Saturday 20 June 2015

590. The Commonwealth's Greediest Stamp Producers 2014.

  See also Blogs 430 and 264

  I have changed the format of this year's "Greediest Stamp Producers" list to take account of the fact that many Commonwealth stamps are no longer issued by government-owned post offices or postal administrations but instead by foreign philatelic agencies which make a payment to governments or postal administrations for the right to produce "stamps" with the name printed on them of the country whose postal service is mainly provided by that particular postal administration. 
  These philatelic agencies frequently have an almost free hand in deciding how many stamps per year should be produced on behalf of their client territories as well as deciding the stamps' face values and their subject matter which very often has no direct relevance to the territories whose names appear on these philatelic products. 
  Sometimes a few stamps, usually with strictly locally relevant subjects and in face values which meet local mail rates, can be identified as being associated directly with the postal administrations (often poorly publicised in the philatelic press and hard to obtain) and issued for use on local mail or to publicise an important local event or anniversary, celebrity or aspect of local culture or tourist promotion. For the purpose of this survey such stamps have not been included in the list of agency-issued stamps and are listed as products for sale by the local postal administrations with the intent of using them on non-philatelic mail.
  The lists include stamps from ordinary sheets, miniature sheets, "kiosk-printed" eg "Post And Go", and booklets although for some countries entire booklets are included in the list as are some Personalisable stamps/sheetlets but I am afraid that I have been a little inconsistent with this latter group of items - though this inconsistency has no real effect on a stamp-issuing entities' positions in the table.
  For the first time issues by Stamperija for its client territories (Maldives, Mozambique, Solomon Islands and Uganda) are grouped together as are those of IGPC for its main client territories (Antigua And Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada with Grenada Grenadines, Ghana, Guyana, Montserrat, Nevis, St. Kitts, St.Vincent And The Grenadines (as always the so-called stamps with the names of individual Grenadines islands printed on them are not included at all), Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Turks And Caicos and Tuvalu).
  Issues emanating from Guernsey Post (for Guernsey and Alderney) are grouped as one entity as are those from Australia Post (Australia, Australian Antarctic Territory, Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands), Cook Islands Postal Administration (Cook Islands with Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Penrhyn), Tonga Postal Administration (Tonga and Niuafo'ou) and New Zealand Post (New Zealand and Ross Dependency).

  The list of the Commonwealth's Top 20 Greediest Stamp Producers during 2014 is therefore as follows:-

  1. Stamperija - 1410 stamps + 356 miniature sheets + 1 booklet. Total 1767 items
  2. IGPC - 967 stamps + 207 m.s.. Total 1174 items
  3. New Zealand Post - 484 stamps + 28 m.s. + 3 booklets. Total 515 items
  4. Royal Mail  - 271 stamps + 5 m.s. + 7 booklets. Total 283 items
  5. Australia Post - 232 stamps + 20 m.s. Total 252 items
  6. Jersey Post - 138 stamps + 10 m.s. + 1 booklet. Total 148 items
  7. Cook Islands - 122 stamps + 14 m.s. Total 136 items
  8. Canada Post - 84 stamps + 23 m.s. Total 107 items
  9. Isle Of Man Post - 87 stamps + 7 m.s. Total 94 items
  10. Tonga - 82 stamps + 6 m.s. Total 88 items
  11. Samoa - 81 stamps + 5 m.s. Total 86 items
  12. Guernsey Post - 75 stamps + 7 m.s. + 1 booklet. Total 83 items
  13. Singapore Post - 65 stamps + 8 m.s. + 6 booklets. Total 79 items
  14. (14=) Zambia - 60 stamps + 6 m.s. Total 66 items
  15. (14=) Gibraltar - 62 stamps + 4 m.s. Total 66 items
  16. South Africa - 56 stamps + 7 m.s. Total 63 items
  17. Pos Malaysia - 47 stamps + 14 m.s. Total 61 items
  18. Papua New Guinea - 45 stamps + 13 m.s. Total 58 items
  19. Malta Post - 53 stamps + 3 m.s. Total 56 items
  20. Sri Lanka - 44 stamps + 6 m.s. Total 50 items.
  We may choose to join the Samoa, Tonga and Cook Islands issues together under the single entity of Philatelic Collector Inc. which would give a grand total of 310 items (which would be no. 4 in the table) for such a stamp producing entity but for the present I have continued to include them as individual territories.

   New Zealand Post has managed to occupy the appalling 3rd spot in the list of greediest territories by not only producing regular national stamp issues but also releasing individual personalised stamps and "local" issues on to the philatelic market.

