Thursday, 29 January 2015

518. From Malta To Yalta.

Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin.

  Malta Post will issue 3 stamps on 4 February 2015 in a sheetlet of nine (3 x 3 of each stamp) to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Yalta Conference where the British primeminister met his allies:- the US President, Franklin Roosevelt, and the leader of The Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, as the Second World War drew to a close. Prior to travelling on to Yalta to meet Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt met together in Malta for preliminary discussions and five meetings took place at the island between the 2 leaders - 4 at Montgomery House in Floriana and the other aboard USS Quincy. They first met together in Malta on 30 January 1945.
  Churchill declared in his correspondence with Roosevelt, "No more let us falter! From Malta to Yalta! Let nobody alter!".
 The set was designed by Joseph Said and lithographed by Printex:-

  The latest new issues announced by Canada Post start off with a single stamp in its ongoing Black Heritage series which commemorates the South African statesman, the late Nelson Mandela. The self-adhesive stamp from a booklet of 10 was released on 30 January 2015 and designed by Ian Drolet and lithographed by Canadian Bank Note. A gummed miniature sheet accompanies the basic stamp:-

  Canada Post will then issue a single self-adhesive stamp from a booklet of ten and an accompanying $5 miniature sheet lithographed on fabric on 15 February 2015 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian national flag. The issue was designed by Kosta Tsetsekas and Defne Corbacoglu (Signals) and printing by Canadian Bank Note.

Miniature sheet on first day cover

  Two self-adhesive stamps produced in 2 formats (booklets of 10 (2 x 5 of each design) and coils) and 1 gummed miniature sheet will be issued on 2 March 2015 and will depict pansy flowers. The stamps were designed by Marcio Morgado and Paul Haslip (HM andE) from illustrations by Laurier Koss and lithographed by Lowe Martin:-

Booklet of 10 (5 x 2) Pansy stamps.

gummed miniature sheet.

Self-adhesive coil.

  Royal Mail will issue a "commemorative sheetlet" on 18 March 2015 which commemorates the centenary of the arrival of the Post Office Rifles in France. The sheetlet contains 10 "Union Jack" Smilers stamps with 10 different attached labels. The face value of the stamps is £6.20p but Royal Mail is selling the sheetlet for £14.95p (242.13% of the face value of the sheetlet) which is rather a lot of money to pay for a single sheet of gummed paper with a piece of backing cardboard. It is a worthy and interesting product and I would be pleased to add it to my collection but there is no way I would hand over £14.95 for this product:-

  In Blog 515 I gave some details of the set of 8 stamps which will be released by Royal Mail on 18 February 2015 on the subject of "Inventive Britain" (not "Inventive Britons" as I wrote in 515, the error kindly being pointed out to me by Ian of the invaluable Norvic Stamps Blog) which has a total face value of £8.36p and all 8 values are now depicted below:-

  In addition there will be a "Prestige Booklet", also titled Inventive Britain, which will include 2 additional commemorative stamps which will commemorate the role of Bletchley Park Station X and the mathematician, Alan Turing, in breaking Nazi codes during the Second World War. Four new Machin Head definitives will also make their appearance in booklet since the 1p, 2p, 81p and 97p stamps included in it will have new identification codes printed on them.

  The total face value of the stamps in the booklet will be £13.67 with the usual additional premium on top of the basic face value meaning that the total face value of the basic items of the issue will be more than £22 ! Added to the other issues already released by Royal Mail (Alice In Wonderland, "Smilers", Post Office Rifles sheet and Sailing Boats "Post and Go's" - from Philatelic Bureau packs and post office-based machines but not including exhibition or museum souvenirs) 'one of everything' will cost a collector of Royal Mail stamps a grand total of at least £85.86p over the first 10 weeks of the year which suggests that a completeist's spending on Royal Mail stamps for 2015 is likely to be about £430.
  It's interesting to note that Royal Mail are celebrating "50 years of special stamp issues" during 2015 and so it is not unreasonable to compare what philatelic items the British Post Office were selling to collectors during 1965 and compare it with 2015. In 1965 the British Post Office issued 24 different commemorative stamps but that number can be increased because all but one of them was produced with and without phosphor bands and we may also add a further stamp to the total because the lower value of the Churchill commemoration was produced on 2 different machines which resulted in 2 somewhat different stamps though only one of them had a phosphor variety. 
  Therefore we may say that 48 new stamps were issued by the British Post Office in 1964 - the basic 24 had a face value of 19s 6d (97.5p) while the total face value with phosphor varieties and the Churchill varieties amounted to £1-16s-4d (£1-81.5p) which is the equivalent of £17 in 2015. So while a collector could have obtained a full year's collection of British stamps at a face value equivalent to £17 in 1965 that total face value for doing so now in 2015 appears to have increased to about £430 which represents an increase of 2529%. By necessity, the new issue collector of 2015 is a different creature from 50 years ago and Royal Mail's attitude to making money from philatelic sales has changed out of all recognition in the past 50 years. Interesting, isn't it?

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