Sunday 31 December 2023

2430. Commonwealth Stamps Review Of 2023.


๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช 5 January - Fiftieth anniversary of the admission of the Republic of Ireland to what was then the European Economic Community.

๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ธ 31 January - The postal service of Lesotho issued its first stamps since 2016 with the release of 2 sets - one on the subject of Tourism and the other depicting Insects. Some might consider it a little bizarre to issue a set of stamps encouraging tourism and on the very same date, issue a set of stamps which includes a black widow spider (obviously not an insect) in its depictions - a beast rather unlikely to prove attractive to prospective visitors 

๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ญ 15 February - Five British south Atlantic and Antarctic territories (Ascension Island, British Antarctic Territory, Falkland Islands, South Georgia And The South Sandwich Islands and Tristan Da Cunha) participate in a mini-omnibus issue to commemorate the late Queen Elizabeth II.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ช 24 February - First anniversary of the Russian invasion of its neighbour Ukraine. During the course of the previous twelve months, the postal administrations of several Commonwealth countries and territories had issued stamps to demonstrate their support for Ukraine.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง 23 March  - Royal Mail issued its first commemorative stamps which included a cameo of King Charles III in their design.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง 4 April  - Royal Mail issued its first definitive stamps depicting a portrait of King Charles III.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฌ 4 April - Guernsey Post issued a set of 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Kennel Club.

๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ 6 May - Coronation of King Charles III.

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ 23 May - Canada Post issued a single stamp to commemorate the 150th of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฌ 24 May - Guernsey Post issued a set of 7 stamps and 1 miniature sheet to commemorate Guernsey’s hosting of the 19th International Island Games from 8 to 14 July 2023.

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น 29 May-3 June - Malta hosted the Games of the Small States of Europe and issued a miniature sheet to commemorate the event.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง 23 June - Royal Mail issued stamps to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush, a ship carrying Caribbean immigrants to the United Kingdom. This iconic event marked the beginning of decades of mass immigration to Britain from around The Commonwealth and the rest of the world which was to change the nature and character of post-imperial Great Britain for ever.

 ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ 27-28 June - The 2nd Russia-Africa Summit was held in St Petersburg and commemorated by a single postage stamp released by the postal service of Russia. It was poorly attended by African leaders with only twelve out of 54 attending in person but among those paying court to the Russian leader Putin were Commonwealth Presidents Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique, Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda plus lesser politicians from Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia, Seychelles, The Gambia and Ghana. Also there was President Emerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe which has applied for readmission to The Commonwealth but is increasingly unlikely to be allowed to do so as Mnangagwa’s regime appears even worse than that of the tyrant Mugabe which it replaced.

๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ผ 14 August - Zim Post, the postal service of Zimbabwe, issued a set of 4 stamps to commemorate the life of the deposed former dictator, Comrade Robert Mugabe.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฆ 30 August 2023 - A military coup in Gabon overthrew President Ali Bongo Andimba whose family had ruled the country for 53 years. Any effects this might have had on the country’s postage stamps are yet to be seen.

๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฟ 2 September - The postal service of Tanzania released an issue to commemorate the inauguration of the PAPU Tower in Arusha. Several other postal administrations (including Nigeria and Zimbabwe)also paricipated in a Pan African Postal Union omnibus issue which turned out to be something of a damp squib.

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช 7 September - An Post, the postal service of the Republic of Ireland issued a single stamp to commemorate the centenary of the admission of the Irish Free State to the Laegue of Nations.

๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ 9 September - Hong Kong Post issued a miniature sheet to commemorate the People’s Republic of China’s Belt and Road initiative aimed at extending Chinese power internationally.

11 September - Pakistan Post issued 1 stamp and 1 miniature sheet to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the death of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan’s founding father.

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡จ September - A mini-omnibus issue was expected to be released by countries served by the Eastern Caribbean Bank to commemorate the Bank’s 40th anniversary. Winning entries in a local competition were to be used as the basis for designs of the stamps but to date no issues from any of the 8 expected participants are known to have appeared. Stamp issues were expected from some or all of Anguilla, Saint Lucia, Antigua And Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts And Nevis and St Vincent And The Grenadines. It is notable that the last six in the list are usually clients of Intergovernmental Philatelic Corporation and allow that organisation to design, produce and market philatelic products with their countries’ names printed on them but in the second half of 2023 there appeared to be a great reduction in production and sales of the number of new issues by IGPC and it may be that the non-appearance to date of this omnibus is associated with factors at IGPC.

