Wednesday, 17 January 2018

1163. 🇳🇱🇬🇧 From The Postal Museum To The Cautionary Towns.

 🇬🇧 The Postal Museum in London will sell the Game Of Thrones Post and Go stamps with the additional The Postal Museum inscription from kiosk A001 from 23 January 2013. The stamps will be available in all denominations. I will buy each stamp with the lowest available denomination applied to each stamp. Rating:- ***.

  🇲🇲 The postal service of Myanmar issued 3 new stamps on 4 January 2018 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the country's independence. This is very interesting and attractive set. Rating:- *****.

  🇳🇱 The Cautionary Towns.

  You'd think that there were enough stamps around for me to think about without inventing more. But one of my regrets about stamp collecting is that stamps are recently modern items - 1840, when Rowland Hill came up with the idea of the postage stamp and the Penny Black made its appearance, really isn't all that long ago - my great great grandfather was just 14 years old when he could have first sent a letter using the Penny  Post system.
  Just imagine if postage stamps existed in 1066 - what an interesting year of new issues we would have seen. The year began with Edward The Confessor still on the throne of England so the current definitive set would have depicted the dying monarch. The year was still very young when The Confessor died and Harold II was chosen as King of England. A new definitive series would have been required which depicted the new monarch and a set would have been in preparation to commemorate the Coronation of King Harold II which had taken place on 6 January at Westminster Abbey, a day after King Edward's death. Presumably, there would have also been a special Mourning issue to mark the life of The Confessor. No doubt there would have been some 'special issues' in the pipeline if The Kinge's Maile was following the same new issue policies as the current Royal Mail. Perhaps there would have been a series depicting breeds of Hunting dogs or, to please Bird thematic collectors, a set depicting Birds of Prey used in falconry. The Kinge's Maile may have been planning a special series on the subject of the book 'Beowulf' which was intended to be the blockbuster issue of the year or perhaps there was to be a set which was to commemorate the Centenary of the birth of King Aethelred The Unraed along with the 50th anniversary of his death.
  There might have been some emergency provisional surcharges when England was invaded by the Norwegian king, Harold Haadraada, in autumn 1066 and doubtless a 'Victory' overprint to commemorate the defeat of the Norwegians at the Battle of Stamford Bridge on 25 September. More provisional overprints would have been issued after King Harold's defeat and death at the Battle of Hastings by the Duke of Normandy, William The Bastard, which removed the late king's portrait from the current definitive series and a new definitive series depicting the Norman would no doubt have been rushed out in time for his coronation at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066. I suppose there would also have been a set to commemorate that Coronation.

  What a year of new issues that would have been. Who needs 'Game Of Thrones' when you've got the real thing in the form of English history? Of course a numismatist would say that if I collected coins rather than stamps I would be able to go much further back in history than a stamp collection would allow me to do but I've been a stamp collector for more than 50 years so there's no going back now.
  Which brings me, finally, to the point of this section. As well as most enjoying stamps which tell us about a country's history, I also love collecting stamps from territories about which few people are aware.
  I'm reading currently a book about the death of the Elizabethan playwright, poet and spy, Christopher Marlowe, a real bad boy who was said to have been killed in a tavern brawl in 1593, and in the book I came across a chapter where Marlowe is carrying out his espionage-related activities in a town in the Netherlands which the English called Flushing, but which is now known as Vlissingen. The book mentions that Flushing was actually an English possession at that time which is a fact of which I was not aware. Well, of course I rushed to see what Wikipedia had to say about it.
  Flushing was at that time part of what are called The Cautionary Towns. These were territories which had been garrisoned by English troops from 1585 as part of Queen Elizabeth I's support for the Protestant Dutch Republic against the Catholic King Philip of Spain. As well as Flushing the territory also included Briel (now known as Brielle) and Rammekens. With the aim of keeping these towns out of Spanish hands, by the Treaty of Nonsuch, the Dutch Republic handed them over to the English to garrison at their expense and they became English territories. Robert Sidney, the first Earl of Leicester accepted the title of Governor of Flushing from the Dutch in 1588 much to the Queen's chagrin, she having previously declined the title. Thomas Cecil, the first Earl of Exeter was made Governor of Briel and he was succeeded by Edward Conway, 1st Viscount Conway who named his daughter Brilliana in honour of the town.
  When the English and Spanish finally agreed to peace by the Treaty of London of 1604 the Spanish demanded the return of the Cautionary Towns but the English refused and only eventually gave up the territory in 1616 when the Dutch purchased the towns for a sum of £250,000. Thus another English, or by then British, territory disappeared into the lesser known annals of history. English ownership of the territory had lasted just over 30 years which in modern times would have given the towns' postal services plenty of time to release many, many stamps.
  We could conjecture one or perhaps 2 definitive issues for the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and then one or two similar sets featuring King James I. In 1588 we might have had an issue to commemorate the defeat of the Spanish Armada, a set to mourn Elizabeth I on her death in 1603 and a set to commemorate the Coronation of King James I at Westminster Abbey on 25 July 1603. Perhaps we might have had stamps to commemorate the thwarting of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605. There might have been an issue which commemorated Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre - perhaps Shakespeare would have appeared on stamps 350 years ahead of his first actual depiction in 1964.
  It's exciting to think of which subjects would have been commemorated and famous persons featured if an earlier Rowland Hill had come up with his plan for paying for a postal service several centuries before. And what of the territories which would have appeared in a British Empire and Commonwealth stamp catalogue covering that period? - we would have had such interesting names as Willoughbyland, East Florida, Minorca, Calais, Virginia, Mosquito Coast, Hanover, the list goes on ....
  Here's one to add to your collection of The Cautionary Towns:-

