Thursday, 29 January 2015

518. From Malta To Yalta.

Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin.

  Malta Post will issue 3 stamps on 4 February 2015 in a sheetlet of nine (3 x 3 of each stamp) to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Yalta Conference where the British primeminister met his allies:- the US President, Franklin Roosevelt, and the leader of The Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, as the Second World War drew to a close. Prior to travelling on to Yalta to meet Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt met together in Malta for preliminary discussions and five meetings took place at the island between the 2 leaders - 4 at Montgomery House in Floriana and the other aboard USS Quincy. They first met together in Malta on 30 January 1945.
  Churchill declared in his correspondence with Roosevelt, "No more let us falter! From Malta to Yalta! Let nobody alter!".
 The set was designed by Joseph Said and lithographed by Printex:-

  The latest new issues announced by Canada Post start off with a single stamp in its ongoing Black Heritage series which commemorates the South African statesman, the late Nelson Mandela. The self-adhesive stamp from a booklet of 10 was released on 30 January 2015 and designed by Ian Drolet and lithographed by Canadian Bank Note. A gummed miniature sheet accompanies the basic stamp:-

  Canada Post will then issue a single self-adhesive stamp from a booklet of ten and an accompanying $5 miniature sheet lithographed on fabric on 15 February 2015 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian national flag. The issue was designed by Kosta Tsetsekas and Defne Corbacoglu (Signals) and printing by Canadian Bank Note.

Miniature sheet on first day cover

  Two self-adhesive stamps produced in 2 formats (booklets of 10 (2 x 5 of each design) and coils) and 1 gummed miniature sheet will be issued on 2 March 2015 and will depict pansy flowers. The stamps were designed by Marcio Morgado and Paul Haslip (HM andE) from illustrations by Laurier Koss and lithographed by Lowe Martin:-

Booklet of 10 (5 x 2) Pansy stamps.

gummed miniature sheet.

Self-adhesive coil.

  Royal Mail will issue a "commemorative sheetlet" on 18 March 2015 which commemorates the centenary of the arrival of the Post Office Rifles in France. The sheetlet contains 10 "Union Jack" Smilers stamps with 10 different attached labels. The face value of the stamps is £6.20p but Royal Mail is selling the sheetlet for £14.95p (242.13% of the face value of the sheetlet) which is rather a lot of money to pay for a single sheet of gummed paper with a piece of backing cardboard. It is a worthy and interesting product and I would be pleased to add it to my collection but there is no way I would hand over £14.95 for this product:-

  In Blog 515 I gave some details of the set of 8 stamps which will be released by Royal Mail on 18 February 2015 on the subject of "Inventive Britain" (not "Inventive Britons" as I wrote in 515, the error kindly being pointed out to me by Ian of the invaluable Norvic Stamps Blog) which has a total face value of £8.36p and all 8 values are now depicted below:-

  In addition there will be a "Prestige Booklet", also titled Inventive Britain, which will include 2 additional commemorative stamps which will commemorate the role of Bletchley Park Station X and the mathematician, Alan Turing, in breaking Nazi codes during the Second World War. Four new Machin Head definitives will also make their appearance in booklet since the 1p, 2p, 81p and 97p stamps included in it will have new identification codes printed on them.

  The total face value of the stamps in the booklet will be £13.67 with the usual additional premium on top of the basic face value meaning that the total face value of the basic items of the issue will be more than £22 ! Added to the other issues already released by Royal Mail (Alice In Wonderland, "Smilers", Post Office Rifles sheet and Sailing Boats "Post and Go's" - from Philatelic Bureau packs and post office-based machines but not including exhibition or museum souvenirs) 'one of everything' will cost a collector of Royal Mail stamps a grand total of at least £72.96p over the first 10 weeks of the year which suggests that a completeist's spending on Royal Mail stamps for 2015 is likely to be about £394.
  It's interesting to note that Royal Mail are celebrating "50 years of special stamp issues" during 2015 and so it is not unreasonable to compare what philatelic items the British Post Office were selling to collectors during 1965 and compare it with 2015. In 1965 the British Post Office issued 24 different commemorative stamps but that number can be increased because all but one of them was produced with and without phosphor bands and we may also add a further stamp to the total because the lower value of the Churchill commemoration was produced on 2 different machines which resulted in 2 somewhat different stamps though only one of them had a phosphor variety. 
  Therefore we may say that 48 new stamps were issued by the British Post Office in 1964 - the basic 24 had a face value of 19s 6d (97.5p) while the total face value with phosphor varieties and the Churchill varieties amounted to £1-16s-4d (£1-81.5p) which is the equivalent of £17 in 2015. So while a collector could have obtained a full year's collection of British stamps at a face value equivalent to £17 in 1965 that total face value for doing so now in 2015 appears to have increased to about £400 which represents an increase of 2300%. By necessity, the new issue collector of 2015 is a different creature from 50 years ago and Royal Mail's attitude to making money from philatelic sales has changed out of all recognition in the past 50 years. Interesting, isn't it?