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ถ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ด 7 October - Terrorists belonging to Hamas, a group which was in control of the territory of Gaza, attacked its neighbour Israel and murdered more than 1100 people in a single day as well as carrying out other atrocities and kidnapping large numbers of people. In response, the Israeli government launched an operation aimed at destroying Hamas and launched missile attacks on, and invaded, Gaza. Several Muslim countries, including Malaysia, Iraq and Jordan, showed their support for Hamas by issuing stamps on the subject.

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ 10 October - Australia Post issued 2 stamps and 1 miniature sheet to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Sydney Opera House. A Post also issued a single stamp on 19 October to commemorate the anniversary and to honour the Irish structural engineer, Peter Rice, who played a vital role in the Opera House’s construction.

๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ญ 21 October - Pobjoy Mint and Pobjoy Stamps, marketer and distributor of the postage stamps of seven Commonwealth postal administrations announced that it was to close by the end of 2023 on the retirement of its managing director, Taya Pobjoy. In the future, the various postal administrations were to handle their own distribution.

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ 14 November - 75th birthday of King Charles III. Australia Post issued a pair of stamps and 1 miniature sheet containing them both on 1 November to commemorate the King’s Birthday. A single stamp was also issued on the same date to commemorate the coronation of Charles III.

๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ญ 11 December - The postal service of Tristan Da Cunha issued a set of 4 stamps to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the resettlement of the islanders on Tristan following their return after the volcanic explosion there.

๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ผ 16 December - Death of the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah at the age of 86 and the succession of the new Emir, Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber.

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ท ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฑ17 December and 27 December and 4 June -  My three favourite stamp discoveries of 2023, the first two reported on Stampboards - a stamp issued by Correios de Moรงambique in 2019 to commemorate the Visit of Pope Francis to Mozambique and a previously issued Revenue stamp of the postal service of Eritrea overprinted by hand stamp to make it postally valid - and the third first reported on the Joint Stamp issues internet site being the long suspected but never previously seen Timor Leste stamp commemorating Lubrapex 2012 and depicting the martyred national poet and hero Francisco Borja Da Costa.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡พ 24 December - The British government announced that it was sending HMS Trent to Guyana in a show of political and military support for the Commonwealth’s only South American country which was under threat of invasion by its neighbour, Venezuela, which had held a referendum on 3 December in which 96.37% of voters had agreed that Venezuala  should create a new state of Guayana Essequiba and that that territory should be incorporated on “the map of Venezuelan territory”. At a meeting in St Vincent And The Grenadines on 15 December, the Presidents of Guyana and Venezuela, Irfaan Ali and Nicolรกs Maduro, had agreed not to use force to resolve the issue but on 28 December the Venezuelan government announced that it was going to hold “defensive” military exercises on its eastern Caribbean and Atlantic coasts involving 5600 soldiers.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง 30 December - Dame Shirley Bassey, a veteran British singer, was made a Companion of Honour in the New Year Honours List. Earlier in the year, on 21 October, Royal Mail had issued a large number of philatelic items to commemorate the singer’s career in entertainment.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง 31 December - Last day of issue of Royal Mail Post & Go stamps from all museum and tourist shop IAR kiosks.

31 December - New Year’s Eve, and 30.7% of Commonwealth philatelic entities are still not known to have issued, or had issued on their behalf, any legitimate postage stamps during 2023.

Happy New Year!

Saturday 30 December 2023

2429. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธWhat’s Happening At IGPC?

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Intergovernmental Philatelic Corporation (IGPC) - 

  I usually describe IGPC as a “New York-based producer and purveyor of philatelic items” though the people who run it are more likely to describe it as a philatelic agency. A look at its internet site shows that it works as an agent for foreign postal services and features the stamps of such entities as Royal Mail, the postal service of Israel, Guernsey Post and others. IGPC also arranges the design of, the production of, and the marketing of, philatelic items (and occasionally stamps intended for postal use) on behalf of the postal administrations of a number of countries and territories with whom it has contracts. The countries and territories for whom IGPC works in the production and selling philatelic issues are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, The Gambia, GhanaGrenada, Grenada Carriacou and Petite Martinique, Guyana, MontserratNevis, Papua New Guinea, St Kitts, St Vincent And The Grenadines, Turks and Caicos Islands and Tuvalu plus the Marshall Islands which is not part of The Commonwealth.

