Saturday 31 October 2015

659. New Zealand Post Rushes Out World Cup Victory Sheet.

  Within hours of the New Zealand rugby team sealing its victory in the finals of the World Rugby Championship at Twickenham in England, New Zealand Post announced the issue of a $15 miniature sheet to commemorate the victory.
  The New Zealand Post website currently gives the date of issue as being 2 September 2015 which obviously involves some remarkable foresight and/or time travel but I presume that the intended date of issue is actually 2 November 2015. The issue was designed by Dave Burke. Rating:- ***.

  See Blog 606.

658. Bahamas And Alderney - More Excellent Designs By Robin Carter.

  The Bahamas Post Office will issue a charming set of 4 Christmas stamps on 19 November 2015 on the subject of the Nativity. The set was designed by the excellent Robin Carter (see also Blog 657) and lithographed by Cartor.The stamps have some wonderful art and the shepherd in particular has a face full of character. The faces look as though they are portraits of real people and I just wonder if a similar set, but using portraits of Bahamians, might be issued in a future year. It is not surprising that such an excellent issue again comes from the Pobjoy Stamps/Creative Direction philatelic agency. Rating:- *****.

  Sri Lanka Post issued 1 stamp on 24 October 2015 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations and the 60th anniversary of Sri Lanka's membership of the organisation. Rating:-  **.

  The Isle Of Man postal administration has found another excuse to issue yet more stamps - this time 8 stamps will be released on 21 January 2016 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Aeronautical Society. The issue does not seem to have any direct relevance to the island and so I shall not be adding it to my Isle Of Man collection. Rating:- **.

  In Blog 653 I mentioned that the Royal Mail Christmas issue would include a 12 x 2nd Class booklet but failed to mention that there will also be a 12 x 1st Class booklet (cost £7.56p).:-

  Jersey Post continues to pull out all the stops in an effort to make money from philatelic products. Clearly the 90th anniversary of the Jersey branch of the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) is an important event on the island since not only has it necessitated the issue of a set of Post And Go labels  (see Blog 646) but it also issued a "Commemorative Sheet" - cost £14.10p - to mark the anniversary on 30 October 2015. The sheet is made up of 20 x "Crest of Jersey" self-adhesive stamps from the  "My Moments" issue with attached labels. Rating:- 0.

  Meanwhile the "Post And Go" "Collectors' Strip" on the same subject will be issued on 30 October 2015 one day after the "Collector's Strip" issued at the Sindelfingen Stamp Fair (see Blog 646). Rating:-0.

  In Blog 651 I mentioned the upcoming Christmas issue from Guernsey Post which is inscribed "Alderney".
  The set of seven stamps which features stained glass windows in St. Anne's Church in Alderney commemorate Anne French, a tireless worker on behalf of children both locally and abroad. The set will be released on 6 November 2015.
  Guernsey Post will also issue a set of 6 stamps and a miniature sheet inscribed "Alderney" on 10 November 2015 to the commemorate the 70th anniversary of the homecoming of the islanders after their exile during World War II. The interesting and attractive issue was designed beautifully by Robin Carter and lithographed by Lowe-Martin. Rating:- *****.

Thursday 29 October 2015

657. Excellent New Issues Highlight The Brilliance of Pobjoy Stamps/Creative Direction.

 News of a number of new issues from the client territories of Pobjoy Stamps/Creative Direction highlights just what shining light in this dark modern world of stamp releases this agency is for collectors. A series of spectacularly good stamps is to be issued by territories who are served by Pobjoy.
 Firstly the next issue from the Tristan Da Cunha postal administration is a wonderful set of 4 stamps titled "The Great Lifeboat Disaster" which will be released on 27 November 2015. The splendid designs by the artist Victor Ambrus depict the events which occurred on 28 November 1885 when 15 island men sailed out to trade with the vessel, S V West Riding, in the island's then newly donated lifeboat. At the time, food supplies were becoming desperately low for the island's inhabitants and the risk of sailing out to the distant ship through rough seas was very necessary. The boat sailed out of sight of those ashore and was never seen again and all aboard were considered to have drowned. A ship visiting the island a little later noted that the disaster had left 13 widows and the total population of the island then included just 4 men. 
   The stamps tell the story beautifully of a terrible and sad event in the little island's history.
   Rating:- ****** (yes, 6 stars).


