Sunday, 3 May 2015

563. Malta Commemorates The Penny Black And Canada Commemorates Women's World Cup.

  MaltaPost issued a miniature sheet consisting of 3 identical €1.21 stamps on 2 May 2015 to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the world's first adhesive postage stamp, the "Penny Black". The item was designed by MaltaPost and lithographed by Printex. 
  Another issue will be released on 9 May 2015 as part of the omnibus Europa series which in line with this year's chosen theme depicts "old toys". This particular pair is quite attractive if only because the toys being used are shown against a background of typical Maltese scenery. The issue was designed by Joe Mark Micallef and lithographed by Printex:-

  Canada Post will issue 1 self-adhesive stamp in a booklet of 10 on 6 May 2015 to commemorate the FIFA Women's World Cup which is to be held in Canada from 6 June to 5 July 2015. The issue was designed by Debbie Adams and lithographed by Lowe-Martin.
  As part of its commemoration of the centenary of the First World War Canada Post also issued 1 self-adhesive stamp from a booklet of 10 on the subject of the poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae (see Blog 494). The issue was designed by q30 and lithographed by Lowe-Martin. A "Special pane" was also issued which contained 5 examples of the stamp in gummed format:-

  Pos Malaysia issued a "My Stamp" sheetlet along as part of the issue which commemorated the joint Malaysia-People's Republic of China Project on Giant Panda Conservation. The sheetlet contained 2 x 4 different stamps with attached labels which depict the giant pandas Liang Liang and Xing Xing and was issued on 24 February 2015:-

  Sri Lanke Post issued 3 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on 20 April 2015 to commemorate the Vesak festival:-

Flag Counter

Friday, 1 May 2015

562. King John Makes An Appearance On Magna Carta Omnibus Sets.

  I very much like the new omnibus set of 20 stamps which has just been announced by Pobjoy Stamps which will be issued on 21 June 2015 by 5 participating territories - Ascension Island, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Falkland Islands and Tristan Da Cunha. The set marks the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta and the designs cleverly combine locally relevant subjects - local Magistrates' Courts, Houses of Assembly, local commemorative coins and so on - and historic depictions of the scene at Runnymede in 1215 with Bad King John setting his seal to the Great Charter. 
  As ever with Creative Directions/Pobjoy Stamps are extremely interesting and inform the collector about both the subject featured and the territory which is issuing the stamps and of course each set is sensibly priced and not at all excessive in number of items which make up the set. Yet again, a highly collectable set of issues to add to one's collection. The designs are by Derek Miller and I like them particularly because that old villain King John gets to put in an appearance on them (see Blog 503) unlike the new Royal Mail stamps (see Blog 556):-

Flag Counter

561. The Story Of A Noble Little Ship.

  Pobjoy Stamps has announced yet another superb stamp issue from South Georgia And The South Sandwich Islands which is on the subject of the Viola/Dias which was the last of the British steam trawlers. The Viola was built for the Hellyer Steam Fishing Company in 1906 in Beverley in Yorkshire and floated down to Hull where it was fitted with its steam engines. The Hellyer Company named much of its fleet after Shakespearean characters so this issue is a unusual addition to a thematic collection on the subject "Shakespeare" or "Theatre".

  The Admiralty requisitioned Viola in September 1914 at the outset of the First World War and renamed her Viola III (FY614) and armed her with a 3 pound gun and the boat was moved to Shetland and involved in the search for U boats. Later, with other armed trawlers she was involved in actions which resulted in the sinking of at least 2 German submarines - the UB30 off Whitby on 13 August 1918 and the UB115 off the Northumberland coast on 29 September 1918 - this latter action is depicted in the miniature sheet depicted above.
  After the war Viola was sold to a Norwegian firm and renamed Kapduen and subsequently Dias and was used for whaling off the African coast. She was then sold to an Argentinian firm and moved to Grytviken in South Georgia where she was involved in sealing and as a support vessel for expeditions up to 1964 when the whaling station at Grytviken was closed down and the little vessel was laid up. In 1974 the Dias foundered at her moorings but in 2004 a project was begun to restore and refloat her along with another ship, the Albatross. Both ships were beached and plans to preserve the noble little ships are ongoing.
  This issue beautifully commemorates the Viola/Dias whose history is of great interest and immense relevance to South Georgia and the miniature sheet especially is an extremely interesting addition to a collection of stamps on the centenary of the First World War. The design and artwork by Andrew Robinson and lithograph printing by BDT International are truly excellent as we have come to expect from the Creative Directions/Pobjoy Stamps stable - these are highly collectable new stamps:-

  In addition to the basic 6 stamps which will be issued by Royal Mail on 14 May 2015 to commemorate the centenary of the First World War (see Blog 548), a "Prestige Booklet" (cost £13.96p) will also be released. The booklet contains 4 different panes - the first includes a new printing of one of the 1st class stamps of the 2007 "British army uniforms" set which depicts an observer of the Royal Field Artillery (dated 1917). That particular stamp had already been included in pane 2 of the £7.66p prestige booklet which was issued along with the 2007 set but with one each of the other two 1st class values of the set and so the 2015 booklet gives us a third version of this particular stamp.
  Panes 2 and 3 of the 2015 booklet contain one each of the new stamps and pane 4 contains new Machin Head definitives - 2 x 1p, 2 x 5p, 2 x £1.33p - and 2 of the 1st class poppy "definitive" stamps of 2012.
  I have long considered giving up collecting the Royal Mail prestige booklets because of the ever increasing cost of the items but they really are such excellent additions to my British stamp collection that I continue to buy them and obtain pleasure from looking at them in my album:-

"The Great War 1915" Prestige booklet.

