Sunday 28 August 2016

814. India's New Metalwork Stamps.

   India Post issued a delightful and interesting set of 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on 26 August 2016 on the subject of Metalwork in India. Pieces produced from different metals - bronze, iron, copper, brass, silver and gold - are featured and all the designs are included in the miniature sheet. Rating:- *****.

  India Post also issued a single stamp on 27 August 2016 to commemorate the Centenary of the birth of Jagadguru Sri Shivarathri Rajendra Swamy, a religious figure in Karnataka and a worker to improve social inequality, poverty and education. Rating:- ***.

  Hong Kong Post will issue 4 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on 6 September 2016 on the subject of "A Tribute to Teachers". The set was designed by Andrew Lo and lithographed by Enschede and perforated 13.5. Not the most exciting of issues but it's good to see people such as teachers being commemorated on stamps rather than the usual mix of footballers, pop singers and other "celebrities".
Rating:- **.

  The Zimbabwe postal service, Zimpost, issued a set of 4 stamps on 18 August 2016 as the latest part of its annual National Heroes series. Victoria Chitepo (40c) (1927 - 2016) had been a minister in Mugabe's government, Emos Chamunorwa Chikowore (75c) (1936 - 2005) was a minister in Mugabe's governments and a senior member of Mugabe's political party, ZANU-PF, Joseph Mushore Chinamano (85c) (1925 - 1984) was Minister of Transport under Mugabe when Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980 but was dismissed from office when Mugabe's party fell out with its coalition partner and Emos Mzombi Nkala ($1) (1932 - 2013) was also a minister in Mugabe's government after independence. I wonder if the subjects portrayed on these National Hero stamps are all selected by Mugabe?
  Rating:- *.

  The Bermuda Post Office issued the third part of its "Bermuda in bloom" series on 18 August 2016. This time the set consists of 6 stamps in the same style of design as those issued in 2014 and 2015. The values of the new stamps are 20c, 60c, 75c, 90c, $1.95c and $3. It is a colourful and attractive issue. Rating:- ****.

  Intelligent AR's latest announcement in its website about Post and Go issues for the Royal Gibraltar Post Office is mildly amusing:- 
  "Gotham's (sic) Cave gets World Heritage Status and an Overprint" (before you reach the conclusion that IAR are referring to Batman's subterranean crime-fighting laboratory under "stately Wayne Manor", read on....). "The Royal Gibraltar Post Office will include a unique overprint, "Gorham's Cave World Heritage" during Stampex on the Gibraltar monkey only as from the 14th September. This overprint will then be applied to both the Gibraltar monkey stamp as well as the Chinese monkey stamp on all three kiosks following Stampex". Presumably this alludes to the kiosk GI01 based at Gibraltar House in London (not valid for postage in London of course) and the Main post office and Parcel office in Gibraltar where the stamps will be valid for use on mail.
  The announcement also states that, "the overprint recognises the World Heritage Status given to Gibraltar's "Gorham Cave". This is Gibraltar's first site to be included in UNESCO's Workd Heritage list. "Gorham's Cave" is the last known site of Neanderthal survival (actually I know of a lot of places where Neanderthals still seem to be flourishing), some 28,000 years ago, and has been a major contributor in providing a clearer picture on the world stage of the story of the Neanderthals as well as preventing evidence of climate, sea-level and ecological change".
  I shall not bother to obtain the tiresome exhibition labels or those from Gibraltar House but those actually dispensed at sites in Gibraltar itself may find their way into my collection as the issue commemorates an event of Gibraltar local importance - that is - the awarding of World Heritage status but it is very annoying that the Gibraltar philatelic bureau can not trouble itself to sell the items directly to collectors via its website and thus collectors who live outside Gibraltar must pay the large mark-up which dealers who sell these stamps quite reasonably charge collectors. I've asked before, and I say again, why can't the managers at the Gibraltar Philatelic Bureau pull their socks up and delegate one of their assistants to stand at the Gibraltar-based kiosks and dispense strips of Post and Go stamps for direct sale to collectors? Too much trouble I suppose. 
  From 9 October 2016, both the Gibraltar monkey and Year of the Monkey stamps will be dispensed from GI02 in Gibraltar's main post office and GI03 at the Parcel office with the added inscription "World Post Day" and then from 2 November 2016 two new Post and Go Christmas stamps will be released. The torment of collectors by "Post and Go" goes on.

