Saturday 19 August 2017

1068. 🇯🇪 Jersey Commemorates Lillie Langtry But Why Now?

  🇯🇪 Jersey Post will issue a large set of 8 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on 22 September 2017 to commemorate the fabled "Jersey Lily", the Jersey-born actress and mistress of King Edward VII, Lillie Langtry This is undoubtedly an attractive and interesting set though very little effort seems to have been put into its design since it is made up of photographs of the actress with a little bit of lettering and the Queen's Head applied to them (I could produce these designs myself on my I Pad in a matter of minutes).
  Another question about these items arises as to why they are to be issued now, the issue doesn't seem to coincide with any notable anniversary relating to Langtry (born 1853 [164th birth anniversary?], died 1929 [88th death anniversary?] ho hum). One presumes that the subject was thought up because Jersey Post issues so very many stamps per year that any subject relating to the island is fair game whether there's a good reason to release such an issue or not. It all goes to meeting the Philatelic bureau's financial targets - there's always some collector out there with the money to spend. Interesting stamps but Rating:- 0.

  🇮🇲 Isle Of Man Post Office plans to issue a set of 6 stamps on 13 September 2017 to commemorate the inventor, horologist and philanthropist, Dr. John C. Taylor, who, while being an Englishman born in Buxton in Derbyshire, attended school in the Isle Of Man and worked in business in Castletown and was awarded an Honorary degree by the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology having made donations to the University and he was also a donor to Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, his alma mater.
  Taylor is a horologist and in 2008 donated a £1 million clock to Corpus Christie which was the first in a series of such time pieces which he calls Chronophages (which sounds rather fanciful and like a monster from Dr. Who). The stamps depict various aspects of Taylor's interests, inventions and innovations. The question I have about this issue is similar to the Jersey Post Langtry issue - why issue it now?
  The issue doesn't seem to commemorate any particular anniversary relevant to Taylor (he was born in 1936 - perhaps the issue is to commemorate the 81st anniversary of his birth, or perhaps not). Ho hum, again.
  Rating:- 0.


  1. I guess it is the 140th anniversary of the beginning of Lillie's affair with Edward.

  2. Ah yes! What better reason than that could there be?

  3. I hate to say it, but I think some post offices are issuing stamps these days because if they waited for an appropriate anniversary in the future it may be too late (either stamp collecting will have become a thing of the past, or there will not be any revenue generated). I will also add that we are looking at this from distinctly British eyes - many European countries, particularly France and its territories, don't have such qualms about releasing stamps from the 136th birth anniversary of a famous person, event or landmark. However, they do often only release one or two stamps.

    Perhaps a better way for Jersey et al, would be issue the stamps but instead of releasing eight stamps, stick to just one or two high quality designs that tell us something more about the person/event and why it is worthy of a stamp issue - a couple of large format Langtry stamps with a little more inscription (and perhaps showing a couple of portraits) would be so much more fitting.

    1. Thank you, Chris.
      Your observation that postal services issue stamps today because they can not be bothered to wait for an appropriate anniversary is of course correct. We are at the stage where stamps are issued just because the subject offers potential as a money maker and for no other reason. It is the same in society in general where no-one is prepared to wait for something they want which explains the high level of debt.

      And doubtlessly the Jersey Philatelic Bureau has been set financial targets by those higher up in Jersey Post and those who choose what will go into stamp programmes are scrabbling around looking for subjects as well as deciding to issue large sets and countless miniature sheets which will bring in enough money to help them achieve those targets.

      The same is no doubt true for Isle Of Man Post Office which has been in dire financial straits for some time.

      You are quite right that more information on a stamp might be helpful (and informative and even educational) but no doubt designers would say that any more text on the stamp would spoil the visual effect of the design.

      Fewer stamps in any set, as you suggest, would be welcome.

      And if the collecting of new stamps does become a thing of the past then Jersey Post and the Isle Of Man Post Office and Australia Post and Royal Mail and so on will be heavily responsible for its fate after these recent years of greedily excessive issuing of stamps.

    2. Royal Mail said some years ago that to be 'economically viable' a stamp issue (set) had to sell for about £3.50. Now, that would be about £6, I guess which is why we get so many 10 x 1st class.

      There are exceptions, the occasional mini-sheet etc.

    3. Thanks Ian, I hadn't noticed your comment up till now. I was aware that a while ago an "economically viable" set had to be sold for about £3.50 and it's helpful to have an update on that figure. It helps to put face values into context. Excluding all the extras, that means that the collector of straightforward Royal Mail "special issues" which are running at about 14 sets per year, may expect to pay a minimum of £91 per year (face value) to maintain their collection and obviously rather more to allow for Royal Mail to make a profit on its new issue programme. This figure may help to concentrate minds about whether or not collectors think it worthwhile continuing to collect "one of everything". And then, of course, they have to add on the cost of Post and Go labels, Machin definitives, commemorative sheets, miniature sheets, Prestige booklets, retail booklets and that's before you even get to first day covers, postcards and presentation packs. Hmmm....

  4. According to Jersey Post email today re Lily Langtry:

    "to commemorate 100 years since her retirement from the stage"