Friday 23 September 2016

828. Mystery Maldives Issue From The 1990s.

  A Canada-based dealer has sold recently on an Internet auction site a previously unknown set of 4 stamps which appears to have been issued by Maldives in 1995 or 1996. The set is made up of 2 of the stamps released on 30 December 1992 (SG1737 and 1738) which commemorated the SAARC Year of the Environment and the set of 2 stamps issued on 21 November 1990 (SG1426 and 1427) which commemorated the 5th SAARC Summit, all with a vertical overprint in black which reads "10th anniversary of SAARC". The overprint reads upwards on 2 of the stamps and downwards on the others.
  I have never seen the existence of these stamps reported anywhere before and I do take a lot of interest in Maldives stamps. These are fascinating and the question arises as to whether these items are genuine stamps or not. Despite our previous ignorance of their existence, I feel that they probably originate in the Maldives Post Office. It seems bizarre that anyone would fake such an issue given that the subject matter really is not a popular theme with wide appeal. 
  Unannounced stamps from Maldives have turned up before - in the mid-2000s, Nigel Haworth discovered and sold unannounced local surcharges which had probably been released around 2001 and these items are listed in the Stanley Gibbons Catalogue as numbers 3460a and 3460b and from time to time, despite being swamped by stuff produced by its philatelic agents, the Maldives Post Office issued stamps itself of local design and local relevance. So it would not be surprising that locally produced overprints, unannounced to the philatelic world, had been issued and that it had taken many years for them to surface.
  These items have a political relevance and it may be that they were prepared for distribution to SAARC politicians and important officials and may not have been put on sale at Maldives post offices and postal agencies.  
  The set received 7 bids in the internet auction and eventually reached a price of US$56. If I had noticed this lot earlier I think that I would have taken a punt on them and placed a bid myself.

  The Royal Gibraltar Post Office issued an interesting set of 5 stamps on 20 September 2016 to commemorate the award of World Heritage Site by UNESCO to the Gorham's Cave Complex. I particularly like the 80p stamp which depicts a very sympathetic picture of a Neanderthal man with a youngster - how different from portraits which have depicted Neanderthal people in the past. The issue was designed by Stephen Perera from photography by Stewart Finlayson and lithographed by BDT Internstional Security Printers. Rating:- ****.

  Canada Post issued 6 self-adhesive stamps from booklets and 1 gummed miniature sheet and 6 individual stamp miniature sheets (each contained in individual foil packs) on 23 September 2016 as part of its ongoing series which depicts ice hockey players. The issue which depicts forward players was designed by Avi Dunkelman and Joseph Gault (MIX Design Group). Rating:- ***.

  India Post issued a single stamp on 23 September 2016 to commemorate the Centenary of the Lady Hardinge Medical College, a women's medical college situated in New Delhi. This is obviously an important institution but the stamp is one of those incredibly dull issues depicting a fairly non-descript building which India Post is so adept at issuing. The stamp was designed by Smt. Nenu Gupta. Rating:- **.

  More on Maldives. In Blog 827 I outlined the latest Stamperija-produced philatelic items to be inscribed with the names of Commonwealth territories. But - shock! horror! - in addition to the stuff issued in the name of Mozambique and Sierra Leone, there's yet more of the stuff with 10 "sheetlets", each containing 4 different "stamps" and 10 accompanying " miniature sheets" being released with the name of Maldives printed on them. If anything they are even more artistically dire than anything we've seen before.
  The subjects depicted on these products are:- the 90th Birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 260th Birth anniversary of Wolgand Amadeus Mozart, 75th anniversary of the death of Robert Baden-Powell, "Summer Games Rio De Janeiro 2016", 25th anniversary of the death of Freddie Mercury (popular singer), 90th birth anniversary of the late Marilyn Monroe (US actress), 80th anniversary of the death of Louis Bleriot (aviator), 55th birth anniversary of Diana Princess Of Wales and 55th anniversary of the first manned space flight. 
  The "date of issue" is stated to have been 23 May 2016. Rating:- 0.

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