Monday 31 August 2015

626. Longest Reigning Monarch Ever.

  No one can now be unaware that Queen Elizabeth II will become the longest reigning monarch in English and British history on 9 September 2015 when she passes the record set by her great great grandmother, Victoria, who ruled The United Kingdom and its Empire for 63 years and 216 days (1840 - 1901).
  In recent blogs (see Blog 622) I have detailed stamps which have been issued or are about to be issued to commemorate Queen Elizabeth's achievement. But where does that achievement place her in the all-time list of world monarchs? 
  Wikipedia places another Commonwealth monarch, King Sobhuza II of Swaziland, in the all-time number 1 position - a total of 82 years and 254 days (1899 - 1982) which means that Queen Elizabeth will have to reign for another 19 years to achieve the title of longest reigning monarch in history by which time she will be 108 years old - a not impossible feat given that her mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon lived to be 101 years old. 
   King Sobhuza may have ruled Swaziland for a very long time but for much of the period - up to 1968 - the country was not a fully independent state since it was a British Protectorate and then a British Protected State.
  Places 2 to 21 in the "Longest Reigning Monarch" list are mostly taken up by rulers of various German and Indian petty states with a ruler of one of the states of Negeri Sembilan in Malaysia (Tampin), Tunku Besar Idris ibni Muhammed al-Qadri, in the number 5 position with a reign of 76 years and 209 days (1929 - 2005) - he was not featured on any stamps despite the extraordinary  length of his reign.
  By far the most significant monarch to appear in the "Top 20" list is Louis XIV, The Sun King, who ironically ruled the country which was to end its centuries of monarchy with a bloody and violent revolution - France. Louis ruled France for 72 years and 110 days (1643 - 1715) which places him at number 12 in the longest reign list.

  Of other European countries which are sovereign states today, Liechtenstein also has a monarch in the list - Prince John II - who ruled for 70 years and 91 days (1858 - 1929). He is the 17th longest ruling monarch.

  In the number 22 place is the world's current longest ruling monarch - King Bhumibol Adulyadej (King Rama IX) who has ruled Thailand since 9 June 1946 - more than 69 years. This is a reign of a little under 6 years longer than that of Queen Elizabeth II.

  In position 32 is Emperor Franz Joseph I who ruled the Austro-Hungarian Empire for 67 years and 355 days (1848 - 1916). 

  As regards monarchs of Commonwealth territories, the next highly placed ruler to appear on a stamp is Sultan Ibrahim of Johor who ruled for 63 years and 338 days (1895 - 1959) putting him at number 45 in the longest ruling list with Queen Elizabeth II rapidly catching him up. With the soon to be passed Queen Victoria at number 48, Queen Elizabeth has only to outrule 2 rulers of former German states to place her within touching distance of passing Sultan Ibrahim's lengthy reign.

  There is one important name which is missing from the Wikipedia list - that of Pharoah Pepi II of the 6th dynasty of ancient Egypt who is said by some experts, though disputed by others, to have reigned for 94 years (c. 2294 B.C. to c. 2200 B.C.), having succeeded to the throne at the age of 6. This would make him by far the longest reigning monarch in history and mean that for her to achieve that title, Queen Elizabeth II would need to reign for another 31 years by which time she would be aged 120 - well, given what's happening in medicine - who knows, she just may do it! 

   Finally, what of non-royal rulers? Wikipedia identifies Fidel Castro as the longest ruling non-royal head of government since 1900 having completed 52 years and 62 days in power from 1959 to 2010. He is followed by Chiang Kai-shek (46 years and 82 days) and Kim Il-sung (45 years and 302 days).

  In The Commonwealth, President Paul Biya has ruled Cameroun for over 40 years in the roles of prime minister and president (no. 8) with the leaders of 2 former Commonwealth countries at no. 16 (Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, (35 years +) and Dauda Jawara of The Gambia (32 years and 40 days, 1962 - 1994) respectively.
  President Biya is the current longest ruling non-royal leader in the world with Mugabe at number 5.


Sunday 30 August 2015

622. Longest Reigning Monarch Checklist.

  It seems likely that the biggest Commonwealth omnibus issue during 2015 will be that which commemorates the achievement of Queen Elizabeth II on 9 September in becoming the longest reigning monarch in British history. Below is a checklist of those postal administrations and philatelic agencies which have so far issued or announced the forthcoming release of stamps and philatelic products which commemorate the Queen's record reign. Any further issues will be added to the checklist when they are announced or actually issued:-

  Australia - 9 September 2015 - "Long May She Reign" issue - 5 stamps, 1 miniature sheet, 2 self-adhesive stamps from a pane of 5 and a Prestige booklet - see Blog 625.

  Ascension Island - 9 September 2015 - see Blog 616

  Bahamas -9 September 2015 - see Blog 616

  British Antarctic Territory - 9 September 2015 - see Blog 616

  Falkland Islands - 9 September 2015 - see Blog 616

  Guernsey Post - Alderney - 9 September 2015 - see Blog 617
                          - Guernsey Exhibition Souvenir - 16 September 2015 - "Guernsey Flag" "Post And Go" labels dispensed at Autumn Stampex 2015 with added inscription "HM The Queen The Longest Reign". On sale for only 4 days.

