Sunday 29 April 2012

What Has Happened To Maldives 2010 Environmental Miniature Sheet?

On 23 June 2010, Maldives issued a miniature sheet which commemorated the rather enigmatic "350". The sheet contained five stamps and commemorated the first ever meeting by a national government's cabinet under water. The attending ministers wore scuba diving equipment and are depicted on four of the values.
The meeting was held to draw attention to the organisation which had been formed to raise awareness about climate change; the figure 350 refers to the number of parts per million that carbon dioxide concentration must be reduced to to ensure that irreversible damage to the world environment does not occur. At the time of the Maldivian sub-marine cabinet meeting, the figure stood at 388 parts per million. The meeting was led by the energetic, young Maldivian President, Mohamed Nasheed, who was forced to resign from office on 7 February 2012. The issue is of great importance to The Maldives since the islands barely rise above sea-level and any elevation of the sea due to global warming would seriously threaten the islands. Unfortunately, the miniature sheet is extremely difficult to track down and I have not yet seen any dealer or internet seller who is offering or who has offered this item for sale. In fact, since then Maldives appears not to have issued any stamps at all which is perplexing given its record of excessive issuing of stamps prior to that date. I have previously reported that The Maldives Post Office had placed an advertisement for a printer for its new definitive series which will feature marine life so perhaps the post office there has broken with the New York-based philatelic agents who produced its stamps from the 1960's although I would be surprised if that were the case. The deposition of President Nasheed also complicates matters since one supposes that the new regime is unlikely to allow the post office to sell the "350" sheet due to its featuring the overthrown leader. Perhaps the new government, which is really the old guard returned to power, will revert to excessive stamp issues of little relevance to the islands as a means of increasing income.
Another territory which seems to have suddenly reduced its number of stamp issues from previously high levels is Dominica, which has also been controlled by the New York-based philatelic agency for many years. In 2011, only three issues were released:- on 1 June 2011 two stamps and 1 miniature sheet were issued to commemorate the Cricket World Cup, three Christmas stamps were issued on 1 November and a new definitive set of 13 stamps was released on an as yet unspecified date (which may even have been in early 2012). The new definitives, unusually, all depict species of lizard found in Dominica. A number of the designs are shown above and below:-
The complete set is comprised of the following values:- 5c, 10c, 15c, 20c, 25c, 50c, 65c, 90c, $1, $2, $5, $10 and $20.
The two highest values are interesting because they depict old drawings, made in 1921, rather than photographs of the lizards in question - clearly photographs of the creatures were not available to the designer. I suppose its rather difficult to track down some of the tinier of these animals to photograph them satisfactorily.
In all, an attractive and interesting set and rather easier to find than the Maldives sheet.

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