With one or two exceptions, we can now be clear about how many stamps were issued by each Commonwealth postal administration during 2012 and which of them proved to be the greediest in terms of producing large amounts of stamps (or allowing a foreign agency to produce items which had the countries' names printed on them) and consequentially extracting huge amounts from any collector who wanted to buy these items. The country which occupies the number 1 spot will not surprise us:-
- Mozambique 664 stamps and 146 miniature sheets giving a total of 810 items.
- Shockingly, and disgracefully, Royal Mail, the British postal service is in silver medal place so that British stamps may well find themselves labelled with the derogatory term of being nothing more than "wallpaper", albeit very expensive wallpaper; the numbers being 210 stamps and 73 miniature sheets and 12 booklets (but I do not include the Smilers or Business sheets) giving a total of 295 items!
- Australia Post (including Australian Antarctic Territory, Christmas island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands) 238 stamps and 17 miniature sheets (here I do not include the numerous Prestige booklets) making a total of 255 items
- Uganda 190 stamps and 42 m.s. totalling 232 items
- Solomon Islands 122 stamps and 24 m.s.; total 146
- New Zealand Post 105 stamps and 26 m.s.; total 131
- Cook Islands Post Office (including Aitutaki, Penrhyn and Rarotonga) 107 stamps and 16 m.s. total 123 items
- Malta Post 113 stamps and 2 m.s. and 1 booklet; total 116
- Canada Post 93 stamps and 21 m.s.; total 114
- The Gambia 90 stamps and 22 m.s.; total 112
- Guyana 90 stamps and 23 m.s.; total 113
- Tonga (including Niuafo'ou) 94 stamps and 15 m.s.; total 109
- Malaysia 84 stamps and 15 m.s. and 1 booklet; total 100
- Sierra Leone 64 stamps and 27 m.s.; total 91
- Jersey 74 stamps and 7 m.s. and 1 booklet; total 83
- Papua New Guinea 61 stamps and 17 m.s.; total 78
- (16=) Sri Lanka 67 stamps and 11 m.s.; total 78
- Ghana 65 stamps and 10 m.s.; total 75
- Antigua And Barbuda 64 stamps and 8 m.s.; total 72
- (19=) Guernsey (including Alderney) 64 stamps and 6 m.s. and 2 booklets; total 72
- (19=) Isle Of Man 65 stamps and 7 m.s.; total 72
- (19=) Tuvalu 55 stamps and 17 m.s.; total 72.
The list is truly astonishing with so many previously respectable postal administrations allowing themselves to be sucked into the climate of greedy overissuing. No wonder so many collectors are abandoning the buying of new issues. But it seems that for some at least, the golden goose continues to lay its golden eggs. The 2012 record for Great Britain and Australia is truly appalling but in 2013 the shameless production of vast amounts of stamps continues.
A couple of observations:
- anyone wishing to buy all the stamps issued by Great Britain and its offshore islands for 2012 would have had to obtain a total of 524 stamps, miniature sheets and booklets.
- in 2012 the Lithuanian agency, Stamperija, produced a total of 1126 stamps and miniature sheets for just 3 Commonwealth territories (Solomon Islands, Mozambique and Uganda).
- While a big New York-based agency produced 113 stamps and miniature sheets with the name of Guyana printed on them in 2012, Guyana has had to resort to surcharging old stamps with a $20 value to produce items which can actually be used on mail! (according to Steven Zirinsky's newsletter, it has been necessary to produce about 60 different surcharges so far).
- Another New York-based agency, Philatelic Collector Inc., produced 242 stamps and miniature sheets for the 3 postal administrations (Cook Islands, Tonga and Samoa) it represents (and one of them - Samoa - was only represented by the company from right at the end of the year).
Still the news is not all bad - there are still some territories which deserve praise for not exploiting collectors - the best 10 in 2012 were:-
- Lesotho 0 stamps issued
- (1=) Maldives 0 stamps issued
- (1=) Nauru 0 stamps issued
- (1=) Rwanda 0 stamps issued
- Seychelles 3 stamps issued (all definitive reprints)
- Nigeria 2 stamps and 1 m.s. issued; total of 3 items
- Swaziland 4 stamps issued
- Trinidad And Tobago 5 stamps issued
- Malawi 5 stamps and 1 m.s. issued; total of 6 items
- Jamaica (9=) 6 stamps issued.
So what's happening at the moment?
The pleasingly conservative Bahamas quite reasonably will issue a set of 5 stamps to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the country's independence. The date of issue will be 8 July 2013 and the stamps are lithographed by BDT:-
The equally conservative and praiseworthy Barbados issued a set of 4 stamps depicting local lighthouses on 13 June 2013 which were designed by Andrew Robinson and lithographed by BDT:-
Numerous issues are about to appear with the name of Guyana printed on them. There is a sheetlet of 4 different stamps which commemorates the US boxer, Muhammed Ali:-
a sheetlet of 4 different stamps and an accompanying miniature sheet which depict (foreign) aircraft carriers:-
a sheetlet of 4 stamps and 1 m.s. which depicts Butterflies:-
a set of 8 stamps (2 sheetlets each containing 4 different designs) and 2 m.s. which commemorate Pope Benedict XVI:-
a miniature sheet which commemorate sthe 5oth anniversary of the assassination of US President Kennedy:-
three stamps in a sheetlet and 1 m.s. on the history of art:-
Eight stamps on the subject of the exploration of the planet Mars, 1 stamp produced in a small sheetlet of 4 to commemorate the Year of the Snake; a sheetlet of 6 different stamps and 1 m.s. to commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic (unfortunately issued 1 year too late), a sheetlet of 3 different stamps and 1 m.s. on the subject of Environment Day and 4 different stamps in a sheetlet and a miniature sheet which depict South American Birds:-
Rather uselessly, none of the above stamps seem to be in the required $20 value which would have been so useful to the Guyana Post Office as judged by its need to produce 60 surcharges in that particular value.
Meanwhile, from Nevis a rather gaudy sheetlet of 4 different stamps and an accompanying miniature sheet to mark the 60th anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II who is the Queen of St. Kitts-Nevis:-
And finally to St. Vincent And The Grenadines, from where a sheetlet of 4 stamps and 1 miniature sheet have appeared which commemorate the late British prime minister, Baroness Thatcher:-
a sheetlet of 4 different stamps and 1 m.s. which commemorate Environment Day:-
and yet another sheetlet and accompanying miniature sheet on the subject of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy:-
From Stamperija, an enigmatically named issue - "Part 2" - which consists of another 60 "stamps" (issued as 15 sheetlets each containing 4 different "stamps") and 15 miniature sheets on 15 different subjects all of which seem to have no direct relevance to Mozambique which is the country whose name is printed on the items except 4 stamps and a miniature sheet which depict "minerals of Mozambique", a similar sub-set which commemorates the rather bizarre work of a local sculptor and another sub-set on the subject of the fight against malaria, depicted below:-
Thus for 2013, Mozambique has had 124 stamps and 32 miniature sheets produced for it by the date of 25 March. Clearly it is striving to retain its position at the top of the Commonwealth's greediest postal administration table for yet another year but it might find a fight on its hands from Royal Mail or Solomon Islands.