Saturday, 10 August 2013

286. Have Stamperija's Jaws Swallowed Up Maldives?


   The stamps of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, located In the Indian Ocean, are produced by Australia Post and add on to issues for Australia itself, as well as Christmas Island and Australian Antarctic Territory, to produce the huge total number of stamps produced by the organisation in recent years. Fortunately for Cocos (Keeling) itself the total number of philatelic items produced on its behalf are relatively small. The territory's latest issue comprises just 2 stamps which were released on 6 August 2013 and which commemorate the islands' barrel mail servIce which was used from 1909 to 1954. This is an interesting and modest little issue on the subject of postal history and well worth adding to one's collection. So while this is good news from one island group in the Indian Ocean, bad news seems about to break from another Indian Ocean island territory - The Republic Of Maldives.
   A message from a contributor to Stampboards suggests that the notorious philatelic agency, Stamperija, has been awarded the recently advertised rights to produce and distribute stamps on behalf of the Maldives Post Office. The contributor says that he has obtained the news from a "reputable source". This is very disappointing since the three year hiatus in stamp issues from Maldives gave the country a chance to put its old excessive stamp issues behind it and start afresh with a reputable philatelic agency - and they do exist and we know who they are - but instead, if the news is true, then Maldives has leapt from the frying pan into the fire. The opinion has been expressed to me that there was very little a reputable agency was likely to be able to do to rehabilitate Maldives' philatelic reputation after 50 years of excess but it is such a pity if those who run the Maldives Post Office have succumbed to the even greater philatelic excess of Stamperija. 
  It is also quite surprising that the postal administration of a devoutly Moslem country would allow a philatelic agency which has produced a number of stamps for some of its other client territories which have depicted dubious designs including nudes and semi-clad modern female celebrities, to produce stamp designs on its behalf. This suggests that any "stamps" produced by Stamperija will not actually be sold in post offices on the islands where the native population lives but rather will be sold on tourist islands where I guess there are plenty of semi-clad people any way - that is - if any of the stamps are actually sold in The Maldives at all. But if the Stamperija designs are not actually sold in Male and the other islands where the native Maldivians live, from where will the Maldives Post Office actually get the stamps which are needed for ordinary postal services? This, ofcourse, is all speculation but if it is all true, then the adding of new items to my Maldives collection of selected locally-relevant issues seems to be about to come to a complete halt. Pity, The Maldives are so beautiful but we may soon find  the philatelic programme of this wonderful butterfly fish of a territory being consumed by the jaws of a shark which many collectors find to be loathsome.
   On the subject of colourful fish, Tuvalu's latest issues include 2 sheetlets, each of 4 different stamps, which were released on 24 July 2013 on the subject of "Fish of The Pacific". I can not say whether the depicted species are actually found in Tuvaluan waters (the Pacific Ocean covers an enormous area) so I do not feel the need to add these stamps to my Tuvalu collection:-



  Also on 24 July 2013, Tuvalu issued a sheetlet of 4 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on the subject of "Dolphins" - again, it is not indicated whether the depicted species are actually found in the seas around Tuvalu itself:-



   A few days later, on 30 July 2013, a sheetlet of 4 stamps and 1 miniature sheet were issued by Tuvalu to commemorate the "Thailand 2013" Philatelic Exhibition. The subject of the issue was "Temples of Thailand" which again really has nothing whatsoever to do with Tuvalu so I shall again omit these stamps from my Tuvalu collection:-



  I have not previously depicted one of the sheetlets from the recent Indian issue which commemorates the centenary of Indian cinema (see Blog 283) and so I illustrate one of the 6 sheetlets below:-


   Previously, I have only shown a first day cover of the Mauritius Events and Anniversaries set which was issued on 29 May 2013 (Blog 262) and so, I depict all 4 stamps which made up the set. Recent Mauritius stamps have certainly been much more colourful than they were a couple of years ago but it is still difficult to be very enthusiastic about these designs given their rather dull subject matter although the RS18 commemoration of the FIFA meeting is amusing because of the way it illustrates how the high-ranking FIFA officials do like to hold their get-togethers in exotic and attractive locations. 



   On 20 August 2013, Malta will share a joint issue with Curacao (a strange twinning) which consists of a miniature sheet which depicts the harbours of Willemstad in Curaçao and Valetta in Malta.
   I now have the dates of issue of various Sri Lanka sets which were mentioned previously in Blog 271 and earlier blogs:- 18 February 2013 - RISCO Centennial; 18 March - New International Airport; 5 April - Drukpa Pade Yatra; 4 May - Centenary of Dharmaboka College; 10 May - Vesak; 7 June - 150th Birth anniversary of Swami Vivakananda. On 5 July 2013, 1 stamp was issued which commemorated Christ Church Girls' School, Baddegama and on 28 July 2013 Sri Lanka issued 6 stamps and 3 miniature sheets which depicted the wildlife of Yala National Park. The 3 miniature sheets were also issued with overprints applied to commemorate the "Thailand 2013" Philatelic Exhibition.
   

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