Thursday, 18 January 2018

1164. 🇦🇺🇳🇿 Australian Television Legends And Cycling In New Zealand.

  🇦🇺 Australia Post's latest 'Australian Legends' set is on the subject of 'Legends of Television Entertainment' and is made up of 5 gummed stamps and 5 self-adhesive stamps from 5 different booklets each of 10 stamps and each sold for $10. I do not recognise any of the 'Legends' depicted and I assume that this issue celebrates people of local national rather than international interest. The set, designed by Jason Watts, was released on 18 January 2018. Rating:- *.

  🇳🇿 New Zealand Post will issue an excellent set of 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on the subject of New Zealand Cycle Trails on 7 February 2018. The issue was designed by Strategy Creative of Wellington and lithographed by Southern Colour Print and perforated 14.5 x 14. I like this set very much even if it is mainly designed by placing lettering on a photograph and nothing much more - the photographs are so well chosen that one can hardly object. Rating:- *****.

  🇬🇮 Meanwhile the Royal Gibraltar Post Office insists on continuing to release its annual Chinese new year stamps. Two se-tenant for a total of 4 pounds. Although the issue commemorates the Year of The Dog the creature depicted looks less like a dog and more like a Komodo dragon. The issue will be released at the end of January 2018. Rating:- *.

  🇸🇧 Some new issues from Stamperija which are not typical of that agency's products and which may actually be on sale in local post offices for use on real mail. From Solomon Islands comes a miniature sheet containing 8 different stamps to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal which was fought in The Solomon Islands. This item is accompanied by a single stamp miniature sheet. Rating:- ****.

  Also from Solomon Islands is a set of 4 stamps which commemorates the 20th anniversary of Solomon Post. This again looks like a set which might be sold at local post office counters and as such is attractive but I note that a number of issues have appeared this week from various Stamperija client territories including Togo, Djibouti and Central African Republic and one must be a little suspicious that Stamperija has discovered that collectors are willing to buy stamps which look like local issues rather than the usual sheetlets and miniature sheets which it Issues normally and, in order to boost sales, have begun to issue such items without them being any more available in its client territories than is the usual stuff. It is notable that all these products are also sold with imperforate variants and an issue from The Central African Republic is rather suspect - it's seems unlikely to me that the country would want to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Coronation of the monstrous dictator, the self-proclaimed Emperor Bokassa, but such an issue has indeed appeared among these 'local issues' which Stamperija has put out. As always, with anything coming from Stamperija, caveat emptor.

  🇲🇻 Similarly we have a sheetlet of 8 different stamps which has been issued by Maldives Post, another client postal administration of Stamperija, and which is part of a joint issue with the Japanese postal service. Just as with the Solomon Islands issue I do not know the date of issue of this item. Although Maldives has left The Commonwealth I do like to keep an eye on what is appearing from the Republic in case it rejoins the organisation eventually and to take note of such items as this which might actually have been available in the country. Rating:- ***.

  🇱🇹 No doubt about the nature of the latest products from Stamperija, those which have the name of Sierra Leone printed on them and which are stated to have been released on 29 December 2017. These look very much as though they are unlikely to have ever made their way to ordinary post office counters in Sierra Leone. As usual there are 10 sheetlets, each containing 4 different stamps, and 10 accompanying miniature sheets. The subjects featured this time are related to wildlife - Doves, Lizards, Butterflies, Hawks, Elephants, the Red River Hog, Manatees, Primates, Leopards and Owls. Rating:- 0.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

1163. 🇳🇱🇬🇧 From The Postal Museum To The Cautionary Towns.

 🇬🇧 The Postal Museum in London will sell the Game Of Thrones Post and Go stamps with the additional The Postal Museum inscription from kiosk A001 from 23 January 2013. The stamps will be available in all denominations. I will buy each stamp with the lowest available denomination applied to each stamp. Rating:- ***.

  🇲🇲 The postal service of Myanmar issued 3 new stamps on 4 January 2018 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the country's independence. This is very interesting and attractive set. Rating:- *****.

  🇳🇱 The Cautionary Towns.

