Friday, 26 May 2017

1011. ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Guernsey Folklore Stamp Designs Feature Wonderful illustrations.

  ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฌ  The philatelic bureaux of the Channel Islands, Isle Of Man and Gibraltar now issue so many stamps that a couple of years ago I resolved to add to my collection only those issues which not only have locally relevant subjects but also commemorated events and anniversaries and were not just randomly chosen thematic subjects.
  Sometimes I am quite sorry that my little policy means that I will not be adding some very attractive items to my collection as these territories often issue some very interesting stamps. On the other hand I am usually quite pleased at all the money I have saved as a result of following the plan.
  However, Guernsey Post has just released news of an issue it plans to release on 19 July 2017 which has the most wonderful art work depicted on the stamps which make up the set. The set's subject is "Guernsey Folklore" and the 6 stamps show remarkable paintings by the artist David Wyatt. Fortunately for my stamp collection the issue coincides with an exhibition of Wyatt's art at Guernsey Museum so I can add these wonderful stamps to my collection by writing them up as though they commemorate the exhibition rather than just being simple thematic stamps.


  The subjects featured on the stamps are:- 60p (above) "The Fairy Invasion of Guernsey", 44p "The De Garis Family and the Pouques" (Pouques lived underground but fraternised with local humans and sometimes borrowed their carts at night), 59p "La Palette es Faies - the Fairies' Bat" in which Le Grand Colin (Colin's are ugly, dwarfish characters with large heads and a sly nature) slams the 'bat' into the ground in a fit of pique, the bat being La Longue Rocque which is the largest standing stone in Guernsey, 73p "Le Gibet des Faies" or the Fairies' Gallows - distressed by the islanders' growing disconnection from nature, the Fairies process to the gallows while one of them carries a noose made from grass, 80p "Pierre Dumont and Le Petit Colin" in which Pierre arrives home in his kitchen and discovers for the first time the small figure whose hand he has held as he has walked home through the dark and stormy night and 90p "Le Pied Du Bouef", the Devil's Hoofprint, which shows the conclusion of a battle between a local saint and The Devil which took place at Guernsey's northern most point and where The Devil in his defeat launches himself in the air leaving a footprint burnt into a solid granite boulder from the heat he generates.
  This is a tremendous set with fabulous illustrations. Well done Guernsey Post! Rating:- ****** (yes, 6 stars).






  Guernsey Post also tweeted on 26 May 2017 that its Post and Go kiosk GG01 situated in Smith Street post office was dispensing "Lighthouses" stamps that day with an added inscription which welcomed passengers from the cruise ship Caribbean Princess to the island. Caribbean Princess had already been named on "visiting cruise ships" Post and Go stamps and indeed it was the very first ship to be so mentioned.

1010. Maltese Postmen And Gibraltar Ships.


  ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น Malta Post will issue a set of 4 stamps on the subject of Postal uniforms on 31 May 2017. The uniforms are depicted by the designers, Fabio Agius and Sean Cini, being "modelled" by MaltaPost's corporate mascot, Peppi Pustier, and lithographed by Printex and perforated 14.
  Peppi is depicted wearing the uniforms of Maltese postmen through the ages - the early 1900s, the 1980s, the early 2000s and the present. Rating:- ***.




  For those who cannot resist such a purchase, a soft toy of the Peppi Pustier figure is available to buy at the Malta Postal Museum. Am I the only person who finds Peppi to be that little bit sinister?


  Personally, I prefer Postman Pat and "his black and white cat" who appeared on the "Classic Children's Television" stamps issued by Royal Mail in 2014 and who has been used as a publicity tool for postal services.


  ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฎ The Royal Gibraltar Post Office issued a set of 7 stamps on 25 May 2017 on the subject of HMS Gibraltar and depicting various ships which have had that name. The issue was designed by Stephen Perera from art by John Batchelor and was lithographed by Cartor. The face value of the full set amounts to £6.90p. An interesting and attractive set but why has it been issued at this time? Rating:- **.