Pane 1.

Pane 2.

Pane 3.

Pane 4.
  It becomes increasingly difficult to work up any excitement at the news of new stamps from Australia Post since they appear so frequently but cat lovers will probably enjoy the set of 5 cat-themed stamps due to be released on 5 May 2015 as previously detailed in Blog 555. One of them is depicted below:-

  Some of us may struggle to find a link between the Battle of Waterloo or the American astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Maldives but Stamperija has had no such problems and has included the 2 subjects in its latest outpouring of philatelic items which have the name of Maldives printed on them. Stamperija has announced proudly that it has issued another 10 sheetlets each containing 4 different "stamps" and 10 accompanying miniature sheets on the above 2 subjects plus Nelson Mandela, Boris Pasternak, Ludwig van Beethoven, Elvis Presley, Ingrid Bergman, Frank Sinatra, Chess players and the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Stamperija states that the "first day of issue" was 15 April 2015:-

Flag Counter

Thursday, 30 April 2015

560. The War Of 1812 - Part 4.

  The Tristan Da Cunha Post Office will release a surprising issue on 1 June 2015 to commemorate the bicentenary of the fight between the USS Hornet and HMS Penguin, the final action to take place in  the War of 1812. The battle between the two ships took place off Tristan Da Cunha on 23 March 1815 by which date the war had actually come to an end.
  In late 1814 the American Navy had prepared a small squadron of ships in New York with the aim of sending a force to attack British shipping in the Indian Ocean. The ship of the commander of the squadron was captured by British ships but the captains of the other American ships were not aware of this defeat and evaded the British blockade and arranged to meet off Tristan which was being used by the Americans as a cruiser base. Two ships arrived but were blown away by a gale and the Hornet alone reached the island on 22 March 2015. 
  As the Hornet prepared to drop anchor HMS Penguin was seen to the south-east. The 2 vessels exchanged broadsides for about 15 minutes. The British commander was killed and the US captain wounded. With the Penguin's masts damaged and 14 men killed its second-in-command surrendered the Penguin. Penguin was too badly damaged to be repaired and the Americans set fire to the ship. So ended the final engagement of the war - the American Senate had ratified the Treaty of Ghent on 18 February 1815. 
  The issue was designed by Robin Carter and lithographed by BDT International:-

  In Blog 377 my philatelic account of The War of 1812 had arrived at the point where the British had waged a successful campaign against the Americans which included attacking Washington and burning down the US President's residence, the White House, and then moving on to Baltimore in September 1814 which is where their successes ended as the Americans resisted the American assault on Fort McHenry (see also Blogs of 17 March 2012 and numbers 220 and 347).
  By then Bonaparte had been defeated in France and exiled to Elba and the French and British had become allies. Britain ended the trade restrictions and impressment of American soldiers which, in addition to the American's lust to seize Canada, had been causes of the war between Britain and The United States. The war was in a stalemate and an end was brought to it by the Treaty of Ghent which was signed on Christmas Eve 2014. 
  Unfortunately, not yet knowing that the Treaty of Ghent had been agreed, the British invaded Louisiana  but were defeated with heavy losses by American forces under General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans fought on 8 January 1815. Even then, as the above Tristan Da Cunha stamps illustrate, the War of 1812 had not quite seen its last engagement. 
  The US Postal Service issued a single stamp on 8 January 2015 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans. The stamp was designed by Greg Harlin and a portrait of Andrew Jackson is depicted on the reverse of the pane of 20 self-adhesive stamps. 

  The War of 1812 played an important role in establishing a Canadian identity after the Americans failed to take over the territory and it is a pity that Canada Post has not issued stamps in 2015 to commemorate the end of this important period in Canada's history. 

  In Blog 481 I mentioned the set of 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet which was released by Hong Kong Post  on 23 April 2015 on the subject of sports. The miniature sheet is illustrated below. The issue was designed by Cheng Kar-wai and lithographed by Cartor:-

  Cyprus Post will issue 2 stamps and 1 booklet of 8 stamps on 5 May 2015 as its contribution to the annual Europa omnibus issue. The theme is "old toys" and the designs are by Costas Panayi and printing in lithography by Giesecke and Devrient Matsoukis SA of Greece:-

Booklet of 8.

  Jersey Post has announced yet more new issues. The first is to commemorate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta and consists of 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet with a total face value of £5.71p. The issue was lithographed by BDT International and will be put on sale on 15 June 2015:-

  In the same month, on 27 June 2015, Jersey Post will then issue a set containing 14 stamps (cost £8.68p) as well as a "Prestige booklet"(cost £17.36p) to commemorate the holding of the 16th NatWest Island Games in Jersey from 27 June to 3 July 2015. In this era of excess it has proven necessary to issue a stamp to depict each of the 14 sports represented at the Games. The issue was designed from photographs by Andy Le Gresley and lithographed by Enschede. For those who have nothing better on which to spend their money Jersey Post points out that a complete set of sheets of 10 of each value can be bought at a price of £86.80p plus, if you live in The United Kingdom, value added tax - I might hold back on that one:-

  Collectors of Jersey stamps will be delighted to know that Jersey Post is planning to release another 8 commemorative issues before the end of 2015 plus, no doubt, numerous Post And Go labels with additional inscriptions applied to them.

Flag Counter