Sunday 30 April 2017

991. Samoa: Philatelic Collector Out, High Value Surcharges In.

  πŸ‡ΌπŸ‡Έ Recently, Steven Zirinsky wrote in Stampboards that he would soon have news of the issue of high value Parcel stamps. And now in his Zirinsky Stamps Newsletter he expands on these hints.

  First the good news - Steven Zirinsky's article records that the agreement between Samoa Post and its supplier of postage stamps, Philatelic Collictor Inc., finished at the end of 2016.
  Now the bad news - The only meter franking machine belonging to Samoa Post "broke down at the end of last year" - this had previously been used for EMS, packets and parcels. Therefore Samoa Post decided to provide itself with its own stamps by surcharging previously issued stamps with high values up to $200 (£59.18p) for use on Parcel mail and rather as we've heard quite a lot recently (Royal Mail David Bowie sheets, Guernsey cruise ship Post and Go labels and so on) not for philatelic sales.
  Steven Zirinsky reveals in his newsletter that this has resulted in the production of 10 new stamps with the face values of $30, $40, $50, $60, $70, $80, $90, $100, $150 and $200 giving a total face value of WST870 which is equal to £257.61p
  The new surcharges are applied to the following stamps:-

  $30 on 35s 2002 Faces of Samoa

  $40 on 2002 95s Year of Eco Tourism

  $50 on 1999 $2 Christmas.

  $60 on 2002 5s Faces of Samoa

  $70 on 1999 70s 30th anniversary of the first lunar landing

  $80 on 2002 $1.40c Treasured islands of the South Pacific (scenic views)

  $90 on 2003 95s Sporting legends

  $100 on 2001 $1 Fire walking

  $150 on 2006 $1.75c Queen Elizabeth's 80th birthday

  $200 on 1994 90s Teuila tourism festival

  The main points here are:-

1. These are stamps which are reported by an expert in the philately of the Pacific area and which he reports as having been issued by a postal service with the specific intention of them being used on Parcel Mail and are genuinely required to meet that need. They are not products put out by a foreign philatelic agency which have little relevance to postal needs and have excessive face value.

2. These are high to extremely high face values which may well be needed to address postal service requirements and as such are of interest to stamp collectors who are interested in adding real postage stamps to their collections.

3. Their role as stamps for a parcel service is made clear and used as an explanation for the face values which seems entirely reasonable. Of course they will be of interest to collectors and Samoa Post should make them available to any collectors who wish to, and can afford to, buy them. 

4. Presumably respectable stamp catalogues will list these as "Parcel stamps" in a defined sub-section and this gives collectors the opportunity to decide whether they wish to add that particular group of stamps to their collections.

  This is interesting and very helpful news and information from Steven Zirinsky. His newsletter is always worth following.

Saturday 29 April 2017

990. Charming Conservation Stamps From Jersey, Tsunami Of Issues From Australia Post.

   πŸ‡―πŸ‡ͺ Jersey Post has announced 2 new issues for June. A charming set of 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet will be issued on 14 June 2017 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Darwin Initiative which is a United Kingdom grants scheme that helps to protect biodiversity and the natural environment through locally based projects worldwide and which is partnered with Gerald Durrell's Jersey Wildlife Conservation Trust. The issue highlights projects which have been undertaken by Durrell and feature six species which have benefited from his work. The miniature sheet stamp depicts Charles Darwin.
  The designs are from illustrations by Sara Menon and printing was by Cartor. The stamps are gummed but the miniature sheet is self-adhesive. This is a very attractive set and highlights a subject of local importance in Jersey. Rating:- *****.

  The Darwin/Durrell issue is preceded by a set of 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet which are to be released on 7 June 2017 and which commemorates the Centenary of Lions Clubs International. It's a pleasant enough set and was designed by So Design Consultants and lithographed by Lowe-Martin. Rating:- ***.

  πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί Australia Post is planning to release a very large number of issues over the next couple of months and there seems very little reason for it to do so in most cases apart from the obvious reason which is financial gain.
  The first is on the subject of "Caves" and is due for release on 2 May 2017. The issue is made up of basic stamps (total face value $7), a $20 booklet of 20 x $1 self-adhesive stamps in 2 different designs (plus a $400 "chequebook" of 20 x 20 self-adhesive stamps) and a strip of 2 different $1 stamps sold in self-adhesive coils of 100. The issue was designed by Jo Mure and lithographed by RA Printing and perforated 14 x 14.5. Rating:- *.

  On 16 May 2017 an issue on the subject of Street art will be released which is made up of 4 basic gummed stamps, a gummed miniature and a $10 booklet of 10 x $1 self-adhesive stamps. Oh yes, there's a "chequebook" of 20 x 10 x $1 stamps costing $200. The issue was designed by John White and lithographed by EGO and perforated 14.5 x 14. The designs include some interesting and attractive art but placed in the context of the philatelic overload Australia Post has allowed to get itself into, the Rating is:- *.

  A single gummed $1 stamp produced in sheetlets of 10 will be issued on 24 May to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a constitutional referendum in Australia which affected the rights of indigenous peoples. The stamp was designed by Rachael Sarra Gilimbaa and lithographed by RA Printing and perforated 14.5 x 14. This is a significant anniversary in Australia's modern history and though the design is not particularly attractive the stamp is quite interesting. Rating:- ***.

  Another single stamp will be issued on 7 June 2017 to commemorate the Centenary of Lions Clubs International. This issue will be released in gummed form and in self-adhesive form from $20 booklets of 20 x $1 (plus $400 "chequebooks" of 20 x 20 x $1). The stamp was designed by Lynda Warner and lithographed by RA Printing and perforated 14 x 14.5. Rating:- *.

  Two gummed stamps and 1 miniature sheet will be issued on 17 June 2017 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Australian poet and story writer Henry Lawson. Each stamp will also be available in self-adhesive format, the $1 value from $20 booklets of 20 (plus $400 "chequebooks" of 20 x 20) and the $2.95 from "sheetlets" of 5 stamps sold for $14.75 plus $295 "chequebooks" of 20 x 5 x $2.95 stamps. The issue was designed by Jamie and Leanne Tuffney and lithographed by EGO and perforated 14 x 14.5. Rating:- ***.

  Yet more on 20 June 2017 on the subject of "Australian succulents". The issue is made up of 4 gummed stamps, 4 self-adhesive stamps sold in $10 booklets of 10 (plus a $200 "chequebook" of 20 x 10 x $1) and strips of 4 stamps from self-adhesive coils. The issue was designed by Janet Boschen and lithographed by EGO or Pemara (coil stamps) and perforated 14 x 14.5. Rating:- *.

  Australia Post will also release its annual "Australian Legends" set on 29 May 2017 but details of the issue have not yet been released. If the past is anything to go by these will result in a large number of new stamps with gummed and self-adhesive versions. We await the details of this issue with bated breath.
   πŸ‡¦πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¨πŸ‡¨ But that's not all. Australia Post will also issue 4 stamps and 1 miniature sheet inscribed "Cocos (Keeling) Islands Australia" on the subject of "Garden fruits of Cocos". This issue is scheduled for release on 30 May 2017 and was designed by Anita Xhafer and lithographed by EGO and perforated 14 x 14.5. Rating:- ***.

