Saturday, 14 July 2018

1260. 🇵🇰 Pakistan Post Issues 20 Stamps Depicting 'Atrocities' In Kashmir.

  🇵🇰 In Blogs 1076 and 1077 I presented details of the most shocking stamp issue ever. The issue was a single large sheet containing 71 different stamps and it was accompanied by 18 miniature sheets which included in them all the stamps from the large sheet.The issue was released by Bangladesh Post and titled 'War Crimes In Bangladesh By Pakistan Army And Their Collaborators 1971'. The extremely disturbing images printed on the stamps - including the corpse of a child being eaten by dogs - were portrayed in stark black and white. Very rarely are stamps used to shock to quite such an extent as that Bangladesh set but there is no doubt that the issue was highly effective in promoting the country's grievances against the alleged crimes of the Pakistan Army in 1971.
  As if in response now, Pakistan Post issued a sheet of 20 different stamps on 13 July 2018 to publicise 'Kashmir Martyr's Day' and 'Atrocities In Indian Occupied Kashmir'. India and Pakistan are engaged in a very longstanding dispute about the territory of Kashmir and India supported Bangladesh in its war with Pakistan. The enmity between India and Pakistan is old and deep.
  This issue from Pakistan Post, like the issue of Bangladesh includes some disturbing subjects and images but probably has less impact because the stamps are printed in colour rather than stark black and white. One can not also help having an impression of tit-for-tat about the release of these stamps.
Each stamp has its own subject:- Use of chemical weapons, Use of pellet guns, Mass graves, Braid chopping, Half widows (2 stamps), 'Over 100,000 Kashmiris Martyred', Homeless children, 'Children abuse', 'Human shield', Burhan Wani (1994-2016) Freedom Icon, Freedom struggle, Fake encounters, 'Women harassment', 'Bleeding Kashmir', 'Brutality', Freedom prayer, Missing persons, Protest against killers and Tortured Women.
  Collectors are therefore faced with another stamp issue reflecting the cruelty of mankind to others of its own species presented in a graphic way but perhaps mostly not as horrifically as the Bangladesh issue of 2017. The issue emphasises that one of the roles of postage stamps is as promoters of national causes or national propaganda and underlines why stamp issue release is a serious matter and should not descend to the depths of the recently produced salacious items from the notorious philatelic agency, Stamperija, which were issued in the name of the Sierra Leone postal service on the subject of the 20th anniversary of former US President Clinton's alleged sexual misconduct with Monica Lewinsky (see Blog 1257).
  Rating:- *****.

1259. 🇮🇪 Upcoming New Issues From Ireland.

  🇮🇪 A number of new issues have been announced and detailed by An Post, the postal service of The Republic Of Ireland.

  12 July 2018 - Bees - 4 x €1 hexagonal stamps and 1 miniature sheet - Designed by Shevaun Doherty Design HQ and lithographed by Cartor and perforated 13. Rating:- ****.

  26 July 2018 - World Meeting Of Families and Papal visit of Pope Francis - 2 stamps and 1 miniature sheet. Designed by Vermillion Design and lithographed by Cartor and perforated 13.5. Rating:- ****.

  2 August 2018 - The Royal Dublin Society - 4 stamps - Designed by Zinc Design Consultants and lithographed by Cartor and perforated 13.5. Rating:- ****.

  6 September 2018 - Irish scientific discoveries - 4 stamps and 1 €13 Prestige booklet - Designed by Detail and lithographed by Cartor and perforated 13.5. Rating:- **.

  This information is contained in the Philatelic Bureau's The Collector and at the end is an editorial on the future of stamp collecting which appears to suggest that the use of digital technology may rekindle an interest in stamp collecting even among the young.
  The piece points out correctly that 'supply is slowly exceeding demand' but also states that 'values are not growing at more than the rate of inflation, if even that' though I find the phrase to be ambiguous (does it mean that the values of the stamps in our collections are not rising in advance of inflation or that the (face) values of newly issued stamps are not rising with inflation [which I feel is incorrect]?).
  The piece seems to suggest that the secret to increasing interest in stamp collecting is to broaden the use of digital technology in our hobby. It even suggests that 'on-line galleries might become the new albums for everyone' though this seems to rather ignore the fact that stamps are actually physical items which have to be stored somewhere so physical albums rather than on-line albums will have to be with us always unless we want to set up an online photo collection which we call our 'stamp collection' which of course it patently isn't - it would be an online photograph collection and nothing more.
  The article points out, as mentioned above, that 'SUPPLY is slowly EXCEEDING DEMAND'. Yet various philatelic entities continue to feed this excessive supply in the hope of boosting their revenues but it is this excessive supply which is putting collectors off. Therefore if suppliers know that supply is in excess to demand then why don't they cut back the number of stamp issues they release? It may take a long time but collectors might find stamp collecting to be attractive again if they don't have so many items to buy to maintain a 'complete collection'. If there are too many available items to achieve the goal of completeness then collectors ask themselves 'What's the point?' and give up completely. That would be a much more effective way of attracting collectors back to the hobby as well as newcomers than trying to find ways of fitting a computer into the hobby.

