Tuesday 17 April 2012

Tanzania's 2003 And 2007 World Vision Issues.

Since the mid-1980's, Tanzania has issued, or is said to have issued, large numbers of stamps produced by a number of philatelic agencies including a large agency based in New York which frequently produces stamps with the name of Tanzania printed on them which mostly commemorate American culture and which have little relevance to Tanzania itself. Most of these items quite rightly do not find a place in the Stanley Gibbons stamp catalogues apart from in the appendix listing. There has, however, been a continuing thread of stamp issues throughout this period which allows one to make an interesting collection of stamps of Tanzania - those which are mainly designed by local designers and which feature locally relevant designs and are actually sold at local post offices with the intention of them being used on local and international mail. The Stanley Gibbons catalogues have properly chosen to list such items. Unfortunately these are not always accessible to foreign stamp collectors and some years sometimes pass between their date of issue and the time when international dealers are able to obtain a supply to put on sale to collectors. We are still awaiting some issues of 2008 to appear on the market. Among these locally relevant issues are four sets issued in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2007 which commemorated the activities of World Vision in Tanzania. World Vision, founded in 1977, is a charity which is involved in relief and development. I have just obtained a stamp for which I have been searching for several years - the 1000/- value of the 2003 set. I recall that this was one of the sets which my then new issue supplier took a long time to obtain and when the set did turn up only three of the four values appeared. I had never seen a complete set or that fourth value offered until a used example of the top value appeared on Delcampe in the last few days. The troublesome 1000/- value and the rest of the set and miniature sheet is depicted below.
Strangely, just a few weeks ago, the same auction web site turned up another surprise from this ongoing series but this time from the 2007 set. When that set appeared on the market along with its accompanying two miniature sheets there appeared to be four values in the set. However, recently a fifth value appeared for offer on Delcampe - a 1000/- value again; initially I wondered if this had been taken from one of the miniature sheets but clearly there is no such value in either of the sheets although the design does appear as a 700/- value in the larger of the two sheets. So it appears that the 2007 set actually has five rather than four values. It is interesting that both of these troublesome stamps are in the 1000/- value - one wonders if there are any other mysterious stamps of that denomination lurking about out there which have found usage on genuine mail. The 1000/- value and the other stamps and miniature sheets are depicted below.
Finally, for completeness, the 2000 and 2001 sets are shown in the illustrations below:-
As a footnote, to return to my complaint that agency-produced stamps are mostly irrelevant to Tanzania, I will mention a series of miniature sheets produced in 2010, which are not only attractive and interesting but also relevant to Tanzania as they commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Jane Goodall Institute in Gombe in Tanganyika which has carried out vital work over the years in studying and preserving the great apes of Tanzania. I think that issues such as this coupled with the highly interesting and challenging locally-designed stamps makes the collection of Tanzania new issues a very interesting pursuit.

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