Tuesday, 16 April 2013

226. Queen Elizabeth Land.

On 18 December 2012, The Foreign And Commonwealth Office announced that, in honour of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, the southern part of The British Antarctic Territory would be given the name of Queen Elizabeth Land. The area takes the shape of a triangle with its apex at the South Pole and its east and west borders lying between 20 degrees and 80 degrees west on the longitude and its northern boundary lying on the Filchner-Roine Ice Shelf and Coates Land. Queen Elizabeth Land comprises about 169,000 square miles of territory in all. The British Antarctic Territory Post Office has announced that a miniature sheet is to be issued which commemorates the naming of the territory and is a rather belated Diamond Jubilee commemorative issue as well (see illustration above).
 I have not yet illustrated the 12 value miniature sheet which was issued by Canada Post on 20 February 2013 and which combines all the stamps issued to illustrate the signs of the zodiac which were released in 2011 (21 March, 1 stamp depicting Aries, 21 April (Taurus), 20 May (Gemini) and 22 June (Cancer), 2012 (23 July, 4 values) and on the above date (the 4 remaining signs). The stamps were all produced in self-adhesive format in booklets and in gummed form in miniature sheets of 4 per year. With the issue of the final designs, they are thus all issued again in a combined sheet. I am not sure why stamps depicting zodiac signs are so popular with postal administrations (Hong Kong, too, released a set of 12 stamps in multiple formats on the subject of the "western zodiac" during 2012 as I have previously described); perhaps they are popular for use on covers containing birthday greetings:-

Two of the designs from the 12 value sheetlet.
On the subject of "The Stars", South Georgia And The South Sandwich Islands will issue a set of stamps on 4 June 2013 which depicts "Star Trails". The stamps are designed by Samantha Crimmin and printed in lithography by Cartor:-

Finally, on the subject of space, in my opinion the very best commercially produced first day cover of the Royal Mail "Dr. Who" stamps is that which is sold by Sci Fi collector based at The Strand Centre in London which unlike a number of others actually depicts all 11 Dr Whos (price £10) and can be bought with the added autograph of Tom Baker who was the fourth actor to play the lead role for £15. It is a very attractive and colourful item and has the post mark "SEAL STREET LONDON E8" with a design at the centre of the cancellation which features a "Timelord" motif from the television programme said to be "The Seal Of Rassilon", hence the relevance of the location of the postmark. I like the cover with the added autograph although Tom Baker appears to have been quite a prodigious signer of autographs and therefore one of his signatures is not a rare item in itself but it adds interest to this particular cover. I imagine that if this particular cover were made available with other rarer Dr. Who actor autographs applied then it would be an even more desirable item:-

complete cover.

"Seal Street E8" postmark - "The Seal Of Rassilon".

Cover design with Tom Baker's autograph.

cancelled Tom Baker stamp.

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