Friday 28 April 2017

989. Regional Bias In Royal Mail Design Choice?; Canada Star Trek Booklet.

  πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ Now to be seen on the internet is the new set from Royal Mail which will be issued on 20 June 2017 on the subject of Windmills and water mills. The featured mills are located in Scotland (1), Northern Ireland (1), Wales (1), The Midlands - Staffordshire (1) and of course there had to be two which are located in the south east of England with East Anglia, The North and the West and South-west being ignored completely. Presumably those who choose the mills to be depicted could not find anything suitable in London where, I'm sure, all the designs would have been located if at all possible and so the next best thing was to choose 2 locations in the English south-east with a passing nod to the rest of England with a single stamp depicting an English location north of Watford. Royal Mail really needs to lose its obsession with depicting items on its stamps which feature mainly London or south-eastern subjects - there's a great deal worth featuring in the rest of The British Isles and Northern Ireland.
  One Midlands mill that could have been featured, and which would have proved favourable to those interested in the ever-popular "Lord of the Rings" books is Sare Hole Mill (depicted below), one of only 2 working mills in Birmingham. It has a number of claims to fame, having once been owned by Matthew Boulton and latterly being used as a location for The Lord Of The Rings books since JRR Tolkien lived only a short distance from it and who identified it as the model for the mill in Hobbiton. New Zealand may have its own "Hobbiton" created in recent years for "The Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" movies (and philatelically has made much of it) but Sare Hole Mill is the real Hobbiton and dates back to 1542. Now, if you ask me, that's a real missed opportunity -  an opportunity to cash in on its Tolkien connections as well as showing a historic building which shows that there's more to Britain than London and the South-east.
  And then there's East Anglia with its Constable country mills - what about Flatford Mill (scene of The Hay Wain or East Dereham Mill? Why feature a Sussex mill when a Suffolk mill might have been much more recognisable? Especially as the 1825 version of Flatford Mill had already been depicted on one of the 1968 "Paintings" stamps - Constable's Hay Wain itself - what a pleasure it would have been to compare the painting with a present day view. Lost opportunities. Perhaps there will be an accompanying miniature sheet which depicts mills from other regions.
  Despite this habitual regional bias in design choice, this is still an attractive and interesting set. Rating:- ****.

  πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ In Blog 989 I wrote about the latest issue from Canada Post which is a second set on the subject of the television programme Star Trek and which also includes a Prestige booklet. There are 4 panes in the booklet and one contains a single stamp with a face value of $5 and featuring an alien spacecraft called a "Borg Cube". Is this an example of overkill by Canada Post? Rating:- **.

  The coil stamp:-

Thursday 27 April 2017

988. Pos Malaysia Commemorates Coronation Of Sultan Muhammad V.

  πŸ‡²πŸ‡Ύ Pos Malaysia issued 1 stamp, in perforated and imperforate formats, and 1 miniature sheet on 25 April 2017 to commemorate the coronation of the new king of Malaysia, Sultan Muhammad V whom I have previously mentioned in Blog 880. The issue was designed by World Communication Network Resources (M) Sdn Bhd. Rating:- *****.

  πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ Canada Post released a second issue on the subject of the 50th anniversary of the science fiction television series Star Trek on 27 April 2017. The issue depicts captains of the various incarnations of the USS Enterprise from the different series of Star Trek and are released in booklets of 10 stamps (2 x 5 different self-adhesive stamps), coils of 50 self-adhesive stamps depicting a spacecraft (1 design) and a gummed sheetlet of 5 different stamps.
  The issue was designed by Costa Tsetsekas and Adrian Hovath and lithographed by Lowe Martin. A Prestige booklet was also released which included a a pane containing a single $5 stamp depicting an alien spacecraft (a "Borg cube"). The booklet is dealt with in Blog 989. Rating:- **.

  πŸ‡¬πŸ‡¬ Guernsey Post will issue a set of 4 stamps on 17 May 2017 on the subject of "The Guernsey jumper". One of the stamps in the set is also Guernsey's contribution to the 2017 SEPAC omnibus series. The issue was designed by Joseph Smith and lithographed by Enschede and perforated 13.5. Rating:- **.

  πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡± Stamperija's latest release of paraphilatelic products includes 10 sheetlets each made of 4 different "stamps" and 10 accompanying miniature sheets with the name of Sierra Leone printed on them. The items are similar to the gaudy 10 sheetlets and 10 miniature sheets mentioned in Blog 352 and said to have similarly been "issued" on 30 March 2017. The subjects covered in this latest melange are the new leader of Myanmar (Aung San Suy Kyi), Fish, Cats, Endemic animals of Indonesia (Bandung 2017), Butterflies, Horses, Dinosaurs, Pandas, Lions and Birds of prey. Rating:- 0.