  Gibraltar Post Office also attempts to add further income to its balance sheets by commemorating the 70th anniversary of the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh with an enormous set of 8 stamps and 1 miniature sheet issued several months before the actual date of the anniversary. The dull monochrome stamps were, as usual, designed by the somewhat unimaginative Stephen Perera and lithographed by Cartor. Rating:- *.
  The total face value of this issue is £9.76p and its date of issue was also 25 May 2017.




Thursday, 25 May 2017

1009. Canada Celebrates The Marathon Of Hope; Anguilla Commemorates Its "Revolution".


  ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada Post has released the 6th design of the set of 10 stamps to be released on 1 June 2017 on the subject of the nation's 150th birthday and this particular design features the "Marathon of Hope" and celebrates the runner Terry Fox who, though suffering from cancer, ran a marathon on 12 April 1980, to raise funds for cancer research. He died at the age of 22 but the race is run annually and those participating in the run have so far raised a grand total of $700 million.
  In this time of awful events it seems appropriate that Canada Post should include a true modern hero in its Canada 150 issue and that the theme should be one of Hope. Rating:- *****.
  ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฎ The postal service of Anguilla issued a set of stamps on 22 May 2017 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of what has now become known as the "Anguilla Revolution" which lead to the island being separated politically from St. Kitts and Nevis. I have not yet seen any details of this issue but the Anguilla Post Office is selling a T shirt which includes illustrations of 4 artistic renditions of scenes from the "revolution" and they look very much like they could form the basis for stamp designs.




  The designs depict:- the "Burning of Government House Lancรดme Estate", "Anguilla men guarding beach", "Rambler landing invasion force" and "Disruption of Statehood Queens Show". I have no idea if these really are the designs of any new stamps and they do seem a little too revolutionary for the designs of stamps of a British overseas territory but Anguilla has very much gone its own way with stamp issue subjects and designs in recent years and so anything is possible. Time will tell.

  ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ Another new stamp has become available as an addition to India Post's current definitive series. The design depicts Gopinath Bardoloi who was the prime minister of Assam prior to Independence and afterwards was the prime minister of Indian Assam. Sadly not a very exciting design, Rating:- **.


๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Back to Canada Post which issued a single self-adhesive stamp in booklets of 10 on 23 May 2017 to recognise the Moslem festivals of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. The stamp was designed by Doreen Colonello and Erin Enns of Entro Communications and lithographed by Colour Innovations.
  Canada Post states that "Together Eid, Diwali and Hannukah stamps build on the tradition of Christmas stamps and depict our pride in Canada being a land of diverse, faiths customs and celebrations."
  Rating:- ***.




Tuesday, 23 May 2017

1008. Kenya Features The Big Five; Royal Mail Commemorates Machin Anniversary.



  ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ช Kenya Post issued a set of 5 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on 10 May 2017 on the subject of the "Big Five" - the five large mammals which tourists on safari in the country are expected to most want to see during their visit. The subject is rather cliched having been featured by various East African and South African postal administrations in the past but the stamps still make an attractive and exciting set - I particularly like the 2 big cats in the issue. Rating:- ****.
  It's worth noting that Kenya Post does not appear to have issued any new stamps during 2016.






  ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง The issues to be released by Royal Mail to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the issue of the first "Machin Head" stamps have now appeared on its Stamps, Collectibles and Gifts site. I am not really too keen on them.
  It was already well known that there would be a gold £1 stamp included in the products which make up the set. The £1 stamp is included in one of 2 miniature sheets with 6 other stamps which are the two headed 20p stamp of 1990, the 1st class self-adhesive of 1993, the 1st class Machin Head on a white background of 2000, the 5p of 1971, the 1st class gold of 2006 and the 1st class Red of 2013. The sheet additionally has a depiction of the 4d stamp of 1967. I find the design of the sheet to be very inelegant - in an effort to depict all 8 featured stamps in chronological order of issue the overall design looks very random and unbalanced and not at all attractive.
  The second sheet is a little better and includes various depictions of heads which were stages in arriving at the final design of the Machin Head definitive.
  The products also include a £15.59p Prestige booklet which houses 5 panes, one of which is made up of a block of 4 x £1 gold foil stamps. This booklet is also to be sold in a second version in which the cover is printed in black and white with silver foil lettering and it is accompanied by a sterling silver Machin medallion and has a 4d 1967 stamp contained in the lid of the display case - all for the price of £99.95p. Oh and this second Prestige booklet is only available in a limited edition of 500. It didn't take me long to decide that I would not be spending my money on this second booklet.
  Finally, there will be a counter booklet containing 6 x 1st red Machin Head definitives which will cost £3.90p. The date of issue will be 5 June 2017. Rating:- ***.
  The sheets were designed by Atelier Works and printed in gravure by International Security Printers and perforated 14 (6 stamp sheet) or perforated 15 x 14 and the gold £1 was gravure printed with the use of gold foil.
  A highly detailed analysis of these stamps can be found in the 17 May 2017 piece in Norvic Philatelic Blog by Ian Billings proving yet again what a vital source of information to collectors of new Royal Mail stamps and Machin Head definitives Ian's Blog really is.










  ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฉ Bangladesh Post has issued a pair of stamps and a miniature sheet to commemorate the Centenary of the Hardinge Bridge. The issue which depicts the railway bridge which crosses the river Padma was released on  27 April 2017. rating:- ***.
  A sheet has been offered for sale on the Delcampe auction site on which there is a paler shade of the river depicted in the edges of the miniature sheet.



  ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฌ On 23 May 2017 Guernsey Post Philatelic Bureau "tweeted" that its Post and Go kiosk GG01 was dispensing "Lighthouses" stamps with an added inscription to welcome cruise passengers from the Norwegian Jade.


Monday, 22 May 2017

1007. Buildings In Stricken Manchester And Other British Cities Will Feature On New Stamps.


  ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง On 31 July 2017 Royal Mail will issue a set of 10 stamps depicting modern "Landmark buildings" including the spectacular library in the centre of Birmingham and the Imperial War Museim North extension in the city of Manchester which has been so cruelly attacked by terrorists.
  The set will also depict:- the Clyde Auditorium SEC Armadillo in Glasgow, the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh, the Giant's Causeway Visitors Centre in Northern Ireland, the National Assembly of Wales in Cardiff, the Eden Project in St. Austell in Cornwall, the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, the Imperial War Museum North extension in Manchester and two stamps depicting buildings in London - The Tate Modern Extension and The Aquatics Centre.
  Someone has made a clear effort to spread the subjects around the United Kingdom although London is to appear on another 2 stamps to publicise it but the other stamps feature buildings in some of Britain's other great cities in all 4 nations - Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool as well as Cornwall and Northern Ireland.
  The set gives the stamp collector a pleasant and informative trip around the British Isles viewing its spectacular modern architecture. Rating:- *****.









  
  Coming from Birmingham, I recall that sites in Britain's Second city have been featured previously in 2006 as part of the "British journey" series when Chamberlain Square was depicted. The square was named after the great Mayor of Birmingham, Joseph Chamberlain, whose political actions in the late 19th century are said to provide inspiration for the close advisors of the current British prime minister Theresa May. Chamberlain is probably a candidate to be a subject for a future stamp issue though he was a firm imperialist and in this current era this may persuade Royal Mail that such a figure would not be suitable to be commemorated on one of its stamps.
  Another one of Birmingham's spectacular modern buildings is the Selfridges store which was depicted on one of the "Architecture" set also issued in 2006. This stamp and the new Library stamp give a pleasing contrast to the sedate and grand architecture of the Victorian Chamberlain Square with the Council House taking up most of the background and the Town Hall, built in a classical style, to the right and between the two, Victoria Square, where a statue of Queen Victoria surveys her surroundings which include modern additions such as Sir Antony Gormley's "Iron Man" and a fountain with a statue of a woman lounging in it and known locally, with typical Brummie humour, as "the floozy in the jacuzzi".



