Saturday 29 November 2014

499B. A Trip To Wonderland.

  I illustrate at last the stamps which were issued on 9 October 2014 by Seychelles and Mauritius and which feature the same design - a green turtle (see Blog 480):-

  The Gibraltar Post Offiice has announced its new issue programme for 2015:-
  January - March 2015 - Chinese New Year (Year of the Goat);
175th anniversary of the Penny Black;
150th anniversary of the Gibraltar Fire And Rescue Service;
  April - June 2015 - Centenary of the First World War;
Europa - Traditional toys;
700th anniversary of Magna Carta;
  July - September 2015 - 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill;
Achievement of Queen Elizabeth II as Great Britain's longest reigning monarch;
  October - December 2015 - RAF Squadrons (series 4);
  Cayman Islands issued a set of 3 Christmas stamps on 18 November 2014 which depicted local churches. A booklet of 12 self-adhesive stamps accompanied the issue - as depicted below the booklet contained 4 stamps of each design (all face value of 25c):-

  Illustrated on the Internet are depictions of the Royal Mail's first set of 2015 - 10 stamps and 1 mixed retail booklet to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll's exceedingly weird Alice's Adventures In Wonderland. 
   As a child I never liked this book which I found to be very sinister and not funny in any way and my view of it has not improved with age. Nevertheless Royal Mail has produced an excellent set of stamps, each depicting a different scene from the novel and one or two of the designs convey the unpleasantness of some of the characters in the book, especially the horrendous Queen Of Hearts who constantly orders the beheading of the novel's other characters which is not something to be dwelled on.

  Among the designs is a depiction of the permanently grinning Cheshire Cat, another extremely sinister concept, even more so since its fate in the novel is to gradually fade away until nothing is left of it but its grin which remains hovering in the air when all else has disappeared. Unnervingly this feline has been depicted on 2 previous British stamp issues and the version which is to appear in the 2015 set is the least sinister of the three. One monstrous version of the Cheshire Cat appeared on one of the ten Greetings stamps which were issued as a se-tenant pane in a loose booklet on 6 February 1990. The value of all the stamps in the booklet was expresssed as "20p". The stamps were released again in a booklet se-tenant pane on 26 March 1991 but with the value expressed as "1st". The stamps were once more printed in photogravure by Harrison.
  Subsequently, on 22 May 2000, the designs were reissued as the first Smilers stamps in a sheetlet with attached labels as part of the issues which coincided with The Stamp Show 2000 philatelic exhibition held in London. The set, including the Cheshire Cat, was designed by Michael Peters And Partners and printed in photogravure by Harrison but the 2000 reprints were printed in photogravure by House Of Questa.
  A new version of the Smilers sheet, including the Cheshire Cat stamp, was issued on 3 July 2001 but this time printed in lithography by Questa. 
  A set of 4 stamps, designed by F. Hughes, was issued on 11 July 1979 to commemorate the International Year Of The Child and scenes from 4 children's books made up the designs of the set. While other stamps depicted the reassuring presence of Winnie The Pooh and Peter Rabbit, the 13p showed Alice and The Mad Hatter with the Cheshire Cat looking down at them as though it is thinking of gobbling them up (illustrated below):-

  The self-adhesive  retail booklet features the 2 first class mail designs with Alice holding the bottle that says "Drink me" and the other depicting the results of following the instructions as an enlarged Alice has problems with the furniture. The 4 Machin vermillion 1st class definitives stamps which also appear in the book will be the first of the year to include the M15L MCIL date code and so the booklet will produce 3 new stamps in addition to the 10 gummed Alice stamps from ordinary sheets:-

   Two further characters from the Alice stories appeared on 1 of the 10 Greetings stamps which Royal Mail issued on 2 February 1993 - this time it was the rather unpleasant-looking twins, Tweedledum and Tweedledee. the stamps were again sold in booklets of 10 different designs and were designed by Newell And Sorrelll and photogravure printed by Harrison. Newell And Sorrell also designed the ten Greetings booklet stamps which were issued on 1 February 1994 and managed to include one stamp in the set which depicted Alice herself. We were spared any more Alice In Wonderland stamps when Newell And Sorell designed the 1995 Greetings set and the last Greetings set was released in 1996 and was again an Alice Free Zone.
  Royal Mail however still had one Alice stamp up its sleeve. It released a set of 5 stamps titled "Magical Worlds" on 21 July 1998 which depicted Alice and The Red Queen running as fast as they could to stay on the spot. The set was designed by Peter Malone.

Tweedledee and Tweedledum stamp 1993.

Alice stamp 1995.

Alice and The Red Queen stamp 1998.

