Sunday, 21 May 2017

1006. Malaysia Oil Palm Issue And Isle Of Man TT Winners Set,

  🇲🇾 Pos Malaysia issued a set of 3 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on 18 May 2017 to commemorate the Centenary of Malaysia's oil palm industry. The issue was designed by Jason Phang of CN Communications Network Sdn Bhd and while the designs are very cluttered they make for an interesting issue. Rating:- ***.

  🇮🇳 India Post issued a single stamp on 19 May 2017 to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of religious leader Shri Hanagal Kumaraswamiji. The design is an unimaginative "head and shoulders" portrait and as such is not at all exciting. Rating:- **.

  🇮🇲 The Isle Of Man Post Office will issue 4 stamps on 26 May 2017 on the subject of TT Motorcycle race winners. The issue relates to various "landmark anniversaries of the maiden anniversaries of four heroes of the TT Races" and features Joey Dunlop, Steve Hislop, Ian Simpson and Ian Hutchinson. These stamps could well prove popular with non-collectors visiting the island this month for the 2017 TT Races. 
  The issue was designed by Isle Of Man Advertising using photographs taken by Stephen Davison and FoTTofinders and lithographed by Lowe-Martin and perforated 13.5. Rating:- ***.


  🇮🇴 BIOT Post Office, the postal service of British Indian Ocean Territory will issue 6 stamps on 8 June 2017 on the subject of Megafauna of the Indian Ocean. When I see more details of the issue and have good illustrations of what looks like being an excellent set I shall bring this news up to date. Rating:- *****.

  🇬🇧 Royal Mail will issue a Philatelic exhibition sheet to commemorate its participation in the Finlandia 2017 exhibition which takes place from 24 to 28 May 2017 in Tampere. The item which will cost £13.50p will be issued on 24 May. The face value of the 20 x 1st "Hello" "Smilers" Stamps is £13. Rating:- 0.

  The immensely helpful and detailed "Smilers News" website (Ridgeway Stamp Sheets) reports that Royal Mail has produced in co-operation with Celtic Football Club a "Business commemorative sheet" which marks the 50th anniversary of Celtic FC's victory over Inter Milan in Lisbon in 1967 in the European Cup Final. The sheet contains 10 x 1st "Saltire" stamps (total face value £6.50p) and is sold for £15.99p. Rating:-0.

  In Blog 996 I mentioned the new Post and Go stamps from Royal Mail's kiosks A007 at the Explosion! Museum marking the 70th anniversary of the "Big Bang" bombing of Heligoland and A004 at the Submarine Museum which commemorate the 70th anniversary of the launching of HMS Alliance and these are now depicted below:-

  A007 - Machin Head design with code MA15 and Union Flag design:-

  A004 - Machin Head design with 2 codes - MA13 and MA15 - and Union Flag design:-

  Thus if collectors wish to buy "Collectors strips" of all the above issues the  result is that there is a need to obtain another 30 new stamps though of course the collector may just wish to buy a single 1st class stamp of each resulting in the need to obtain just 5 new stamps.

Friday, 19 May 2017

1005. 7 Year Wait For Lesotho Stamps Comes To An End; New Stamps From Cayman But Who Would Know?

  🇰🇾 The Cayman Islands postal service has issued 4 excellent stamps and 1 miniature sheet containing 3 different stamps on the subject of local agriculture. The issue was released "towards the end of March 2017" - I found this on a local Cayman Islands news site but have not yet found any philatelic site which mentions these attractive and interesting stamps - notably not on a CASCO site (CASCO being the philatelic agents for Cayman Islands) which currently seems to be non-existent. The merger of its parent company, Harry Allen, with Benham which took place at the end of 2016 seems to have resulted in a chaotic situation - my new issue supplier tells me that a number of stamp issues of CASCO client countries are awaited but the merger seems to have thrown things into a state of disorder so that he is still awaiting delivery of these stamps.
  It's now 6 months since Benham and Harry Allen got together and CASCO still does not appear to have a working website to impart information about new issues to collectors and dealers. It all seems pretty pathetic to me and if I were responsible for a postal administration's stamp issues and hoping to actually sell some, I think I'd be looking for a new agent who would help me bring my stamps to the collecting world's attention.
  However, I do like these stamps. Rating:- *****.

  🇱🇸 Having not, as far as is known, issued any new stamps since 2010, Lesotho Post did apparently issue 2 new sets during 2016. My supplier of new issues from the Commonwealth southern African countries who appears on Delcampe as "15dsouth" and who gives an excellent new issue service, has kindly sent me scans of the 2 issues which apparently commemorated "World Post Day 2016" (a set of 6 stamps) and the 50th anniversary of the granting of Independence to Lesotho (a set of 3 stamps). I had been wondering for a while whether Lesotho Post would issue stamps to commemorate the country's momentous 50th birthday and those musings now seem to have been correct. These look like pleasingly straightforward stamps of local interest and probably designed locally and not products of foreign philatelic agencies and so I give both issues ratings of *****.
  Unfortunately 15dsouth tells me that these items have not yet been made available to dealers so collectors will have to bide their time before placing these stamps awaited for 8 years in their collections.

