Sunday 29 November 2020

1788. 🇸🇭 Tristan Da Cunha Commemorates Notable Ships.


🇸🇭 The postal service of Tristan Da Cunha will issue another excellent pair of stamps on 8 December 2020 titled ‘Sword of Peace’ and depicting 2 ships associated with Tristan Da Cunha which have been awarded ceremonial swords to acknowledge their crew’s notable contribution to good and friendly relations with communities at home and abroad. The featured ships are RFA Ennerdale and the South African Navy ship SAS Simon Van Der Stel. The issue was designed by Andrew Robinson and lithographed by Cartor and the stamps are perforated 13.5. Rating:- *****. Thanks to Juliet Warner of Pobjoy Stamps for information about this issue. 

🇳🇬 In Blog 1720 I mentioned the expected issue from the postal service of Nigeria which commemorated the Birth Centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh but then the release date was delayed. The issue now seems to have been released as a dealer is offering it for sale in partial or complete sheets on an internet auction site. It was originally thought that the issue was to be made up of a single stamp and a miniature sheet but at present only the single stamp seems to have been released. Very collectable. Rating:- ****.

🇲🇲 In Blog 1781 I mentioned that the postal service of Myanmar had delayed the issue of a single stamp intended to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. The delay may have been associated with a motion passed at the General Assembly condemning Myanmar for its actions against some of its minority communities. It appears now that all is forgiven and the stamp will indeed be released on the 1 December 2020. Rating:- ***.

🇮🇳 Further to Blog 1786 I listed the My Stamp issues released by India Post during 2020 and there is now an additional issue to place on the list:-

November 2020 - Commemoration of the Indian Journal of Ophthamology - 1 stamp, issued in the usual sheetlet of 12 and sold at a premium price.


Thursday 26 November 2020

1787. 🇧🇼 🇬🇧 Botswana Giraffe And BAT Birds And Children’s Art.

 🇧🇼 Botswana Post issued a delightful set of 4 stamps and 1 miniature sheet containing all 4 stamps on 25 November 2020 on the subject of Giraffes. The issue depicts splendid portraits of the creatures by Brian Ganch. Wittily the miniature sheet is long and tall like the giraffe itself. The conservative stamp issuing policy and often wonderful designs of the new issues of Botswana Post ensure that collecting the stamps of that country remains a great pleasure which is something that one is able to say about so few other countries’ issues in this present philatelic era. Rating:- ****** (6 stars).

🇬🇧 There is news that stamps will be released for British Antarctic Territory on an as yet unknown date in December 2020. This is despite the fact that the scientific base in the territory is ‘locked down’ to avoid the arrival of COVID-19 there and also that there are no cruise ships visiting the territory this year carrying tourists who might buy the territory’s stamps as souvenirs or for use on postcards.

 The announced issues are excellent, the first being made up of 4 stamps which depict the work of the winners of a children’s design competition highlighting the Bicentenary of the discovery of the Antarctic continent. The competition was open to children aged 4 to 17 and their art is some of the best children’s art I have seen depicted on postage stamps. The winning designers are  Jessica Barry, Oliver Sander, Dorothy Johnson and Samaria Hassan. Stamp production was coordinated by Creaative Direction and the issue was lithographed by Cartor and is perforated 13.5. Rating:- *****.

I particularly like the second issue which is made up of 4 stamps depicting Antarctic birds. The beautiful issue was designed by Andrew Robinson and lithographed by Cartor and is perforated 13.5. Rating:- ****** (another 6!).

  Thanks to Juliet Warner of Pobjoy Stamps for information about these issues.

🇲🇲 Myanmar Post will issue 2 additional stamps on 30 November 2020 in its ongoing series featuring Thukuma artisan arts of Myanmar. Like the rest of this series these are two excellent designs and they represent the 7th and 8th stamps in the series with two more to come. Rating:- *****.

  See Blog 1749.

Tuesday 24 November 2020

1786. 🇲🇹 Malta Christmas Stamps.


🇲🇹 MaltaPost will issue a set of 3 Christmas stamps on 24 November 2020. The stamps depict a painting by the Maltese artist Guiseppe Cali (1846 - 1930) of The Nativity which takes the form of a fresco on the ceiling of the dome of Christ The Saviour Parish Church in Lija. The issue was designed from photographs by David Attard and lithographed by Printex. Rating:- ***.

🇮🇲 Isle Of Man Post Office will issue a sheetlet of 4 stamps with attached labels titled Elegy to the War Horse. The stamps have been issued previously as part of the postal service’s World War I commemorations. The sheet is sold for £20 along with a CD which presents “Elegy to the War Horse, a haunting and enigmatic tribute to war horses everywhere”.

🇮🇳 In previous Blogs I have mentioned some of the 2020 India Post My Stamp but as the year approaches its close it is probably worthwhile attempting to summarise them here. All are illustrated in the referenced Blogs.