  🇮🇳 India Post issued a single stamp on 8 July 2018 to commemorate Damodar Hari Chapekar who murdered a British government official in 1897 and was subsequently hanged for his crime but is now celebrated as a martyr in the cause of Indian resistance. Rating:- *.

  🇮🇳🇿🇦 India Post's joint issue with the South African Postal Service, mentioned in Blog 1258, will be released alongside its South African equivalent on 26 July 2018. The issues from both postal administrations take the form of miniature sheets each containing 2 different stamps. Rating:- ***.

1258. 🇬🇧 British Antarctic Territory Royal Wedding Issue.

  Pobjoy Stamps has announced the issue of a mini-omnibus series of stamps which commemorate the Wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. On 23 July 2018 several territories will begin to each release a set of 4 stamps and an accompanying miniature sheet the production of all of which was carried out by Creative Direction Ltd. 
  The participating territories are:- Ascension, Bahamas, Falkland Islands, South Georgia And The South Sandwich Islands and Tristan Da Cunha (all due to be released during August 2018), British Antarctic Territory (due to be issued on 23 July 2018) and British Virgin Islands (release date to be confirmed).
   🇬🇧 The British Antarctic Territory issue was designed by Bee Design from photographs supplied by Getty Images and lithographed by Cartor and perforated 13.5. As usual with items emerging from Creative Direction, the photographs used in the designs seem to be very well chosen and attractively presented. Rating:- *****.
  Thanks to Juliet Warner of Pobjoy Stamps for the above information.

  🇬🇮 In Blog 1225 I drew attention to the Royal Gibraltar Post Office's Cryptocurrency miniature sheet, a gimmick issue released in an edition of 50000 miniature sheets of 4 stamps with a value in cryptocoinage attached to them. The lure of the cryptocoin value has made one internet auction site seller value a miniature sheet of 4 as being worth a speculative £1501.51p (the face value of the stamps is just £2!) though an edition of 50,000 from the philatelic point of view is very large in these current times when new issue collecting is relatively unpopular. To be honest, this cryptocoinage speculation is way beyond my understanding but you can be sure that you will see none of these stamps commercially used on mail from Gibraltar, I'll be bound.

  🇧🇩 My attention has been drawn by Gene W. to a useful website which features the new issues of Bangladesh Post. I thank Gene for this valuable information. The site features the following issues which have not been mentioned previously in this Blog. I do not know the dates of issue apart from the fact that they were all released during 2018.

  2018 - 45th Session of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation Council of Foreign Ministers - 1 stamp:-

  2018 - 6th Independence and National Day - 1 stamp:-

  2018 - National Children Day - 1 stamp:-

  2018 - The late Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's 7 March, World's Documentary Heritage - 1 stamp:-

  2018 - Book Fair on International Mother Language Day - 2 stamps as a se-tenant pair with label in between and 1 miniature sheet:-

  2018 - International Customs Day - 1 stamp:-

  See also Blogs 1247, 1212 and 1201.

  🇿🇦 The South African Post Office has outlined its new issue programme for 2018 (yes, I know it's July). This is the plan:-

6 June - '20 Years of Strategic Partnership', Joint issue with India Post - Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and Oliver Tambo.
31 May - National Parks, Part 4.
18 July - Birth Centenary of Nelson Mandela, Joint issue with German postal service.
18 July - Birth Centenary of Nelson Mandela and 125th anniversary of the Gandhi Pietermaritzburg Incident, Joint issue with India Post.
18 July 2018 - Joint issue with the nations of the Pan-African Postal Union (PAPU), Birth Centenary of Nelson Mandela.
6 September - Innovative bridge design.
28 September - President Cyril Ramaphosa.
9 October - World Post Day, Digital revolution.
26 November - The Big Five.

It does appear that some of the dates of issue which appear on the list have not been realised.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

1257. 🇲🇼🇱🇨🏴 Malawi Surcharges, Saint Lucia Stampless Cover And Outrageous Items Attributed To Sierra Leone.

  🇲🇼 In Blog 1242 I mentioned the 5 new provisional surcharges from Malawi Post whereby RED surcharges had been applied to old bird and butterfly definitives. The dealer, Nigel Haworth, is offering these stamps in his latest price list along with some surcharge errors but he also points out, and is selling, that 4 of the 5 stamps were printed with surcharges in alternative positions on the stamps. Nigel Haworth states that the alternative set of 4 was not acceptable to the Malawi postal authorities and that 2000 of each value was produced. However I'm not sure whether these stamps were actually released or simply prepared but not released because of their unacceptability. Either way they are quite interesting and worth considering as additions to a Malawi collection.
  Nigel Haworth also states that he believes that these surcharges are to be the last as there is to be a new issue 'covering local use'. Rating:- *****.

