Thursday, 14 December 2017

1140. πŸ‡¨πŸ‡°πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡΄ More Stuff From Philatelic Collector Inc.

  In Blogs 1120 and 1139 I detailed some of the most recent new issues from the US-based stamp producer Philatelic Collector Inc. In this Blog I list those new issues not mentioned so far.

  πŸ‡¨πŸ‡° Cook Islands - 28 August 2018 - 'Memories in Summer', Winning designs in a local photography competition - 3 stamps. These are excellent designs and give the collector more of a feel of life in The Cook Islands than any number of Chinese New Year stamps and all the other stuff that emerges from the office of Philatelic Collector. Rating:- *****.

  5 December 2017 - Christmas - 4 stamps. These have local themes but I don't find the style to be very attractive. Rating:- *.

  πŸ‡¨πŸ‡° Cook Islands Aitutaki - Christmas - 4 stamps. Rating:- *.

  - 8 December 2017 - Animals of the World, Butterflies - 4 stamps. Rating:- 0.

  πŸ‡¨πŸ‡° Cook Islands Penrhyn - 5 December 2017 - Christmas - 4 stamps. Rating:- *.

  πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡΄ Tonga - 4 December 2017 - 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps - 4 stamps. Rating:- ***.

  - 4 December 2017 - Elimination of lymphatic filariasis - 1 stamp. Rating:- ****.

  - 4 December 2017 - Christmas - 4 stamps. Rating:- *.

  πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡΄ Tonga Niuafo'ou - Christmas - 4 stamps. Rating:- *.

  πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡± More paraphilatelic items from Stamperija. This is another batch of 10 sheetlets, each containing 4 different 'stamps', and 10 miniature sheets with the name of Sierra Leone printed on them and said to have been 'issued' on 30 October 2017. The featured subjects are:- 45th anniversary of the VAZ 2103 vehicle, Commemoration of the Salvation Army, 2nd Birthday of Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Polo, 55th anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe, Formula 1 motor racing, World Athletics Championships hosted by Athens, 2014 Winter Olympic Games held in Sochi, 30th Birthday of Lionel Messi (footballer) and Chess. There is little point in including any illustrations of this stuff in this Blog. Rating:- 0.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

1139. πŸ‡»πŸ‡Ί Has Vanuatu Sold Its Philatelic Soul?

  πŸ‡»πŸ‡Ί Some collectors of new issues may be alarmed to read that the postal service of Vanuatu appears to have taken on the services of the USA-based philatelic agency Philatelic Collector Inc. which is rather poorly regarded by some collectors of modern stamps. Among the latest issues listed on Philatelic Collector's website is a pair of stamps and 1 miniature sheet issued by the Vanuatu postal service to commemorate Chinese New Year.
  As shown below Philatelic Collector does not describe its relationship with Vanuatu as being "Vanuatu Philatelic Bureau" as it does for Tonga and Cook Islands but merely lists it as "Vanuatu - Year of the Dog" so there is nothing to yet say that the Vanuatu postal service has taken Philatelic Collector on as its continuing Philatelic agent. Perhaps that announcement is yet to come.
  The date of issue is given as 1 November 2017 and the designer is Sophia Zhang. To date, Vanuatu Post has had an excellent record as an issuer of new stamps. Let us hope that it has not sold its philatelic soul. The new stamps are twee and garish and will not find their way into my collection of the stamps of Vanuatu. Rating:- 0.

  πŸ‡¨πŸ‡° Similar Chinese New Year stamps have also been issued by Cook Islands and its philatelic appendages. The date of issue is given as 1 November 2017. The issue is made up of 6 stamps and 3 miniature sheets (inscribed "Cook Islands", "Aitutaki Cook Islands" or "Penrhyn Cook Islands".

  πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡΄ We also have the same from Tonga and Tonga Niuafo'ou (a total of 4 stamps and 2 miniature sheets). Again the date of issue is stated to have been 1 November 2017. Though the stamps do not appeal to me I have no doubt that other people will find them to be appealing. Rating:- 0.

  πŸ‡²πŸ‡Έ In Blog 1047 I mentioned a sheetlet of 6 stamps which was released by the Montserrat postal service on 12 July 2017 on the subject of the Soufriere volcanic eruption. It appears that a second sheetlet of 6 stamps was also issued which depicts buildings in Plymouth, the destroyed former capital of Montserrat, and these make an interesting portrayal of the pitiful way the island was afffected by the volcano. Rating:- ****.