6 January - Centenary of Kirloskar Brothers Ltd - 1 stamp - Blog 1581.

23 January - Sukumar Sen Memorial lecture series - Blog 1594.

5 February - Defence Expo 2020 Lucknow - Blog 1603.

12 February - Centenary of National Institute of Bank Management - Blog 1611.

17 February - COP-13, Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species, held in Gandinhagar - Blog 1609.

February - Brihadiswarar Temple - Blog 1611.

June - “Happy retirement” - Blog 1695.

26 July - 6th anniversary of My Gov - Blog 1711.

5 August - Shri Ram Janmabhooni  Mandriva Temple - Blog 1713.

28 August - 50th anniversary of the Bureau of Police Research and Development - Blog 1727.

15 September - Defence Research and Managment, Anti -Satellite missile -Blog 1735.

2020 - Silver Jubilee of Mahanagar Gas - Blog 1751.

27 October - 50th anniversary of College of Defence Management - Blog 1766.

2020 - Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Porur, Chennai - 1 stamp.

2020 - Greetings, Chhath Pooja.

November 2020 - Centenary of Lucknow University - 1 stamp.

Saturday 21 November 2020

1785. 🇧🇩 Infamous British Criminal Politician Featured On Bangladesh Stamp.

🇧🇩 The postal service of Bangladesh has released some more new issues and an older issue has emerged about which I was previously unaware.

The surprise single stamp was released on 29 July 2020 to commemorate Stamp Day. The stamp depicts the first stamps of Bangladesh and, of immense interest, is the photograph depicted on the item. The stamp commemorates the design of the pathfinder stamps by Biman Mallick who is featured on the stamp showing his designs to the notorious John Stonehouse, the former British Minister of Posts and Telecommunications. Stonehouse was a Labour Member of Parliament who became Postmaster General in 1967 having first worked under Tony Benn, the Postmaster General who revolutionised  the Post Office’s approach to stamp issuing in the mid-1960s. Unknown at the time was the fact that Stonehouse had been working as a spy for communist Czechoslovakia since 1962 but more immediately he was involved in a number of fraudulent business dealings. The role of Postmaster General was abolished by the Post Office Act of 1969 but Stonehouse continued in the renamed but slightly less grand-sounding role of Minister of Posts and Telecommunications. The Labour government was defeated by the Conservatives in the 1970 general election and Stonehouse returned to being an ordinary MP but presumably managed to get in on the publicity given to the design in Britain of the Bangladesh first stamps because of his former role as politicians are wont to do.

  By 1974 Stonehouse’s frauds were close to being exposed so he decided to fake his own death and while on a visit to Miami he went sea swimming and disappeared leaving a pile of clothes on the beach. He was presumed drowned or, as this was the era of the movie Jaws, thought to have possibly been killed by a shark and his body lost at sea. He assumed a new identity and began a new life in Australia with his mistress, Sheila Buckley. He transferred large sums of money to bank accounts in Australia using false identities but a bank clerk noticed some irregularities and informed the police who put Stonehouse under surveillance. Initially the Australian police suspected that Stonehouse was the infamous Lord Lucan who had disappeared from London after murdering his children’s nanny but it was noticed that he was reading articles in British newspapers about the disappearance of John Stonehouse and his true identity was realised. He was arrested and returned to Britain and put on trial in 1976 and in 1977 he was found guilty and was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for fraud. He was released in 1980 and subsequently made appearances on various television programmes and died from a heart attack in 1988.

  This then is a fascinating stamp and is described as “extremely rare”. I am not sure if this is because it was withdrawn from sale because the Bangladesh authorities recognised the inappropriateness of depicting a criminal like Stonehouse on one of the nation’s stamps. I would think that when the stamp was first designed the significance of the person on the right side of the stamp was not realised. Rating:- *****.

18 October 2020 - 56th birthday if Sheikh Russel, son of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman - 1 stamp. Rating:- ****.

?9 October 2020 -World Post Day - 1 stamp. Rating:- ***.

?9 November 2020 - Special session of the Bangladesh Parliament to commemorate the Birth Centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangabandhu (Father of the Nation) - 3 stamps and 1 miniature sheet containing all 3 stamps. Rating:- ***.

2020 - date of issue not yet known - International Mother Language Day (usually 21 February) - 1 stamp. Rating:- ***.

Friday 20 November 2020

1784. 🇹🇷 Turkish Cyprus New Issue Notes COVID-19 Struggle.

 🇹🇷 The postal service of The Turkish Republic Of Northern Cyprus issued a pair of stamps on 19 November 2020 on 2 subjects - the 50th anniversary of the Social Aid Stamp and the Fight against COVID-19. The latter stamp in particular has a rather cluttered design but will be sought after by collectors of the theme of the present pandemic on stamps. The issue was designed as is usually the case by GK Sonmezer and printed by Devlet Basimevi. Rating:- ***.

