Wednesday 30 December 2020

1805 . Commonwealth Stamps Review Of 2020.


🇨🇳 9 January. Chinese scientists reported that they had mapped the genetic information of a novel form of coronavirus which had caused an outbreak of severe respiratory disease in the city of Wuhan.

🇬🇧 31 January. United Kingdom authorities reported the first cases of coronavirus-related illness in the country.

🇲🇻 1 February. Maldives resumed its membership of The Commonwealth. Unfortunately it continued to allow Stamperija to produce vast numbers of philatelic products in its name. One issue however seems to have been produced for local sale - a pair of miniature sheets released to commemorate the 9th national scout jamboree with one of the stamps depicting President Ibrahim Solih in his role of Chief Scout of Maldives.

🇧🇩 17 March. Birth Centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Founding Father of Bangladesh. Many issues were released during 2020 by the Bangladesh postal service which were related to Sheikh Mujib’s birth anniversary. Other postal administrations - Nigeria, India and Bhutan - also released stamps to commemorate the anniversary.

🇬🇧 20 March. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic The British government shut down all bars, restaurants and public houses across the country.

  This was followed by the announcement of a complete national lockdown which was ordered by the government on 23 March. On that day 76 people died due to COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, within 3 weeks or so, approximately 1000 people per day were dying from the condition in the UK.

🇳🇿 25 March. The New Zealand government ordered a severe national lockdown in its reaction to the pandemic which, though it was lifted on 8 June, has left the country virtually isolated from the rest of the world but did ensure that the number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the country was very small. The population reacted by placing teddy bears in house windows and gardens and New Zealand Post issued a miniature sheet containing 6 different stamps depicting various teddy bears on 20 May 2020. The issue celebrated what was called ‘The Bear Hunt’. Pleasingly no bears are known to have been shot as a result of this issue.

🇬🇧 2 - 9 May. The London 2020 International Stamp Exhibition failed to take place because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. It was postponed to 2022. Despite this Royal Mail issued a sheetlet of 25 previously issued identical stamps on 6 May 2020 which was said to commemorate the 180th anniversary of the Penny Black. The cost of the sheet was £19.

🇨🇾 🇬🇬🇯🇪🇮🇲🇬🇮🇲🇹🇹🇷 4 May. Cyprus Post issued 2 stamps as its contribution to the 2020 EUROPA omnibus issue the subject of which this year was Ancient postal routes. Other Commonwealth postal administrations which participated in the issue were Guernsey Post, Jersey Post, Isle Of Man Post Office, Gibraltar Post and MaltaPost along with Irish postal service, An Post and the postal service of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus but not Royal Mail

🇬🇧🇳🇿🇨🇦 8 May. 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. Numerous issues from various Commonwealth postal administrations or their agents were released.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🇯🇪🇮🇲 9 June. 150th anniversary of the Death of Charles Dickens, England’s greatest novelist. Royal Mail chose not to commemorate the significant anniversary but a number of Commonwealth philatelic entities did issue stamps to celebrate the achievements of Dickens including Jersey Post and Isle Of Man Post Office. Royal Mail did choose to issue a set of stamps to commemorate the Centenary of the first publication of Rupert Bear.

🇳🇿 24 July. The planned date for the Opening ceremony of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo which was postponed until 23 July 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This did not stop New Zealand Post issuing a set of 6 stamps on 6 October commemorating the 2020 Games.

🇦🇺 4 August 2020. Australia Post issued a set of 6 stamps to celebrate the recovery of wildlife following the terrible bushfires in the latter part of 2019.

🇬🇧🇲🇲 15 August. 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Asia. Royal Mail issued a stamp in its 8 May set as one the miniature sheet stamps depicting a Commonwealth War Cemetery in Myanmar.

🇸🇬 12 September. Singapore Post issued a set of 5 stamps to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the city state’s liberation from Japanese occupation at the end of the Second World War.

🇬🇧🇬🇬🇯🇪 1 - 3 October. The world’s first online philatelic exhibition, Virtual Stampex, was held as a substitute for the real Autumn Stampex which would have been held in London were it not for the pandemic. Both Jersey Post and Guernsey Post could not resist the opportunity to release Post and Go stamps to cash in on the event, hoping, I expect, that any profits they made from the sale of these items would be real and not virtual.