  I almost forgot - there was yet another British Alice in Wonderland stamp which was released on 10 January 2006 and that depicted the White Rabbit as part of a set of 10 "Children's Favourite Book Animals". The set was designed by Rose Design and lithographed by De La Rue:-

The White Rabbit stamp 2006.
  This means that prior to the 2015 issue, Alice In Wonderland enthusiasts have 4 different versions of the 1990 Cheshire Cat design to track down plus 5 other Alice-related British stamps so that in all there will be 21 British stamps when the 2015 issue is placed on sale. This means that Alice In Wonderland has appeared on more British stamps than Harry Potter, the plays of Shakespeare and the novels of Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, JRR Tolkein, Agatha Christie and Ian Fleming.
  In the past, one or two other Commonwealth countries have issued stamps depicting the adventures of Alice but more as a way of cashing in on images taken from the Walt Disney cartoon movie version of the story rather than to honour the Rev. Dodgson or his literary achievement. Thus, The Maldive Islands was provided with a set of 9 stamps and 1 miniature sheets which was issued on 22 December 1980:-

    A set was also issued by Grenada with a date of issue of 9 September 1987. This enormous set of 54 stamps (issued as 6 sheetlets each of 9 different stamps) and 6 accompanying miniature sheets commemorated the 50th anniversary of the first full-length Disney cartoon and one of the sheetlets and 1 miniature sheet featured scenes from Disney's Alice In Wonderland (the other featured movies were Peter Pan, Snow White And The Seven Dwarves, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio and Cinderella).

  Of course it is impossible to think of any link between Maldives and Grenada and the subject of Alice In Wonderland unless one suspects that one of the many stamps depicting turtles which both countries have issued in the past actually depicted a mock turtle with whom Alice had an encounter during her Wonderland excursions, and I never added, nor want to add, either of the above issues to my collection but the 2015 Royal Mail issue does look very well designed and interesting and I will be pleased to add it to my Great Britain stamp album.

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Sunday 23 November 2014

499A. Nevis Commemorates Actress Cicely Tyson

  Nevis has issued a sheetlet of 4 identical stamps which commemorate the American actress Cicely Tyson. Cicely Tyson was born in Harlem but her parents, Theodosia and William Tyson, were immigrants to USA from Nevis so this issue does have a relevance to Nevis. She made her first film in 1956 which was appropriately named Caribbean Gold. She has been appearing in films and on television and in theatre roles since then. I do not yet know the date of issue of these stamps:-

   An altogether more dubious issue must be that which has been produced in the name of Sierra Leone - a sheetlet of 4 different stamps and an accompanying miniature sheet which commemorate the 120th birth anniversary of Mei Lanfang, a Chinese artist of the Peking Opera. I can not see any possible connection between Sierra Leone and Mei Lanfang and, with the terrible ongoing Ebola crisis in the country, it is hard to believe that these philatelic products will find their way to being put on sale at a Sierrra Leone postal counter. Hopefully any profits that Sierra Leone's philatelic agents make from this issue will be donated to one of the charities which are helping Sierra Leone fight the Ebola outbreak:-

  As mentioned in a previous Blog, there are no species of parrot resident in Antigua Barbuda but this fact has not prevented its philatelic agents from producing a second stamp issue in 2014 which features this family of birds - this time specifically depicting macaws. This latest issue consists of  2 sheetlets each of 4 different stamps and 2 miniature sheets each containing 2 different stamps;-

  Other recent issues from Antigua And Barbuda - I do not yet know the date of issue:-

  2014 - Hummingbirds (part 2) - 1 sheetlet of 4 different stamps and 1 m.s. of 2 different stamps (see also Blog 481):-

  2014 - Ducks (Part 2) - 1 sheetlet of 4 different stamps and 1 m.s. of 2 different stamps (see Blog 481):-

  2014 - Coral reef (Part 2) - 1 sheetlet of 4 different stamps and 1 miniature sheet (see Blog 481):-

  There is a second sheetlet of 5 different stamps from Ghana on the subject of African frogs (see Blog 455):-

  The latest issues from South Africa (see also Blog 468 and 496):-
17 September 2014 - South African National Parks - 1 sheetlet of 5 self-adhesive stamps. The photographs depicted on the stamps were taken by Koos van der Lende and the stamps were printed in lithography by Cartor:-

  13 November 2014 - South African ceramic vessels - 1 booklet of 10 self-adhesive stamps:-

  5 December 2014 - Fourth UNI World Congress, Capetown - 1 miniature sheet. Designed by Ananda Notling. The UNI Global Union represents postal workers worldwide.

