Friday, 10 January 2014

351. Commonwealth New Issues.

  Pakistan released 2 final issues in late December 2013. A single stamp was issued on 26 December 2013 (shown above) which commemorated the Pakistani poet, Perveen Shakir. Another single stamp was issued on 28 December 2013 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Pakistan Bible Society:- 

  Papua New Guinea issued a new set on 6 November 2014 which consisted of 4 stamps, 1 miniature sheet containing 4 different stamps and 1 single stamp miniature sheet. The subject of the issue was that of traditional local cooking methods:-

  It appears that Brunei Darussalam will issue a set of stamps and 1 $30 miniature sheet to commemorate the 30th national day which is a celebration of the 30th anniversary of independence. The date of issue will be 23 February 2014. I mused recently in Blog 347 that another expensive miniature sheet might be produced for the 30th anniversary matching the face value to the number of years and it looks as though those worse fears are to be realised.
  Brunei Darussalam also released a third Butterfly issue on 12 December 2013 which consisted of 3 stamps, 1 single value miniature sheet and 1 booklet containing one stamp of each value.
  Yet another annoying Year Of The Horse issue from a territory which has no reason to release stamps on this subject is the pair produced by Gibraltar. This set will be  issued on 31 January 2014 and was designed by Stephen Perera and lithographed by Cartor. The total face value of the stamps is, admittedly, only £1.50p which is a lot less than that of the 6 stamps and miniature sheet issued by Guernsey (see Blog 339) but because the subject of this issue is of no relevance whatsoever to Gibraltar it will be the first set from that territory which I will not buy and shall omit from my collection.

  One territory which is naturally issuing stamps to commemorate the lunar new year is Hong Kong China. On 11 January 2014, Hong Kong will release a set of 4 stamps, 1 miniature sheet, 1 silk miniature sheet, 2 "Heartwarming" sheetlets and a gold and silver sheet which marks the passing of the Year of the Snake and the arrival of The Year of the Horse. The issue was designed by Kan Tai-Keung and the stamps, miniature sheet and Heartwarming sheetlets were lithographed by Enschede. 
  The silk sheetlet was produced by Cartor as was the gold and silver miniature sheet where the additional processes of silver hot foil stamping for the silver and application of 22-carat gold plated face metal were used.

Silk miniature sheet.

Gold and silver miniature sheet

  I also illustrate the previously mentioned Local Post and Airmail stamps issued by Hong Kong on 1 October 2013 to show the difference in size between the stamps from ordinary sheets and coil satmps:-

Local post stamps (coil stamp at the left).
Airmail stamps (coil stamp at the left).
  Malta issued its first set of the year on 3 January 2014 when it released 3 stamps in its continuing "Treasures of Malta" series. This is the second set to feature some of Malta's marvellous public fountains and was designed by Cedric Galea Pirotta and lithographed by Printex of Malta:-

  Possibly the final issues of 2013 from India are:-

29 November - Commemoration of Sashastra Seema Bal, an organisation which works in India's remote border areas (1 stamp) -

17 December - Commemoration of Beant Singh who was Chief Minister of Punjab from 1992 to 1995, when he was assassinated (1 stamp) - 

1 December - 50th anniversary of the establishment of Nagaland (1 stamp) -

4 December - The aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya (1 stamp) - 

5 December - Visit of the Japanese Emperor and Empress (1 miniature sheet) - 

27 December - Commemoration of Eklavya (1 stamp) - 

27 December -  Commemoration of Gulab Singh Lohi, Freedom fighter (1 stamp)- 

  Australia Post reissued the Year of the Snake miniature sheet with a gold overprint at the upper right edge presumably for sale at the "China International Collection Expo" and I am guessing that the date of issue was 26 September 2013, the opening day of the event. The stamps contained in the miniature sheet bear the additional inscription "Christmas Island".

  The final issue of 2013 to be released by Mauritius was a pair of stamps which commemorated 2 local eminent personalities. This pair makes another one of those remarkably uninteresting sets of stamps that Mauritius has become famous for in recent years - a dull, unimaginative issue comprising 2 depressingly sepia photographs of middle aged/elderly men which are never going to send collectors running to their stamp dealers mouthing the words "I just have to buy these fantastic new stamps from Mauritius". Because publicity about the country's stamps is so difficult to find mainly due to its philatelic agent's apparent disinterest in publicising its clients' new issues (about which I've moaned before) it was not immediately obvious why these two gentlemen are being commemorated philatelically - if we knew what area of life they had become distinguished in, we might feel more excited about buying the stamps. In fact they are Herve Masson, a Mauritian painter and journalist, and Professor Stanley Alexander de Smith, an English academic lawyer who served as Constitutional Commissioner for Mauritius. The date of issue was 11 December 2013:-

  It is some time since Zambia allowed its New York-based Philatelic Agents to issue an item on its behalf which has no direct relevance to the country. It is 50 years since Zambia achieved independence and gave up its ties with the British royal family so there is no real reason for the country to issue stamps to commemorate the birth of Prince George of Cambridge; however a sheetlet of 4 different stamps and 1 miniature sheet are said to have been issued. It is worth noting that the philatelic agency did not appear to know that Zambia had devalued its currency (see Blog 346) since the face values of the issue are clearly printed in the old values of the Kwacha rather than the revised currency. It appears that the old bank notes in the old currency were used in Zambia until 30 June 2013 and so there seems little excuse for stamps to be issued after that date whose values reflect the old exchange rates. It is hard to believe that this issue will actually find its way to the post office counters of Zambia and likewise it will not be finding its way into my collection of Zambian stamps.

  Malaysia issued its 50th anniversary of Independence stamp in miniature sheet format with an additional inscription at the right lower border to mark Stamp Week 2013. The inscription in red is circular and says "OMG STAMP WEEK 2013". I do not know the date of issue.

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