  🇲🇿 Correios de Mocambique has barely issued a stamp at all, as far as is known, for several years. Since it entered into a contract with Stamperija in 2007 which allowed that philatelic agency to issue literally hundreds of 'stamps' per year Mozambique's postal service has shown no sign of taking interest in the sort of products which Stamperija has being unloading on to the philatelic market in its name. However Stamperija currently does not claim to have issued any stamps with the name of Mozambique printed on them since 10 February 2017. I wonder what happened.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

1162. 🇬🇬 Guernsey Post Commemorates The Wombles.

  🇬🇬 News from Guernsey Post. Another miniature sheet in the never ending 'Endangered species' series will be released on 14 February 2018 and this particular sheet depicts a Black rhinoceros. I fully sympathise with efforts made to protect these splendid but unfortunate creatures but I see no reason for Guernsey Post to continue with this series which does not depict local species. This is quite a nice portrait of the creature though in some years the finished designs are less satisfactory. I do not like this ongoing series and I will not be spending my £3 on this item. Rating:- 0.

  Another issue which has no relevance whatsoever to Guernsey is the Year of The Dog set and a miniature sheet accompanies this. I illustrated the basic stamps in Blog 1139 and I now depict the miniature sheet below. The planned date of issue is 3 February 2018 and again I shall not be spending any money on these items. I do wish that Guernsey Post would abandon these long term ongoing issues. Rating:- 0.

  Guernsey Post will also issue a set of 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on 14 February 2018 with the inscription 'Alderney'. This issue commemorates the 50th anniversary of the first appearance of the characters known as the Wombles in books written by Elizabeth Beresford who was a resident of Alderney from 1967 until her death in 2010. These creatures became increasingly popular for a while with the British public when they appeared in their own animated television series and achieved a level of notoriety when musicians dressed in Womble costumes scored a popular music success with a record which included the lines, "The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we ....".
  These are cheerful enough stamps which will brighten items of mail in Alderney and they have an undoubted local relevance. The issue was designed by Mark Totty and lithographed by Southern Colour Print and perforated 13.5. Rating:- ****.

  🇱🇹 In addition to the 9 miniature sheets and 9 sheetlets mentioned in Blog 1162, Stamperija issued an additional pair of such items on the subject of the The Quincentenary of the Protestant Reformation in Europe. Stamperija's website shows these as 'sold out'!
  Oh, by the way, these items have the name of Sierra Leone printed on them and are stated to have been 'issued' on 30 November 2017. Rating:- 0.
  By the way, the face value of this issue - SLL79200 equivalent to £7.51p which doesn't sound a lot but we must remember that there are 20 such issues per month which bear the inscription 'Sierra Leone' making a total of £150 per month or £1800 per year. This grand total does not include the premium imperforate issues which are sold for more than double the regular perforate issues and then there's the so-called 'first day covers'. It's clear, isn't it?, that you only have to sell a few of these items to collectors of 'Bird' stamps, some to 'Marilyn Monroe' stamps enthusiasts, a small number to 'Cats on stamps' collectors, a few more to 'Elvis Presley stamps' collectors and so on and it's easy to understand, given the numbers produced and the face values ascribed to them that Stamperija's owner can amass a fortune at the expense of thematic or topical collectors (it's doubtful that a collector of Sierra Leone stamps is going to buy 240 sets and 240 miniature sheets in one year). Fascinating isn't it? Just think about it before you're tempted to buy one of those colourful thematic sheets looking up at you from Delcampe.