  You'd think that there were enough stamps around for me to think about without inventing more. But one of my regrets about stamp collecting is that stamps are recently modern items - 1840, when Rowland Hill came up with the idea of the postage stamp and the Penny Black made its appearance, really isn't all that long ago - my great great grandfather was just 14 years old when he could have first sent a letter using the Penny  Post system.
  Just imagine if postage stamps existed in 1066 - what an interesting year of new issues we would have seen. The year began with Edward The Confessor still on the throne of England so the current definitive set would have depicted the dying monarch. The year was still very young when The Confessor died and Harold II was chosen as King of England. A new definitive series would have been required which depicted the new monarch and a set would have been in preparation to commemorate the Coronation of King Harold II which had taken place on 6 January at Westminster Abbey, a day after King Edward's death. Presumably, there would have also been a special Mourning issue to mark the life of The Confessor. No doubt there would have been some 'special issues' in the pipeline if The Kinge's Maile was following the same new issue policies as the current Royal Mail. Perhaps there would have been a series depicting breeds of Hunting dogs or, to please Bird thematic collectors, a set depicting Birds of Prey used in falconry. The Kinge's Maile may have been planning a special series on the subject of the book 'Beowulf' which was intended to be the blockbuster issue of the year or perhaps there was to be a set which was to commemorate the Centenary of the birth of King Aethelred The Unraed along with the 50th anniversary of his death.
  There might have been some emergency provisional surcharges when England was invaded by the Norwegian king, Harold Haadraada, in autumn 1066 and doubtless a 'Victory' overprint to commemorate the defeat of the Norwegians at the Battle of Stamford Bridge on 25 September. More provisional overprints would have been issued after King Harold's defeat and death at the Battle of Hastings by the Duke of Normandy, William The Bastard, which removed the late king's portrait from the current definitive series and a new definitive series depicting the Norman would no doubt have been rushed out in time for his coronation at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066. I suppose there would also have been a set to commemorate that Coronation.

  What a year of new issues that would have been. Who needs 'Game Of Thrones' when you've got the real thing in the form of English history? Of course a numismatist would say that if I collected coins rather than stamps I would be able to go much further back in history than a stamp collection would allow me to do but I've been a stamp collector for more than 50 years so there's no going back now.
  Which brings me, finally, to the point of this section. As well as most enjoying stamps which tell us about a country's history, I also love collecting stamps from territories about which few people are aware.
  I'm reading currently a book about the death of the Elizabethan playwright, poet and spy, Christopher Marlowe, a real bad boy who was said to have been killed in a tavern brawl in 1593, and in the book I came across a chapter where Marlowe is carrying out his espionage-related activities in a town in the Netherlands which the English called Flushing, but which is now known as Vlissingen. The book mentions that Flushing was actually an English possession at that time which is a fact of which I was not aware. Well, of course I rushed to see what Wikipedia had to say about it.
  Flushing was at that time part of what are called The Cautionary Towns. These were territories which had been garrisoned by English troops from 1585 as part of Queen Elizabeth I's support for the Protestant Dutch Republic against the Catholic King Philip of Spain. As well as Flushing the territory also included Briel (now known as Brielle) and Rammekens. With the aim of keeping these towns out of Spanish hands, by the Treaty of Nonsuch, the Dutch Republic handed them over to the English to garrison at their expense and they became English territories. Robert Sidney, the first Earl of Leicester accepted the title of Governor of Flushing from the Dutch in 1588 much to the Queen's chagrin, she having previously declined the title. Thomas Cecil, the first Earl of Exeter was made Governor of Briel and he was succeeded by Edward Conway, 1st Viscount Conway who named his daughter Brilliana in honour of the town.
  When the English and Spanish finally agreed to peace by the Treaty of London of 1604 the Spanish demanded the return of the Cautionary Towns but the English refused and only eventually gave up the territory in 1616 when the Dutch purchased the towns for a sum of £250,000. Thus another English, or by then British, territory disappeared into the lesser known annals of history. English ownership of the territory had lasted just over 30 years which in modern times would have given the towns' postal services plenty of time to release many, many stamps.
  We could conjecture one or perhaps 2 definitive issues for the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and then one or two similar sets featuring King James I. In 1588 we might have had an issue to commemorate the defeat of the Spanish Armada, a set to mourn Elizabeth I on her death in 1603 and a set to commemorate the Coronation of King James I at Westminster Abbey on 25 July 1603. Perhaps we might have had stamps to commemorate the thwarting of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605. There might have been an issue which commemorated Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre - perhaps Shakespeare would have appeared on stamps 350 years ahead of his first actual depiction in 1964.
  It's exciting to think of which subjects would have been commemorated and famous persons featured if an earlier Rowland Hill had come up with his plan for paying for a postal service several centuries before. And what of the territories which would have appeared in a British Empire and Commonwealth stamp catalogue covering that period? - we would have had such interesting names as Willoughbyland, East Florida, Minorca, Calais, Virginia, Mosquito Coast, Hanover, the list goes on ....
  Here's one to add to your collection of The Cautionary Towns:-

  🇲🇿 Correios de Mocambique has barely issued a stamp at all, as far as is known, for several years. Since it entered into a contract with Stamperija in 2007 which allowed that philatelic agency to issue literally hundreds of 'stamps' per year Mozambique's postal service has shown no sign of taking interest in the sort of products which Stamperija has being unloading on to the philatelic market in its name. However Stamperija currently does not claim to have issued any stamps with the name of Mozambique printed on them since 10 February 2017. I wonder what happened.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

1162. 🇬🇬 Guernsey Post Commemorates The Wombles.

  🇬🇬 News from Guernsey Post. Another miniature sheet in the never ending 'Endangered species' series will be released on 14 February 2018 and this particular sheet depicts a Black rhinoceros. I fully sympathise with efforts made to protect these splendid but unfortunate creatures but I see no reason for Guernsey Post to continue with this series which does not depict local species. This is quite a nice portrait of the creature though in some years the finished designs are less satisfactory. I do not like this ongoing series and I will not be spending my £3 on this item. Rating:- 0.

