Post scriptum:- For the 2017 Royal Mail new issue programme - the real one - see Blog 890.
As mentioned in Blogs 827 and 850, Royal Mail's latest new Post and Go designs will be issued on 14 November 2016 and depict 4 " Hibernating animals". The special pack sold by the Philatelic Bureau is now depicted above and, just because I like the designs (especially the hedgehog ) so much, I repeat illustrations of the stamps themselves below.
If Royal Mail must release so many Post and Go stamps/labels as they do what with the multitude of Royal Navy Museums issues and the increasing numbers of tourist centre stamps then they would be made so much more palatable and acceptable if each site had its own individual, and hopefully attractive, design. These charming Hibernating Animals stamps are an illustration of how very enjoyable and collectable these items could be.
Meanwhile Royal Mail has changed its plans for the Stratford upon Avon Shakespeare Centre Post and Go stamps to be issued on 1 November 2016 because there are insufficient supplies of the "Symbolic Flowers" available to be used there. Instead the tiresome "Machin Head" and "Union Jack" stamps will be dispensed from kiosk M009 with the additional site-specific location. Wouldn't it be wonderful if, instead of using these designs which are now well past their sell-by dates, 6 new designs depicting portraits of Shakespeare or, better still, illustrations of his plays, were introduced to be dispensed there.
There are so many tourists passing through the place that I can't help but think that attractive designs along such lines would sell themselves for souvenir-hungry tourists whereas the Flag and Queen's Head stamps are so much less appealing. There are 37 plays by Shakespeare - if the designs were changed every 12 months - you would have 6 years of issues, each of 6 different designs, to gradually build up a following of people who would want to buy the complete set. What do you do about play no. 37 which I guess is the less-than-perfect "Two Noble Kinsmen"? No idea. Well, I suppose it could be included as a bonus item in a 37-value pack released at the end of the 6 year period. Loads of money there for Royal Mail.
Meanwhie, Post and Go collectors at least have the pleasure of the Hibernating animals stamps to which to look forward and which have to have a rating of *****.
If past form is anything to go by, we should be just a few days or so away from the revelation to the general public of Royal Mail's 2017 stamp programme. 2017 is the year in which Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrate their Platinum (70th) wedding anniversary so I expect we should see a set of stamps to commemorate that remarkable royal anniversary.
It will be 50 years since The Beatles released the Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album and given Royal Mail's current enthrallment for old popular music groups as witnessed by this year's tiresome Pink Floyd stamps I suppose that might be a subject for commemoration. Of course there will be the annual Christmas set and another issue to mark the Centenary of the First World War.
It will be 50 years since the launch of the RMS Queen Elizabeth II and 50 years since the last trans-Atlantic voyage of the RMS Queen Mary so an issue on British shipping is always a possibility.
In its search for children's Television programmes to feature on stamps Royal Mail might have noticed that 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of The Teletubbies (surely we will be spared Teletubbies stamps especially as we've only recently had to put up with the Mr Men stuff). Alternatively the year will see the 50th anniversary of Gerry Anderson's Captain Scarlet and The Mysterons or for cult television enthusiasts it will be the 50th anniversary of The Prisoner or it might be time to feature situation comedies as 2017 is the 60th anniversary of Hancock's Half Hour's first appearance on BBC television (Tony Hancock, an iconic British comedian, has twice been passed over by Royal Mail).
India celebrates the 70th anniversary of its independence in 2017 and there is to be a UK-India Year of Culture Festival which would make an excellent subject for a stamp issue; how wonderful it would be if Royal Mail released a joint issue with India Post. Not much chance of that though, I suspect.
As regards sport, the IAAF World Championships will be held at the Olympic Stadium in London from 4 to 13 August so perhaps athletics will be the subject of a stamp issue and the Cricket World Cup For Women will be held in England from 26 June to 23 July - in the interests of equality perhaps an issue commemorating women's cricket might be indicated.
2017 will be the Bicentenary year of the death of Jane Austen but surely we will not have yet another set of Jane Austen stamps despite the worthiness of the subject matter. It will also be the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first Harry Potter book - Royal Mail is currently in overdrive in its attempts to appeal to grandparents who are looking for gifts for their grandchildren by releasing stamps which feature children's books so perhaps they will want to secure permission to feature the scholar of Hogwarts during 2017.
We should find out in the near future as to what subjects will indeed form the basis for Royal Mail's attempts to extract money from us during the coming year. Let's hope the issues are worthwhile.
Post scriptum See Blog 860 for 2017 Royal Mail programme news.
India Post issued a single stamp on 24 October 2016 to commemorate Varanasi City and the inauguration of Varanasi Postal Region. This is a colourful and attractive stamp.Rating:- ***.
Sri Lanka Post issued a single stamp on 26 October 2016 to commemorate the late Dr. ANS Kulasinghe (1919 - 2006) who was an engineer of prominence and who founded the State Engineering Corporation which constructed many important buildings in Sri Lanka. The stamp was designed by Ms. Wathmi de Soysa and printed in lithography. The design, sadly, is not the most exciting or well-balanced that I've seen recently. Rating:- *.
Canada Post will issue 4 self-adhesive Christmas stamps from booklets and 1 gummed miniature sheet on 1 November 2016. A religiously-themed 'P' value is issued in a booket of 12 and depicts Virgin and Child painted about 1460 by the Master of Castello and displayed in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The stamp was designed by Louise Methe and lithographed by Canadian Bank Note. Rating:- ****.
There are also 3 "secular" designs which are vaguely amusing I suppose (I particularly like the Father Christmas design). The 'P' value is issued in booklets of 12 while the $1.20 and $2.50 are issued in booklets of 6. The stamps were designed by Helene L'Heureux from art by Rolf Harder and lithographed by Canadian Bank Note. All 3 designs are combined in the gummed miniature sheet. Rating:- ***.