1161. 🇮🇲 Isle Of Man Commemorates RAF Centenary.

  🇮🇲 The Isle Of Man Post Office will issue a set of 8 stamps on 15 January 2018 to commemorate the Centenary of the Royal Air Force. It's a worthwhile issue and well designed but nothing we haven't seen a hundred times before. Rating:- ***.
  There will also be a £14.28p Prestige booklet, a £14.28p 'Commemorative sheet' made up of 16 stamps and a £7.14p 'Self-adhesive sheet' for those who must have 'one of everything'. Rating:- 0.

  Anyone who's visited the Isle Of Man will wonder why its Post Office would need to issue stamps to commemorate the Chinese New Year. Apart from a few Chinese restaurants there's very little to link the island to China but now it seems that the Isle Of Of Man postal service finds that special stamps are required to commemorate the Year of the Dog. What nonsense. Regardless, 2 admittedly amusing and attractive stamps will be issued on 8 February 2018 with face values of £1.50p and £2. I like the stamps, dislike the high face values and cannot see why Isle Of Man Post Office thinks it's a good idea to release them. Rating:- 0.

  🇸🇬 Singapore Post has issued machine vended stamps in a new design. The new resign is titled 'Pot Pourri" and became available on 5 January 2018. Rating:- ***.

  🇯🇪 In Blog 1146 I detailed the issue which Jersey Post plans to release on 26 January 2018 on the subject of 'The 1960s'. I now illustrate below the accompanying miniature sheet:-

  🇬🇬 In Blog 1157 I mentioned the new Post and Go labels which Guernsey Post plans to release on 14 February 2018. The designs of the 6 stamps are now depicted below and feature local flowers. The art work is delightful. Rating:- *****.

  🇱🇹 Stamperija has released more 'stamps' with the name of Sierra Leone printed on them. This time there are 9 sheetlets each of 4 different stamps and 9 accompanying 'miniature sheets'containing single stamps. The featured subjects are the Platinum Wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, 110th anniversary of the death of Dmitri Mendeleev (Russian chemist), 85th birthday of Johnnie Cash (US singer), 110th birth anniversary of Sergei Korolev, 'The Greatest Painters', 85th birth anniversary of Elizabeth Taylor, 80th anniversary of the death of Pierre de Courbertin, Chinese New Year and the 125th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Alekhine (chess player). The date of issue is stated to have been 30 November 2017. Rating:- 0.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

1160. 🇮🇪 Ireland Commemorates Dublin Post Office Bicentenary.

  🇨🇮 An Post, the postal service of the Republic Of Ireland, has released details of its 2018 new issue programme as well as letting collectors know in detail about the issues of the first 3 months of the year. There are some excellent issues included in the following list:-

  11 January 2018 - Bicentenary of the opening of the Dublin General Post Office - 1 stamp - Designed by Post Studio and lithographed by Cartor and perforated 13.5. Rating:- *****.

  18 January 2018 - 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, art collector and public benefactor - 4 stamps and 1 miniature sheet- Designed by Zinc Design Consultants and lithographed by Cartor and perforated 13.5. Rating:- *****.

  25 January 2017 - 9th Definitive series (part 2) - The History of Ireland in 100 Objects- 8 stamps - Designed by Zinc Design Consultants and printed in HP Indigo high resolution digital print by CCL Label Ireland Ltd. and perforated 11 x 11.5. The stamps are printed in coil format and additionally there are 2 booklets, containing smaller versions of the stamps, which contain 10 x domestic rate stamps and 10 x International rate stamps all the stamps being self-adhesive. Rating:- *****.

  8 February 2018 - 'Love and Marriage' (12th issue) - 1 stamp - Designed by Design HQ from an illustration by Liz Rackard and lithographed by Cartor. The stamps are self-adhesive and perforated 11.5. Sadly this issue is not terribly interesting.  Rating:- **.

  22 February 2018 - St. Patrick's Day - 1 stamp - Designed by Post Studio and lithographed by Cartor and perforated 13.5. Rating:- ****.

  1 March 2018 - Centenary of the death of John Redmond, Irish nationalist politician - 1 stamp - Designed by Post Studio and lithographed by Cartor and perforated 13.5. Rating:- ***.

  22 March 2018 - 150th anniversary of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation- 1 stamp - Designed by Detail and lithographed by Cartor and perforated 13.5. Rating:- **.

