Tuesday 19 June 2018

1245. A Year Of Royal Stamp Issues - Are They At All Interesting Now?

  Many stamp collectors have long been exhausted by the constant procession of royal omnibus Issues and this year - 2018 - we are particularly beset by them. We've had the Royal Wedding, the 65th anniversary of the Coronation, the Birth of Prince Louis Of Cambridge and still to come is the 70th Birthday of The Prince Of Wales, which may turn out to be the most interesting of them all.
  Poor old Prince Charles has not been the favourite of those who consider themselves clever and smart for a long time and even though he is the next king of numerous Commonwealth realms and territories and has already been chosen to be the next Head of The Commonwealth, he has not featured on all that many stamps especially in recent times though a recent issue from Malaysia depicted excellent photographs of him and his wife, The Duchess Of Cornwall (depicted below) to commemorate their visit to Malaysia.
  His main philatelic claim to fame to date is his appearance on the numerous stamps released by almost the entire Commonwealth to commemorate his wedding when he married Diana Spencer but after their divorce and her subsequent death, his second marriage, to Camilla Parker Bowles, received hardly any philatelic commemoration at all. Some of the few stamps depicting him are mentioned in Blog 489. It seems to me therefore that the stamps which will inevitably appear later this year to commemorate The Prince Of Wales' birthday may be rather interesting given that Prince Charles is an interesting man and more talented than some of his detractors would give him credit for.

  My own collecting of royal omnibus stamps is now very limited. It seems reasonable to collect issues which commemorate significant events in the Queen's life from countries of which she is the Head of State. It seems unnecessary to include stamps in my collection from republics which have chosen not to have her as Head of State - why commemorate her philatelically when you've chosen to remove her from being your monarch? Additionally I might or might not add issues commemorating significant events or anniversaries of other members of the royal family from countries of which they are members of their sovereign's family but I tend not to collect them particularly if they commemorate minor royals or are featured on stamps from territories which release clearly excessive numbers of stamps.
  Undoubtedly my favourite omnibus issue of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II is the wonderful issue from 1972 which commemorated the Silver wedding anniversary of The Queen and The Duke Of Edinburgh and which mainly was made up of sets of 2 stamps only (hardly any miniature sheets) most of which had the same basic design and which contained added motifs to identify the territory issuing the stamps. I think it was still possible to call the collection of many of the stamps 'a Crown Agents omnibus'. In fact the omnibus was made up not just of stamps issued by clients of the Crown Agents but also similar designs were used by non-Crown Agents territories including IGPC clients and Anguilla which used John Lister as its philatelic agents. As well as these other territories including Great Britain, AustraliaJersey, Guernsey and so on also participated in the omnibus but did not use designs in the style of the Crown Agents issue.
  My favourite stamps from the Crown Agents-style omnibus included a number which featured wildlife from the different territories and I especially liked the issue from British Indian Ocean Territory which depicted a flightless rail (which at the time was on the verge of extinction on Aldabra island) and a sacred ibis, the issue from British Antarctic Territory which depicted seals and emperor penguins and the pair from South Georgia which featured an elephant seal and king penguins.
  Twenty nine postal administrations plus the French New Hebrides postal service participated in the 'Crown Agents' omnibus series and examples of each are depicted below:-

Antigua - Floral patterns.

Ascension - Land crab and mako shark.

Bahamas - Mace and galleon.

Bermuda - Admiralty oar and mace.

British Antarctic Territory - Seals and emperor penguins.

British Honduras - Orchids of Belize.

British Indian Ocean Territory - Flightless rail and sacred ibis.

British Solomon Islands - Greetings and message drums.

British Virgin Islands - Sailfish and SS Sir Winston Churchill.

Brunei - Local girl with traditional flower pot and boy with bowl and pipe.

Cayman Islands - Hawksbill turtle and conch shell.

Dominica - Bananas and Sisserou parrot.

Falkland Islands - Romney Marsh sheep and giant sea lions.

Gibraltar - Arms of Gibraltar and narcissus.

Gilbert And Ellice Islands - Floral head dresses.

Grenada - National badge and nutmeg.

HM Commissioner In Anguilla - Schooner and dolphin.

Hong Kong - Phoenix and dragon.

Montserrat - Lime, tomatoes and pawpaw.

New Hebrides - Royal cipher and French emblem. Four stamps (2 British version and 2 French version).

Pitcairn - Bosun birds and longboat.

St Helena - Wire bird and white fairy tern.

St Christopher Nevis And Anguilla - Pelicans.

St Lucia - National arms and St Lucia parrot.

St Vincent - Arrowroot and breadfruit.

Seychelles - Giant tortoise and sailfish.

South Georgia - Elephant seal and King Penguins.

Tristan Da Cunha - Tristan thrushes and a wandering albatross.

Turks And Caicos Islands - Turks Head cactus and a spiny lobster.

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