  In years past, IGPC (which first issued stamps for Ghana when it achieved independence in 1957) released hundreds of issues per twelve month period. This was partly because it had contracts to produce and issue ‘stamps’ for even more countries than is presently the case. Now, however, several of the countries on the above list - Montserrat, St Kitts, Dominica, Turks and Caicos Islands - have not issued any stamps for a couple of years or even several years meaning that in 2022 there was a total of 132 issues (excluding Marshall Islands) released by IGPC. Ghana had dropped IGPC as its agent for several years but resumed its relationship with the agency towards the end of 2022.

  A look at the IGPC internet site which offers for sale its products as well as some from the countries which use it purely as a seller of their products in some parts of the world, shows that at the end of December 2023, items are only mentioned which appear on the monthly lists dated up to October. There could clearly be more products featured for sale if lists for November and December appear and so we might expect the total number of IGPC issues to increase but presently at least, only 69 issues have been released by IGPC during 2023 (including Marshall Islands). The breakdown of these issues is displayed below -

Antigua and Barbuda - 6 issues

The Gambia - 3 issues

Ghana - 29 issues

Grenada - 6 issues

Grenada Carriacou And Petite Martinique - 1 issue

Guyana - 6 issues + 3 local event/anniversary issues announced by GPOC.

Nevis - 0 issues

St Vincent And The Grenadines - 2 issues

Tuvalu - 5 issues

[Plus Marshall Islands - 8 issues]

 A total of 61 new Commonwealth stamp issues (+ 8 issues for Marshall Islands) produced by IGPC, 29  (42%) of which have the name of Ghana printed on them.

  What is noticeable from the above information is how few issues have appeared with the names of some previously prolific territories printed on them especially Nevis, St Vincent, Grenada Grenadines and The Gambia.  

  The point not shown by the above is that the very large part of these issues are stated to have been released in the first half of 2023 with barely any new issues reported in the second half. It’s almost as though IGPC’s production activities have ground to a halt. I have no knowledge of what is going on there. Perhaps in the near future the internet site will feature scores of new issues purportedly released in 2023 and completely change the present impression or perhaps not.

  Why might this apparent massive reduction in production and marketing have occurred? One can only speculate. These breaks of in-house new issue releases have occurred in the past but not quite so spectacularly as this present period. Perhaps IGPC is having problems in getting its products printed. Most in-house IGPC products have been printed, relatively poorly one might say, in China in recent years - perhaps the problem lies there. Perhaps there are problems with paying the bills. Perhaps client postal administrations are unhappy about something or the other. Perhaps they’re just taking a break, girding their loins and preparing for a new onslaught of new releases on to the philatelic market. I look forward to seeing if this is just a blip or if there is something more serious wrong with IGPC. 

  One thing is for sure, this organisation has damaged stamp collecting over several decades more than any other entity until the appearance of the notorious Stamperija on the scene. A cutting back on its in-house stamp products is a welcome relief to the those who collect new issues no matter what the reason.

Thursday 28 December 2023

2428. ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Guernsey’s GSPCA Set Revealed.


New issues.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Guernsey Post -

14 February 2024 - 150th anniversary of the Guernsey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - 6 stamps. Lithographed. Rating:- ****.

๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Sri Lanka Post -

21 December 2023 - Centenary of the Department of Labour - 1 stamp. Lithographed. Rating:- **.

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ India Post.

26 December 2023 - Millennium of Kartargachha (a monatestic order of idol worshippers of Jainism) - 1 stamp. Rating:- **.

27 December 2023 - 125th anniversary of the Ramakrishna mission - 1 stamp. Rating:- **

27 December 2023 - Commemoration of Pandit Jasraj’s founding of  Pandit Motiram Pandit Maniram Sangeet Samarcha Music Festival - 1 stamp. Rating:- ***.