  🇸🇬 Singapore Post issued 1 miniature sheet on 28 March 2017 to commemorate the Melbourne 2017 Stamp and Coin Show. This is a colourful souvenir of the exhibition. Rating:- *****.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

1004. Maldives By The Back Door.

  🇲🇻 In Blogs 947 and 948 I highlighted the decision by WOPA to offer the stamps of "Maldives" on its website. There was much annoyance about this decision among collectors and subsequently WOPA suspended its sales pending a review. This decision was explained by Glendon Martinez, MD and co-founder of WOPA, in the Comment section of Blog 947 and greeted favourably by most collectors.
  This suspension of sales was pretty short-lived as it is perfectly easy to buy stamps inscribed
"Maldives" through the WOPA website again though the process is slightly furtive. If one visits the WOPA homepage Maldives is not shown as one of the territories being offered on the site but if the potential buyer clicks on the small subheading "Stamps" then Maldives does indeed appear among the list of countries whose stamps are being offered for sale and indeed even more stamps have been added to the list including new issues of 2017. It's rather like buying issues inscribed "Maldives" by going through a back door. The number of issues now being offered for sale are :-
  2015:- 5 issues
  2016:- 104 issues (!)
  2017:- 30 issues.
  One or two of the issues probably originate locally (2015 "50 Years of Independence" issue and 2016 "Handicraft of Maldives" sheet which is depicted below) but it is clear that the rest are typical products originating from Stamperija, the Lithuania-based Philatelic agency which is much despised by many new issue collectors for its extraordinary degree of overissuing of expensive philatelic items
which usually are irrelevant in subject matter to the client postal administrations whose names are
printed on such items.
  The link from WOPA to these issues takes the buyer to a list of issues where the page is simply titled "Maldives" but if one visits the Maldives Post site a list of philatelic items is to be found with the Maldives Post logo at the top of the page though this page has not been updated since 2016 and in any case features the same sort of issues as the site accessible from WOPA.

   So, we may conclude that after a short "review" WOPA decided that "Maldives" stamps should once more be offered through its website though I have not seen any explanation being offered as to how WOPA arrived at that decision and secondly, for the present at least, WOPA is being discrete about its connections to the sale of these stamp issues by not depicting Maldives' logo on its home page unlike all the other countries which it lists. Collectors may need to wear a dirty raincoat and shuffle furtively through a dark back entrance to buy these "Maldives" stamps!
  At least Maldives is no longer a member of The Commonwealth so really I don't have to worry about adding its stamps to my Commonwealth collection but one fears that it may not be too long before the stamps of Solomon Islands or Sierra Leone find their way on to WOPA's site.
   Meanwhile this week's products from Stamperija do not have the names of Commonwealth countries printed on them being inscribed Tchad, Central African Republic and Guines so we are spared having to write about any of those this time.
  🇿🇦 The South African Post Office issued 5 se-tenant self-adhesive stamps in sheets of 10 (2 strips of 5) on 18 May 2017 on the subject of "South African Bee-eaters". This is an exceptionally attractive and beautifully designed set. Rating:- *****.

  🇬🇬 Guernsey Post philatelic bureau tweeted on 18 May 2017 that its Post and Go kiosk GG01 located in Smith Street post office had that day dispensed its "Lighthouses" stamps with an additional inscription to welcome the passengers of the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth into port.

  🇬🇧 The latest (June) edition of Gibbons Stamp Monthly is particularly interesting with a good deal of text dealing with the 50th anniversary of the issue of the first Machin Head definitives by the British Post Office along with the vexed subject of whether or not the recently issued £5 stamp which commemorates the 65th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II should be accorded a place in the main listing of the Stanley Gibbons Catalogue given that it was put on sale at only 27 post offices throughout the entire United Kingdom
  The Catalogue editor has come down firmly on the side of giving the stamp full listing. In his discussion of the subject he puts forward the view that the limited sites of issue is due to the Post Office choosing not to handle the stamps in its various branches rather than to any fault on the part of Royal Mail which produced the stamp, they being two completely separate businesses. 
  The editor also makes the point that the widely held view that a stamp catalogue editor can influence stamp issuing policy is actually false. I'm sure he is right about this if one thinks about his direct influence on issuing. However the editor certainly will influence collectors in their decision making about whether or not to buy a particular stamp. If the editor does not list a certain stamp then collectors are far less likely to feel a pressure put upon them to buy such a stamp and therefore a stamp-issuing authority's profits fall because of reduced sales and they are far less likely to issue such a stamp again. Hence the editor may indeed influence a country's stamp issuing policy indirectly and thus influence the new issue market by a roundabout route.
  At the end of all this, at any rate, the new £5 stamp has been given full catalogue listing though I suspect the reason why this is so is given by the editor's comment, "...bearing in mind that the vast majority of collectors will expect the new £5 to be listed the decision is an easy one. It will be found on the page facing this article".