 And so to this year's issues from British Antarctic Territory. So far there is news of 3 issues. The first commemorates the Centenary of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition and is the 3rd issue from the territory to commemorate this momentous anniversary. The issue was designed by Bee Design from the photography of Frank Hurley and lithographed by BDT International and will be released on an as yet unspecified date in November 2015. Rating:- *****.


    British Antarctic Territory will then release a set of 6 stamps on the subject of Whales of the territory on a date in November 2015 which has not yet been specified. The beautiful designs which appear on the stamps are by Nick Shewring and printing was carried out in lithography by BDT International. Rating:- ****** (yes, another 6 stars).

 The always excellent bird-stamps org. website draws attention to a third set of 5 stamps from the British Antarctic Territory, presumably to also be issued on an as yet unspecified date in November, on the subject of Historic Huts of the territory which are depicted along with illustrations of local birds and mammals.This is another beautifully illustrated issue designed by Robin Carter and I like it so much I give it ****** (6 stars ) again!

  The Post Office of Ascension Island will issue a set of 4 stamps on 1 December 2015 to commemorate the Tercentenary of the birth of the sailor and explorer, William Dampier, who was an early explorer of parts of Australia as well as being the first person to carry out 3 circumnavigations of the world. Some also describe him as the first natural historian of Australia.
  His ship, the Roebuck, featured on the 35c value, foundered off Ascension on 21 February 1701 and it was necessary for he and his crew to go ashore on Ascension on 24 February. They used The Roebuck's sails as tents, and lived off the fresh water on the island and the plentiful supply of fresh turtle meat. He and his crew stayed on Ascension for 5 weeks until rescued by a passing East Indiaman. 
 The beautiful art work that makes up the designs of the set is by Robin Carter and the issue was lithographed by BDT International. Rating:- ****** (6 again).

  The Falkland Islands Post Office will issue yet another excellent set of 6 stamps on 30 November 2015 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Elephant Seal Research Group. This is yet another wonderful set from Pobjoy/Creative Direction - time and time again I wish that other postal administrations would switch to the agency. 
  St. Helena is one of the postal administrations I should love to see with Pobjoy. The post office there is said to have issued a set of stamps in the past couple of weeks or so on the subject of the Bicentenary of Bonaparte's landing on the island to begin his exile there but as yet I've seen no publicity about such a set. If the St. Helena Post Office was using Pobjoy as its agents I suspect that there would have been a much more active effort to promote the set and give it plenty of pre-publicity. As I said before, CASCO, St. Helena's current agency, appears to be completely moribund which can not be a good thing when less and less collectors seem to want to continue with their collections - active promotion of new stamps and the hobby in general is greatly needed. 
  Rating of this issue:- *****.

  And so another philatelic year of new issues draws to a close. It's a relief to see that after another heavy year of philatelic releases, collectors have only 2 more issues from Australia Post to deal with (apart from a couple of exhibition miniature sheets) and they are both Christmas-related sets.

  Firstly, there is an issue inscribed "Australia" which was designed by Sonia Kretschmar (religious design) and John White (secular design) and lithographed by EGO (religious design) and McKeller (secular design). There are 2 religious designs and 3 secular designs plus 1 miniature sheet which continues the religious theme. The stamps come in numerous formats. 
  Thus there are 5 gummed stamps and 1 gummed miniature sheet (total face value $9.50), 2 x 65c secular self-adhesive "embellished" stamps from 2 booklets of 10 of each design (total face value $13), the $1.70c and $2.25 stamps in self-adhesive format from "sheetlets" of 5 of each value (total face value $21.25c) and the 65c religious design in self-adhesive format in booklets of 20 along with the 2 secular stamps again in self-adhesive format from booklets of 20 (10 of each design) (total face value $26). (I shall not mention, as I never do, the 4 "chequebook" booklets, each containing 100 stamps, which have a total face value of $945 - surely no-one actually collects such things).

Miniature sheet.