    IGPC - Antigua And Barbuda - 8 July 2015 - see Blog 585

            - Papua New Guinea - 13 July 2015 - see Blog 585

            - St. Vincent And The Grenadines - 25 May 2015 - see Blog 572

            - Tuvalu - 25 May 2015 - see Blog 585

  Isle Of Man Post Office - 18 June 2015 - see Blog 579

  Jersey Post - 9 September 2015 - see Blog 607
                     - 16 September 2015 - "Jersey Flag" "Post And Go" labels dispensed at Autumn Stampex 2015 with added inscription "HM The Queen The Longest Reign". Exhibition souvenirs on sale for only 4 days (see Blog 630).

  Royal Gibraltar Post Office - 30 May 2015 - see Blog 566
                                            - 16 September 2015 - "Gibraltar Flag" "Post And Go" labels dispensed at Autumn Stampex 2015 with added inscription "HM The Queen The Longest Reign". Exhibition souvenirs on sale for 4 days only.

  Royal Mail - 9 September 2015 - new Machin Head definitive in "amethyst purple" colour with security code inscription "LONG TO REIGN OVER US". 
  A miniature sheet will be issued on the same date (this is revealed in an advertisement for Galleon Stores and Post Office located in Galmpton, Devon which was posted online on 7 August 2015). 
  The miniature sheet contains 5 stamps - 2 rectangular stamps placed either side of the amethyst purple 1st definitive. The designs of the 4 additional stamps depict the City Medal of Queen Victoria from the RM Phillips Collection, Wilding's photographic portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, illustrations of the Badge of the House of Windsor and the device from The Queen's personal flag. The miniature sheet was designed by Sedley Place

  Stamperija products inscribed - Sierra Leone - 26 June 2015 - see Blog 613

  South Georgia And The South Sandwich Islands - 9 September 2015 - see Blog 616

  Tristan Da Cunha - 9 September 2015 - see Blog 616

625. Australia's "Long May She Reign" Stamps.

  I now illustrate the set of 5 stamps (which will be gummed with self-adhesive varieties) and miniature sheet which Australia Post will release on 9 September 2015 which is titled "Long May She Reign" and is connected withQueen Elizabeth II becoming the longest reigning monarch in British history on that date (see Blog 622). The issue was designed by Australia Post and lithographed by R A Print. Rating:- *****.

  Australia Post will also be commemorating other international figures, frequently depicted on items from agencies such as Stamperija or IGPC, with a set of 3 stamps titled "Honoured by Australia" to be issued on 5 October 2015. The 3 featured international figures are Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela and Raoul Wallenberg. The issue was designed by Australia Post and lithographed by R A Print:-

  At least the quality of the stamp designs and printing is better than any of the stuff put out by Stamperija or IGPC and the featured personalities are undoubtedly worthy of commemoration by Australia on a set of its stamps. Rating:- ****.

Saturday 29 August 2015

624. Post And Go Kiosks Finally Find A Home In Gibraltar.

  Presumably stung by the criticisms that its "Post And Go" labels can not be viewed seriously without a kiosk actually being situated in Gibraltar itself, the Gibraltar postal administration has announced that 2 kiosks will be operational in the territory at the main post office and the parcel office respectively  from 9 September 2015. 
  The kiosks, GI02 and GI03, will dispense stamps with the Gibraltar flag design and each reel will offer different values - the first reel offering local and UK values - and the second offering Europe rate and Worldwide values. The kiosk (GI01) situated at Gibraltar House in London will continue to be operational dispensing reels with the Gibraltar flag (in new Gibraltar and UK rates) and Union Jack designs. Rating:- ***.

  This announcement follows the news that Guernsey Post will also have a Post And Go kiosk installed on its own territory for the first time from 2 September 2015 as recorded in Blog 619.
  The Post And Go kiosk AO10 at the Steam GWR museum in Swindon began dispensing labels on 25 August 2015 as mentioned in Blog 618 - Machin Head and Union Jack designs, the former having code MA13. Rating:- 0.

  India Post issued a stamp on 24 August 2015 to commemorate the Emperor Ashoka who ruled almost the whole of the Indian subcontinent from 269 to 232 B.C. Rating:- ***.

  The flow of philatelic products from IGPC continues unabated and this time such items have the name of Grenada and Grenada Carriacou And Petit St. Vincent printed on them:-

  2015 - Orchids of the Caribbean area - 1 sheetlet of 4 different stamps and 1 miniature sheet. Rating:- *

  2015 - Early paintings of Vincent Van Gogh - 1 sheetlet of 5 different stamps and 1 miniature sheet. rating:- 0.

  2015 - Commemoration of Pope Benedict XVI - 2 sheetlets each of 4 different stamps. Rating:- 0.

2015 - Birth of Princess Charlotte of Cambridge - 1 sheetlet of 6 different stamps and 1 miniature sheet. Rating:- 0.

   2015 - Centenary of the First World War - 1 sheetlet of 4 stamps and 1 miniature sheet. Rating:- 0.

  Samoa will play host to The Commonwealth Youth Games from 5 to 9 September 2015. Nine sports are represented in the Games and about 1000 competitors aged 14 to 18  are expected to travel from around The Commonwealth to Samoa to participate in the competitions. There is no news yet from Philatelic Collector Inc. that it has prepared stamps on Samoa's behalf to commemorate this important event but one suspects that an issue on the subject should soon be forthcoming.
  Apparently 50% of The Commonwealth's population is aged under 25 years - perhaps those with power in philatelic circles and Commonwealth postal administrations could remember that and do more to mobilise a new interest in stamp collecting by issuing stamps with an appeal to the age group and, importantly, at a price young people can afford.