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

1003. Trans-Canada Highway Depicted On New Canada 150 Stamp.

  🇨🇦 Canada Post has revealed the fifth design of its Canada 150 set of 10 stamps which is to be released on 1 June 2017. This new design by Roy White and Liz Wurzinger of Subplot Design Inc. commemorates the Trans-Canada Highway. The stamp was lithographed by Lowe-Martin. Rating:- *****.

  🇦🇺 There seem to be very few stones left unturned by Australia Post in its mission to extract money through its philatelic service. In recent years Australia Post has issued enormous numbers of stamps in various formats often with no clear reason for the issue of such stamps.
  In addition to the regular commemorative/thematic stamp issues and definitive issues Australia Post puts out enormous numbers of philatelic items which it lists under the heading of "Gifts" on its website. Many of the featured subjects have as little to do with Australia as the stamps issued by Stamperija have to do with its client states. Doubtless, Australia Post would say that these items are not meant for stamp collectors but are more for non-collectors and particularly their children. Nevertheless these items are featured prominently in its philatelic listings so they must expect stamp collectors to at least have some interest in buying them. Among recent such products are those depicted below and the sheer number of issues makes the Australia Post "Licensed Stamp Pack" programme look like Royal Mail's "Smilers" stamps programme on steroids:-

  2016 NRL Premiers Cronulla Sharks "Souvenir Stamp Sheet" sold for $15.95 - sheetlet of 8 "Map of Australia" greetings stamps with attached labels.

  2016 Brownlee Medallist "Souvenir Stamp Sheet" sold for $15.95 - sheetlet of 8 "Map of Australia" greetings stamps with attached labels.

  "Ice Age" stamp pack sold for $26 - 3 panes each of 8 "Map of Australia" stamps with attached labels.

  "Our Pets" stamp pack sold for $26 - 3 panes each made up of 8 "Map of Australia" greetings stamps with attached labels.

  50th Anniversary of "Star Trek" stamp pack sold for $27 - 3 panes, 2 of which contain 10 stamps and one of 5 stamps. The stamps are the "Map of Australia" greetings stamps with attached labels.

  "PAW Patrol Ready For Action" stamp pack sold for $23 - 2 panes each of 10 "Balloons" greetings stamps with attached labels.

  "Shaun The Sheep" stamp pack sold for $23 - 2 panes each of 10 stamps with attached labels.

 18 April 2017 - "Barbie" stamp pack sold for $22 - 2 panes each of 10 stamps with attached labels.

  14 March 2017 - "Tom and Jerry" stamp pack sold for $22 - 2 panes each of 10 "Cake" greetings stamps with attached labels.

  75th anniversary of "Wonder Woman" stamp pack sold for $22 - 2 panes each of 10 "Map of Australia" greetings stamps with attached labels.

  14 March 2017 - "The Smurfs" stamp pack sold for $22 - 2 panes each of 10 "Handprints" greetings stamps with attached labels.

  2016 - "Peppa Pig Make Believe" stamp pack sold for $18 - 2 panes each of 8 "Handprints" stamps with attached labels.

  2016 - "Ghostbusters" stamp pack sold for $18 - 2 panes each of 8 "Hands" greetings stamps with attached labels.

  "Tweety and Sylvester" stamp pack sold for $18 - 2 panes of 10 "Love to celebrate" greetings stamps with attached labels.

  "Superman Stamp Pack" sold for $16.95 - 2 panes each containing 10 " Love to ce,berate" greetings stamps with attached labels.

  2016 - "Minions Christmas Pack" sold for $15 - 2 panes of 10 "Joy" stamps with attached labels.

  2016 - "Sesams Street Christmas Pack" sold for $15 - 2 panes of 10 "Joy" stamps with attached labels.

  "Audrey Hepburn Funny Face" Stamp Pack sold for $23 - 2 panes of 10 "Rose" Greetings stamps with attached labels.

  14 March 2017 - "Elvis Presley" Stamp Pack sold for $28 - 3 panes with a total of 25 Heart greetings stamps (2 different panes of 10 and 1 pane of 5) with attached labels.

  "Crayola" Stamp Pack, sold for $16.95c - 2 panes of 10 "Balloons" Greetings stamps with attached labels. 

  30th anniversary of the first broadcast in Australia of "Fireman Sam", Pack sold for $22 - 2 panes of 10 x "Ballons" greetings stamps with attached labels.

  🇱🇰 Sri Lanka Post issued a single stamp on 9 May 2017 on the subject of the State Vesak Festival. The design, by Palitha Gunasinghe, depicts the Vattarama Sri Arahatta Maliyadeva Rajamaha Vihariya in Imbulgasdeniya where the state festival will take place. Rating:- ****.