  Another issue which has no relevance whatsoever to Guernsey is the Year of The Dog set and a miniature sheet accompanies this. I illustrated the basic stamps in Blog 1139 and I now depict the miniature sheet below. The planned date of issue is 3 February 2018 and again I shall not be spending any money on these items. I do wish that Guernsey Post would abandon these long term ongoing issues. Rating:- 0.

  Guernsey Post will also issue a set of 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on 14 February 2018 with the inscription 'Alderney'. This issue commemorates the 50th anniversary of the first appearance of the characters known as the Wombles in books written by Elizabeth Beresford who was a resident of Alderney from 1967 until her death in 2010. These creatures became increasingly popular for a while with the British public when they appeared in their own animated television series and achieved a level of notoriety when musicians dressed in Womble costumes scored a popular music success with a record which included the lines, "The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we ....".
  These are cheerful enough stamps which will brighten items of mail in Alderney and they have an undoubted local relevance. The issue was designed by Mark Totty and lithographed by Southern Colour Print and perforated 13.5. Rating:- ****.

  🇱🇹 In addition to the 9 miniature sheets and 9 sheetlets mentioned in Blog 1162, Stamperija issued an additional pair of such items on the subject of the The Quincentenary of the Protestant Reformation in Europe. Stamperija's website shows these as 'sold out'!
  Oh, by the way, these items have the name of Sierra Leone printed on them and are stated to have been 'issued' on 30 November 2017. Rating:- 0.
  By the way, the face value of this issue - SLL79200 equivalent to £7.51p which doesn't sound a lot but we must remember that there are 20 such issues per month which bear the inscription 'Sierra Leone' making a total of £150 per month or £1800 per year. This grand total does not include the premium imperforate issues which are sold for more than double the regular perforate issues and then there's the so-called 'first day covers'. It's clear, isn't it?, that you only have to sell a few of these items to collectors of 'Bird' stamps, some to 'Marilyn Monroe' stamps enthusiasts, a small number to 'Cats on stamps' collectors, a few more to 'Elvis Presley stamps' collectors and so on and it's easy to understand, given the numbers produced and the face values ascribed to them that Stamperija's owner can amass a fortune at the expense of thematic or topical collectors (it's doubtful that a collector of Sierra Leone stamps is going to buy 240 sets and 240 miniature sheets in one year). Fascinating isn't it? Just think about it before you're tempted to buy one of those colourful thematic sheets looking up at you from Delcampe.

1161. 🇮🇲 Isle Of Man Commemorates RAF Centenary.

  🇮🇲 The Isle Of Man Post Office will issue a set of 8 stamps on 15 January 2018 to commemorate the Centenary of the Royal Air Force. It's a worthwhile issue and well designed but nothing we haven't seen a hundred times before. Rating:- ***.
  There will also be a £14.28p Prestige booklet, a £14.28p 'Commemorative sheet' made up of 16 stamps and a £7.14p 'Self-adhesive sheet' for those who must have 'one of everything'. Rating:- 0.

  Anyone who's visited the Isle Of Man will wonder why its Post Office would need to issue stamps to commemorate the Chinese New Year. Apart from a few Chinese restaurants there's very little to link the island to China but now it seems that the Isle Of Of Man postal service finds that special stamps are required to commemorate the Year of the Dog. What nonsense. Regardless, 2 admittedly amusing and attractive stamps will be issued on 8 February 2018 with face values of £1.50p and £2. I like the stamps, dislike the high face values and cannot see why Isle Of Man Post Office thinks it's a good idea to release them. Rating:- 0.

  🇸🇬 Singapore Post has issued machine vended stamps in a new design. The new resign is titled 'Pot Pourri" and became available on 5 January 2018. Rating:- ***.

  🇯🇪 In Blog 1146 I detailed the issue which Jersey Post plans to release on 26 January 2018 on the subject of 'The 1960s'. I now illustrate below the accompanying miniature sheet:-

  🇬🇬 In Blog 1157 I mentioned the new Post and Go labels which Guernsey Post plans to release on 14 February 2018. The designs of the 6 stamps are now depicted below and feature local flowers. The art work is delightful. Rating:- *****.

  🇱🇹 Stamperija has released more 'stamps' with the name of Sierra Leone printed on them. This time there are 9 sheetlets each of 4 different stamps and 9 accompanying 'miniature sheets'containing single stamps. The featured subjects are the Platinum Wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, 110th anniversary of the death of Dmitri Mendeleev (Russian chemist), 85th birthday of Johnnie Cash (US singer), 110th birth anniversary of Sergei Korolev, 'The Greatest Painters', 85th birth anniversary of Elizabeth Taylor, 80th anniversary of the death of Pierre de Courbertin, Chinese New Year and the 125th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Alekhine (chess player). The date of issue is stated to have been 30 November 2017. Rating:- 0.