  5 April 2018 - International statesmen - 2 stamps
  3 May - Europa, Bridges - 2 stamps
  24 May - Na Piobairi Uilean - 1 stamp
  31 May - 1400th anniversary of the death of St. Kevin - 4 stamps
  12 July - Native Irish Bees - 4 stamps
  2 August - The Royal Dublin Society - 4 stamps
  16 August- World Meeting of Families in Dublin 2018 - 2 stamps
  6 September - Irish scientific discoveries - 4 stamps
  4 October - RMS Leinster 1918 - 1stamp
  18 October - Popular democracy - 2 stamps
  8 November - Armistice Day - 1 stamp
  8 November - Christmas - 3 stamps

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

1159. 🇬🇸 Maps Of South Georgia.

  🇬🇸 The postal service of South Georgia And The South Sandwich Islands will issue a set of 6 stamps on 5 February 2018 on the subject of 'Mapping'. This is yet another very interesting and attractively designed set from Pobjoy Stamps/Creative Direction and a fine start to the new year from the south Atlantic and Antarctica region. The issue was designed by Andrew Robinson and lithographed by Cartor and perforated 13.5. Rating:- *****.

  🇸🇭 The Ascension Island postal service will issue a set of 6 stamps on 24 January 2018 on the subject of Land Crabs. The designs are based on photographs taken by the Conservation Dept. of the Ascension Island Government and lithographed by Cartor and perforated 13.5.
  This could easily be a straightforward set of stamps in which photographs each have a bit of text added to them and nothing more but there is also the clever addition of a 'warning sign' with the words 'Land crabs' on it and some additional information which raises these stamps above the run-of-the-mill. Rating:- *****.

  Thanks to Juliet Warner for supplying information about the above issues.

  🇰🇾 The Cayman Islands Postal Service issued a set of 4 stamps in mid-December 2017 to commemorate the Platinum Wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh. These stamps are very similar to those issued by British Indian Ocean Territory. I do not yet know the precise date of issue or any other details because as is normal with new issues handled by the CASCO agency, early information to collectors is non-existent. Rating:- **.

  🇨🇾 I seem to have overlooked an issue from Cyprus Post which was released on 30 November 2017 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of St. Andrew The Apostle monastery. This is a rather unusual item in that it is a €10 miniature sheet containing a single stamp sold only in a booklet. The face value is rather high for Cyprus Post given that its issues are generally very conservative. Let us hope that this is a one off. Rating:- **.

  🇮🇳 India Post's first issue of 2018 was released on 8 January to commemorate the Centenary of the founding of the ICAR (Central Plantation Crops Research Institute). Rating:- ***.

  From India Post there have also been a number of My Stamp issues which are worth noting. These are problematical as they are sold in sheetlets of 12 with attached labels at a premium price but they are still interesting.

  21 October 2017 - Police Commemoration Day.

  17 October 2017 - 25th anniversary of the Indian Buildings Congress.

  🇱🇰 Sri Lanka Post issued a single stamp on 23 December 2017 to commemorate the National Meelad-Un-Nabi which is the observance of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The attractive stamp was designed by Isuru P. Chaturanga. Rating:- ***.

🇬🇧  Royal Mail's first issue of 2018 which has real meaning and significance as opposed to being a flashy catch penny will be released on 14 February 2018 to coincide with the Spring Stampex 2018 exhibition and will commemorate the Centenary of the achievement of the Suffrage of Women in The United Kingdom.
  The issue was designed by Supple Studio and lithographed by International Security Printers and perforated 14.5 x 14. There are 4 values with 2 of each printed se-tenant. I like this set even if the release of as many as 8 stamps seems excessive. Rating:- ****.
  Ian Billings' unequalled Nordic Philatelic Blog is the source of this information.

  Although Royal Mail is not planning to have a Post and Go kiosk situated at the Spring Stampex exhibition which will open in London on 14 February 2017 it will release 6 new Post and Go stamps on the opening day. There seems to be no logic in arranging to release a Post and Go issue to coincide with a stamp exhibition and then not to sell it from a dispensing machine situated at the exhibition. This issue is titled Mail bu Sea and features depictions of various Mail-carrying ships spanning a couple of centuries. It is a very attractive and interesting issue. It will be sold in a pack of a strip of the 6 designs all at the 1st Class domestic postal rate and presumably the IAR kiosks in Enquiry offices and NCR kiosks in ordinary post offices will also dispense them. Rating:- *****.