Monday 30 August 2021
🇧🇲 Bermuda Post Office issued a set of 4 stamps on 19 August 2021 on the subject of ‘Sand sculptures’ to commemorate the annual Bermuda sandcastle competition which was started 30 years ago by Nicky Gurret. The issue was lithographed by Lowe Martin. Rating:- ***.
🇹🇹 The question raised in Blog 1929 about the stamps issued by T&T Post, the postal service of Trinidad And Tobago, is solved by the illustration of an unused set on sale on an Internet auction site which shows pairs of the stamps in which the overprint commemorating Prince Philip is applied across two stamps. Hence we can see that these are overprints rather than postmarks but it seems that the issue is best collected as pairs rather than single stamps.
🇦🇫🇬🇧 People in the unfortunate, benighted country of Afghanistan, which was a type of British protectorate from 1880 to 1919, during which period three wars took place in the country against the British (see Blogs 1927 and 1931), have rather more to worry about than postage stamps and a mail service. The world in general may also have rather more cause for anxiety as the Taleban, previously harsh, cruel rulers of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, once more take over the government as the last of the western forces, which had defeated the Taleban in 2001 and oversaw a gradual return to a form of democracy, albeit a corrupt one, finally withdraw from Afghanistan. Despite this, the stamp collector may ponder what the philatelic consequences of this latest terrible upheaval in the country’s history may be. We shall see just as we will see just how awful life under the new regime will once more be for the Afghans as they fall under the power of men with a history of viciousness and intolerance.
There is also the added dimension of the threat of a resurgence of terrorism worldwide but particularly in Afghanistan where the new rulers already seem to have a conflict on their hands with the local group of ISIS (see Blog 601), which the Americans have taken to calling ISIS-K (Islamic State Khorosan Privince).
The British, more than most, should have known after two centuries, the dangers of involving oneself in the affairs of Afghanistan (the occupying Russians of the 1980s and now, the Americans must surely have done so). Time and again foreign powers have been forced to abandon the country often after great losses. One remarkable painting (which I’m sure will never be featured on a postage stamp though maybe - who knows? - Stamperija, with its usual good taste, might discover it and feature it on one of their dubious products) which sums up the consequences of foreign involvement in Afghanistan is Remnants of an Army by Elizabeth Thompson Lady Butler which was painted in 1879 during the Second Afghan War. The oil painting depicts William Bryson, assistant surgeon in the Bengal Army, arriving at the gates of Jalalabad on 13 January 1842. He was initially thought to be the sole survivor of 16000 soldiers and camp followers who had been forced to evacuate Kabul during the First Afghan War when a general uprising occurred against the presence of the British in Kabul. A few others survived and the Afghans took some of the women and children as prisoners but the suffering and loss was enormous not only for the British but for the Afghans who had served them in Kabul (we hope that those Afghans who have aided western forces in the past twenty years and who have been left behind will not be similarly treated as those who served the British 199 years ago).
Lady Butler’s picture brings to mind a photograph of a day or so ago, of a weary Sir Laurie Bristow, British Ambassador to Afghanistan, arriving back in Britain having evacuated the British embassy in Kabul and worked to evacuate Britons in the country as well as those Afghans who had worked with the British though many were left behind. In 199 years little seems to have changed except that the modern ambassador is disembarking from an airplane rather than lolling exhausted on a poor dying horse.
Saturday 28 August 2021
🇬🇮 Royal Gibraltar Post Office will issue 2 sets of stamps on 8 September 2021. The first is a set of five on the subject of Historic Gibraltar maps, one value of which will be RGPO’s contribution to the 2021 Sepac omnibus. The issue was designed by Stephen Perera and lithographed by Bpost Security Printers. Rating:- **.
The second issue is a pair of additional definitive values in the contemporary design. These are not cheap being the £3 and £5 values. The issue was designed by Stephen Perera and lithographed by Cartor. Rating:- **.
🇸🇬 As well as the ten gummed Greetings stamps to be issued on 3 September 2021 by Singapore Post (see Blog 1931) the issue will include a booklet of 10 self-adhesive stamps but only five of the designs are included in it so that there are 2 x 5 stamps in the item. Rating:- ***.
