As a follow up to the previous blog, I publish further scans of various Royal Mail gold medallist stamps to illustrate the difference in shades between the items produced by 2 printers of the final stages of the stamps - the Preston printer, as yet unnamed (upper stamps of the pairs) and the still anonymous Solihull printer (lower stamps). The illustrated items are those which depict Ed McKeever, GMW 26 (which was the last stamp produced by the Preston printer), issued on 12 August 2012 along with GMW 27 and 28,
the canoe slalom men's double team, GMW 03, issued on 3 August with GMW 04 and 05,
Charlotte Dujardin, GMW 23, issued on 10 August with GMW 24 and 25,
and Victoria Pendleton, GMW 08, issued on 4 August with GMW 06 and 07,
Meanwhile, further to the blog of 20 August, another set of pairs of the 1998 Malawi Christmas stamps has been sold on E Bay by the same seller as before for an astonishing £132 (£7 more than the first occasion). The seller now has put another set of pairs for sale and the question is, how many more are there still to come? Is there a complete set of sheets of these items or has the Malawi Philatelic Bureau put some up for sale which would mean that they should become freely available at a fraction of the price? Caveat emptor.
Royal Mail has given collectors many new areas to study in recent years including the Horizon counter-printed stamps which despite not being included in stamps catalogues fully fulfill the definition of a postage stamp being "issued by a legitimate postal authority....adhesives valid for proper postal use in the class of service for which they are inscribed....available to the general public, at face value, in reasonable quantities without any artificial restrictions being imposed on their distribution" (Stanley Gibbons' catalogue editor's words, not mine). It is arguable that any collection of British stamps is not complete without examples of these adhesives to illustrate this particular aspect of Royal Mail's postal service. The most recent format is illustrated below, being a large gold self-adhesive item without simulated perforations and with the Machin portrait of Queen Elizabeth II forming the basis of the design with a counter-printed inscription over it detailing the date of sale, the type of service to be carried out for the price paid and an identification of the place where the stamp was applied to the item to be posted.
In the last week or so I have received a couple on postal items which have an altered inscription so that "Royal Mail" now has a lower case letter after it (below it is "Royal Mail.b"):-
or here it is "Royal Mail.d":-
I am not sure of the significance of this new inscription format but doubtless, all will become clear in th near future.
Finally, some interesting new issues from Commonwealth African countries. On 10 August 2012, South Africa issued a se-tenant strip of 5 attractive stamps featuring the "smallest sunbirds of South Africa" (above) while its neighbour, Namibia, depicted 4 far less appealing creatures on a set of "scorpions" stamps which was released on 11 June 2012. I find the white scorpion depicted on the postcard rate stamp to be particularly creepy. The stamps are designed by the excellent artist, Anje Denker, who has designed so many wonderful stamps for Namibia since the country's independence in 1990.
On 31 July 2012, Namibia also issued 2 circular miniature sheets to commemorate the 20th anniversary of NamPost and Namibia Telecom:-
From Kenya, 3 stamps have been issued (I do not yet know the date of issue) to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the environmental agency, UNEP, and the designs feature Nairobi, Rio De Janeiro (below) and Stockholm (90/- value) where conferences have been held. As the host city of the next Olympic Games and with Brazil also hosting the next football World Cup, we should see Rio De Janeiro making an appearance on a lot of stamps over the next few years.