Saturday, 31 March 2018

1200. 🇬🇧 Surprise Royal Mail Overprint Commemorates Commonwealth Meeting.

  🇬🇧 In a special announcement on 1 April over the Easter holiday, Royal Mail has revealed that, having previously chosen not to commemorate the event, a stamp will indeed be released to commemorate the hosting by the United Kingdom of the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London and Windsor from 16 to 20 April 2018 which will be attended by senior representatives of the 53 Commonwealth nations.
  This change of heart is likely to have occurred as the result of governmental pressure to commemorate this notable event and has resulted in a stamp which will be most unusual for modern day stamps from Royal Mail - an old commemorative, the 19 and a half pence value from the 1983 Commonwealth Day issue, with a '1st' surcharge and new inscriptions applied so that the 'Commonwealth Day 14 March 1983' wording is cancelled by a blue line and the inscription 'CHOGM 2018' is added in green.
  It is also unusual in these modern times for Royal Mail to release a single 1st Class stamp as it is unlikely to be cost effective but maybe it is the cheapest way to commemorate this event and meet the government's requests and also use up a convenient old stock of these stamps The date of issue will be Tuesday 17 April, the day after the meeting begins. An interesting item which commemorates a notable event, Rating:- ****.

1199. 🇬🇾 Political Interference Delays Stamp Issue In Guyana.

  🇬🇾 Who knows how the telling of history will be distorted over the next 500 years. Who can tell how many fine points about historical events will be lost. 2018 will be as remote to historians in a half millenium's time as 1518 is to us. Actually 1518 may be more familiar to us due to the keeping of paper records than 2018 will be in 2518 as the keeping of digital records seems altogether much more precarious than the methods tried and tested by the passage of time.
  A wise historian in 2518 may well decide to see if she can track down the unlikely continuing existence of a stamp collection for the wise historian might well appreciate the amount of contemporary 21st and 20th century information that could be contained in such a collection. She might discover the names of territories of which she was previously unaware, of events previously unknown and of political leaders and rulers long forgotten. Of course, she would need to be discerning about the information she extracts from these miniature records since they may well have been interfered with by a person of power, whether contemporary or in the future.
  In Blog 1183 I mentioned that the Guyana Post Office Corporation intended to issue a miniature sheet containing 4 different stamps to commemorate the Centenary of the birth of Dr Cheddi Jagan who first became Chief Minister of British Guiana in 1953 and was then prime minister of the colony from 1961 to 1964.
  Jagan founded the People's Progressive Party in 1950 with Forbes Burnham, After Jagan's election victory in 1953 the British staged a military intervention because the British prime minister, Winston Churchill, feared that Jagan was a Marxist-Leninist and that he would give the Soviet Union a foothold in Central America. Britain suspended the constitution and installed an interim government and restricted Jagan's movements but when the PPP won a general election in British Guiana in August 1961 Jagan returned to the role of Chief Minister for the following 3 years. By the 1964 elections, Forbes Burnham had established a separate party, the People's National Congress, and the PNC together with another party won a majority of seats in the new parliament and were invited to form a government. Jagan, however, refused to resign and had to be removed by the colony's Governor.

  Jagan was leader of the opposition for 28 years until the PPP won the elections of October 1992. By then Guyana had achieved independence and become a republic with an executive president and so Jagan became President of Guyana. He held the post until he died on 6 March 1997 having had heart surgery following a heart attack.
  Following his death the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre was established in Georgetown to commemorate his life and work and it was with this organisation that the Guyana Post Office Corporation collaborated to produce the illustrated miniature sheet containing 4 stamps. The plan was to release the issue on 22 March 2018 both locally and through the philatelic agents, IGPC, which are based in Beijing and New York.
  On the proposed date of issue the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre announced that it had had plans to release 400 first day covers of the miniature sheet and had made a deposit with the Guyana Post Office of $200000 (Guyana dollars). It had planned to launch the issue at an event scheduled for 20 March but the Guyana Post Office had not provided the items and had advised the Research Centre to contact the office of the President of Guyana about the matter. It appeared that the issue of these stamps had fallen victim to political interference from the office of President David Granger who had come to power in 2015 as leader of a coalition of APNU (A Partnership for National Unity) and Alliance For Change after defeating the PPP. Indeed President Granger is quoted as saying that the issue of the stamps "...was not a postal function...", whatever that may mean.
  It looked highly likely that this miniature sheet would have the status of having been unissued to local post offices and the Guyana Post Office Facebook site makes no mention of the sheet's release. It is featured on the IGPC website but if ordered via the site it is not available. It has been sold earlier to some dealers and I have been able to obtain one of the sheets from one such dealer. In the last couple of days it has been announced that the President's office will allow the stamps to be issued eventually but whether or not that is the case remains to be seen but for now it might be worth looking out for this interesting and historically significant philatelic item.
  I wonder if our future historian will come across this item and be puzzled about what happened in the run-up to the release of the sheet and wonder just who was Dr. Cheddi Jagan, 'Man of the People', as the stamp labels him. Of course that would be no problem at all for her in comparison with trying to work out who the 10 characters featured on the Royal Mail 'Game Of Thrones' stamps were and which territories they ruled over!

