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.