  Royal Mail and Australia Post once more perform shamefully by occupying the 4th and 5th spots in the table. The removal of the individual Stamperija and IGPC territories has resulted in some of the larger territories either rising higher in the table - Canada Post rises from no. 13 to no. 8 (even though it issued less stamps during 2014 than 2013) or entering the Top 20 for the first time - Singapore Post, Sri Lanka and Pos Malaysia. South Africa issued far fewer items in 2014 (63 compared with 108 in 2013) but that was probably due to the prolonged postal strike in the country during 2014 which reduced the postal administration's ability to physically issue new stamps). India Post issued only 40 new philatelic items during 2014 compared with 119 items during 2013 and hence fell right out of the top 20.

  The least greedy postal administrations were:-
  1. Belize - 0 items
  2. (1=) Lesotho - 0 items
  3. (1=) Nauru - 0 items
  4. (1=) Rwanda - 0 items
  5. (1=) Swaziland - 0 items 
  6. Seychelles - 1 item
  7. Saint Lucia - 2 items
  8. British Indian Ocean Territory - 2 stamps + 1 m.s. Total 3 items 
  9. Cameroun - 4 items 
  10. (9=) Jamaica - 3 stamps + 1 m.s. Total 4 items
  11. (9=) Trinidad And Tobago - 2 stamps + 2 m.s. Total 4 items.
  I wonder if any of this latter group will fall prey to the foreign philatelic agents hoping to add to their "portfolios" during 2015. Stamperija has already swallowed up Sierra Leone but that is of little importance to collectors since that was merely exchanging IGPC for Stamperija, both of which seem to have the same view of of profiting from stamp production for the postal administrations of generally impoverished countries as well as what stamp collectors will buy and the amount of money they will be prepared to spend on such products. Generally, most of the "Least Greedy" postal administrations have had very conservative new issue policies for years and do not seem to be interested in issuing new stamps but there may one or two territories on the list who could prove susceptible to the blandishments of foreign philatelic agents.

  Where will it all end? (a question I have asked before).

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  1. Interesting list. I am not sure whether to be in awe of the current New Zealand collector or to have tears. This explosion since the Nineteen Seventies is what caused several friends and I to abandon current releases for any country and concentrate on the period from 1840 to the beginning of the Seventies. For me, the exception is topical, stamps with a Land-Rover on them, but I probably shouldn't mention that, least there be a sudden flood of those stamps to fulllfill a possible demand in an extremely small market segment, If anything, this flood of wall paper may have value in genuine postally used copies, unlike the never hinged mint which will approach being worthless. As a tangential observation, some of these companies not only create a flood of stamps, but at times have taken images right off of websites, which implies some breach of the Bern Convention on rights infringement of said image. Regards from Canada

    1. Dear dkenner, thank you very much for your interesting comment. You are of course right about the images that are used on some of these stamps and copyright infringement but those who carry this out seem to go along with impunity. Bad news - I fear that within a short time of you publishing your comment countless "Landrover" stamp designs were being churned out from computers in USA and the Baltic states!

    2. All those mint sheets will not become worthless. There will allways be a demand from topical collectors who don't care which country name is on them and who issued them. Also the printing runs of IGPC and Stamperija stamps are very low. Maybe only a few thousand for each issue. It can be very hard to find one of there issues from 10 or 15 years back. Sometimes I have a small batch of IGPC material in my Delcampe shop. Those are the fastest selling items.

  2. No doubt! For the local Land-Rover club newsletter I wrote an article on the infringement as part of a larger series on the topic. At the dramatic rise in uncancelled stamps coming through the American, British and Canadian postal systems to my mailbox, I could probably use some of this Baltic and US, Land Rover themed stamps upon envelopes here and get nice cancellations! Regards from Canada,

  3. Stewie1911, thank you for your interesting comment. You feel that miniature sheets of poor quality (frequently) will never be worthless since they are issued in small numbers and there is always a certain number of collectors who are interested in obtaining such items. You are clearly right but I believe that even thematic collectors will eventually see through what is being offered to them - poor quality material with unnecessarily high face values produced in limited numbers because there are not enough interested buyers who wish to buy such material. I think it is all a matter of what happens to stamp collecting in the next few years - certainly most collectors in Britain are men in late middle age or of old age. What happens when we all die off? I think that there are much more appealing items for any future collectors to buy rather than second rate pieces of sticky paper. Under no circumstances should a present-day buyer look on such new issues as any sort of investment - they should spend their money on them if they like them and think that they will enhance their collections.