Thursday 31 March 2016

735. More Papua New Guinea Personalised Stamps

  I have obtained recently a set of 14 stamps with labels attached from Papua New Guinea Post which are the most recent Personalised stamps in a new value of K1.35. The designs feature 3 turtles, a python and crocodiles, a dugong, 2 fish including a reef shark and 7 designs depicting various type of birds. An interesting set. Rating:- ****.

  The programme for the release of new issues for the rest of 2016 for Sri Lanka Post is:-

March - Dharmasiri Senanayake - 1 stamp,
30 March - Yowun Puraya Programme - 1 stamp,

April - "Unseen Sri Lanka" - 12 stamps, 
3 May - Press Freedom Day - 1 stamp,
6 May - Vesak - 3 stamps,
22 May - State Vesak Festival - 1 stamp,
22 May - Definitive, Flowers of Sri Lanka - 12 stamps,
May - 50th anniversary of Sri Lanka Tourism - 1 stamp, 
May - Vishwalingam Weerasinham - 1 stamp,
May - Centenary of Cub Scouts- 1 stamp,
June - Lighthouses of Sri Lanka - 4 stamps 
June - Montegu Jayawickrama - 1 stamp,
July - Sri Lankan traditional costumes - 18 stamps,
July - Olympic Games - 4 stamps,
August - Mushrooms of Sri Lanka - 4 stamps,
August - Sri Lankan traditional costumes - 4 stamps,
September - Ancient fortresses of Sri Lanka - 4 stamps,
September - Spices of Sri Lanka - 4 stamps,
1 October - World Children's Day - 1 stamp,
9 October - World Post Day - 4 stamps,
November - Obsolescent industries of Sri Lanka - 4 stamps,
November - Christmas - 2 stamps.

  Doubtless, there will be a number of miniature sheets also released with some of the above issues.

  The US-based stamp agency, IGPC, has announced that it issued philatelic items to commemorate the former popular musician, the late Jimi Hendrix on 8 March 2016. The names of at least 2 Commonwealth philatelic entities are inscribed on some of the items - Grenada Carriacou and Petite St. Vincent for which there is a sheetlet of 6 different "stamps"and 1 x $10 miniature sheet and St. Vincent And The Grenadines which is inscribed on a sheetlet of 4 different "stamps" and 1 x $10 miniature sheet. These are particularly gaudy items with a hint of psychedelia about them and, as far I can see there is no connection between Hendrix and these Caribbean islands. Rating:- 0.

  Another week draws to a close which means it's time for the latest Stamperija products. This week it's the name of Sierra Leone which is doomed to appear on 10 "sheetlets", each consisting of 4 different "stamps", and 10 "miniature sheets", the broad theme being Wildlife. So, we have the following subjects:- Doves, Cuckoos, Crocodiles, Lizards, Manatees, the Red river hog, Fish, Whales, Hawks and Hyenas. This is the second part of the Wildlife issue detailed in Blog 730 which gives a total of 80 "stamps" and 20 miniature sheets. The date of issue is stated to have been 28 January 2016.                The total face value of the second part of the issue is the same as the first part - that is - Le 480000 or about £84 meaning that the total face value of this whole issue is Le 960000 or about £168! These are sold in a limited edition of 1000 so that if all of them are sold, £168000 will be made by Stamperija excluding costs of production and moneys paid by the philatelic agency for permission to use the various country's names on their products. This sum is increased by the sale of imperforate versions, sold at much higher prices, and first day covers. 
  Rating:- 0.

Wednesday 30 March 2016

734. Spanish Post Office Posts And Goes.

  Not Commonwealth stamp news at all but still very interesting - Intelligent A R has announced that Correos Post (sic) (I think it should be just Correos), the postal service of Spain, will launch its first Post and Go kiosk, ES01, at the Spanish National Stamp Fair to be held in Madrid from 21 to 24 April 2016. After the end of the exhibition the kiosk will be moved to a static site at the Madrid main post office. 
  The kiosk will issue variable value stamps on 2 designs - one depicting the statue of King Philip III on horseback sited in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid where the National Stamp Fair is to be held and the second depicting the Cibeles fountain near the head post office in Madrid. The stamps will be in 4 basic values - domestic rates up to 20g and 50g (A and A2) and European and Worldwide rates up to 20g (B and C).
  Later in the year, the kiosk will be also be used at the Exfilna exhibition in Zaragoza from 14 to 18 September. 

Hong Kong Post will issue a set of 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on 31 March 2016 on the subject of "Public Architecture". The stamps, designed by Colin Tillyer,depict the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence ($1.70), Victoria Park Swimming Pool ($2.20), Sai Kung Waterfront Park ($2.70), Ping Shan Tin Shui Wai Leisure and Cultural Building ($3.10), Hong Kong Wetland Park ($3.70) and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department Headquarters ($5). The issue was lithographed by Cartor. Rating:- ***.

  The programme of new issues from Cyprus Post for the rest of 2016 is:-

11April - Olympic Games, Rio De Janeiro (4 stamps),
9 May - Europa, "Think Green" ( 2 stamps and 1 booklet of 8 stamps (4 sets of 2)), 
9 May - The Principles and Values of the European Union (3 stamps),
8 July - Euromed - Fish of the Mediterranean (1stamp),
8 July - Ancient fountains of Cyprus (2 stamps),
17 November - Christmas (3 stamps).

  Pakistan Post issued a single stamp on 22 March 2016 on the subject of water conservation and the Water and Power Development Authority. Rating:- **.

