A number of stamps with the names of client territories of the Lithuania-based philatelic agency, Stamperija, printed on them are currently being offered for sale on an internet auction site and they take the form of being the sort of items which might actually be on sale in post offices in the countries whose names appear on them for use on ordinary mail. Products with the names of Sierra Leone and Maldives (which is currently applying to rejoin The Commonwealth) are being offered but there is no definite evidence to confirm that these stamps, despite their appearance, actually are on sale in the respective countries for true postal use.
🇸🇱 Sierra Leone - 2018 - 17 stamps - 2 stamps depicting Diamonds, 3 stamps on the subject of Iron ore mining, 2 stamps depicting birds, 3 stamps depicting Lions, 4 stamps depicting Pigeons and 3 stamps depicting Parrots. All three depicted parrots are native species of south and Central America rather than West Africa so it is a mystery as to why they are featured on these stamps. Both the northern white owl and the Vieillot's Weaver are species which are found in Sierra Leone.
I would be more convinced of these being genuinely intended to serve postal needs if the two diamond designs did not have very high face values - Le 500,00 (£46.50p) and Le 250,000 (£23.25p). It's hard to believe that there is a genuine postal need for 2 stamps with a total face value of £69.75p. If we exclude the high values, rating:- **.
🇲🇻 As Maldives may rejoin The Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting to be held in Rwanda in 2020 I will also detail stamps issued by Stamperija in the name of that country which look as though they are intended for use on normal mail and seem to have the right face values for use on tourist postcard mail. The issue is made up of 9 stamps and depict underwater diving and marine life which are very reasonable subjects if they are intended to be used on tourist mail.
Unlike the Sierra Leone issue this set does not include any indecently highly priced stamps. I assume that this set was released during 2018.
🇦🇬🇰🇳🇻🇨 The 150th Birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most important anniversaries of 2019 which will be commemorated by a large number of stamp issues from postal administrations and philatelic agencies around The Commonwealth.
The United States- and China-based philatelic agency, IGPC, which is always sure to use every excuse to release a set of stamps (and at least one accompanying miniature sheet) not so much to honour an individual but rather to exploit that person's fame to make money from it cynically has already released some slightly blurred pictures of some of the philatelic products it intends to issue to profit from the Gandhi commemorations. These items have the names of three of its client territories printed on them - Antigua And Barbuda, Nevis, and St Vincent And The Grenadines. Rating:- 0.
Antigua And Barbuda - 2019 - 1 miniature sheet containing 5 different stamps:-
Nevis - 2019 - 1 miniature sheet containing 4 different stamps:-
St Vincent And The Grenadines - 2019 - 1 miniature sheet containing 6 different stamps:-
🇬🇧 Although having a multitude of top rank British cultural figures who could - and should - receive philatelic commemoration but have have not yet done so, Royal Mail has decided that commemoration of the 500th death anniversary of the (admittedly great) Italian artist, Leonardo Da Vinci, should form the basis of a set of 12 stamps and an expensive Prestige booklet to be issued on 13 February 2019 to coincide with the Spring Stampex 2019 philatelic exhibition in London. The booklet will contain 4 panes, 3 each made up of 4 different stamps depicting Da Vinci's paintings and the fourth containing definitive stamps. The issue is doubtless being released to tie in with a nationwide exhibition of the works of Da Vinci which are in the Queen's private collection and the hope that this will prove popular with the general public and that this popularity will spill over into them buying the stamps and booklet as souvenirs of the event. Like most philatelic entities Royal Mail is reaching the stage where it will issue just about anything if there's something those who run the organisation think that they can cash in on. Rating:- 0.
🇬🇬 Following the Chinese New Year stamps, due on 22 January 2019 (see Blogs 1365 and 1351) Guernsey Post will then release on 13 February 2019 two sets including one which will be inscribed 'Alderney'.
The Alderney issue is made up of 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet and commemorates the 120th anniversary of the sinking of SS Stella. Quite why it is necessary to commemorate a 120th anniversary is not clear - it reeks of a postal service scrambling around to try to find subjects to feature on its postage stamps especially as Guernsey Post commemorated the Centenary of the ship's loss in 1999 with the issue of a 2 stamp miniature sheet also inscribed 'Alderney'. Ho hum. Rating:- **.
Guernsey Post will also issue a set of as many as 8 stamps to commemorate the English architect John Wilson (1781 - 1866) who was one of the most notable architects in Guernsey for the buildings he designed there from 1813 to 1831. Quite why Guernsey Post has chosen 2019 to commemorate him is not clear to me though one of his notable buildings in the island - St James Church depicted on a 46p stamp - commemorated its Bicentenary in 2018 which is a rough approximation to a significant anniversary of an important local event. I have seen only one stamp from the set so far. I could have produced the design myself on my i Pad in about 5 minutes, being, as it is, a simple black and white photograph with a bit of text and the Queen's Head added to it. Rating:- **.