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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

517. Manx Pay And Post Stamps; An Post Commemorates Historic Meeting.

UK/Channel Islands rate.

  In Blog 498 I mentioned that to my great surprise I had discovered that the Isle Of Man Post Office had set up Pay And Post kiosks in several locations, including the soon-to-close, historic Regent Street Post Office in Douglas, which have several functions including the provision of postage stamps similar to the Post And Go (Faststamps) stamps now familiar in The United Kingdom and more recently in Jersey as well as soon to be produced as exhibition souvenirs by Guernsey Post.
   The kiosks were first installed at the Regent Street Post Office as long ago as 2010 but I had never seen any news of this in the philatelic media nor any of the Pay and Post stamps offered for philatelic sale despite the increasing popularity of Post And Go stamps and the fact that they were in everyday sale as postage stamps for the mail-sending Manx public. 
  I have now received some examples of the Pay And Post stamps from a friend of mine who is a Manx resident and who is a regular customer of the Regent Street Post Office but had never been aware of the presence of the Pay and Post kiosks until I told him about them. I think this says more about the poor publicity put out by the Isle Of Man Post Office about the kiosks rather than my friend's powers of observation which are quite acute given that he is a prize-winning photographer. He has kindly sent me 2 of the kiosk-produced stamps in unused condition - one in the UK/Channel Islands rate of 42p and the other in the Airmail letter rate of £1.21p (depicted above and below) as well as the accompanying receipts produced by the kiosk.
  I also depict a cover my friend has sent to me with a UK/Channel Islands rate stamp attached and cancelled by "Douglas Isle Of Man" slogan postmark which reads "COLLECT/ISLE OF MAN/STAMPS/" (rather ironically I think). The postmark is dated "6.45PM 26 JAN 2015" and the inscription on the stamp itself says "Postage /Isle of Man Post Office/RSBO Kiosk/4402-201-2-363536-3-1/29/01/2015  Valid: 90 days". The stamp is printed on paper which has the inscription "Isle of Man/Post Office/Oik Postagh Ellan Vannin" which is repeated vertically and is self-adhesive and delivered in vertical coils.
  Most interesting is the fact that the stamps, as indicated by the inscription on them, only have a validity of 90 days from the day of production which differentiates them from Royal Mail and Jersey Post Faststamps which have unlimited validity (although the true Royal Mail Post And Go stamps are only valid on the day of issue).
  Apart from the limited period of validity there seems to be little that is different between these Manx stamps and the "Post And Go" stamps sold by Royal Mail and Jersey Post. It is surprising, though very pleasing, that the Isle Of Man Post Office has not exploited stamp collectors with the sale of multiple pictorial versions of these kiosk-generated items in the way that we have seen Royal Mail and Jersey Post do so. These Pay And Post stamps fulfill a genuine postal need and seem to be an important new development in the story of the stamps of The Isle Of Man and even The British Isles and should be of particular interest to "Post And Go" stamp collectors. Perhaps we will see the impoverished Isle Of Man Post Office who are selling off the family silver - their historic post offices - recognise that these kiosk-produced stamps may provide an additional small philatelic income if special pictorial types are produced. For the moment, however, I am very pleased to add examples of the Pay And Post stamps to my collection because they meet genuine postal needs unlike many of the Post And Go stamps which are nothing more than exhibition and museum souvenirs with extremely limited availability:-

Airmail letter rate.

UK/Channel Islands rate receipt

Airmail letter rate receipt

UK/Channel Islands rate used on cover

UK/Channel Islands rate cancelled by Douglas postmark with "Collect Isle Of Man Stamps" slogan.

