The first issues produced by Stamperija in the name of Maldives Post have appeared and, as can be seen, are typical of the sort of item produced by that particular philatelic agency. In all, 6 sheetlets have been released, each containing 4 different stamps, along with 6 accompanying miniature sheets. The overall theme of the stamps is "Wildlife of the Indian Ocean" and the 6 sub-themes are turtles, whales, seals, star fishes, birds and seashells. The face value of each stamp in the sheetlets is approximately £1 meaning that each sheet costs about £4 and the price of the miniature sheet is in the range of £2 to £2.50 so the face value of the whole issue of 6 sheetlets and 6 miniature sheets is therefore about £35 to £40. Quite an ambitious start then by Stamperija in the pursuit of making a financial profit from its activities in Maldives.
How easy it would be for Stamperija to make collectors love them. Clearly the problem with the items which they produce is that there are far too many of them so that if a collector wishes to collect all the issues of a certain country then the cost to them would be enormous. Of course modern postal administrations and philatelic agencies do not see the "country collector" as their main target, rather they aim their productions at thematic collectors who will not wish to buy every stamp of a single country and so do not care how many items are produced by a philatelic agency for a given country. If an agent has contracts with a number of countries then he can produce stamps on the same theme for a range of countries and the continuing enthusiasm of a thematic collector will continue to be met by the continuing appearance of issues on their chosen subject at a steady pace.
The philatelic agent meets the need of the postal administration it is serving by supplying it with free stamps theoretically for use on ordinary mail although the stamps are more likely to be sold directly to stamp collectors or tourists in search of a holiday souvenir from a local philatelic counter situated in the main post office in the country"s capital and from nowhere else (this seems to be the situation in Uganda which I recently visited where I found that the only place with Stamperija issues for sale was the Kampala "Stamp Bureau", a counter in the main post office, and where I was told that the stamps were meant for purchase by collectors but, if wished, the sheetlets could be broken up and used on ordinary mail).
Certainly, based on my observations in Uganda, we must accept that the items produced by Stamperija are postage stamps with full local postal validity but their availability to the vast majority of the Ugandan mail-sending public is extremely limited and also the number of issues for each country is unquestionably excessive.
Finally there is the question of subject matter. As demonstrated in previous blogs, many "issues" are about subjects which have no relevance to Stamperija's client territories and even the above new Maldivian issues are about general Indian Ocean wildlife (it's an awfully big ocean) rather than showing off the wildlife which can be found in Maldives itself. So, this mixture of limited availability for general use on ordinary mail, subject matter of little direct relevance to the client country and excessive issuing will ensure that I will not be adding any of the above stamps to my collection of Maldives stamps just as my Mozambique, Solomon Islands and Uganda collections are similarly restricted.
|Kampala Post Office Stamp Bureau in Uganda's capital which sells a large number of Stamperija-produced items as well as stamps from other sources.|