Friday 30 December 2016

889. Commonwealth Stamps Year 2016 Highlights.

Notable Commonwealth events and philatelic events of 2016.

  5 - 9 January - 🇦🇺 There was a scramble by collectors to obtain strips of 6 counter-printed stamps sold locally in Adelaide when the local Australia Post permitted an additional inscription to cover a shortage of 30c stamps which would serve as make-up values following an increase in postal rates. Internet auction site dealers are now offering such strips for sale at prices in the region of 3,000 Australian dollars. The rush to buy the stamps was whipped up by an internet discussion site followed by the general Australian press. If there's money to be made then stamps can still have their appeal to collectors and the general public alike.

  17 February - 🇬🇧 Spring Stampex 2016, London and Royal Mail releases a set of 6 stamps and various other items to commemorate what it calls the 500th anniversary of Royal Mail.

  21 April - 🇬🇧🇨🇦🇦🇺🇳🇿90th Birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, Head of The Commonwealth- numerous stamps issued by Royal Mail, the U.K. Overseas territories and the independent members of The Commonwealth.

  23 April - 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. 🇬🇧Royal Mail issued a set of 10 stamps to commemorate the event (see Blog 720) along with Pobjoy Stamps/Creative Direction which released stamps from Tristan Da Cunha and Ascension with excellent and humorous designs by Victor Ambrus (see Blogs 778 and 789). IGPC released numerous products in the name of some of their client territories but strangely Stamperija has not yet cashed in on the subject with an issue of products with the name of its client territories printed on them. 🇵🇳Pitcairn Islands notably issued an attractive set of 4 stamps on the subject (see Blog 722) and 🇮🇴British Indian Ocean Territory issued a single stamp as part of a set of 4 on literary anniversaries (see Blog 722).

  24 April - 🇮🇪Centenary of the Easter Rising in Ireland. An Post issued a new definitive series on the subject of the Rising as well as special sheetlets.

  26 May - 🇬🇾Guyana commemorates its 50th anniversary of Independence with a stamp issue of 15 stamps on 7 April.

  23 June - 🇬🇧In a referendum in The United Kingdom, the majority of voters choose to leave The European Union with possible future philatelic consequences.

  1 July - 🇳🇫 Norfolk Island loses its autonomous status and Australia Post takes over its postal service and issues stamps with the island's name printed on them (see Blog 776). Norfolk Post's last issue was released on 7 June 2016 and commemorated the 160th anniversary of the first landing by the Pitcairners on Norfolk Island. Australia Post's first issue for the island is released on 20 September and features birds of Norfolk Island.

  1 July - 18 November - 🇦🇺🇳🇿🇬🇧🇮🇪 Centenary of the Battle of The Somme. Issues from several postal administrations including Royal Mail, Australia Post, New Zealand Post and An Post.

  5 - 21 August - 🇦🇺🇳🇿Olympic Games, Rio De Janeiro. New Zealand and Australia issue stamps to commemorate their medal winners.

  30 September - 🇧🇼Botswana commemorates its 50th anniversary of Independence with an issue of 8 stamps which had been released on 1 August (see Blog 802).

  4 October - 🇱🇸Lesotho celebrates its 50th anniversary of Independence but no commemorative stamp issue is known to have been released so far.

  13 October - 🇲🇻 Republic Of Maldives withdraws from membership of The Commonwealth. No more need to comment on the awful Stamperija-produced paraphilatelic items with the country's name printed on them. See Blog 842.

  14 October - 🇬🇬🇬🇧 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. Royal Mail fails to commemorate this important event in English history apart from releasing a "Commemorative sheet" but Guernsey Post issues a set of 6 stamps and a miniature sheet all with the name of Alderney inscribed on them.

  31 October - 🇨🇦 Canada Post issues a set of 5 kiosk-printed stamps featuring important Canadian art. This is the first set of Canadian kiosk-printed stamps since 2012 - 13.    

  30 November - 🇧🇧50th anniversary of Barbados' Independence commemorated by the issue of 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on 18 November followed by an issue of 20 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on 8 December to celebrate local Centenarians.

  1 December - 🇬🇲 In the presidential election in The Gambia, the tyrannical ruler Yahya Jammeh is defeated by Adama Barrow who says that he intends to return the country to membership of The Commonwealth from which it had been withdrawn by Jammeh in 2013. Later Jammeh refuses to accept the result of the election and is currently backed by the country's army. Barrow is due to take over as President in January but whether he will be allowed to do so remains to be seen.

