Tuesday, 31 December 2019

1574. 🇦🇺 Australia’s Apocalypse Now.


🇦🇺 One Commonwealth event which I did not cover in the 2019 philatelic review in Blog 1571 is the shocking and devastating fires which have been affecting vast areas of Australia in recent weeks as the country experiences higher temperatures than have ever been recorded there before. The calamitous fires are being associated with the phenomenon of global warming though the Australian prime minister, who was dragged back from holidaying in Hawaii while Australia burned, seems to have his doubts about the link. Given the short political life of Australian prime ministers one cannot help but think that his time in office is probably now somewhat limited.
  These almost apocalyptic fires are the latest in a series of dreadful natural disasters which have assaulted Australia in recent years and it seems likely that they will have philatelic consequences given that Australia Post has issued stamps on two previous occasions to help to raise funds to assist those affected by these natural disasters. Australia Post issues far too many stamps, often on inconsequential subjects, but it is unlikely that anyone would complain if an issue tied to this latest disaster were released to try to aid the victims of the fires.



 The first ever charity issue to be released by the Australian postal service was released on 27 January 2011 to raise funds for those affected by severe flooding in Queensland and the 5 stamps were sold in booklets of 10 (2 x 5 x 60c) for $8 with the $2 excess from each sheet being donated to the Queensland Premier’s Disaster Fund Appeal. Australia Post also developed plans for a scheme in which postal managers in areas affected by the floods would work with local community representatives to provide grants to reinstate community facilities damaged by the floods.







 On 20 September 2018 Australia Post issued a single stamp in a booklet of five for a quite different reason - a charity stamp to help deal with the devastating impact on farmers and communities in New South Wales, Queensland, north-western Victoria and eastern South Australia of a severe drought. For every $5 spent by the purchaser on a booklet of stamps Australia Post donated $2 to Rural Aid Ltd which provided support and assistance directly to affected farmers and communities.


Monday, 30 December 2019

1573. 🇸🇬 Singapore Post Starts 2020 With Attractive Collectors Sheet.

🇸🇬 Singapore Post’s Chinese new year issue commemorating the Year of the Rat due to be released on 8 January 2020 includes a very attractive ‘Collectors sheet’. I like Singapore Post’s ongoing series of Collectors sheets which are usually beautifully designed and produced and very attractive and though sold at prices above face value usually look very pleasing on an album page. Rating:- ****.


🇨🇰🇹🇴 Further to Blogs 1565, 1566 and 1572, the USA-based, self-styled “Boutique philatelic agency”, Philatelic Collector Inc., has added dates of issue for the numerous Birds of the World philatelic items it has released in the name of its client postal services, those of Cook Islands and Tonga. All of these items have been illustrated in the previous Blogs.

Cook Islands - 15 November 2019 - Birds of Prey part 2
                          20 November 2019 - Parrots

Cook Islands Aitutaki - 15 November 2019 - Birds of Prey part 2
                                         20 November 2019 - Owls

Cook Islands Penrhyn - 15 November 2019 - Birds of Prey part 2
                                          20 November 2019 - Parrots

Cook Islands Rarotonga - 15 November 2019 - Birds of Prey part 2
                                             20 November 2019 - Hummingbirds

Tonga - 18 November 2019 - Birds of Prey part 2
              25 November 2019 - Owls

Tonga Niuafo’ou - 18 November 2019 - Birds of Prey part 2
                                25 November 2019 - Birds Of Paradise.

Among its recently released products is a further issue which I have so far overlooked - the se-tenant pair of previously issued ‘Birdpex’ stamps inscribed ‘Cook Islands’ with 50c surcharges applied and stated to have been ‘issued’ on 11 March 2019. Rating:- *.




🇰🇳 It looks as though collectors who hoped that St Kitts’ postal service had escaped the clutches of the US-based IGPC may be disappointed as the agency which once named itself “The World's most respected philatelic agency” (no, that’s surely not hollow laughter that I can hear) has included an illustration of a sheet of stamps which commemorate the 150th Birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. No date of issue is identified alongside the illustration of this item but if it has been issued during 2019 then St Kitts disappears from the list of Commonwealth philatelic countries which have not issued stamps during 2019. 
  This is a typical IGPC product with the large margin on the right side of the stamp depicting the Mahatma Gandhi Bridge in Hamburg in Germany which says nothing at all about St Kitts’ links with Gandhi. What is good is that if this is a single value issue then the face value of 30c is very low and the addition of a single stamp from the sheet. to a St Kitts collection would be of minimal cost.