Friday, 30 March 2018

1198. Happy Easter.

  In the late 1960s and early 70s the issue of Easter stamps became popular in a number of Commonwealth territories following the success of Christmas stamps which had been issued increasingly from the early to mid 1960s. Coupled with the then popularity of 'art on stamps', many of the stamps featured designs which used 'Old Master'paintings. The issue of Easter stamps had a transient popularity with client territories of the Crown Agents and, when their money-making potential was recognised, with IGPC.
  In keeping with it being Good Friday, depicted here are a number of stamps issued from 1968 to 1982 by Commonwealth postal entities on the subject of the Crucifixion.

  🇮🇳 India Post issued a miniature sheet containing 8 different stamps on the subject of 'The Solar System' on 20 March 2018. This item, printed by Security Press Hyderabad, and for which no reason is given for its release at this time, is certainly very colourful but one is bound to ask, other than for the generation of revenue for India Post, why is such an issue necessary? Rating:- *.
  The issue was designed by Shri Suresh Kumar.

  🇮🇲 The Isle Of Man Post Office will issue a set of 10 stamps and a booklet containing 10 self-adhesive stamps to commemorate the Manx government's official "Year of Our Island 2018" project. The designs are made up of photographs by Simon Park who is a resident of the island. The issue was designed by Isle Of Man Advertising and lithographed by Cartor and perforated 14. Rating:- ***.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

1197. 🇬🇲 The Gambia's First Issue On Commonwealth Return Has Little Local Relevance.

   🇬🇲 The Beijing- and New York-based philatelic agency, IGPC, has released details of numerous philatelic products it has recently, or is just about to, release on behalf of several client postal administrations.
  Notable is the first philatelic item to have been released with the name of The Gambia printed on it since the country rejoined The Commonwealth on 7 February 2018. A sheetlet of 4 stamps was 'issued' on 27 March 2018 on the subject of 'African primates' but as I only include items in my own collection which have direct relevance to the country whose name is printed on the stamps, I shall not be adding it to my album because only 1 of the featured species are found in The Gambia - the Patas monkey. Rating:- 0.

  Other new items released by IGPC are:-

   🇲🇸 Montserrat - 1 March 2018 - Frogs and toads of Montserrat - 1 sheetlet containing 4 different stamps and 1 miniature sheet. Rating:- ***.

  🇦🇬 Antigua And Barbuda - 27 February 2018 - 3 miniature sheets (2 containing 4 different circular stamps and 1 containing a single stamp). Rating:- 0.

🇬🇩 Grenada - 5 March 2018 - Engagement of Prince Henry Of Wales and Meghan Markel - 1 miniature sheet containing 4 different stamps. Rating:- 0.

  🇬🇩 Grenada Carriacou And Petite Martinique - 7 March 2018 - 125th Birth anniversary of Mao Zedong - 2 miniature sheets (1 containing 3 different stamps and 1 containing a single stamp). The issue also commemorates the bizarrely insignificant 33rd anniversary of the establishment of Grenada's diplomatic relations with China. Rating:- 0.

  21 March 2018 - Gemstones - 2 miniature sheets (1 containing 6 different stamps and 1 containing 3 different stamps). Rating:- 0.

  7 March 2018 - Jellyfish - 2 miniature sheets each containing 4 different stamps. Rating:- 0.

  7 March 2018 - Land mammals. This issue depicts the Mona monkey and a species of bat which are found in Grenada but the other depicted species are not although similar species are present in the island. Presumably this reflects lazy research on the part of the designer. Rating:- 0.

  🇻🇨 St. Vincent And The Grenadines - 7 March 2018 - 'Colourful Birds of the world' - 1 sheetlet of 9 different stamps and 1 single stamp miniature sheet. These designs have been used before in an issue from Zambia of 2000 as has previously occurred when designs formerly used on stamps from Tanzania were reused for stamps of Ghana. Rating:- 0.

  7 March 2018 - The St. Vincent parrot - 1 miniature sheet containing a single stamp. Rating:- ****.

  7 March 2018 - Parrots of the Caribbean area - 1 miniature sheet containing 4 different stamps. Only one of the stamps depicts the St Vincent parrot which is the only species of parrot found in St Vincent. Rating:- 0.

  7 March 2008 - Caribbean reptiles - 2 miniature sheets, 1 containing 4 different stamps and the other a single stamp. Rating:- ****. Remarkably, all depicted species are to be found in St Vincent.

  7 March 2018 - the Green turtle - 2 miniature sheets, 1 containing 6 different stamps and the other containing 2 stamps. Rating:- ***.

  7 March 2018 - Marine life of the Caribbean area - 1 miniature sheet containing 4 different stamps and 1 containing 2 different stamps. Rating:- **.

  7 March 2018 - Centenary of the Royal Air Force - 2 sheetlets each containing 6 different stamps. Rating:- 0.

  7 March 2018 - 75th Birth anniversary of Muhammad Ali - 2 miniature sheets, 1 containing 4 different stamps and the other a single stamp. Rating:- 0.

  🇹🇻 Tuvalu - 21 March 2018 - Rays - 1 sheetlet of 6 different stamps. Rating:- 0.

  21 March 2018 - Starfish - 2 miniature sheets, 1 containing 4 different stamps and 1 containing 2 different stamps. Rating:- 0.

  21 March 2018 - Engagement of Prince Henry of Wales and Meghan Markle - 1 miniature sheet containing a single stamp. Rating:- 0.

  21 March 2018 - Commemoration of Donald Trump, President of The United States Of America - 3 miniature sheets, 1 containing 8 different stamps, 1 containing 4 different stamps and 1 containing 2 different stamps. Rating:- 0.