Tuesday 30 June 2015

595. Barbados Windmills; Augmented Reality Stamps From Singapore And Another Bogus Uganda "Issue".

  The Barbados Postal Service issued a set of 4 stamps on 23 June 2015 on the subject of local windmills:-

  Singapore Post will issue 2 miniature sheets on 1 July 2015 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of The Republic Of Singapore as well as the holding of the Singapore World Stamp Exhibition which coincides with the important national anniversary. The 2 items will be SingPost's first "augmented reality" ( no, I didn't know what the term meant either) and apparently to fully appreciate what these stamps do one should have an app called "MARC" which should be used to scan the stamp which will result in a video montage appearing. The montage tells the history of Singapore up to this, its 50th birthday. What is there to say about all this except will it help to get the post delivered more quickly? No? I thought not.

Compare this highly sophisticated piece of philatelic technology with an item I obtained recently to add to my collection of 1998 - 2004 Mozambique surcharges. This is one of the values of the 1998 Traditional Housing set with the old value obliterated by three stars and surcharged 3000 MT.

  I had previously obtained 2 other values of this Housing set (detailed in previous Blogs) with the same 3000 MT surcharge and *** obliteration and reillustrate them below:-

  There must be other values of the set similarly overprinted and I will continue to look out for them. It does interest me however how remarkably naive in design and production these relatively recent stamps are when compared with items such as those from Singapore mentioned above. How interesting it is to collect the stamps of The Commonwealth with its huge range of member states and its enormous variety of types of stamp issues. 

  Latest new issues from IGPC:- 

  Guyana - for some reason IGPC seems to think that an issue from Guyana should commemorate the visit of the second in line to the British throne, The Duke Of Cambridge, to The People's Republic of China. As Guyana gave up being ruled by the British royal family as long ago as 1970 when it became a "Co-operative Republic" the international trips of a British prince seem to have little relevance to it. Anyway the event is apparently so important to Guyana that 2 miniature sheets are required to commemorate the visit. The issue's date of issue is said to be 4 May 2015:-

  St. Vincent And The Grenadines:- 25 May 2015 - British airships of the First World War - 1 sheetlet of 16 different stamps:-

  In a previous Blog I discussed how governments were more and more handing over responsibility for the provision of postal services to private companies. We no longer need to think of a stamp issue as being that of a country eg "Great Britain" or "Mozambique" but as the product of a private company eg "Royal Mail" or "Stamperija".
  Only one year late with the news I recently read that the government of The Falkland Islands has followed the same path and on 1 August 2014 outsourced The Falkland Islands Post and Philatelic Service to Falklands Post Service Ltd. (FPS Ltd). The new company planned to "improve access to mail boxes over the first six months of operations as well as to make improvements to the customer experience of the Philatelic Bureau".
  Pleasingly, as regards stamp collectors, the new service providers seem to have continued with the same policies of stamp issuing as before and the unequalled Pobjoy Stamps/Creative Direction continues to advise on philatelic new issue policy and provide the excellent stamps for which both they and The Falkland Islands are rightly famous. Let us hope that no-one at FPS Ltd. has any bright ideas about changing things in the future - everything is just perfect right now thank you very much.

  Another new bogus issue of Uganda stamps has appeared for sale on an Internet auction site - again being offered by the same dealer in Russia as those mentioned in Blog 586. Again, as with those mentioned in Blog 586, the subject of the issue relates to Russia - this time the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014. This production consists of a sheetlet of 4 "stamps" and 6 miniature sheets. All are imperforate. These are not postage stamps but pieces of gummed paper with printing on them which happen to carry a high price. Avoid though admittedly it is difficult to tell the difference between this stuff and a lot of the philatelic products which are being put on to the market by one or two (or three) "official" philatelic agents who have contracts with some Commonwealth countries to produce "stamps" on their behalf.

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Friday 26 June 2015

594. British Stamp Programme For 2016?

The programme of British stamps during 2016 will be:-

12 January - British television situation comedies including "The Good Life" and "Fawlty Towers" - 10 stamps and 1 retail counter booklet of 6 x 1st class stamps. The issue will also commemorate the centenary of the birth of Arthur Lowe who played the character of Captain Mainwaring in the immortal "Dad's Army"
2 February - Scottish architecture (commemorating the Scottish Festival of Architecture) - 8 stamps and 1 Prestige booklet which includes 1 pane of Scottish regional stamps.
23 February - Great Britons - 10 stamps - commemoration of various notable literary Britons including PG Wodehouse (birth centenary), HG Wells (150th anniversary), Terry Pratchett, Agatha Christie and William Shakespeare (400th death anniversary).
22 March - Nursing in Britain (Centenary of the founding of the Royal College of Nursing and including Commemoration of Edith Cavell, nurse of World War I) - 6 stamps and 1 retail counter booklet.
5 April - The stories of Beatrix Potter (150th birth anniversary) - 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet.

19 April - 90th Birthday of Queen Elizabeth II - 8 stamps and 1 miniature sheet which has stamps on the subject of The Queen and Windsor Palace.
10 May - British owls - 6 stamps and 1 retail counter booklet.

28 June - Centenary of the First World War - 6 stamps and 1 prestige booklet (includes the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme and death centenary of Rupert Brooke).
14 July - 50th anniversary of the "Swinging Sixties" - fashion, pop art and music of 1966 - 10 stamps and 1 prestige booklet.

2 August - Olympic Games, Brazil - 1 miniature sheet of 4 different stamps and 1 counter booklet.
13 September - 500th anniversary of the "King's Posts" (beginning of Royal Mail) - 6 stamps and 1 prestige booklet. 
13 October - 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings - 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet.
8 November - Christmas - 7 stamps, 1 miniature sheet and 2 counter booklets. 
  There will be 13 issues - one more than in previous years - and the usual 3 "Post And Go" issues.

