Friday, 27 December 2013

344. Cayman Islands Issues Prince George Commemorative.

  Although the ordinary stamp collector might not know it because of lack of publicity from Cayman Islands' philatelic agents, the territory did issue a set of 4 stamps on 31 October 2013 to commemorate the birth of Prince George Of Cambridge. Issues to commemorate the baby's arrival as third in line to the British and numerous other countries' thrones have thus been made by a number of Commonwealth territories and I list them below:-

  Aitutaki Cook Islands (4 stamps in a sheetlet), Antigua And Barbuda (sheetlet of 4 stamps and 1 m.s.), Australia (1 gummed and 1 self-adhesive stamp); Canada (1 stamp and 1 m.s.), Cayman Islands (4 stamps), Cook Islands (sheetlet of 7 stamps), Gibraltar (1 stamp), Grenada (sheetlet of 4 stamps and 1 m.s.), Grenada Grenadines (sheetlet of 4 stamps and 1 m.s.), Guernsey (1 m.s.), Isle Of Man (2 stamps), Montserrat (4 stamps and 1 m.s.), Nevis (sheetlet of 4 stamps and 1 m.s.), New Zealand (4 stamps), Papua New Guinea (4 stamps, 1 sheetlet of 4 different stamps and 1 m.s.), Penrhyn Northern Cook Islands (sheetlet of 4 stamps), Pitcairn Islands (1 m.s.), St.Helena  (4 stamps), St. Kitts (sheetlet of 4 stamps and 1 m.s.), St. Vincent And The Grenadines (sheetlet of 4 stamps and 1 m.s.), Turks And Caicos Islands (sheetlet of 3 stamps and 1 m.s.), Tuvalu (sheetlet of 4 stamps and 1 m.s.).
  All the above issues are justified since Prince George's great grandmother is Queen of all the territories and, theoretically at least, he too should be the head of state of those countries one day. Less understandable is the need of some Commonwealth countries which have decided to put aside the House Of Windsor as the source of their Heads of State but who have felt it necessary to also commemorate the prince's birth since the birth really has no significance to them other than as an easy source of philatelic revenue. Such cynical issues have appeared from Dominica, Fiji, The Gambia (prior to it giving up membership of The Commonwealth), Ghana, Guyana, Malaysia, Maldives, Niuafo'ou Tonga, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Tonga, Uganda, Vanuatu and Zambia.

  So far then, it appears to me that 38 Commonwealth philatelic entities have issued philatelic items to commemorate Prince George's birth - I suspect that no other person's birth has ever before been commemorated by so many territories by the issue of stamps. Quite an expensive omnibus series for collectors of Commonwealth stamps, I'm afraid. 
  Ironic though, isn't it, that so far the British postal service, Royal Mail, has failed to issue a "Royal Baby" commemorative when the organisation appears to care little about what subjects are used for a stamp issue (an example is next month's ludicrous "Children's TV characters" issue)? It is also very surprising as I am sure that a Royal Baby issue would be very popular with the general public and sell very well and make lots of money for Royal Mail. I'm sure that those who are responsible for boosting Royal Mail's profits must be working on some way to make money out of Prince George stamps - perhaps Royal Mail will follow Australia Post's idea of issuing a "Royal Christening" commemorative (but perhaps the celebration of a religious ceremony of a particular faith is now viewed as politically incorrect and offensive to those of other faiths and hence too controversial for Royal Mail to deal with). Or perhaps Royal Mail is waiting to issue stamps to commemorate Prince George's first birthday with a stamp issue. We will see but where there's money to be made Royal Mail will find a way to get at it. And there's definitely money to be made from exploitation of the royal birth. Thirty eight postal entities can not be wrong!

  One final thought comes to mind about the royal baby stamps: so many of them are alike that with the country name removed from the design the collector would have no idea which country had issued which particular stamp. Almost all of them are merely photographs with a pale blue edging to the design (blue for a boy). The people responsible for the designs have shown minimal original thought in producing the designs (except of course in the case of the recently mentioned issue from Turks And Caicos Islands which is, frankly, just bizarre). And if they must insist on putting cliched blue edging on their designs could they not have used Windsor blue?

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