  Royal Mail will issue its 4th issue in its ongoing series on the Centenary of the First World War on 31 July 2017. The set is made up of 3 x 1st class domestic rate stamps and 3 x £1.57p stamps. The 1st class stamps depict "Shattered poppy" by J Ross, First World War nurses (Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm) and lines from the poem "Dead Man's Dump" by Isaac Rosenberg, 
  "Earth has waited for them,
   All the time of their growth" which continues
  "Fretting for their decay:
  Now she has them at last".
  The £1.57p values depict a woodcut titled "Dry docked for scaling and painting" by Edward Wadsworth (1918), Tyne Cot cemetery in Belgium and Private Lemuel Thomas Ross's lifesaving Bible.
  I believe that this is another superb set commemorating The First World War from Royal Mail in similar vein to the previous issues which have been released annually from 2014. I very much like the way each set covers various aspects of the conflict - the events, the bravery, the loss, the people, art, poetry and literature associated with the war and important little artefacts - museum pieces - that have far more significance than anyone could ever expect. This is a beautifully conceived series taking us through each year of the war and how it affected ordinary people and how the little islands carried on to eventual victory and peace even if there were fresh monsters on their way to power to plunge the world into possibly even greater horrors 20 years later.
  Royal Mail really is in cracking good form at the moment. Rating:- ****** (yes 6 stars). 
  Royal Mail's World War I Stamps, along with those from Australia Post and New Zealand Post, make a fantastic collection telling the story of the terrible conflict and would make a wonderful present for a parent (or grandparent) to give to a young person to help them learn about what happened to their ancestors 100 years ago.







  I finish where I started - in Birmingham. Benham First Day Covers are taking pre-orders for their magnificent first day covers for this issue at £22.50p. The cover bears the cancellation "Passchendaele 1917 Monument Road Birmingham 31 July 2017".
  Apart from the attractiveness and quality of design of the cover, the postmark is of great interest to me as it takes me back several decades to when I was a teenager  and worked during my summer holidays in a jewellery factory in Birmingham's now famous Jewellery Quarter as a temporary office boy for which I was paid the princely sum of £4/17/6d for a 40 hour week (no minimum wage then). One of my jobs sometimes was to take the outgoing post at the end of the afternoon to Monument Road post office and to see that it was properly handled. It was certainly a busy, bustling place in those days and people were in there to send post not, as would be the case in present times, to buy travel insurance or obtain foreign currency which is all local post offices seem to be for now.
  My tiny salary was very important to my passion for my stamp collection as it enabled me to buy my first ever Stanley Gibbons Part 1 Catalogue which was the 1967 edition and for which I was happy to fork out the magnificent sum of 35 shillings (£1-75p). For a long time afterwards I carried my "Part 1" around with me everywhere I went handling it tenderly like a delicate but wondrous trophy.
  So there really are quite a few reasons why I really ought to buy this excellent Benham cover even though I gave up collecting British first day covers (and PHQ cards and presentation packs) in 2000. We'll have a think about it.


  Having written a lot about Birmingham in this Blog as it is my home city and which itself suffered an appalling terrorist outrage in which 21 people were killed in the mid-1970s during the period of Irish terrorism, I express my shock and sadness for the people of Manchester who have experienced a terrible event overnight. The creatures who carried out this horror will never overwhelm the people who live in Britain's great cities, such as those featured above, and the rest of the islands.
  The IRA launched a vicious and terrible bomb attack on Manchester in 1996 and ironically it was a VR pillar box which was in the centre of the attack and survived the explosion and lasts till this day with a commemorative plaque now attached to it. The terrorists may be representatives of a different cause from the monsters who set off the 1996 explosion but the British resolve to resist them will carry on just like the Manchester pillar box.