  The above list is a complete fabrication on my part but I will be interested to see how accurate I have been in predicting the British stamp issues of 2016 when the real programme is finally announced. I fear that many of the eventual issues will be on subjects which have appeared on British stamps before because those who decide these things will believe them to have popular appeal and will consequently expect to sell well  and help them boost sales figures.

 Referring back to Blog 333, "Turbulent Priests", a recent stamp issue has added another Archbishop of Canterbury to the list of those featured on Commonwealth postage stamps. He appears on one of the 4 recent stamps from Bahamas which commemorates the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. King John is depicted on the 15c value and by his side is a Bishop who is most probably intended to be Stephen Langton who was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1207 by Pope Innocent III in the face of the king's opposition. 
  A struggle between John and the Pope followed and the result was that England was placed under an Interdict in March 1208. John was then excommunicated and deposed by the Pope but with all the  principal English clergy having travelled abroad, John was able to bleed the Church in England of its finances and became extremely rich on the proceeds. 
  Eventually in May 1213 John yielded to the Pope and agreed to make England a Fief of the Papacy and Stephen Langton returned to England and he worked with the king and his disgruntled barons in the production of Magna Carta. 
  Langton died on 9 July 1228 having worked with John's son, Henry III, in confirmation of the great charter:-

Mauritius Post issued a single stamp on 5 June 2015 to commemorate World Environment Day and dealt with the subject of disaster risk reduction and prevention of flooding. The current Rs 7.00 definitive stamp has also been reprinted and reissued:-

  Something rather remarkable happened recently - I received a letter from New Zealand Post with a real stamp fixed to the envelope! As far as I can recall this is the first time that I have had a communication from New Zealand Post which was sent in an envelope with a stamp on it - usually one receives covers with postage paid printed on them. Sadly no postmark was applied to cancel the stamp. Perhaps the New Zealand Philatelic Bureau has discovered that stamps are not just something to sell but also something to use on real mail. Or perhaps it is just trying to use up an excess stock of Hobbit stamps:-

Hobbit stamp used on real mail!

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Thursday 25 June 2015

593. Cyprus Euromed Issue Aptly Depicts Boats Crossing The Mediterranean But Where's Malta?

  Cyprus Post will issue 2 sets of stamps on 9 July 2015. The first is a single stamp which will be released as part of the Euromed omnibus issue and the theme is "Boats of the Mediterranean". Given the current situation of the numerous boats crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe bearing thousands of refugees and migrants it seems to be a remarkably apt theme for 2015. Unfortunately the position of the boats on the map depicted on the stamp means that Malta, Sicily and many of the Greek islands can not be seen. I would have thought that might cause complaints from those countries which are missing from the design.
  The second issue is titled "The Beauty of Akamas" and is made up of 2 stamps - I particularly like the 34c value which depicts a delightful picture of the Akamas Peninsula.

  Australia Post's next batch of new issues are listed below:-

   7 July 2015 - Australian lighthouses (centenary of Commonwealth management of lighthouses):- 4 gummed 70c stamps, 1 x $14.95c "Prestige booklet" and 4 x 70c self-adhesive stamps from booklets of 20 stamps. The total cost of the above is $31.75c. Designed by Stacey Zass and lithographed by McKellar Renown:-

   14 July 2015 - Walking in Australia - 4 x 70c gummed stamps, 1 miniature sheet, 4 x 70c coil self-adhesive stamps and 4 stamps from booklets of 10 x 70c stamps. The cost of these items is $15.40c. Designed by MDMA Design and lithographed by Bambra McKellar:-

   14 August 2015 - Joint issue with Singapore and New Zealand (50th anniversary of diplomatic relations) - 1 x 70c, 1 x 1.85c and 1 x $1.95c gummed stamps and 1 miniature sheet. The total face value of these items is $9. The issue was designed by Sonia Young and lithographed by RA Print: 

  14 August 2015 - Singapore 2015 Philatelic Exhibition - 1 miniature sheet but note - "There will be different print versions of the Singapore Stamp Show minisheet available for those attending. These will also be available to collectors after the event". The exhibition lasts from 14 to 19 August and it appears that there will be a different miniature sheet for each day and so presumably there will be a total of 6 different miniature sheets to buy at a presumed total cost of $27:-

   25 August 2015 - Issue inscribed "Cocos (Keeling) Islands Australia" - Uninhabited islands of Cocos:- 4 gummed stamps (2 x 70c and 2 x $1.40c). Total face value is $5.60c. Designed by Lisa Christensen and lithographed by Bambra McKellar:-

    4 August 2015 - World Netball Cup, Sydney:- 1 gummed 70c stamp from a sheetlet of 10. Total cost of this issue is therefore just 70c. Designed by Australia Post Design Studio and lithographed by Bambra McKellar:-

   1 September 2015 - Neon signs:- 3 gummed stamps (2 x 70c and 1 x $1.40c stamps), 1 miniature sheet and 2 x 70c self-adhesive stamps from $7 booklets of 10 x 70c stamps). Total cost of these items is $12.60c. Designed by John White and lithographed by Ego Print:-

  Collectors who feel they must buy one of each item as detailed above will need to pay a grand total of $102.05c ( £50.23p). That means that from the beginning of May to the beginning of September 2015 the cost of all new issues from Australia Post totals at £95.28p - collectors will need to dig deep in their pockets to buy everything that appears on the market by the end of the year.

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