$8.50 "sheetlet" of 5 x $1.70 self-adhesive stamps.

  The second Christmas issue from Australia Post is inscribed "Christmas Island Australia" and consists of 2 gummed stamps, 1 gummed miniature sheet, 1 self-adhesive "embellished" 65c stamp from sheetlets of 10 and 1 x $1.80 self-adhesive "sheetlets" of 5 (total cost of this lot is $20.40c). Just for the record "chequebooks" have also been produced consisting of 100 x $1.80c stamps, cost:- $180). 

  The total cost of buying "one of each" of Australia Post's Christmas issues is therefore $90.15c(£41.08p) (unless you don't feel that your collection is complete without the chequebooks in which case you will have to handover $1215.15c - £563.39p!).
  A miniature sheet will be available to coincide with the 31st Asian International Stamp Exhibition 2015 to be held in Hong Kong from 20 to 23 November and will be sold for $2.80c. Sadly, presently I only have a very poor quality illustration of the item and I have no illustration at all of another miniature sheet which was sold in relation to the China International Collection Expo held in Beijing from 25 - 28 September 2015.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

656. Gibraltar's Magna Carta Issue And Bermuda's 150th Anniversary Of Its First Stamp.

  The Royal Gibraltar Post Office will issue 1 miniature sheet on 13 November 2015 to commemorate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. This interesting and attractive item was designed by Stephen Perera and printed in lithography by Cartor. Rating:- ****. 
   The Gibraltar Post Office will also issue a set of 5 Christmas stamps on 2 November 2015. These designs are very unexciting and cliched but at least the total face value of the set is very reasonable at £2.76p. The issue was also designed by Stephen Perera and printed in lithography by BDT International. Rating:- **.

  Depicted below is the complete set of 7 Christmas stamps inscribed "Guernsey" to be issued by Guernsey Post which showed stained glass windows by William Morris in St. Stephen's Church in Guernsey. It is a very attractive set. See Blog 651.

  The Bermuda Post Office has issued 5 stamps to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the island's first postage stamps. I have not yet found any publicity about this issue so I do not yet know the date of issue. Bermuda markets its stamps through CASCO which seems to me, a simple collector, to be moribund in promoting its client territories' new issues by the means of putting out publicity to collectors especially when compared with the excellent forward publicity and up-to-date website of Pobjoy Stamps. There is little wonder that CASCO has lost so many client territories in recent years.
  Rating of stamps:- ****.

  Collectors of New Zealand Post stamps will be rushing to the postal administration's philatelic website to order the latest philatelic products being sold there.... or perhaps they won't.  
  Following on from Royal Mail's £120 limited edition Star Wars "Prestige booklet" (see Blog 652) New Zealand Post has given us 2 limited edition NZ$188 "Year of the Monkey" miniature sheets (when I say "given" I of course mean that it is selling them to us unless we show self-control and turn down the offer).
   The miniature sheets come in formats in which the four stamps contained in the sheets are printed in coloured ink on 24 carat 99.9% gold foil or embossed and etched on the gold foil. To make it all worthwhile both sheets are presented in perspex display stands. If you want both, they will set you back NZ$376 (presently £166.18p).
  However, if you have a few more spare dollars, you can invest in a highly limited edition of the all gold miniature sheet in a special frame - wow! The New Zealand Post website informs us helpfully that "This large miniature sheet is one of only 128 produced so you'll need to order quickly". So hurry and write your cheque for NZ$560 (£247.29p) though now I think about it, $378 (£164.80p) seems to be a remarkably large amount of money to pay for a small picture frame. Is this a question of New Zealand Post " making a monkey" of their customers? Rating:- 0.

   I have just received my set of the new Pitcairn Islands definitives (see Blog 647) and they do indeed have the inscription "CELEBRATING THE 75th ANIVERSARY OF THE FIRST POSTAGE STAMPS ISSUE 1940 - 2015" although the publicity brochure for the set ("Pitcairn Islands Stamp Bulletin 147") is correctly headlined with the correct spelling of "ANNIVERSARY".
   I presume then that all values of this definitive series will be reissued in time with the correct spelling - this is one of the great Commonwealth embarrassing stamp errors of the 21st century.