🇸🇨 9 October. The postal service of Seychelles commemorated the 250th anniversary of the first recorded landing on the islands at the island of Ste. Anne.

🇫🇯 9 October. Fiji Post commemorated the country’s 50th anniversary of Independence by releasing a single stamp.

🇲🇺 15 October. The postal service of Mauritius issued a single stamp to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the historic central post office in Port Louis.

🇦🇺 26 October. Australia Post issued a booklet of 5 identical My Stamps to commemorate the raising of severe COVID-19-related restrictions which had been in place since July in the city of Melbourne. The issue was titled Let’s Melbourne Again.

🇺🇳 9 November. The companies Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their jointly developed vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 is 90% effective in preventing people from developing the disease.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🇺🇸 11- 21 November. 400th anniversary of the first anchoring of the Mayflower with English settlers on board at Providence Island in what was eventually to become The United States Of America. While Royal Mail did not consider this to be an anniversary worth commemorating, the Isle Of Man Post Office issued a set of 6 stamps showing key events in the colonists’ arrival in America.

🇬🇧 8 December. Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 in Coventry in England. The second person was a man named William Shakespeare.

🇸🇿 13 December. Ambrose Dlamini, prime minister of eSwatini, became the first Commonwealth Head of Government to die from COVID-19 at the age of 52.

🇬🇧 13 December. Royal Mail issued a set of 12 stamps, 1 miniature sheet and numerous other philatelic items to commemorate the American  television and film series Star Trek  using the excuse that a few British actors were featured on some of the stamps.

🇸🇭 20 December. The French President, Macron, himself infected with COVID-19, began a blockade against Great Britain because  a new strain of the coronavirus had been reported in Britain. This was similar to the actions taken by the French tyrant Bonaparte during the various Wars of the Coalitions which took place from 1792 to 1815 which ended in his defeat and exile on St Helena where he died. Luckily Macron ended the blockade 2 days later so St Helena did not have to find spare accommodation for him.

🇬🇧🇪🇺 24 December. The United Kingdom and The European Union reached an agreement on trade as a follow up to British Exit From The European Union which occurred at the beginning of the year. Let us hope we never hear the word “Brexit” again. Now let’s see if we can get rid of the word “COVID” by the end of 2021. I expect the term ‘Levelling up’ will come into prominence during 2021 here in The UK.  

🇬🇧 30 December. British regulators approved the Oxford University Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine for mass use in The United Kingdom paving the way for millions of people to be vaccinated easily, quickly and cheaply across The United Kingdom and Dependencies and countries abroad.

  Elsewhere in Commonwealth Stamps Opinion territories, look out for 2021 events surrounding Kashmir, Bougainville, Malaita in the Solomon Islands and Southern Yemen as the new year goes by - there may be philatelic consequences.

Tuesday 29 December 2020

1806. 🇲🇾 Malaysia Celebrates The World’s Tallest Tropical Tree.


🇲🇾 Pos Malaysia will issue 1 stamp and 1 miniature sheet containing a single stamp on 29 December 2020 on the subject of the world’s tallest tropical tree - the Meranti called Menara which is located in the Danum Valley in Lahad Datu in Sabah. The miniature sheet is very long vertically which gives an impression of the proportions of this spectacular species of tree. Rating:- ****.

  Meanwhile Pos Malaysia’s issue to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Constitution of the State of Johore will now be released on 27 January 2021 rather than on the previously announced date of 31 December 2020.

🇬🇬 The Guernsey Post 6 stamp set (Blog 1790) commemorating the Chinese New Year, Year of the Ox, which is to be issued on 26 January 2021 will inevitably be accompanied by a miniature sheet containing all 6 stamps (cost £4.70p) and a ‘limited edition gold replica souvenir sheet’ which can be yours for a mere £98. Rating, of course:- 0.