  The South African Post Office has announced its 2015 philatelic programme:-
5 February 2015 - Centenary of the South African Aviation Corps;
3 March - Animal poaching awareness;
3 April - 8th World Congress of Nephrology;
4 May - International Firefighters' Day;
8 June - Kingfishers;
2 July - Popular South African musicians Part 2;
12 July - Jellyfish of South African waters;
7 September - 14th World Forestry Congress;
18 September - 21st Route Development Forum;
28 September - International Year of Light;
9 October - World Post Day;
30 October National parks of South Africa Part 2;
30 October - Biosphere reserves of South Africa.

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Saturday 22 November 2014

499. Fish Feature On St. Helena Christmas Stamps.

  St. Helena issued a set of 6 stamps on 15 October 2014 as its Christmas issue. The stamps depicted fish which is not a subject which one usually associates with Christmas, though a fish was an early Christian symbol. The stamps are colourful and have local relevance and resonably priced:-

   St. Helena also issued a set of 4 stamps on 20 October 2014 to commemorate the island's participation in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Members of the island's team are depicted on the stamps:-

   A spokesperson for Zampost, the Post Office of Zambia, announced that a set of stamps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country's independence was released on 22 October 2014. Unfortunately details of the issue were not reported and I have not yet seen any illustrations of the issue. It was announced however that the issue was titled "50 Glorious Years of Independence" and that Zampost had issued "3 souvenir editions" and would be handing out albums of the jubilee stamps to some "notable members of society".
  The 2 latest issues from Bangladesh are :-
  17 September 2014 - 40th anniversary of Bangladesh's membership of The United Nations - 1 stamp, designed by Anowar Hossain and lithographed by The Security Printing Corp. Gazipur:-

  13 September 2014 - Establishment of  BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Co-operation) Secretariat in Dhaka - 1 stamp, designed by Anowar Hossain and lithographed by The Security Printing Corp. Gazipur:-

  The latest issue from India was released on 12 November 2014 and is a single R5 stamp which commemorates the Unit Trust of India:-

  On 4 November 2014 Hong Kong China issued a large number of items related to Christmas. There is a set of 4 gummed stamps, a gummed miniature sheet, 4 self-adhesive miniature sheets each containing 4 x 4 of the same design, each m.s. featuring a different design and 2 "Heartwarming" sheetlets of 8 identical stamps each with an attached label. The items were designed by Shirman Lai and lithographed by Cartor:-

  Two recent issues from Singapore Post:- 
9 November 2014 - Joint issue with Liechtenstein - 2 stamps and 1 miniature sheet. One of the stamps features a design by Jensen W Beyrich, an artist living in Liechtenstein, which is a representation of the artist's impression of Singapore and the second stamp depicts a design by Mrs. Hok Sek Chern, a Singaporean artist, which features part of her painting "Looking at Vaduz" (a depiction of the capital of Liechtenstein):-

  7 August 2014 - Philakorea 2014 philatelic exhibition - 1 miniature sheet. Other recent Singapore issues are described in Blogs 439, 456, 479 and 496:-

  A sheetlet of 6 different stamps and 1 miniature sheet have been issued by IGPC in the name of St. Kitts on the subject of cactus flowers. I did not yet know the date of issue of these philatelic products. The miniature sheet contains a $7 circular design:-

  A Commonwealth double-whammy this week from Stamperija - 2 sets of philatelic items produced with either the names of Mozambique or Solomon Islands printed on them.
  Those inscribed Mozambique are said to have been issued on 20 August 2014 and comprise yet another 15 sheetlets, each containing 4 different "stamps" and 15 accompanying miniature sheets. The themes this time are:- Dogs, Cats, Turtles, Climate change (including pictures of polar bears and penguins!), Seashells, Minerals, Bee eaters (birds), Dolphins, Mushrooms, Orchids, Sharks, Lizards, Owls, Fish and Spiders. So far therefore during 2014, Stamperija has produced 341 "stamps" and 89 miniature sheets with the name of Mozambique inscribed on them making a grand total of 430 items:-

   The products produced in the name of The Solomon Islands consist of 10 sheetlets each of 4 different "stamps" and 10 accompanying miniature sheets and the subjects of each sub-issue are:- Third SIDS  Conference held in Samoa, Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, High speed trains, Victory of Germany in FIFA World Cup Championships, Graf Zeppelin, Galileo Galilei, Yuri Gargarin, Minerals, Fire engines and the Succesion of King Felipe VI of Spain. The stated "day of issue" is 20 November 2014. Stamperija has therefore produced 272 "stamps" and 68 miniature sheets so far during 2014 inscribed with the name of Solomon Islands - this makes a total of 340 items. 

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