  An Post, the Irish postal service, issued a single stamp on 22 January 2015 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the meeting in January 1965 of Sean Lemass, Irish Taoiseach from 1959 to 1966, and Captain Terence O'Neill, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland from 1963 to 1969 and leader of the Ulster Unionists, which is viewed as the first significant meeting between important politicians from the north and south of Ireland and the first step in the thawing of relations between the two territories in Ireland. The two leaders met again February 1965 in Dublin.
  This historic commemorative stamp was designed by Red And Grey Design and lithographed by Irish Security Stamp Printing Ltd.
  It is interesting that An Post chose to commemorate the 50th anniversary of these historic meetings while Royal Mail did not commemorate another immensely historically significant anniversary of a meeting - the 750th anniversary of the first Parliament (see Blog 514).

  The IGPC is issuing stamps on behalf of Antigua And Barbuda (date of issue awaited) in the form of a sheetlet of 4 different stamps and 1 miniature sheet which commemorate the Lunar New Year - "the Year of The Ram":-

  Pos Malaysia issued a set of 3 stamps on 27 January 2015 to commemorate Malaysia's taking on of the chairmanship of ASEAN:-

  Bangladesh Post Office released a single Tk10 stamp on 26 January 2015 to commemorate International Customs Day:-

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Saturday, 24 January 2015

516. Bermuda Flowers, Fiji Christmas And Jersey £5 Hologram Issue.

  In Blog 510 I mentioned the new Bermuda Post Office "Zone 1" rose definitives and in addition another 10 stamps have been released with a "Zone 2" value. These very attractive stamps are sold in a booklet and depict various local flowers. I think the date of issue was 16 October 2014:-

  Fiji Post issued 4 stamps which depicted local churches for Christmas 2014. The designs depict the Temple of the The Church of Latter Day Saints in Samabulain Suva (40c), the Anglican Church of The Redeemer in Ovalau in Levuka (65c), the Baker Memorial Methodist Church in Davullevu in Nauturi ($3) and St. Xavirr Catholic Parish Church in Navunibitu in Ra ($10). Presently I have no other details of the issue:-

  In Blog 508 I mentioned the new £5 definitive stamp from Jersey Post which features an embossed hologram of the Jersey arms and I now include an illustration of the stamp below:-

  Ho hum. Yet more philatelic items from Stamperija. This time they are inscribed "Solomon Islands" and are said to have been "issued" on 28 November 2014. As usual the issue consists of 10 sheetlets each of 4 different "stamps" and 10 accompanying miniature sheets - this time the various subjects depicted are:- Owls, Turtles, Lighthouses, Mushrooms, European high speed trains, Dolphins, Dinosaurs, Butterflies, The Concorde and Australian ships. The total face value of this outpouring is $420 (Solomon Islands dollars) equal to £36.39p. Therefore, so far for 2014, Stamperija has produced 352 "stamps" and 88 miniature sheets, a total of 440 items, with the name of Solomon Islands printed on them.

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Thursday, 22 January 2015

515. Victoria Cross Recipients Commemorated By Australia Post.

  I often moan about the large numbers of stamps issued by Australia Post in recent years but sometimes I have to admit that the postal administration gets things just right. It has been announced that the 2015 "Australian Legends" set due to be issued on 22 January will commemorate Australian recipients of the Victoria Cross. Australian forces have been heavily involved in recent years in Afghanistan and carried out great acts of valour as well as having suffered losses from among their ranks.
 The designs feature 5 Australian VC recipients - above is depicted the stamp which shows Keith Payne, Australia's oldest living VC recipient, who received his award for his bravery in rescuing injured soldiers during the Vietnam War in 1969. Mark Donaldson was awarded the VC for drawing Taliban fire away from wounded soldiers in Afghanistan in 2008:-

  Daniel Keighran received his VC for his actions during a fire fight in Afghanistan in 2010:-

  The VC was awarded to Ben Roberts-Smith for his action in drawing enemy fire in Afghanistan in 2010:-

  Finally, the VC was awarded to Cameron Baird who was killed in Afghanistan in June 2013:-

