Tuesday, 19 June 2018

1245. A Year Of Royal Stamp Issues - Are They At All Interesting Now?

  Many stamp collectors have long been exhausted by the constant procession of royal omnibus Issues and this year - 2018 - we are particularly beset by them. We've had the Royal Wedding, the 65th anniversary of the Coronation, the Birth of Prince Louis Of Cambridge and still to come is the 70th Birthday of The Prince Of Wales, which may turn out to be the most interesting of them all.
  Poor old Prince Charles has not been the favourite of those who consider themselves clever and smart for a long time and even though he is the next king of numerous Commonwealth realms and territories and has already been chosen to be the next Head of The Commonwealth, he has not featured on all that many stamps especially in recent times though a recent issue from Malaysia depicted excellent photographs of him and his wife, The Duchess Of Cornwall (depicted below) to commemorate their visit to Malaysia.
  His main philatelic claim to fame to date is his appearance on the numerous stamps released by almost the entire Commonwealth to commemorate his wedding when he married Diana Spencer but after their divorce and her subsequent death, his second marriage, to Camilla Parker Bowles, received hardly any philatelic commemoration at all. Some of the few stamps depicting him are mentioned in Blog 489. It seems to me therefore that the stamps which will inevitably appear later this year to commemorate The Prince Of Wales' birthday may be rather interesting given that Prince Charles is an interesting man and more talented than some of his detractors would give him credit for.

  My own collecting of royal omnibus stamps is now very limited. It seems reasonable to collect issues which commemorate significant events in the Queen's life from countries of which she is the Head of State. It seems unnecessary to include stamps in my collection from republics which have chosen not to have her as Head of State - why commemorate her philatelically when you've chosen to remove her from being your monarch? Additionally I might or might not add issues commemorating significant events or anniversaries of other members of the royal family from countries of which they are members of their sovereign's family but I tend not to collect them particularly if they commemorate minor royals or are featured on stamps from territories which release clearly excessive numbers of stamps.
  Undoubtedly my favourite omnibus issue of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II is the wonderful issue from 1972 which commemorated the Silver wedding anniversary of The Queen and The Duke Of Edinburgh and which mainly was made up of sets of 2 stamps only (hardly any miniature sheets) most of which had the same basic design and which contained added motifs to identify the territory issuing the stamps. I think it was still possible to call the collection of many of the stamps 'a Crown Agents omnibus'. In fact the omnibus was made up not just of stamps issued by clients of the Crown Agents but also similar designs were used by non-Crown Agents territories including IGPC clients and Anguilla which used John Lister as its philatelic agents. As well as these other territories including Great Britain, AustraliaJersey, Guernsey and so on also participated in the omnibus but did not use designs in the style of the Crown Agents issue.
  My favourite stamps from the Crown Agents-style omnibus included a number which featured wildlife from the different territories and I especially liked the issue from British Indian Ocean Territory which depicted a flightless rail (which at the time was on the verge of extinction on Aldabra island) and a sacred ibis, the issue from British Antarctic Territory which depicted seals and emperor penguins and the pair from South Georgia which featured an elephant seal and king penguins.
  Twenty nine postal administrations plus the French New Hebrides postal service participated in the 'Crown Agents' omnibus series and examples of each are depicted below:-

Antigua - Floral patterns.

Ascension - Land crab and mako shark.

Bahamas - Mace and galleon.

Bermuda - Admiralty oar and mace.

British Antarctic Territory - Seals and emperor penguins.

British Honduras - Orchids of Belize.

British Indian Ocean Territory - Flightless rail and sacred ibis.

British Solomon Islands - Greetings and message drums.

British Virgin Islands - Sailfish and SS Sir Winston Churchill.

Brunei - Local girl with traditional flower pot and boy with bowl and pipe.

Cayman Islands - Hawksbill turtle and conch shell.

Dominica - Bananas and Sisserou parrot.

Falkland Islands - Romney Marsh sheep and giant sea lions.

Gibraltar - Arms of Gibraltar and narcissus.

Gilbert And Ellice Islands - Floral head dresses.

Grenada - National badge and nutmeg.

HM Commissioner In Anguilla - Schooner and dolphin.

Hong Kong - Phoenix and dragon.