As August reaches an end and the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness opens the door and walks in, we find that the following Commonwealth philatelic entities are not yet known to have issued or had issued on their behalf any stamps so far in 2021:-
Rarotonga Cook Islands
Turks And Caicos
This means that 26 Commonwealth philatelic entities have still not issued (or had issued in their name) any postage stamps so far this year (a reduction of just one compared with July).
Friday 27 August 2021
🇬🇧 Royal Mail is now depicting the Military Vehicles issue due on 2 September 2021 on its internet site. There are 8 stamps in the set and 4 different stamps combined in a miniature sheet. The issue uses fine paintings by Mick Graham who himself served in the 4th Royal Tank Regiment for 15 years and was lithographed by International Security Printers. The stamps are perforated 14. Although I have previously dealt with this issue better quality illustrations are now included here. There is no reason for the issue of these stamps except, as mentioned in a previous comment by Ian Billings, that the other two main services have previously been depicted on Royal Mail stamps and it is now “the Army’s turn”. I shall not therefore have room for the issue in my collection of ‘British stamps’. Rating:- *.
🇮🇴 The Congress of the Universal Postal Union held at Abidjan in Côte D’Ivoire has agreed that, “The UPU will stop registering, distributing and transmitting stamps” bearing the the name of British Indian Ocean Territory, islands which have been under the sovereignty of Great Britain since 1814, more than 200 years, but which at times have been administered from the island of Mauritius, which was under British sovereignty from 1810 to 1968. Mauritius in recent years has claimed that the BIOT was a sovereign part of itself principally to get its hands on the waters around the islands for their fishing rights and naturally it has suited many petty states and countries traditionally opposed to The United Kingdom to support the Mauritians in their claim. This led to The United Nations, an organisation always so weak and powerless in the face of real international threats such as the present Afghanistan crisis, and the International Court of Justice to acknowledge the Mauritian claims and rule that BIOT, the Chagos Islands, was actually part of the Mauritian state.
Now, hilariously, the UPU has ruled against the use of BIOT stamps in the British Indian Ocean Territory and that only Mauritian stamps should be used there. Presumably this opens the way for a Mauritian invasion of Diego Garcia and the setting up of a post office there and some petty Mauritian Post Office officials cancelling mail on the island to assert its sovereignty. Such nonsense!
Possession is nine points of the law. Diego Garcia is, in practical terms, and historically, a British territory. More importantly, the British rent out the island to the Americans, recently humiliated in Afghanistan, as a strategically vital military base. There really is not any way the British will hand the British Indian Ocean Territory to the Mauritians any time soon. Which means that any civilian mail coming out of the BIOT will continue to bear BIOT stamps and no matter how much fuming and spluttering the Mauritian government indulges itself in, Mauritian stamps will not be used in BIOT in the foreseeable future. Postage stamps are only postage stamps if there is a post office in a territory to sell them for use on real mail.
Wednesday 25 August 2021
🇬🇧 Distressingly, it appears that Royal Mail will release another tiresome new issue featuring American comics characters but not this time from Marvel Comics but from its rival, DC Comics. The cat (woman) was let out of the bag when Royal Mail sent out order advice to its subscribers revealing that there would be two retail booklets amid a massive number of philatelic products making up the issue due for release on 17 September 2021 - one was coded BM and the other WW. It seems likely that BM is a code for Batman and WW a code for Wonder Woman, both characters who have featured repeatedly in ‘blockbuster’ movies with a new Batman movie to be released in the near future. If this is correct then Royal Mail is no longer an organisation which celebrates Britain and its people through the medium of the postage stamp but a sad reflection of a money-grabbing culture which has no pride in itself ….. IGPC, Stamperija, Australia Post, Jersey Post, Philatelic Collector Inc, Royal Mail, there’s very little difference between them in their stamp issuing policies as 2022 approaches.
🇲🇹 MaltaPost will issue a sheetlet containing 10 different stamps on 25 August 2021 which will be a further instalment of its ongoing Festa (religious festivals) series. The colourful and attractive issue was designed from photographs by Mark Micallef Perconte and lithographed by Printex and the stamps are perforated 14. Rating:- ****.