Monday 28 March 2016

733. Trinidad And Tobago Recognises Philately's "Great Revenue-Generating Potential".

  Trinidad And Tobago Postal Corporation (TT Post) issued a set of 3 stamps and 1 miniature sheet containing 3 different stamps on 24 September 2015 to commemorate the centenary of First Citizens Bank and indigenous banking in the country. Rating:- ****.
  When these stamps were launched by the TTPost acting managing director, Upendra Udhahamaney, in September 2015, he made the statement, "As part of its strategic plan, TTPost has identified philately as an emerging interest in T and T and one that holds great revenue-generating potential for the corporation".
  It's pleasing to read that stamp collecting may be gaining in popularity in Trinidad And Tobago though one always feels anxious about statements such as philately holds "great revenue-generating potential...." This is for two reasons - firstly it's surprising that it has taken so long for anyone in the country to realise this but, secondly, having now decided that a postal administration can make a lot of money from stamps where do they go from here to maximise this "great revenue-generating potential" - do we see such entities as IGPC or, heaven forbid, Stamperija, becoming involved in producing the country's stamps or do we see increased revenue generation being achieved by moderate and reasonable approaches - involving an agency such as Pobjoy Stamps?
  It would help, in the meantime, if TTPost could improve its publicity to overseas stamp collectors - the set's appearance on an Internet auction site is the first time I have been able to find out any information about it even though its date of issue was six months ago. It seems to have been given local publicity in Trinidad And Tobago itself with a rather lavish launch at a major hotel in Port Of Spain but I can not find any evidence yet of publicity being put out to philatelists abroad - not the best way to realise "great revenue-generating potential".

  In Blog 732 I detailed the enormous number of new items which Jersey Post is planning to release in the next few weeks but failed to detail the issue which is being put out on 21 April 2016 to commemorate the 90th Birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. Jersey Post does not seem to feel that it can do the subject justice by issuing anything less than 10 stamps at a cost of £7.49p as well as a "Prestige booklet" at a cost of £14.98.
  The designs are pretty humdrum - photographs, most of which we've seen before, of The Queen at various stages of her life and nothing to add an element of originality to the issue which I should have liked to have seen given that the combined price of the set plus booklet is £22.47 p (plus tax). Really, The Queen deserves to be commemorated by something a little more special than this stuff. The issue was lithographed by Cartor. Rating:- **.

  I really don't know what to make of the miniature sheet which Royal Mail is planning to issue on 17 May 2016 which is titled Animail. This sheet consists of 6 free-form self-adhesive stamps (2 x 1st, 2 x £1.05p and 2 x £1.33p) which depict foreign cartoon-style animals. Presumably the issue, which reminds me of the "Fun fruit and vegetable" stamps of 25 March 2003 is aimed particularly at children. 
  The issue, though completely meaningless, is rather good fun even if one or two of the depicted creatures are rather creepy (snake and vampire bat) but I suppose that creepy creatures, along with a cuddly koala, are just what appeal to children. Of course the total face value of £6.05p will have little appeal to children and adults alike. Rating:- ***.

  The Fun Fruit and Vegetable stamps of 2003:-

  Royal Mail is to issue another one of its overpriced "Commemorative sheets" (total face value £6.40p but sold for an outrageous £14.95p). This issue will commemorate a worthy subject - the Centenary of the first ANZAC Day and will be made up of 10 "Poppy" stamps with attached labels as part of its ongoing series of issues which commemorate the centenary of The First World War. Rating:- ***.

  A few weeks ago I was on board a ship that was cruising along the coast of Mozambique. The weather was quite poor for much of the trip but the ship called at some small coastal towns which had post offices. At Inhambane, the sea was so rough that I declined to get into a zodiac boat and so missed the chance to visit the post office there but another passenger, rather braver than I, did go ashore and told me that he called at the post office to buy a stamp to put on a postcard to send home to England. He told me that there were NO postage stamps available at the post office and that he was given a label, presumably computer-generated, to put on his card. Unfortunately I did not get to see the item.
  We also called at Mozambique Island, a very interesting UNESCO World Heritage Site. I visited the post office there which was open but, strangely, with no-one around to serve any customers, not that there were any apart from myself. A motor scooter drove right into the post office and the rider dismounted and turned out to be the post office clerk. Being unable to speak Portuguese, I struggled to communicate that I wanted to buy stamps for use on postcards and eventually the counter assistant understood my needs but told me that they had NO postage stamps. The office was closing for the Muslim holiday but the clerk took time to show me what he did have for sale - postcards but not pre-stamped. 
  Despite not obtaining any stamps I did discover what was important to me to know - that it did not appear that postage stamps were in regular use and, very importantly, the vast number of items produced by Stamperija appear to receive no usage whatsoever, at least in these 2 ordinary post offices. But I suppose that is not really at all surprising.

  And while I'm on the subject of Mozambique, has anyone seen this stamp which is said to have been issued on 29 November 2013? I once saw a sheet of 25 being offered for sale on an Internet auction site and recall that when Stamperija added it to a list of their more typical products it was stated the items were sold out. You can find it pictured on the websites of dealers who sell Stamperija products but all of them state that it is sold out.
   Although the subject has no real relevance to Mozambique, it looks to me as though it may have actually been sold in Mozambique for use on ordinary mail given that it was produced in ordinary sheets with a face value that would be compatible with postal rates. I wonder if it was a stamp that was donated to the Mozambique Post Office by The Chinese People's Republic as we have seen happen with stamp issues of other countries. I wonder if it will turn up on an item of mail one day.

  IGPC has released some new items in the name of the postal administration of Tanzania.
  There is a sheetlet of 3 different stamps on the subject of Birds of Africa and 1 sheetlet of 4 different stamps and 1 miniature sheet on the subject of the Grey Crowned Crane. The date of issue is not yet known. Rating:- **. Post scriptum:- update in Blog 741.