But nothing had me covered the contents. Inside the cover was “commercial material” from South African Philatelic Bureau. That’s right… COMMERCIALS!!!  How they got my address is a mystery. Possibly someone at SA Philatelic Bureau reads my blog and decided to sent me a “sample” the same way as “large business” (like Apple or Microsoft)  approach bloggers in their area and give them “free stuff” / previews for review…  Personally I have no objections if somebody sents me “free stuff” for review, but please let it be something USEFUL like a complete stamp catalogue or nicely cancelled stamps 😉

But this is what I got, so let’s take a short review…

SETEMPE - South African Stamp News magazine

SETEMPE - South African Stamp News magazine

The SETEMPE, magazine about upcoming South African issues was interesting browse. It contained some basic philatelic advice, recent news relating to SA Philatelic Bureau and a healthy dose of information about South African upcoming issues.   And since this is “commercial new issue” magazine, it does have a lot of talk about “how unique” the new stamps will be as well as clear instructions on how to order them.  As a summary: if you’re not into buying new issues, then this magazine is not of any interest to you.

The other publication included was a 40 page booklet called “Exploring the fascinating world of stamps”. This proved to be an interesting read about the basics of stamps collecting. There was a plenty of same basic stuff you will find in every publication, but also some interesting topics like “How to submit your proposal for a stamp issue”. As a lot of the contents was put in local aspect (instead of worldwide readership), the booklet provided an interesting flavour of South African perspective to stamp collecting.

Exploring the fascinationg world of stamps

Exploring the fascinationg world of stamps

And finally… Why on earth doesn’t the SAPO/Philatelic Bureau use stamps in their mailings? For anyone interested in stamps, receiving a cover (or any other postage) without a stamp on top is BIG turn-off.

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