1572. 🇨🇰🇹🇴 Christmas And Year Of Rat Stamps From Philatelic Collector Inc.

  The USA-based ‘Boutique’ philatelic agency, Philatelic Collector Inc., has updated its website and revealed that it has released more philatelic items in the name of its 2 client postal administrations, Tonga and Cook Islands. Apart from a set titled ‘Birds of prey Part 2’ with the name of Aitutaki inscribed on the products the numerous Birds of the World issues described in recent Blogs and which are being offered for ‘exclusive’ sale by an Internet dealer in Russia are not yet mentioned on the PCI website but I imagine they soon will be. The ‘date of issue’ of the Aitutaki birds set is stated to have been 15 November 2019.
  Only 2 subjects are featured on the latest products - Chinese new year (Year of the Rat) and Christmas. In all there are 12 Chinese new year stamps and 10 Christmas stamps. Some of the Christmas stamps (Tonga, Aitutaki and Penrhyn) all look as though they have been printed on previously issued personalisable stamps.

🇹🇴 Tonga - 11 October 2019 - Chinese new year - 2 stamps. Rating:- 0 (or perhaps this time I should write “Ratting:- 0”).



12 December 2019 - Christmas - 2 stamps. Rating:- *.



🇹🇴 Tonga Niuafo’ou - 11 October 2019 - Chinese new year - 2 stamps. Rating:- 0. 



12 December 2019 - Christmas - 2 stamps. Rating:- *.



🇨🇰 Cook Islands - 11 October 2019 - Chinese new year - 2 stamps. Rating:- 0.



16 December 2019 - Christmas - 2 stamps. Rating:- 0.



Cook Islands Aitutaki - 11 October 2019 - Chinese new year - 2 stamps. Rating:- 0.



16 December 2019 - Christmas - 2 stamps. Rating:-  *.



🇨🇰 Cook Islands Penrhyn - 11 October 2019 - Chinese new year - 2 stamps. Rating:- 0.



16 December 2019 - Christmas - 2 stamps. Rating:- *.



🇨🇰 Cook Islands Rarotonga - 11 October 2019 - Chinese new year- 2 stamps. Rating:- 0.



1571. 🇬🇧 Commonwealth Stamps Review Of 2019.


  And so 2019 draws to a close. Here is a list of some of the notable events and anniversaries associated with The Commonwealth which resulted in stamp issues or which might have philatelic consequences in the future.

15 January - 🇬🇧 Royal Mail issued a miniature sheet containing 6 different stamps to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Philatelic Society.

13 April - 🇮🇳 India Post issued 2 stamps and 1 miniature sheet to commemorate the Centenary of the Amritsar Massacre, one of the most shameful events in British colonial history.


26 April - 🇿🇦 The South African Post Office issued a miniature sheet to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of democracy in South Africa.


28 April - 🇬🇮 The Royal Gibraltar Post Office issued a set of stamps to commemorate the territory’s hosting of the 18th Island Games.


2 May - 🇨🇾 🇬🇮🇬🇬🇮🇪🇮🇲🇯🇪🇲🇹🇹🇷 The postal service of Cyprus, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Ireland, Jersey, Malta and The Turkish Republic Of Northern Cyprus all released issues as their participation in the 2019 Europa omnibus issue. Notably Royal Mail did not participate in the issue.


6 May - 🇻🇨 Numerous Commonwealth postal administrations issued stamps to commemorate the birth of Archie Mountbatten Windsor, first child of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.


24 May - 🇬🇧 Numerous Commonwealth postal administrations issued stamps to commemorate the Bicentenary of the birth of Queen Victoria.


6 June - 🇬🇲 🇬🇧 Numerous Commonwealth postal administrations issued stamps to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Infamously, Royal Mail, in pre-publicity, had released a picture of one of the planned designs which actually depicted US troops landing in New Guinea not Allied troops landing in Normandy!



14 July - England beat New Zealand in the final of the Cricket World Cup. Royal Mail later issued a miniature sheet containing 4 different stamps to commemorate the victory as well as a second one to commemorate the England Women’s team victory 2 years earlier.