  9 December - 🇻🇬British Virgin Islands shocks the philatelic world by issuing a pair of stamps with a total face value of US$100, one of them having a face value of US$90, to commemorate the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II.

  13 December - 🇲🇾Muhammad V of Kelantan becomes the 15th King of Malaysia. Pos Malaysia commemorates his succession with 3 stamps and 1 miniature sheet. The stamps were released on 12 December. See Blog 880.

  Finally, looking ahead to 2017:-

  🇭🇰 Hong Kong Post will issue 4 stamps, 1 miniature sheet, 1 "silk" miniature sheet and 2 "Heartwarming" stamps each sold in sheets of 12 on 7 January 2017 to commemorate the lunar new year, the Year of the Rooster. The colourful issue was designed by Kan Tai-keung and lithographed by Enschede while the silk miniature sheet was printed by Cartor and the stamps perforated 13.5 x 14.5 while the miniature sheets are perforated 13.5 x 14.5. The "Heartwarming" stamps were lithographed by Cartor and perforated 13.5. Rating:- *****.

  And news of the end of 2016 - 🇮🇳India Post has continued its end-of-year new issue frenzy with a single stamp being released on 29 December 2016 to commemorate Deendayal Upadhaya, a distinguished former politician. Sadly this is another one of those dull "head and shoulders" designs at which India Post's designers seem to excel. Rating:- *.

  The 10 "musicians" stamps which India Post has been aiming to issue for some months (see Blog 779 where the miniature sheet containing all 10 stamps is illustrated) has finally been released on 30 December 2016. Yet more "Heads and shoulders" designs but at least these stamps are a little more colourful than usual. Rating:- ***.

  🇵🇰Pakistan Post issued a sheetlet of 8 different stamps on 30 December 2016 on the subject of the National Stamp Exhibition- Pakistan 2016. The stamps feature entrants in the 2016 Child Art competition and are a cheerful end to Pakistan Post's 2016 new issue programme. Rating:- ***.

Wednesday 28 December 2016

888. End Of Year Flurry Of Issues From India Post.

🇮🇳  India Post usually has an end of year rush of new issues to pack in all the stamp issues that it has been threatening to release in the first 51 weeks of the year and 2016 continues that tradition. Thus India Post has released its eight and ninth issues of December - more designs featuring uninteresting buildings and head and shoulders portraits of aging men. 
  Thus on 26 December 2016 a single stamp was issued to commemorate the Hardayal Municipal Public Library in New Delhi which was founded in 1862. Although the building was constructed between 1861 and 1866 the design fails to give an impression of the building's true age and it is so depicted that it looks like a modern cheap concrete construction which is something of a pity. Rating:- *.
  In Blog 821 I mentioned the set which India Post was planning to issue to commemorate various notable persons of Bihar. This issue was released on 26 December 2016 as a set of 8 rather than of 6 as stated originally. Although quite colourful the designs are the usual head and shoulders portraits of mostly middle-aged and elderly men. It really is time for India Post to come up with a more original approach to commemorating the numerous people it wishes to honour instead of the constantly staid and dull designs.
  The important persons featured on the original 6 values are identified in Blog 821 - the 2 additional personalities are Phanishwar Nath Renu, a write of modern Hindu literature and Sri Krishna Sinha who was a former first minister of Bihar.
  Rating:- **.

   🇸🇭Without any publicity to collectors that I have seen the St. Helena postal administration has released a set of 3 Christmas stamps on the subject of locals performing Christmas carols. I like the local topicality of the subject though groups of singers wearing Father Christmas hats don't necessarily make for designs which are likely to excite stamp collectors although I guess the St. Helenians who find themselves depicted on the stamps will probably get a thrill from being featured so. 
   The St. Helena philatelic bureau does not yet feature the stamps on its website and I have not seen any information put out by its agents, Harry Allen, and so I know no details of the issue or its date of issue. Rating:- **. 

   🇫🇯Another Christmas set for which I am not aware of any details being yet published is that from Fiji Post which has released 4 stamps on the subject. These designs seem as parochial as the St. Helena stamps but are more interesting than the simple photographs used by the Atlantic Ocean island's stamp designer. Rating:- ***.