Monday, 22 August 2016

812. Bangladesh Post Late To The Olympics.

  Bangladesh Post has issued a single stamp and a miniature sheet (in perforated and imperforate form with simulated perforations) to commemorate the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro. However the first day of issue was 21 August 2016 - the last day of the Games - unlike most other postal administrations which released their issues before or at the beginning of the Games. It is an interesting issue depicting as it does an aerial view of the statue of Christ The Redeemer in Rio De Janeiro. Rating:- ***.

  What is the point of designing and printing a lovely composite sheet of 7 stamps depicting interesting and attractive wildlife and then scarring each stamp and partially obscuring each design by placing a QR Code on each stamp thus ruining the appearance of the entire sheetlet? Pos Malaysia has done just that to its otherwise very attractive "Seven wonders of Malaysia's Flora and Fauna" sheetlet which contains 7 different stamps and was issued on 23 August 2016. Rating:- ** (ruined by the QR codes)

  Australia Post issued a set of 4 stamps on 23 August 2016 with the inscription "Christmas Island Australia" on the subject of Shells of Christmas Island. The stamps were designed by Lynette Traynor using artwork by Roger Swanston and lithographed by RA Print and perforated 14 X 14.5. Not the most exciting of sets, I think. Rating:- **.

  From 13 September 2016, devoted collectors of Royal Mail Post and Go labels will have the pleasure of having 2 new Collectors strips on which to spend their money - the Steam GWR museum in Swindon will introduce a new "STEAM GWR" logo on to the Machin Head and Union Flag labels. The previous "Swindon 175" inscription will continue to be used until the end of 2016. Rating:- 0.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

811. Commonwealth Olympic Success.

  New Zealand Post has now released 18 Olympic Games miniature sheets with the issue of 3 further items - the total face value therefore amounts to $108. This completes the sheets commemorating each medal won by New Zealanders as the country's team won a total of 18 medals during the Games (4 gold, 9 silver and 5 bronze). The country won 5 more medals in Rio De Janeiro than it achieved in the London 2012 Games and finished 19th in the medal table.
  The latest sheets commemorate Eliza McCartney (Women's pole vault, bronze), Lydia Ko (Women's individual golf, silver) and Nick Willis (Athletic's men's 1500m). Rating:- *****.

  Post scriptum:- New Zealand Post has now issued a sheetlet of 18 stamps which contains one each of the Medal Winner stamps. The item was lithographed by Southerm Colour Print and was released presumably on 22 April 2016. One item too much? Rating:- **.

  The final stamp from Australia Post completes its Australian gold medal series. In all the country's team won 8 gold medals and the final issue commemorates the victory of Chloe Esposito in the Women's modern pentathlon event. As the stamps are sold only in sheetlets of 10 the total face value of the entire issue is $80. Rating:- *****.

  The Commonwealth won a total of 58 gold medals, 67 silver medals and 57 bronze medals which as an entity places it at the top of the medal table ahead of the United States which won 45 gold, 37 silver and 38 bronze and China which won only 26 gold, 18 silver and 26 bronze. 

 It was announced on 16 August 2016 that Pos Malaysia would issue stamps to commemorate its Rio Games gold medal winners but unfortunately the Malaysia team did not win any gold medals! The Malaysian team did win 5 other medals however (4 silver and 1 bronze) so perhaps Pos Malaysia will commemorate those medallists instead.
Presumably we can expect at least one other Commonwealth country to release a stamp issue to commemorate its first ever Olympic medal - Fiji, whose victory in the Rugby Sevens has caused so much national pride and rejoicing that the government of Fiji has decided to reverse its intention to change the current Fijian national flag under which the Fijian team scored its memorable success (see Philatelica Vexillogica). 

  Surely there will be another issue from Jamaica to commemorate Usain Bolt's remarkable and historic triple gold medal sprint success for the third successive Games. Jamaica was 16th in the Medals Table (6 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze) and surely Kenya may wish to commemorate philatelically its team's great success (15th - 6 gold,  6 silver and 1 bronze). 

  Royal Mail has promised not to issue any stamps to commemorate the 27 gold medals won by Team GB. It's almost a pity that such a tremendous achievement will not receive a philatelic commemoration .... I wonder ......

  Some of the repeat British gold medallists depicted on the stamps of the 2012 issue:-

Friday, 19 August 2016

810. Philatelic Collectibles - Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks.

  I have always believed that since I was a seven year old boy I have collected postage stamps. Now I realise that I have become mainly a collector of philatelic collectibles and that something has to change.

  My Damascence conversion came in a blinding light of recognition a couple of hours ago when I got round to mounting my Royal Mail-issued miniature sheet on the subject of Animails - a preposterous and expensive piece of self-adhesive paper - in my latest album of "British stamps". It really is just rubbish. And there has been so much of the stuff recently. It's a madness. We've also just had 6 stamps and a 4 stamp miniature sheet and a 10 stamp sheetlet to commemorate the 50th anniversary of an old popular music group becoming professional (a moment to be forever recalled in the annals of history - no, I don't think so) - it wasn't as if it it was The Beatles or The Rolling Stones or David Bowie - and we will soon be faced with a set of stamps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first publication of some true British, er ..... classic modern literature - the Mr. Men books.

  Royal Mail has issued " limited edition" (naturally) Collectors sheets or Commemorative sheets or whatever they're called, sold at well over double face value, to mark the 80th anniversary of more literary classics such as Oor Willie and The Broons and a record number of Prestige Booklets have found their way on to the market - Beatrix Potter, the First World War 2016, The Queen's 90th Birthday  and the 500th anniversary of Royal Mail - all worthy subjects but 4 of them in the short period of 6 months - they're "'avin' a larf" aren't they?

