It wasn't until I opened the envelope and saw the contents that I realized it was an Ebay auction I had won! I guess I had never even looked at where the item was listed, because the shipping was free. I just assumed it was stateside!
Seeing the contents, you can probably understand why I was drawn to the listing - I LOVE these! I've been collecting these registered mail labels for years, but began running out of them because they're so much fun to use in collages! This is also the first time I've ever seen pink "Express" labels - and speaking of Express labels, how about this trilingual one, here - English, Afrikaans, AND French!
I've spoken of my fondness for cinderella stamps before, and now I can add South African stamps to my growing collection! They all seem to be from the mid-80s to the mid-90s, and instead of Easter Seals they're called Easter Stamps in S.A. But that "American" Lung Association logo is unmistakable - only the stamp's in Afrikaans, so I can't tell what it says (maybe South African Lung Association?).
These air mail stamps are AMAZING! I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would ever possess a Namibian Air Mail stamp, and the "Flygpost" (Afrikaans) one is fantastic too.
According to Wikipedia, Ciskei was a "bantustan" (black African homeland). Essentially, Ciskei was akin to our Native American "reservations" - self-governing lands set aside in South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia). The inhabitants of this land were Xhosa-speaking peoples. I encourage you all to read more about this land by following the link above - it's utterly fascinating (and thankfully, non-existent now). I know so very little about these cultures, but once again it's the ephemera that has taught me a lesson!
So that is the amazing ephemera I received in this packet, but I also got an actual letter from the seller! I will paraphrase it for you here:
You are a first-time customer of mine. Thanks and WELCOME. I hope (expect) that you are happy with your purchase and that we will do many more deals in the future (count on it! - Mel).
The following is a more general set of comments and information. I am a 69 year-old retired Geologist (worked in SA, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and Australia) with a lifetime of stamp collecting. My family are not interested in my collection so I am selling it off. I find it exciting to sell on auction.
Apart from stamp collecting and many other interests I have been an ultra long-distance runner for many years. I have probably run about 100,000 km including many races of around 100 km; six of 100 miles, and one race of six continuous days (144 hours). I have an EXCESSIVE COMPULSIVE PERSONALITY. (EXCESSIVE not OBSESSIVE)
My grandson seems to be following in my 'endurance sports' footsteps. Recently he competed in an ENDURANCE cycling event. A 24-hour RELAY on a mountain bike track. The event was solely for UNICYCLES, and he is only 9 years old (who ARE these fascinating people?!). Regards, Rob
Once again, I am reeling over another amazing ephemera adventure! I firmly believe that ephemera makes our world smaller, and more connected. What a happy accident that I came across this listing! I am wiser because of it (and now, so are you!). Plus, I got a sort-of pen pal letter to boot - a very fun personal touch. :)
P.S. I am DESPERATELY trying to do a giveaway for you, my loyal readers, but I want to make it to 600 "likes" on the Facebook page first! We are SO close to the goal - only three away - so could you do me a favor and share the page with your FB friends? I'll let you know the deets of the giveaway as soon as we make it! :D