🇨🇦 The current cycle of Canada Post’s often quite stylish but ultimately profoundly tedious Lunar new year series, which has dragged on for 12 years, comes to an end in 2021 and, one supposes inevitably, the postal authority is to issue a sheetlet to commemorate the end of the current series - a little too self-referential for me - which combines all 12 domestic rate stamps from the series. Doubtless it will be Big in China. Further details are awaited. Rating:- **.

🇮🇳 India Post commemorated the 101st Birth anniversary of the late Manikchandra Vajpayee, a journalist of national repute, by releasing a single stamp in 27 December 2020. The issue was originally intended to commemorate the Birth centenary but the stamp was released more than 1 year after that particular anniversary occurred. Rating:- *.

Sunday 27 December 2020

1804. 🇧🇩 Bangladesh Commemorates The Day East Pakistan Became Bangladesh.


🇧🇩 The final issues of the year from the postal service of Bangladesh mainly continue to feature events and anniversaries relevant to telling the story of the country’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on the Centenary of his birth.

  The first was issued on 5 December 2020 and commemorates the 51st anniversary of Sheikh Mujib’s naming of the former East Pakistan as Bangladesh, depicted above. Rating:- ****.

  A second stamp notes the 12th anniversary of ‘Digital Bangladesh Day’ and features the present prime minister Sheikh Hasina who is the eldest of Sheikh Mujib’s children. The stamp was issued on 12 December 2020. Rating:- ***.

  A third stamp commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Pakistan general election held on 7 December 1970 in which the Awami League, East Pakistan’s only political party one a crushing victory over West Pakistan’s main political party the Pakistan People’s Party, but the then President of Pakistan, Yahya Khan, declined to allow the Awami League to form a government and turned to the veteran Bengali politician Nurul Amin and appointed prime minister. It was hoped that he could persuade the PPP and Awami League to reach a compromise but unrest grew in East Pakistan and this eventually led to civil war between the East and the West which resulted in Bangladesh becoming an independent state. This stamp was issued on 7 December 2020. Rating:- ****.

2 further stamps were issued to commemorate the 50th Victory Day and the 30th Martyred Intellectuals Day. The first of the two was issued on 16 December 2020 and I believe that the other was issued on the same date. Rating:- ***.

  Finally a stamp was also issued which was a previously issued item from 2010 with an overprint “BANGLAPEX 2020” to commemorate the virtual Banglapex 2020 Philatelic Exhibition held from 19 to 30 December 2020. The real exhibition was to have been held at the end of July but was postponed  because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rating:- ***.

🇵🇰 Pakistan Post meanwhile issued a se-tenant pair of stamps on 25 December 2020 on the contentious issue of Kashmir. The issue is titled New Political Map of Pakistan - 2020 and it draws attention to what Pakistan sees as the “Illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir” by India and the depicted maps draw attention to the disputed regions of South Asia. Interesting. The issue was designed by Liaqat Ali and lithographed by National Security Printing Company Karachi and is perforated 13. Rating:- ***.

🇬🇧 The Royal Mail set of 10 stamps depicting British national parks due for issue on 14 January 2021 and featured in Blog 1803 will be accompanied by a counter booklet containing 2 self-adhesive different stamps from the set and 4 Machin Head 1st Class stamps. Rating:- ****.

🇬🇬  Having issued 16 definitive stamps inscribed “Alderney Bailiwick of Guernsey” depicting local birds on 21 January 2020, Guernsey Post will issue another set of 16 definitives this time simply inscribed “Guernsey” depicting more local bird species on 17 February 2121. This is a nice straightforward set with attractive bird portraits. Rating:- ****.


🇮🇳 India Post released another MyStamp on 22 December 2020 which commemorated the Birth centenary of Shri. Prabhudayal Agartala, the founder of the company, Transport Corporation of India Ltd. as usual it is sold at a premium and issued in sheetlets of 12 with attached labels which feature the company’s logo.

🇸🇬 As well as the 2 gummed stamps and ATM featured in Blogs 1800 and 1801, Singapore Post will issue a self-adhesive 1st Class stamp from sheetlets of 10 and a Collectors sheet containing a single $10 stamp costing $18.80c as depicted below:-