1 October - 🇭🇰 Hong Kong Post issued a set of 4 stamps and 2 miniature sheets to commemorate the 70th anniversary of The People’s Republic Of China while protestors against the Beijing government rioted in the territory’s streets. 


16 October - 🇬🇧 The postal service of British Antarctic Territory issued 3 stamps to commemorate the Bicentenary of the first recorded human landing on the Antarctic continent by Master mariner William Smith.


23 July - 🇳🇿 New Zealand Post released a set of stamps to commemorate the Birth centenary of Sir Edmund Hillary who was in the first group ever to climb Mount Everest.


19 June - 🇲🇺 Mauritius Post issued a set of 3 stamps and a miniature sheet to commemorate the country’s hosting of the Indian Ocean Games.


22 June - 🇸🇬 Singapore Post issued a set of 10 stamps to commemorate the Bicentenary of its founding by Sir Stamford Raffles.


31 July 2019 - 🇲🇾 Pos Malaysia issued a set of 3 stamps and 1 miniature sheet to commemorate the installation of the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King Of Malaysia), Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Ak-Mustafa Billah Shah.


8 August -  🇧🇳🇲🇾🇲🇲🇸🇬 Commonwealth member states of ASEAN, including Brunei Darussalam, participated in a minibus issue depicting national costumes.


🇲🇺 Mauritius Post released an issue noting the decision of the International Court Of Justice to recognise Mauritius’ claim to the Chagos Islands which form the British dependant territory of British Indian Ocean Territory. In the 1960s the British had expelled the islanders from their homes to enable a large US airforce base to be built on the island of Diego Garcia. This has long been considered to be another shameful episode in British colonial history.


23 August - 🇵🇰 The postal service of Pakistan issued a single stamp to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the modern Commonwealth.

10 September - 🇨🇾🇲🇻🇱🇰 A number of Commonwealth postal services or of other countries regularly mentioned in this Blog, including those of Cyprus, Maldives and Sri Lanka, participated in an international omnibus issue to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Express Mail Service (EMS).




2 October - 🇨🇾🇮🇳 150th Birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi - numerous Commonwealth postal services, including that of Cyprus, released stamps to commemorate this anniversary.


9 October - 🇧🇩 A number of Commonwealth postal administrations, including that of Bangladesh, participated in an omnibus issue to commemorate the 145th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union.


1 November - 🇯🇪 Jersey Post issued a set of 6 stamps to commemorate the Birth bicentenary of George Eliot, the notable novelist who spent some months in Jersey. Royal Mail did not consider this a worthy subject for philatelic commemoration instead choosing to issue 6 stamps and a miniature sheet to mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of the children’s book, The Gruffalo.


9 November - 🇮🇳🇵🇰 India Post and Pakistan Post both issued stamps to commemorate the 550th Birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion.



🇵🇬 10 December - 98% of voters in a referendum in the autonomous province of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea opted for Independence for the territory. The final decision has yet to be made by the PNG Parliament but Bougainville May become the newest member of The Commonwealth in the foreseeable future and will be a new philatelic entity.


🇬🇧  12 December - Voters in The United Kingdom reelected a Conservative government under Boris Johnson thus ensuring that Britain would leave The European Union - the first country to do so - probably on 31 January 2020. This decision may have philatelic consequences.


🇦🇺  16 December - Australia Post issued 9 Personalisable stamps in new formats.


🇲🇻 24 December - Baroness Scotland, Secretary General of The Commonwealth, confirmed that the government of  Maldives had fulfilled all necessary requirements to enable the country to rejoin The Commonwealth early in 2020.


Finally, some news:-

🇸🇬 Singapore Post will issue 2 gummed stamps, 2 self-adhesive stamps (each from booklets of 10) and 1 gummed Collectors Sheet ($10 stamp) on 8 January 2020 to commemorate the Chinese new year which will be the Year of the rat. The issue was designed by Lim An-ling and Andy Koh (Collectors sheet) and lithographed by Southern Colour Print and Cartor (Collectors sheet with additional gold hot stamping and laser die-cut). The stamps are perforated 14.5. Rating:- **.




🇮🇳 India Post issued a single stamp on 26 December 2019 to commemorate the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence which does not sound like the most exciting subject for a stamp issue. Rating:- *.