  🇱🇨 I recently purchased from Steven Zirinsky a cover from Saint Lucia, of which he has still has several on his website, which suggests that at some times at least the postal service of that country is not supplying postage stamps for ordinary members of the public to use on their mail. The cover is cancelled by a rectactangular mark as illustrated below and the cancellation serves to indicate postage paid in the place of a postage stamp. The Saint Lucian postal service has issued very few new stamps in recent years - none in 2017, 5 in 2016 and just one in 2015. I do not think that most, if any, stamp dealers have been supplied with any of these stamps so they are currently not likely to be found in most people's collections though, no doubt, they will appear eventually. In the meantime the inclusion of covers cancelled without stamps in any collection serves to illustrate what has been used for the ordinary postal service in Saint Lucia during this period.

  🏴 Currently on sale on an internet auction site are the items depicted below which purport to originate from Sierra Leone. The items are being offered for sale by dealers who frequently advertise the philatelic products originating from the notorious Lithuania-based agency, Stamperija, and the items do indeed resemble the products which that agency continues to unload on the new issues market.
  The first of these products are a scurrilous and offensive miniature sheet and sheetlet of 4 identical 'stamps' which commemorate '20 Years since Monicagate' in which the then President of The United States, William Clinton, is alleged to have indulged in sexual activity with a young woman serving as an 'intern' on his political staff, Monica Lewinsky. It was a low point in modern American political history. The two protagonists are depicted in comic form with the US President stripped down to his boxer shorts and with his arm around the cartoon Miss Lewinsky. Clinton is also depicted with his hand raised holding a glass of champagne. These items look very much like the frequently tasteless items which are released by Stamperija but I am I find it hard to believe that even that purveyor of paraphilatelic tat would dare step quite so far out of line. If Stamperija-produced products are a parody of modern stamp issues then this appalling rubbish is a parody of Stamperija-produced paraphilatelia. Caveat emptor

  Since the days of the appalling Clinton and his alleged activities, American modern political history has witnessed very many more low points and they occur now on an almost daily basis with the rise to power of the present elected President, Donald Trump. It therefore came as a surprise to the world when the grubby little man appeared to achieve something of great importance - a meeting with the equally unpleasant ruler of North Korea and an agreement which is aimed at bringing long-term peace to the Korean Peninsula and the abandonment by North Korea of its nuclear weapons. It also comes as a surprise that a sheetlet of 4 different 'stamps' and 1 accompanying miniature sheet is being offered by the same dealers alongside the Clinton confections to commemorate the 'Historical meeting of Donald Trump and Kin Jong-un'. These items look so very much like Stamperija-manufactured products that one can hardly believe that they are bogus and perhaps they will indeed appear on the Stamperija website tomorrow. The 'issue' seems to be an attempt to highlight President Trump's apparent success in bringing Kim to the conference table and in this time of 'fake news' and interference in other countries' internal political affairs one must wonder where these items have originated. Again, caveat emptor.

  The above two 'issues' are accompanied by a third - a sheetlet of 4 different 'stamps' and 1 miniature sheet which look for all the all the world like Stamperija creations and which commemorate the very recent Royal Wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. It is worth noting however that Stamperija issued a Royal Wedding sheetlet and miniature sheet in the name of Sierra Leone only shortly before and Stamperija does not usually issue 2 items on the same subject so close together so these appear to be possibly bogus as well. The first 2 illustrations below are the possible bogus items and the lower pair are those previously put out by Stamperija:-

  Of course, few people will have any sympathy for Stamperija if its contractual right to produce items on behalf of Sierra Leone is being abused by another source of such products but the manufacture and release of such products together with the unassuaged flood of products from Stamperija itself pose a great threat to the continuing collection of new stamp issues since people may be spending a lot of money on illegal and valueless pieces of paper which can never serve as stamps for use on mail. 
  If these are genuine 'issues' from Stamperija, working on behalf of its client postal administration Sierra Leone, then the outrageous Clinton items in particular are very dangerous indeed for the reputation of that small and poor country and must be a source of international embarrassment for its government.  'Genuine' Stamperija issue or bogus issue - either way these items are highly undesirable.
  One final point, the date of the 'issue' of these items is claimed to have been 4 July 2018 and no doubt that date has been picked as either being ironic or just mischievous.

Addendum - These items, including the atrocious Clinton-Lewinsky products, have now appeared on the Stamperija website and so are not bogus issues but are 'official' issues. The 'date of issue is indeed given as 4 July 2018 and it must be that these items are intended to be at the very least mischievous and possibly downright insulting to The United States which is an undesirable situation in which a national post office to find itself.