Monday 28 August 2017

1071. ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ Sheetlets Starting To Dominate The New Issue Market?

  It seems to me that more and more of these Blogs are reporting the issue of numerous, often  personalisable, sheetlets rather than straightforward new stamps. Read on ....

  ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ In Blog 1069 I mentioned the set of 5 stamps which Singapore Post intends to issue on 1 September 2017 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the issue of the first Straits Settlements stamps, Singapore Post will also issue a sheetlet of 10 stamps on the same date (5 each of 2 My Stamp designs) and attached labels which will depict post boxes used in Singapore from the earliest days of its postal service up to now. The item will be sold for $8 (Singapore).
  I like the issue from the point of view of the theme of the subject depicted on the labels but would have much preferred it if the issue had been a set of 5 stamps. Rating:- **.

  ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฒ.The Isle Of Man Post Office will do its best to cash in on the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana Princess Of Wales, as so many postal administrations are trying to do, by issuing a sheetlet of 12 stamps (3 x 4) on 6 September 2017. It has been produced, inevitably, in a limited edition - 5000 - and is made up the stamps previously released in 1998. The item was designed by Glazier Design and lithographed by Cartor and perforated 14. At least the purchase price is only £3. Rating:- *.

  ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Royal Mail has long accepted that the subjects of its new stamp issues should be dumbed down to a populist triteness and so we find that in recent years we have had philatelic items released to commemorate people, particularly veteran popular musicians, whose fame may or may not survive the passage of time. The most excruciating example of this crass populism is the sheetlet which Royal Mail issued in 2010 to commemorate the 64th birthday of David Gilmour, a musician with the over-featured musical group, Pink Floyd, which was made up of 10 identical stamps depicting the music album cover of "The Division Bell". I may be wrong but I doubt that the Britons of 350 years in the future will talk very much about the works of David Gilmour.

  However a figure of immense importance that we do remember from 350 years ago is that of John Milton. 2017 is the year in which the 350th anniversary of the publication of his work, Paradise Lost, is celebrated and indeed Royal Mail has decided to commemorate this important anniversary - but, alas, not with a stamp but with .... a postmark.
  I received today a letter from the Philatelic dealer, Nigel Haworth, which had a nice "Smilers" stamp and label attached to it and even more interestingly, a postmark which is a little difficult to read but which says, I believe, "350 years since/publication of/John Milton's/ Paradise Lost". A nice little item but what a pity that Royal Mail hadn't had a sense of what's really important and commemorated the anniversary with a postage stamp or even a complete set. Still, it's a postmark of interest to collectors of the theme of Literature on stamps. Meanwhile I'll add my Spacehopper stamp to my collection.

John Milton dictating Paradise Lost 

    ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Guernsey Post Philatelic Bureau "tweeted" on 25 August 2017 that Post and Go kiosk GG01 was dispensing that day "Lighthouses" stamps with 2 different inscriptions - one to welcome passengers on board the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth visiting Guernsey that day and the other to welcome passengers on board the cruise ship Marco Polo. It must have been a pretty hectic day in St. Peter Port.

  ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ India Post will issue, date to be confirmed, a pair of stamps and a miniature sheet which unites the two stamps to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Goan Tiatr. This is an attractive and interesting set. Rating:- ***.

  ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ  Pos Malaysia issued a My Stamp sheetlet of 8 stamps (2 x 4 different designs) on 21 August 2017 to commemorate National Day and Malaysia Day. This is colourful and interesting item but it's yet another sheetlet. Rating:- **.

  Are simple commemorative stamps approaching the end of the line and this period of new issue philately evolving into an era where postal administrations commemorate notable events and anniversaries by the production of personalisable sheetlets, usually sold at a large premium, or just by producing a cheap post mark for any worthy commemoration which however is not seen as a money spinner? It's beginning to look like it.


  1. I dislike sheetlets and smiley sheets immensely. Tristan da Cunha went down this route about ten years or more ago. Each new commemorative set had a sheetlet of 8 or 10 issued for each stamp in the set! As a completist I felt duty bound to buy them all to get the full set. In the end I packed up collecting TdC, I just couldn't afford it. I see smiley sheets as a bit of a cop out, they tend to feature a standard postage stamp, one that has been issued numerous times before, and the actual theme of the issue is covered by labels. Why? If a label is going to be designed why not make that the stamp? Moving my interest to collecting round stamps, thus far, this isn't a problem for me. Crossed fingers.

    1. Some European countries - Germany for one - have been producing their stamps in sheets of 10 for some years. It seems that that is the size for their counter books, and single stamps are sold from those sheets.
      I think Guernsey has done the same for some time, and if you buy a single set of stamps (at a PO) you will get a set with the sheet margin attached. If you get them from the bureau the margin is probably removed on all.

      If that is the only way that they are sold, then it's OK. If the set is produced in individual sheets for each stamp AND in a sheetlet of all, then that's not a good thing.

    2. Thank you. I am not too concerned about stamps produced in small sheets from which one can buy a single stamp but rather the growing number, from a number of countries, of sheetlets which are sold as complete items. The personalisable sheets make up a good number of these from countries including Malaysia, India, Australia to mention but a few. In addition the offshore islands, in particular Jersey and Isle Of Man, seem to be liberal with the number of "Collectors sheets" they produce and Jersey Post now seems to think that special commemorations should be celebrated by such sheetlets while what we used to call standard "commemoratives" are now simple thematics without any real reason being given for the choice of subject to be issued at a certain time. Of course almost every single standard "commemorative" set is accompanied by a miniature sheet or a "Prestige" booklet to increase the price of buying a "complete set".

  2. It is worth noting that on one hand you're not required to purchase anything that the post office produces, and how you form, and what you limit your collection to, is completely up to you. Just because a stamp is sold in a sheet of 8 or 10 doesn't mean you have to buy it. However as White Knight says, it is when this is the only way to buy such an issue that becomes the concern. Also, while many such sheets contain current stamps, there can be subtle differences, and hence they create a new stamp - Australia Post has done this on several occasions where the reprinted definitive stamps are either by a new printer, or have a slight difference in the design or perforation.

  3. Netherlands now sell its new stamps only in sheetlet of 10. I mean online purchase (either on official website or through WOPA) and subscription. Maybe at the post office counter the customer can get single stamps.

    1. No single stamps at PO's. Only machine printed labels.