Although summer appears to have arrived here in Britain (for the first time in three years), postal authorities and agencies do not appear to plan any respite from new stamp issues so that collectors can take a vacation from their collections. The British postal service, Royal Mail, clearly proud of having achieved the number 2 position in the "Greediest Stamp Issuer" table as described in a recent blog, is certainly working hard to make sure that it will be up there again in 2013, perhaps going one place better and out-issuing Mozambique, though that it is a tough challenge although it's one I'm sure Royal Mail is up to.
Depicted here are 6 of the 10 Butterfly stamps which will be released on 10 July 2013. They are certainly summery and fit in very well with the excellent (and rare) sunshine that Britain is currently enjoying. The basic set is accompanied, inevitably, by a £3.60 retail booklet as shown below:-
The New York-based philatelic agency which produces stamps with the name of Antigua And Barbuda printed on them has, of course, produced an issue for the country on the subject of the election of Pope Francis although less than 10% of the country's inhabitants are Catholics. As with issues for other territories for which it produces stamps, the issue takes the form of a sheetlet of 4 different stamps:-
A sheetlet of 4 stamps and a miniature sheet have also been produced with the name of Antigua And Barbuda printed on them on the subject of dolphins and whales of the Caribbean area although it is not clear if all the species depicted can be spotted in the waters off Antigua or Barbuda. I do not yet know the dates of issue of any of these products:-
From Ghana a sheetlet of 4 stamps and a miniature sheet which commemorate the late Baroness Thatcher, former British prime minister and stateswoman. The 4 sheetlet stamps depict pictures of her taken with other international statesmen and the border depicts her with Queen Elizabeth and 2 other former prime ministers, Edward Heath and the deeply unpopular Anthony Blair. It is true to say that these designs would not have gone down well with the public in Britain if Royal Mail had produced them:-
I have previously mentioned the issue by Australia Post, also battling hard for the "Greediest Postal Administration" gold medal title, which commemorated the race horse, Black Caviar, and which was produced in small sheetlets of 10 stamps. At the "Australia 2013" Stamp Exhibition a different version of the stamp was sold in a digitally printed format which had a completely different appearance from the basic stamp. The digitally-printed sheetlet was not available from anywhere apart from at the exhibition itself and was produced in ridiculously limited quantities and so does not really fulfill the definition of a postage stamp worthy of inclusion in a proper catalogue, i.e. it was not freely available to the public for use on mail and so it is more of a philatelic souvenir rather than a postage stamp. But it is of interest providing the price for the item is not too high:-
Finally, an interesting item from Hong Kong - a miniature sheet containing a single $10 stamp which commemorates the opening of the Kai Tak Cruise Ship Terminal. The item was designed by Carl Cheng Chi-Ming and lithographed by Enschede. It was issued on 11 June 2013:-
Unfortunately, the Hong Kong postal authorities were not satisfied with that miniature sheet but felt the need to produce a second such item at double the price - $20 - with silver foil applied to it:-