Wednesday 24 August 2016

813. Guernsey Post Recognises The Importance Of The Battle Of Hastings (Unlike Royal Mail).

   Although those who plan Royal Mail special stamp issues have failed to recognise how much more important in English history is the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings than is the 50th anniversary of, er, the Mr Men books (Roger Hargreaves really wasn't a Charles Kingsley or a JRR Tolkien), there will be at least one (or even 2, if you include Post and Go stamps) issues to commemorate the battle's anniversary.
  Guernsey Post will release a set of 6 stamps on 14 September 2016 which will be inscribed "Alderney" and which depict scenes from the battle where Englishmen fought to resist the invading Normans under William The Bastard and to prevent their proud little country from falling into the hands of a ruthless foreign tyrant, which Duke William proved to be. As we know, the English failed, King Harold was killed and William took the English throne and a turning point in history was reached (the publication of the Mr. Men books can not similarly be described).
  The Norman monster is depicted on the 70p stamp (above) lifting his helmet to prove to his soldiers that he is still alive after a rumour spread across the battlefield that he had been killed and the 78p shows the heroic English king Harold fighting on against the invaders, pressed by a wall of shields with a rain of arrows all around him. A mounted Harold is also depicted on the 57p value.
 A fine little set from Guernsey Post. Rating:- *****.

  Less welcome is a Collectors strip of "Guernsey Flag" "Post and Go" stamps dispensed locally from the kiosk at Envoy House (GG02) in St. Peter Port which is made up of 6 values, each with the additional inscription "Envoy House/Battle of Hastings" but at least the issue will be dispensed in Guernsey itself and has a locally important subject (the Channel Islands had belonged previously to William of Normandy and then became property of the English crown subsequent to William's seizure of the throne). The date of issue will be 14 September 2016. Rating:- ***.

  Guernsey Post attempts to extract even more money from collectors by the sale of yet another "Collectors strip" of "Guernsey Flag" "Post and Go" labels, this time not dispensed locally and with the additional inscription "The Battle of the/Somme 1916-2016". The issue on 14 September will coincide with the Autumn Stampex Exhibition (kiosk GG01). Rating:- 0.

   I recently visited the main Birmingham city centre post office in Pinfold Street, off Victoria Square, to see what the Post and Go kiosks there were dispensing just prior to their switching to dispensing Union Jack Post and Go stamps. All nine were dispensing Machin Head stamps but some were dispensing those with the MA15 code and some with the MA16 code. What surprised me, when I compared the 2 types was that there was distinct difference in shade between them - the MA15 being very yellowy (above) and the MA16 being severely grey (below) - sadly my scanner, which I really need to replace, does not do full justice to the difference between the 2 types. 
  These Post and Go stamps - those dispensed in ordinary post offices from NCR kiosks are as much postage stamps as are ordinary Machin definitives - are very interesting if you put aside all the catchpenny museum and exhibition souvenir issues, which have their own place for some collectors, and a collection dating back to 2008, when they were introduced, is now turning into a modern philatelic study of one type of constantly evolving postage stamp.

  Pos Malaysia issued a miniature sheet (in perforate and imperforate formats) on 23 August 2016 to accompany its Seven Wonders of Malaysia's Flora and Fauna set (see Blog 812). The sheets depict Xing Xing and Liang Liang, the giant pandas gifted to Malaysia by The Chinese People's Republic. Rating:- *****. 

  The latest price list from Nigel Haworth, who often manages to supply new Commonwealth stamps which other dealers rarely seem able to obtain, includes 9 more stamps from the 2015 Papua New Guinea provisional surcharges issue (see Blog 791).
  These are the K15 on 85t Black bellied stamp, K15 on K1.05 Law and Order stamp, K40 on K6 Oil palm, K40 on K4.65 Girl Guides, K40 on K3.70 Beach kalofilum, K45 on 85t Bixa, K90K6.40 Girl guides, K90 on K3 World census and K90 on K7 Traditional dance. Rating:- *****.

  In Blog 748 I mentioned 3 surcharged stamps issued by the Trinidad And Tobago postal administration during 2015 and Nigel Haworth's price list adds to the information about one of these stamps - the $3.25c surcharge on the 85c value of the "Flowers" definitive set originally issued in 1983 was actually issued on 2 different stamps - that with a "1987" imprint in the lower border and the second on the same tamp with a "1988" imprint. Rating:- *****. 

  The Barbados Postal Service has issued a set of 4 stamps on the subject of The Barbados Landship which, according to Wikipedia, is a cultural movement and entertainment organisation, known for its entertaining parades, performance and dances. Members mimic the Royal Navy and march and perform to the music of the Tuke Band. The movement began in Barbados among plantation workers after the ending of slavery to aid their economic and social development. 
  I do not yet know the date of issue or any other philatelic details. Rating:- ***.

  And so, as inevitably as the sea erodes the rocks, to the latest philatelic products from .... Stamperija.  This week the philatelic agency has issued 15 "sheetlets", each containing 4 different "stamps" along with 15 accompanying "miniature sheets" with a "date of issue" of 10 May 2016. Subjects featured are "International Year of Pulses", Centenary of the birth of Len Hutton (Cricketer), 40th anniversary of the start of Concorde's commercial flights, 80th anniversary of the first flight of the Hindenburg, 95th birthday of John Glenn (US astronaut), 55th anniversary of the first manned space flight, Lighthouses, Water birds, Fish, 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, High speed trains, Whales, Mushrooms, Elvis Presley (US entertainer) and Dinosaurs. 
  Oh, by the way, the name of Mozambique, is printed on the stuff. Rating:- 0.