  Let's not even mention Post And Go labels and Counter booklets and miniature sheets

  Let's be honest. These are NOT postage stamps. Yes, of course they are valid for postage but they rarely turn up if at all on everyday mail sent by ordinary members of the public who have no philatelic interest nor knowledge. These are purely collectable products intended to give pleasure to those who buy them usually because they depict subjects which interest them and to increase financial income to Royal Mail. These two outcomes are wholly satisfactory but just because these outcomes occur, it does not mean that a postage stamp collector should feel pressurised by his or her inbuilt need for COMPLETENESS of their collection to go out and buy these items - they should see them for what they are - philatelic, and not necessarily postal, collectibles which are unlikely to be used to any substantial extent to indicate the pre-payment of postage, which, I think, is how a postage stamp is defined.

  Good, I am a collector of postage stamps and not philatelic collectibles. Therefore I do not need to spend vast amounts of money on all the products pouring on to the market at this time. I acknowledge that postage stamps serve other roles - they commemorate great events or anniversaries or important people in a country's history or culture, past and present, and can be used to project a national image to the rest of the world, boast of its triumphs and moarn its disasters and losses. I am happy to collect the items which fulfill those roles but I am not happy to spend money on the trivial and the ephemerally popular or populist. I am happy to collect stamps which project the nation's image - its industry, its history, its art and science, its wildlife and perhaps, most importantly, its people. 

  So, Royal Mail and its really quite horrible "Animail" sheet has finally pushed me into a new road for my stamp collection. I gave up collecting what were then still known as Smilers sheets in 2009; I have reduced greatly the number of Post And Go labels that are admitted to my collection and now its time to go further. For a year or two, I have given up buying most stamps from prolific entities such as Australia Post, Jersey Post, Isle Of Man Post Office, Guernsey Post and Royal Gibraltar Post Office - I only have their definitives and new stamps which commemorate truly significant national events and anniversaries - and of course I do not buy stuff from Stamperija and most of the IGPC and Philatelic Collector Inc. products - and now I add Royal Mail to my list. 

  I like the Prestige booklets but there are just too many of them now so they're out; only special stamps commemorating significant national events and anniversaries will find their way into my collection, definitives will still be obtained, only Post And Go stamps obtained from kiosks freely accessible to members of the general public (NCR in post offices and IAR in enquiry offices) will be collected. It will be hard to stick to my new plan at first but I know that it will soon feel like being released from a completist prison. And just think what I can do with all the money that's saved. 

  So, Mr. Men stamps -  you'll have no home in my collection and I suspect that much of the stuff
planned for 2017 is likely to be equally homeless. 

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

809. New Zealand Post Afloat With More Medal Stamps.

  Most of New Zealand's Olympic team's latest medals are rather watery ones - Lisa Carrington won a gold medal in the Women's kayak sprint K-1 200m race and Sam Meech won a bronze medal in the Sailing Men's laser competition, Lisa Carrington also won a bronze medal in the Women's kayak K-1 500m race, Joe Aley and Polly Powrie won silver in the Women's sailing 470 event, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke won the gold medal in the Men's sailing 49er event and Tomas Walsh won the bronze medal in the Men's shot put event.
  To commemorate this success, New Zealand Post has released more sheetlets of 6 x $1 stamps - I think the dates of issue must have been between 17 August and 19 August 2016. That makes a total of 14 sheetlets so far with a total face value of $84. Rating:- *****.

 Australia Post, in contrast, are sensibly releasing stamps to commemorate only Australia's gold medal winners though unfortunately the Philatelic Bureau is only selling the stamps as $10 sheetlets of 10 x $1. The latest stamps commemorate Kimberley Brennan who won the Women's rowing single sculls and Tom Burton who won the Men's sailing Laser class event. Rating:- *****.

  Bhutan Post has issued a very attractive and interesting sheetlet of 4 stamps and an accompanying miniature sheet on the subject of "The Four Mythical Animals". The issues of Bhutan Post continue to be fascinating, many featuring the immensely interesting local culture, and not over-priced. I do not yet know the date of issue. Rating:- *****.

  The latest products from Stamperija, unusually include an interesting, if large (notunusual) set of stamps that look as though they are actually intended to be used in the country whose name appears on these items. From Maldives come 20 low face value stamps with 20 accompanying miniature sheets which are titled "Personalised landscapes of Maldives" which, it is easy to see, would be of interest to tourists for use on their postcards sent from this romantic holiday getaway destination. Each stamp depicts a scene from a different atoll of the Republic of Maldives and the rather useful miniature sheets give information about the localities. I like these items and find them so interesting that, despite the rather naff art in the borders of the miniature sheets, I give a rating of *****. The date of issue is said to have been 13 June 2016. 

  Stamperia returns to its true form with a tasteless "sheetlet" of 4 stamps and an accompanying "miniature sheet" on the subject of World Youth Day which is an excuse to depict a number of Roman Catholic popes on items with the name of Sierra Leone, where the population is 78% Muslim, printed on them. The alleged date of issue was 27 May 2016. Rating:- 0.

  The same date of issue is also given for another 9 "sheetlets", each containing 4 different "stamps" with 9 accompanying "miniature sheets", on the subject of "National Parks of Africa" (none of the featured parks is located in Sierra Leone). The depicted parks are Amboseli in Kenya, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda - a park where gorillas man seen at close quarters, South Luangwa in Zambia, Chobe in Botswana, Maasai Mara in Kenya, Etosha in Namibia, Kruger in South Africa, Kidepo Valley in Uganda and Moremi Game Reserve in the Okovango Delta in Botswana. See also Blog 795. Rating:- 0.