Montserrat - Lime, tomatoes and pawpaw.

New Hebrides - Royal cipher and French emblem. Four stamps (2 British version and 2 French version).

Pitcairn - Bosun birds and longboat.

St Helena - Wire bird and white fairy tern.

St Christopher Nevis And Anguilla - Pelicans.

St Lucia - National arms and St Lucia parrot.

St Vincent - Arrowroot and breadfruit.

Seychelles - Giant tortoise and sailfish.

South Georgia - Elephant seal and King Penguins.

Tristan Da Cunha - Tristan thrushes and a wandering albatross.

Turks And Caicos Islands - Turks Head cactus and a spiny lobster.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

1244. 🇰🇳 Mystery Of St Kitts 2014 Stamps.

🇰🇳 Have you seen these stamps? About 3 years ago I mentioned a set of stamps which was reported in the press in St Kitts And Taiwan which was donated by the latter to the former to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The articles suggested that the issue was to have been released in St Kitts in late January or during February 2014. The reports said that the set was made up of 8 stamps and showed scenes in the two countries.
  I have been looking out for this issue ever since but have never seen it being offered for sale by any dealers including internet dealers. What has happened to it?
  Despite the fact that it was reported that the set was made up of 8 stamps I have found illustrations of 10 stamps but it may be that some of them are to be found in an accompanying miniature sheet or miniature sheets.
  On rereading the press reports of 2014 I noticed that only 300 sets had been handed over to the St Kitts postal service. This is clearly a trivial number and in itself may explain why the issue has not found its way on to the philatelic market. Another problem might have been that St Kitts' philatelic agent is the Beijing and New York based IGPC which has heavy connections with The People's Republic Of China and for that reason may not have been able to, or be prepared to, present the issue to the philatelic market. originating as it did from The Republic Of China.
  The face values of the stamps are very low so they may have received local usage and have been rapidly used up for purely postal purposes but I haven't seen any covers with any of the stamps attached to them being offered for sale.
  Given the limited number of sets it may be that these items were merely intended to be given as presentation items to local dignatories or perhaps the stamps were accepted by the St Kitts authorities and then never put on sale. To me it's all a great mystery. Is there anyone out there who knows whether these items were actually issued by the St Kitts Post Office and is there anyone who has actually seen a set or even a single stamp?

🇧🇩 Bangladesh Post issued a set of 4 stamps in a se-tenant block together with 2 miniature sheets on 14 June 2018 to commemorate the FIFA World Cup Football Finals being held in Russia at present. The designs are not particularly inspired. I do not yet know the precise date of issue. Rating:- **.

🇮🇳 India Post issued a single stamp on 17 June 2018 to commemorate the Centenary of Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, Madras which was established by Mahatma Gandhi with the aim of propagating Hindi in the southern states of India. The first Pracharak was Mahatma Gandhi's son, Devadoss Gandhi. Rating:- **.

1243. 🇸🇬 Singapore Post Commemorates National Flower.

  🇸🇬 Singapore Post intends to issue a set of 4 stamps and 1 Collectors sheet on 22 June 2018 to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid which is the national flower of Singapore. The issue was designed by Adeline Tan and lithographed and printed with metallic pink foil by Southern Colour Print and perforated 14.. This is a very attractive issue. Rating:- *****.

  🇫🇯 Fiji Post is one of the last few postal administrations to inform WNS of its latest stamp issues which is useful as I have finally been able to locate details and good illustrations of its issues so far in 2018.

12 February - UN Climate Change Conference, Bonn 2017 - 4 stamps. Lithographed by Southern Colour Print and perforated 13.

28 February- Chinese New Year, Year of The Dog - 4 stamps. Lithographed by Southern Colour Print and perforated 14.5.

28 March - 50th anniversary of the presence of the Peace Corps in Fiji - 4 stamps. Lithographed by Southern Colour Print and perforated 13.5.

  🇲🇼 In Blog 1242 I mentioned the new sheetlet of 6 stamps issued by Malawi Post on the subject of Indigenous birds of Malawi which was for sale on the Delcampe auction site. It appears that this particular item was also accompanied by 6 single stamp miniature sheets which are depicted below. What a very attractive issue it is. Rating:- *****.