  These are excellent stamps and feature brave Australians whom Australia Post rightly recognises as worthy subjects for the honour of being depicted on a postage stamp. So many postal administrations and philatelic agencies devalue the honour given to such worthy subjects when they are commemorated on a national stamp because so many other stamps feature subjects which have no relevance to the country whose name appears on the stamp or, in the pursuit of squeezing money from stamp collectors, feature popular "celebrities" whose significance is ephemeral and whose contribution to the country on whose stamps they appear is transiently newsworthy but ultimately negligible.
   The stamps were designed by Lynette Traynor and lithographed by McKellar Renown.
  Congratulations to Australia Post for issuing a set of stamps whose designs are clear and understandable unlike the upcoming "Inventive Britons" set from Royal Mail (see below) which commemorates the important achievements of truly notable Britons but in obscure designs which, without the attached text, are incomprehensible in meaning.
  Details of the various products being issued in the 2015 Australian legends set are given in Blog 499J. The accompanying miniature sheet includes all 5 stamps and lists the Australian recipients of the Victoria Cross and compliments the miniature sheet (also detailed in Blog 499J) which is also to be released on 22 January 2015 and which commemorates the first award of a Victoria Cross to an Australian during the Boer War.

First Victoria Cross miniature sheet.
2015 - World Wide Web

2000 - Millennium Issue -  National Space Centre.

  The next special stamp issue from Royal Mail will be released on 19 February 2014 on the subject of "Inventive Britons". One of the designs is said to feature the "World Wide Web", the invention of which is ascribed to Tim Berners-Lee in 1990. The design of the stamp needs some explanation to those of us who have difficulty understanding such things and is remarkably similar to the stamp issued in 2000 to commemorate the new millennium and titled "National Space Centre/Leicester". Since the upcoming stamp does not depict the inventor (it does not even name him) but depicts an interpretation of the invention perhaps the issue is wrongly titled and would be better called "British inventions" rather than "Inventive Britons".
  The other inventions to be featured in the set and their inventors are:- 1st:- Colossus, the first electronic computer (Tommy Flowers, 1943) and World Wide Web; 81p:- Cat's Eyes (Percy Shaw, 1933) and Fibre optics (Kao and Hockham, 1960's); £1.28p:- Stainless steel (Harry Brearley, 1913) and Carbon fibre (RAE Farnborough, 1963); £1.47p:- DNA Sequencing (Sanger, 1979) and i-Limb advanced prosthetic limb (Gow/Touch Bionics 2007). 
  The designs by GBH are interesting but, as mentioned above, obscure so that without reading the text ordinary members of the general public would not have a clue as to what is being commemorated on the stamps. The set was printed in lithography by International Security Printers and the issue will include the first of Royal Mail's prestige booklets to be released in 2015:-

Cat's eyes and Stainless steel.

DNA sequencing and i-Limb prosthetic limb.

 The second part of Cyprus Post's Intellectual personalities definitive series will be issued on 4 February 2015. It consists of a further 12 stamps (2 each of 4c, 50c, 60c, 75c, €1 and €1.50 values). The set was designed by Costas Panayi, Marianna Iacovou, Sofia Malecos and Xenia Christodoulou and printed in lithography by Giesecke and Devrient Matsoukis SA of Greece:-

  Meanwhile the provisional new issue programme of Turkish Republic Of Northern Cyprus for 2015 is:-
9 February - St. Valentine's Day;
18 March - "Centenary of victory in the naval battle at Gallipoli";
1 April - Struggle against cancer;
14 May - Traffic;
6 June - Europa - Old toys;
5 August - Cats and dogs;
12 October - Historical artifacts smuggled from Cyprus;
23 November - Traditional production. 

  Namibia Post will issue a very attractive miniature sheet containing 3 different stamps on 6 February 2015 on the subject of the Namibia Sand Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage Site:-

  Namibia Post's proposed issues for the remainder of 2015 are:-
21 March - 25th anniversary of Independence - 1 miniature sheet,
21 March - Inauguration of Hage Geingob, the 3rd President of Namibia - 1 stamp,
15 May - Bee-eaters of Namibia - 5 stamps,
22 June - Small antelopes of Namibia -  4 stamps,
6 July - Baby "Big Five" - 5 stamps,
19 August - Sharks of Namibia - 4 stamps,
1 October - Coursers birds of Namibia - 4 stamp miniature sheet.

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