Collectors of stamps which commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II have a new item to track down. At the Stampex Exhibition in London which was held from 26 to 29 September 2012, Royal Mail released a strip of 6 "Union Jack" Post and Go stamps with the added inscription "Diamond Jubilee 1952-2012":-
There were 4 Hytech machines at the exhibition, two available to the public and 2 available behind the Royal Mail counter. On 26 September, of the public machines, one was selling the Diamond Jubilee items or the previously issued pigs stamps (but Hytech printed of course) and the other was selling the Union Jack stamp (Hytech) or the pigs stamps (Hytech). On the 28th September, the pigs stamps were substituted by the new cattle stamps (but again were with the Hytech print which varied from that available from machines in ordinary post offices). Thus, Royal Mail succeeded in creating a number of new varieties of the highly popular Post And Go stamps by creating new versions of the pigs, cattle and Union Jack stamps as well as introducing the Diamond Jubilee Union Jack stamps and of course all of these stamps had very limited availability. So much for the recently announced Royal Mail policy of listening to their customers and reducing the number of collectible stamps they intend to produce. Exploitation of their customers continues apace. Who is worse - Australia Post, Royal Mail or ... Stamperija (see below & previous blog)? And then there are the varities in which the wrong sized inscription is applied to the stamp (accidental or intentional?):-
Above, are the new cattle stamps, again nicely designed by Robert Gilmour, with the incorrectly sized inscription and below the Hytech-printed cattle stamps available only at Stampex:-
Like Australia Post and Royal Mail, New Zealand Post is wringing every last penny, or should I say cent, from avid stamp collectors and also Tolkein enthusiasts by releasing an number of items on 1 November 2012 to commemorate the production of the first of 3 films which has been made from an adaptation of Tolkein's "The Hobbit". There are 6 gummed stamps, 6 self-adhesive stamps, a booklet of self-adhesive stamps, 6 miniature sheets and, if you must have it, an "Ultimate Collector's Pack" which contains all of the above and more and is sold for NZ$385. The illustrations below are self-explanatory:-
New Zealand Post certainly has been busy; it has prepared 3 stamps and a miniature sheet for the territory of Tokelau to be issued on 21 November 2012 to commemorate Christmas. Cheerful but not terrible exciting. I suppose that the idea of depicting Father Christmas in his sleigh flying over the three islands of Tokelau seemed a good idea when they first came up with it.
And they have also prepared 4 Christmas stamps for Niue which will also be issued on 21 November 2012. Sadly, there is no attempt to give a Niuean twist to the designs so the stamps just end up looking like any other old Christmas stamps issued in the past 50 years:-
The set to be released on 21 November 2012 which will be inscribed "Ross Dependency" is rather more pleasing and is described as a set of "scenic definitives". The locations depicted are Mount Erebus, Beardmore Glacier, Lake Vanda, Cape Adare and Ross Ice Shelf. They are designed by Gregory Millen and lithographed by Southern Colour Print. A miniature sheet inevitably accompanies the set.
Not satiated by all these issues, New Zealand Post is planning a Year of the Snake issue for 9 January 2013:-
A recent issue from Kiribati is an interesting sheetlet depicting the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. The date of issue was 12 September 2012. It is hard to find details about this country's new issues as CASCO, the country's philatelic agent, seems to be in terminal decline, and has not added any new information to its website since June 2012. No wonder countries are dropping CASCO for apparently more energetic agents. It now seems to do philatelic agency work for just 13 territories whereas its client territories in the heyday of the Crown Agents were numbered in dozens and scores.
One of the territories which has fairly recently given up on CASCO is Bahamas and the country issued 6 stamps on 10 October 2012 which depict local eminent women to celebrate the 50th anniversary of women's suffrage in the islands:-
There is yet another release of items with the name of Mozambique inscribed on them from the Lithuanian stamp producers, Stamperija. This is a second issue of items with the theme of extinct fauna with a release date given as 30 April 2012 and consists of 3 sheetlets of 4 (Birds of Africa, Animals of Europe and Bats), 4 sheetlets of 6 ( Dolphins, Snakes, Sea birds and reptiles) and 3 sheetlets of 8), all 10 sheetlets being accompabied by an additional miniature sheet. This means that Stamperija has now announced the release of a total of 298 stamps and 50 miniature sheets inscribed "Mozambique" by the end of April for 2012, so even if these items were to reach the counters of ordinary post offices in Mozambique (and I shall be visiting there early next year and hope to see for myself just what really does go in Mozambique post offices), this total of 348 items issued in the first 4 months of the year is far in excess of the needs of the country's post office and therefore hopelessly uncollectible as postage stamps. A pity, since many of the items are quite interesting from the thematic point of view:-
|Extinct birds of Africa sheetlet|
|Extinct animals of Europe sheetlet|
|Extinct animals of Europe miniature sheet|
|Extinct birds sheetlet|