Wednesday, 8 July 2020

1699. ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ธ South Georgia From The Air.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ธ The postal service of South Georgia And The South Sandwich Islands will issue a set of 6 stamps on 5 August 2020 on the subject of views of the territory ‘From The Air‘.
  This interesting and attractive issue was designed by Bee Design from photographs by SAERI/Neil Golding, John Dickens, George Lemann and Tom Hart. The issue was lithographed by Cartor and perforated 13.5. Production of the issue was coordinated by Creative Direction. Rating:- *****.
  Thanks to Juliet Warner of Pobjoy Stamps for information about this issue.

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช Brian Warren has been kind enough to point out to me that the postal service of The Republic Of Ireland, An Post, is to resume its new issue programme with the current abatement in the COVID-19 infection in Western Europe. 
  The revised programme is as follows:-

16 July 2020 - EUROPA, Ancient Postal routes - 2 stamps
23 July 2020 - 9th Definitive series, A history of Ireland in 100 objects, part 4 - 12 stamps 
30 July 2020 - Birth centenary of Liam Cosgrave - 1 stamp
27 August 2020 - 25th anniversary of Father Ted, comedy television series
24 September 2020 - Centenary of the Anglo-Irish War, part 2 - 2 stamps
8 October 2020 - U2, Irish popular music performers - 5 stamps
29 October 2020 - Christmas - 6 stamps.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง I now have three more of the latest 2020 printings of the never ending Royal Mail Machin Head definitive series with M20L codes. These are from counter sheets all with the code M20L MAIL and are the 2p value, the 20p value and the 2nd Large rate stamp:-

1698. ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น Tempting Food From Malta.

  ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น MaltaPost gets my vote for the most mouth-watering stamps of the year so far with the designs of its 2020 Euromed stamps featuring highly tempting cakes as the subject of the issue is Traditional Gastronomy in the Mediterranean (area). The set of 3 stamps are due for issue on 9 July 2020 and the designs by MaltaPost plc depict Biskuttini tar Rahal (rural biscuits), Qaghaq tal-Gunglien (biscuit rings with sesame seeds and Pasta Roza bil-Gewz tal Indi (coconut Lamington) which looks so pretty I wish I was in Malta now trying one out. Rating:- ****.

  ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡น The postal service of Trinidad And Tobago issued a set of 5 stamps and 1 miniature sheet containing 3 different stamps on 2 July 2020 to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the first arrival of immigrants from India and south Asia in the country. The beautifully illustrated set was launched with the involvement of the Indian High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago. Indian diplomats seem to be increasingly involved in the issue of postage stamps in other countries with which they wish to stress the importance of their ties with India. This is similar to the way The People’s Republic of China often donates stamp issues to other countries’ postal administrations and Taiwan also indulges in philatelic diplomacy as has Japan in the past. 
  Philatelic diplomacy is an interesting aspect of modern stamp issues and the donation of a stamp issue to a poor small country can have a high profile in the recipient small nation’s press and play an (admittedly small) part at relatively small financial cost in influencing its government to support the donor country in broader international diplomacy. While India, China and Taiwan have identified the potential gains of philatelic diplomacy the western nations in general, and The United Kingdom in particular, remain blind to them. Royal Mail’s issuing of stamps depicting US television series and comics does nothing to enhance The United Kingdom’s international image. A wasted potential resource. 
  The Trinidad and Tobago set is a lovely issue. Two of the 5 stamps and the miniature sheet are illustrated (better quality illustrations will be added when available). Rating:- *****. 

  ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ Pos Malaysia will issue a set of 3 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on 9 July 2020 as the third part of its Wild flowers series. This is another attractive issue from Pos Malaysia. Rating:- ****.

Addendum Response to Navy007Nic’s comment below - Thank you so much for pointing out the error. I am always confusing SEPAC with Euromed and this isn’t the first time I’ve mixed the two up in this Blog. To avoid confusion I’ve corrected the error in this Blog. Hopefully I will not confuse the two organisations again. Best wishes, WK.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

1697. ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ธ New Stamps Soon From South Sudan?

๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ธ A comment on Stamp Boards by mpstamps has drawn my attention to the South Sudan Stamp Collectors Facebook page where Leo Van Dar Velden from whom I’ve purchased some excellent stamps in the past, unobtainable elsewhere, and who is a great expert on the stamps of South Sudan and also has links with the country, comments that he expects that the postal service of South Sudan will release a new set of stamps later in July 2020.
  He reports that a new issue titled ‘Struggle against COVID-19 pandemic:Tribute to Healthcare personnel” will be released and that it is part of a joint issue based on a common design by South Sudan and some other African countries. The South Sudan stamp design Committee has made alterations to the basic design to meet local needs and the issue will be made up of 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet. Leo Van Der Velden reports that other countries participating in this omnibus series include Mali, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau and St Thomas and Prince. He reports that some countries are assumed to have already released their issues and he includes an illustration of stamp from the CAR with a first day cancellation (27 April 2020) applied to it.
  At this point alarm bells begin to ring as all the countries listed above have postal services which use the notorious Stamperija agency to produce and market their very numerous and frequently awful philatelic products. This issue was raised in a comment on the South Sudan stamp collectors Facebook page but Leo Van Der Velden reassures that Stamperija has not been involved with the South Sudan issue. The basic design in slightly different forms is illustrated below on issues from St Thomas and Prince, Niger, Djibouti and CAR. Other products accompany the basic stamp - from St Thomas and Prince there are a prestamped postcard and a miniature sheet containing a single stamp, from Niger there are another stamp (depicting Chinese health workers and not Africans) printed as a se-tenant pair with the basic design stamp, a miniature sheet containing both stamps and a stamp booklet and from Djibouti 2 other stamps (one depicting a health worker and the other an armed soldier - neither look African) printed as a se-tenant trio in sheetlets of 9 (3 x 3) and a single stamp miniature sheet depicting what look again like Europeans rather than Africans. The South Sudan designs themselves are awaited.

  Most of the above items are currently being offered for sale on an internet auction site by what appears to be an Algerian dealer, Aurescollections, which specialises in the stamps of some Francophone African countries. The dealer’s ‘shop‘ has a not insignificant number of Stamperija philatelic products for sale but pleasingly it appears that Aurescollections does not have any link at all with Stamperija. 
  South Sudan remains an applicant to join The Commonwealth and as the political and military situation in the country seems to be gradually stabilising the day may draw nearer when it is admitted to the organisation. I therefore continue to watch what is happening with the country’s very infrequent stamp issues and am pleased to read that an interesting new issue relevant to it and every country will soon be released. But one can not help but be anxious if there are hints that Stamperija might be lurking in the background.
  Finally I heartily recommend requesting to be admitted to the South Sudan Stamp Collectors Facebook page which is a source of invaluable knowledge on the subject of South Sudan stamps.

Friday, 3 July 2020

1696. ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ช Jersey To Commemorate Princess Royal’s 70th Birthday.

๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ช Jersey Post intends to issue a set of 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on 15 August 2020 to commemorate the 70th Birthday anniversary of the Princess Royal, the greatly respected and much loved only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II who has lived a life of hard-working service to the people of The United Kingdom and The Commonwealth. As well as her rรดle as a member of the royal family  she won an Olympic gold medal in an equestrian event. A well deserved philatelic commemoration. Rating:- ****.

๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฐ Pakistan Post issued a single stamp on 26 June 2020 commemorating International Day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. The design “was supplied by the customer” and lithographed by National Security Printing Company in Karachi. Rating:- ****.

  ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฌ PNG Post, the postal service of Papua New Guinea, changed the date of issue of its set commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Post Courier, a local newspaper, to 30 June from 27 May 2020. See Blog 1676.

  ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง In Blog 1695 I reported that Norvic Stamp Blog has pointed out new printings for 2020 of the Machin Head definitives with the M20L MAIL code on them. I now include illustrations of the 3 stamps previously mentioned:-

2nd Class self-adhesive from counter sheets, M20L MAIL -

1st Class from counter sheets, M20L MAIL - 

1st Class Large from counter sheets, M20L MAIL - 

  Norvic has now also mentioned that further values of the counter stamps with M20L MAIL are currently being  offered for sale on an internet auction site - the 2p and 20p values - and Norvic has also pointed out that the 2nd Class Large stamp has been announced to have been produced by Royal Mail with a printing date of 12 May 2020.

๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ One extremely important piece of news from New Zealand Post completely slipped past me a year ago and I have been ignorant of it ever since until I read on Stamp Boards that the postal service had completely changed its approach to issuing personalised stamps. Every year New Zealand Post had offered a pack of all or most of the previous year’s new personalised stamps for sale to all collectors from the philatelic bureau in Whanganui but with a change of style for the stamps from June 2019, all personalised stamps would no longer be sold to the general public.
  This enables someone to have New Zealand Post produce for them tiny quantities of personalised stamps which are now inscribed with the country’s name (unlike the previous type of personalised stamps) on a popular theme and then sell them at very high prices because of their ‘rarity‘. Previously this situation should not have happened normally as anyone who wanted a particular stamp was likely to be able to obtain it by buying the year pack.
  These ‘stamps’ have ceased to be freely available to the public and now are only relevant to those who are interested in this niche collecting field. Those who were interested in them in a more general way need worry no more about obtaining them as they are really privately produced stamps albeit that New Zealand Post has produced them on the seller’s behalf. I would not think that it was a good idea to spend a large amount of money on any of these post-June 2019 items just because they are (artificially) rare unless the buyer is interested in this niche area of stamp collecting.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

1695. ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ผ A Hundred Years Of Aviation In Zimbabwe.

๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ผ Zim Post, the postal service of Zimbabwe, issued a set of 4 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on 5 March 2020 to commemorate the centenary of aviation in Zimbabwe. The first flight to arrive in the then Rhodesia was the Silver Queen II which is featured on the Z rate (domestic rate) value. The aircraft, a Vickers Vimy bomber, was flying on the London to Cape route and crashed at Bulawayo on 6 March 1920. The aircraft was flown by Lt Col Pierre van Ryneveld and several days afterwards he resumed his flight to the Cape in another aircraft, a DH9 named Voortrekker. Rating:- *****.

  ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ A comment on Stamp Boards by Hyderabadi reports that India Post has issued a new My Stamp item - a single Stamp with attached label sold at a premium in the usual format of a sheet of 12. The theme of the stamp is ‘Best wishes on your retirement’. 

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Royal Mail plans to release a torrent of philatelic products in the coming weeks. 
  The issue commemorating the veteran popular music group, Queen, due on 9 July 2020 was dealt with in Blog 1692. That philatelic onslaught is to be followed by an issue on 30 July 2020 which features the Palace of Westminster which continues with Royal Mail’s programme of featuring London whilst ignoring the rest of The United Kingdom. This issue will be made up of 3 x 1st Class rate stamps and 3 x £1.68 stamps (in horizontal strips of 3 for each value) plus 1 miniature sheet containing 2 x 1st Class and 2 x £1.63 stamps. This unending series of stamps featuring Palaces in London has become incredibly dull. Rating:- *.
  Just a couple weeks afterwards, on 18 August 2020, the next issue, titled Sherlock, will be released featuring the popular television series of that name. The issue will be made up of 6 stamps (3 vertically se-tenant pairs - 2 x 1st, 2 x £1.42 and 2 x £1.68) plus yet another miniature sheet (2 x 1st and 2 x £1.68). There will also be a ‘Collectors sheet, ‘Stamp book’ and numerous other ‘collectable’ products. A real catchpenny issue if ever there was one. I shall not waste my money on buying any of the above products which are fated to never be used on an item of mail save those originating from philatelic sources. Rating:- 0.
Norvic recently reported that there are 4 more Machin Head definitives from Royal Mail to add to the 2020 total - all self-adhesive reprints with M20L codes.

These are:- 2nd Class rate from Business sheets M20L MBIL

                   2nd Class rate from counter sheets M20L MAIL
                   1st Class rate from counter sheets M20L MAIL
                   1st Class Large rate from counter sheets M20L MAIL.

Monday, 29 June 2020

1694. Number Of Commonwealth Issues Falls By 23% So Far In 2020.

  As we reach the end of June I note that the number of stamp issues (not number of stamps) stated to have been issued by or in the name of all the Commonwealth philatelic entities in the first 6 months of 2020 has fallen by 22.8% in comparison with 2019. In 2019 the Commonwealth philatelic entities had released 351 issues by this stage of the year in comparison with 271 so far in 2020.
  I assume that this significant fall in the number of new issues is more to do with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic than any preplanned intention by postal administrations and philatelic agencies to reduce their annual output of new issues. Most of the habitually most prolific new issuers have maintained a high output of issues. Among these we may include Royal Mail, Australia Post, New Zealand Post, Canada Post, Isle Of Man Post Office, Jersey Post, Royal Gibraltar Post Office, Guernsey Post and the infamous Stamperija which floods the market with issues inscribed with the names of Maldives, Mozambique. and Sierra Leone.

  The self-labelled ‘Boutique philatelic agency’, Philatelic Collector Inc, has managed to put out a number of issues inscribed with the names of various Pacific islands with very high face values which are far from ‘boutique’ but we have seen a considerable reduction in the number of products emanating from the New York-based IGPC which is presumably due to the recently very serious situation in New York as regards the pandemic as well the agency having most of its ‘issues’ printed in China which was the first country affected by the virus.

  The number of issues coming from the excellent Pobjoy Stamps/Creative Direction (South Atlantic, Antarctica, Caribbean) also seems to have been reduced and the issues from the CASCO agency have been rather few and far between. India Post, Pos Malaysia, Pakistan Post and Singapore Post have all had a 2 to 3 month hiatus in their new issue releases.
  It seems likely that many parts of the world will continue to be affected by the pandemic over the next year or so, unless a reliable vaccine becomes generally available before then, and those countries which have relaxed the measures they have taken to control the infection will almost certainly experience ongoing further outbreaks which will severely limit general and economic activity. It will be interesting to see how philately will fare over the next 6 months. The problem is as serious as it ever has been up to now and is particularly dangerous for older men who in the western world are the backbone of the hobby. A large number of deaths in that age group due to the virus could have very serious effects on the continuing viability of the hobby in The West and if potential new issue buyers die in relatively large numbers then philatelic agencies may go under and even the most prolific postal services may not have a market for their numerous products. This is a very dangerous time for the hobby of stamp collecting and yet it may result in a reduction in new issues if greedy new issue stamp producers lose their market.