Wednesday, 20 January 2016

700. New Irish Definitives Recall The Easter Rising; Australia Issues £74 "Legends" Set.

  An Post, the postal service of Ireland, issued 4 strips, each of 4 different self-adhesive stamps, on 21 January 2016 with the intention of them fulfilling the role of definitive stamps - what An Post calls its 8th definitive series.
  The stamps are extremely interesting because the subjects featured on them relate to the Centenary of the Easter Rising when Irish nationalists rose up against British rule in the island. The four strips each have a different title - "Leaders and Icons", "Participants", "Easter Week" and "The Aftermath".
   The issue was designed by Zinc Design and printed in HP Indigo high resolution digital print by Label Art Ltd.
  The stamps in the first strip of four, "Leaders and Icons", depict seven leaders of the Easter Rising - Thomas J. Clarke, Sean Mac Diarmada, Thomas MacDonagh, Patrick H Pearse, Eamonn Ceanntt, James Connolly and Joseph Plunkett. These men all signed the Proclamation of The Republic. A depiction of the The Irish Flag completes the strip of 4. The leaders are grouped on the stamps according to the organisations to which they belong - The Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Irish Citizen Army and the Irish Volunteers.

  The second strip, "Participants", depicts various people who were on either side of the conflict - the first stamp depicts the first 2 men to be killed in the violence - Metropolitan Police Constable James O'Brien and rebel, Sean Connolly.
  The second stamp depicts the Malone brothers, Michael who fought with the Irish Volunteers and was killed at the Battle of Mount Street Bridge and William who was a sergeant in the 2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers and was killed at the Battle of Ypres in May 2016.
  The 3rd stamp depicts Dr. Kathleen Lynne, medical campaigner and suffragist and an officer in the Irish Citizen Army, and Elizabeth O'Farrell, a member of Cumann na mBan, who played a role in the general surrender.
  The strip's final stamp emphasises the role of the ordinary combatant and depicts Jack Doyle and Tom McGrath, 2 rebels photographed inside the Dublin GPO during Easter Week. This is one of only 2 surviving photographs of rebels in the GPO during the Rising - an exciting and interesting stamp indeed.

  The third strip, "Easter Week", begins with a stamp which depicts a detail of the Proclamation of The Irish Republic. The second stamp depicts John F Foster who was the youngest of 40 children killed during Easter Week. The third stamp depicts Louisa Nolan who risked her life tending to those injured at the Battle of Mount Street Bridge. The fourth stamp depicts Sir Francis Fletcher-Vane and Francis Sheehy-Skeffington and relates to the incident in which several civilians were killed on the orders of Captain J C Bowen-Colthurst.

  The final strip, "The Aftermath" focuses on the consequences of the Rising. The first stamp depicts the GPO in Sackville Street and the destruction done to it. The second stamp depicts children gathering firewood to illustrate how ordinary people were caught up in the events of Easter Week. The third stamp depicts two unidentified prisoners who had fought on the rebel side while the final stamp depicts Roger Casement, one of 16 prominent rebels who were subsequently hanged as traitors.

  In addition to the 4 strips of four stamps the series will also include smaller self-adhesive stamps from 2 booklets and from a coil. 
  A €7 booklet contains 10 x 70c stamps which repeat the design which depicts the Sackville Street GPO and a €10.50 booklet contains 10 x €1.05 stamps which depict the Roger Casement design.

  There is a coil which contains 2 x 70c stamps - those depicting the Irish Republic flag and the detail of the the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. This is a wonderful set which does full justice to one of the most important events in the history of The British Isles and The British Empire. I hope that An Post is planning further issues to commemorate this turbulent period in Irish and British history but this new definitive set gives a marvellous overview of the Easter Rising of 1916. 
  An historic issue, beautifully illustrated - rating:- ****** (yes, 6 stars!)

  Malta Post will issue 3 stamps on 22 January 2016 on the subject of Maltese Flora. This is the third issue in this ongoing series. The stamps were designed by MaltaPost and lithographed by Printex. Rating:- ****.

  In Blog 693, I mentioned the Australia Post "Legends" issue for 2016 which has now been released on 21 January. As was known, the issue depicts 12 different Australian tennis players. 
  In addition to the set of 12 x $1 gummed stamps (cost $12) and 12 booklets of 10 x $1 self-adhesive stamps (total cost of booklets $120) there are also 2 gummed sheetlets in the issue, one of which consists of 10 different designs while the other contains 5 each of the 2 other designs (total cost $20). The total cost, therefore, of "one of everything" is $152 (not to mention the $2400 which a set of "chequebook" booklets would cost).
  The issue was designed by Sierra Delta and lithographed by McKellar.
  I depict below the 12 gummed stamps, the 2 sheetlets, the "Leyton Hewitt" booklet and blocks of 4 self-adhesive stamps from the other booklets. These are colourful and interesting stamps and reflect well the Australians' sport-loving culture but are ultimately inconsequential since they are not related to any particular event or anniversary and the number of items issued, and their face value, make the issue grossly excessive. I shall not be adding any of them to my collection and will save myself £73.73p. Rating:- **. 
  Australia Post could learn a thing or two from An Post when it comes to devising its annual philatelic programmes. 

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