🇩🇲 As reported in Blog 1778 the postal service of Dominica has once more allowed IGPC to issue philatelic products with the country’s name printed on them. The issue of more of these products is imminent alas. The rating for them all is 0.

18 November 2020 - Chinese New Year, Year of the Rat - 1 miniature sheet containing 2 identical stamps.

Other expected issues are:- 

600th anniversary of the Forbidden City in Beijing - 1 miniature sheet containing a single stamp.

The international travels of President Trump of USA, visit to The United Kingdom - 1 miniature sheet containing 4 different stamps.

Commemoration of Dorje Buddha III, Buddhist leader - 1 miniature sheet containing 5 identical stamps.

Wildlife of Dominica - 1 miniature sheet containing 6 different stamps.

🇬🇧 I have added the most recently released Machin Head Royal Mail definitive year code variety stamps to my collection in the form of the 2nd Class Large rate from business sheets (self-adhesive) with code M20L MBIL and the gummed stamps from the Star Trek booklet issued on 13 November 2020 (2p, 50p and 2nd Class though the 50p value had already been issued in the End of World War II booklet issued on 8 May 2020) with code M20L MPIL. It appears therefore that all definitive values with M20L code numbers have now appeared apart from the 50p and the high values - £1, £2, £3 and £5 (all self-adhesive) and the 10p, 20p and 1st Class gummed stamps from Prestige booklets and pleasingly there are no more prestige booklets to be released in 2020.

🇯🇪 The postal services of the British off-shore islands miss no opportunity to release philatelic items so it comes as no surprise that Jersey Post will follow Guernsey Post‘s example in releasing Post and Go stamps with additional inscriptions to commemorate Christmas. So during the period 1 to 24 December 2020 the 6 Coastal Flowers stamps will be dispensed from kiosk JE03 at the Postal Headquarters in St Helier with the added inscription “Wishing you a/safe Christmas”. Ho hum.

With the tape in sight as 2020 rounds the last bend into the final straight of this very odd year, a penultimate look at which Commonwealth postal services, or their agents, have not issued any postage stamps during the course of 2020 so far:-

  Anguilla, Ascension, Barbados. Belize, British Antarctic Territory, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, ESwatini,  Lesotho, Montserrat, Nauru, Nigeria, Rwanda, St Kitts, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Turks And Caicos Islands, Uganda and Zambia. 

  This makes a total of 19 Commonwealth philatelic entities which have yet to issue any new stamps this year. As pointed out in Blog 1781, the postal service of Rwanda has now not issued any new stamps for 10 years which is a remarkable record but one that has been long passed by the de facto independent state which is desperate for international recognition and would like to join The Commonwealth - Somaliland - which has not had a working postal service since it declared itself independent of Somalia on 18 May 1991 meaning that it will have gone entirely without any stamp issue for 30 years in just 6 months time.

Tuesday 17 November 2020

1783. 🇨🇾 Cyprus Christmas Stamps.

🇨🇾 Cyprus Post will issue a set of 3 Christmas stamps on 19 November 2020. Two of them depict delightful-looking cakes and pastries as Christmas decorations and the third has a religious subject and shows The Nativity of Christ as it appears on a fresco dating back to the end of the 12th century located in the Christ’s Antifonitos Church in Kalograia. Rating:- ****.

 🇸🇭 In Blog 1755 I reported that the postal service of Tristan Da Cunha was to issue a 16 stamp new definitive set depicting modern mailships on 9 November 2020 but subsequently in Blog 1758 reported that the issue had been delayed because of the wish to add a 17th stamp to the set in order to depict the MFV Geo Searcher which had been lost recently when it hit rocks off Gough Island. The ship is now featured on a new £3 value and the revised date of issue will be 14 December 2020.

🇳🇿 In Blog 1767 I mentioned the set of New Zealand Post Chinese new year stamps due for issue on 2 December 2020. Details of the issue have now been published on the New Zealand Post internet site and these reveal that the issue will also include a miniature sheet with very expensive varieties of it being sold  in frames, strictly for the wealthy and the gullible.

  As well as the standard miniature sheet (sold for $11.60) there will also be limited editions of the item printed in “24 carat 99.9 gold foil”, “embossed and etched with micro-fine detail” and sold in “an individually numbered frame” (“only 66 produced” - price $560). For one of these gold foil miniature sheets sold in an unnumbered perspex display stand the price falls precipitously to the trivial sum of $188. The gold foil miniature sheet will also be sold with the 4 stamps contained in it being printed in “vibrant colour” and sold in a perspex stand at $288 but certain of the sheets are numbered and those which have “lucky numbers” printed on them (numbers 11, 16, 18, 2, 23, 28, 3, 28, 6, 66, 8 and 9), “beautifully framed”, are to be sold for $1888 (for that amount of money I should want my gold foil stamps to be mounted in a solid gold frame).