🇱🇹 Stamperija has made good its threat to release (tasteless) philatelic products related to the COVID-19 pandemic to enable it to cash in on the global catastrophe. The first such item is a miniature sheet containing 6 ‘stamps’ each depicting a Penny Black with the name of Sierra Leone printed on them. The face of Queen Victoria on each stamp is partially covered by a protective mask such as those needed by health and other frontline workers to protect them from the lethal virus. On each of the 6 stamps the Queen’s portrait is defaced by a different mask and at the left of the top border is the incomprehensible inscription “THE PENNY BLACK/AGAINST CORONAVIRUS”. The face value of each stamp is equivalent to just 74p making the total face value of the sheet £4.44.
This pandemic is not a joke. It is distressing to see such nonsense being peddled so that ‘a philatelic agency’ can make money out of this dreadful situation. There is no hint that any of the money made by Stamperija from the sales of these products will be donated to COVID-19-related charities. Then you really wouldn’t expect that, would you?
A similar item has also been released by Stamperija using the name of the Central African Republic plus some differently styled items with some of its other client nations’ names printed on them.
Nor is the design all that original. In Blog 673 I drew attention to work by an artist called James Cauty who produced art depicting the Machin Head definitive from Royal Mail with the face of Queen Elizabeth II covered by a gas mask. Cauty said that he produced this work in response to news stories at the that time of a plan by the then Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, to launch a chemical attack in London. As described in Blog 673 the work he produced became the subject of some legal action against him being taken out by Royal Mail which claimed infringement of copyright.
Perhaps Rowland Hill’s ghost may appear and make the same claim against Stamperija.
Back to Stamperija’s current activities. They have a new line - ‘Philatelic anti-Corona masks’ ! Yes, really!