  πŸ‡°πŸ‡³ The Beijing and New York-based philatelic agency, IGPC, has released 1 sheetlet containing 4 different stamps and 1 miniature sheet with the name of Nevis printed on them to commemorate the Platinum Wedding Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh. Rating:- *.

  πŸ‡¬πŸ‡¬ Guernsey Post will issue 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet on 1 February 2018 to commemorate a subject which has very little to do with the island - Chinese new year which will be the Year of the Dog. This is the fifth issue in this ongoing Lunar new year series which presumably means that we have another 7 years of such issues before the cycle is completed.
  Although I'm a great dog enthusiast I dislike this set and will not be adding it to my own collection of Guernsey stamps. The set was designed by Chrissy Lau and the designs feature stylised renderings of the Pekingese breed. Rating:- *.

  Guernsey Post then intends to release 1 miniature sheet on 14 February 2018 for issue at the Spring Stampex 2018 Philatelic Exhibition in London. To tie in with the exhibition's opening date, 14 February (St. Valentine's Day), the sheet which is inscribed "Alderney", contains 2 heart-shaped stamps and depicts "the view from The Lover's Chair", a clandestine meeting place for the 19th century local girl named Jacquine Le Mesurier and a Guernsey squire, which is an engraving by Paul Jacob Naftel, a Guernsey 19th century artist. An interesting enough issue, I suppose. Rating:- **.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

1138. πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ BBC Suggests Designs For Brexit Stamps.

  πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ Programmes about stamp collecting rarely make it on to television screens here in Britain in these modern times. Which is a pity as more exposure of the general public to stamps and stamp collecting in that medium may well give the hobby the boost it needs. 
  But today an item on stamps was shown for about 5 minutes or so on an important programme about British politics which is shown daily and is therefore titled, aptly, The Daily Politics. The item addressed the question as to whether Royal Mail should issue a stamp to commemorate British exit from The European Union (Brexit).
  Two politicians were interviewed by a BBC reporter outside the Palace of Westminster and squabbled for five minutes about the question. One of the politicians represented the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and was a firm Brexiteer while the other represented a group which wished The United Kingdom to remain a member of The European Union, a so-called 'Remoaner'.
  The UKIP politician was firmly convinced that 'Britain' should issue a stamp to celebrate the UK's departure from the EU while the Remoaner said that stamps should not be issued which related to issues which divided people but should be released to celebrate happy events 'such as the Royal Wedding'. The Brexiteer said that one particular reason to celebrate Brexit philatelically was that 'a stamp' was issued to commemorate Britain's entry into what was then known as 'The Common Market' and therefore another should be issued to mark the historic departure from the body which now calls itself The European Union. The Remoaner stated that 'tax-payers'' money should not be wasted on such a stamp issue.
  The BBC reporter then enticed the politicians to comment on suggested designs for 'Brexit' stamps having shown 'the stamp' which had been issued in 1973 to mark Britain's admission to the European Economic Community.

  In fact The British Post Office, as we then called it, actually issued 3 stamps and whilst being somewhat similar to the design shown in The Daily Politics the issued stamps shown below were still considerably different from that depicted by the BBC in its politics programme. Poor research, perhaps?

  The first suggested Brexit design reused the jigsaw theme. This was wholly unacceptable to the UKIP politician as it placed the EU flag over the UK flag. The Brexiteer tried to put things right by turning the 'stamp' upside down but the BBC reporter was then forced to point out that this rendered the Queen's head upside down. Most unsatisfactory.

  A second design was then shown which depicted a Union Jack balloon floating away from a large number of balloons with the design of the EU flag on them. The Brexiteer was not at all keen to see so many EU flags on a British stamp and so this second design proved to be as unsatisfactory as did the first design.

  A third proposed design was then offered for the politicians to consider. This showed a UK-shaped hole where material had been torn away from the EU flag. This impressed the UKIP politician no more than had the previous designs. He objected again to the presence of the European stars in the design and felt altogether that everything that had been shown was far too negative and any Brexit stamps should feature designs which portrayed a positive view of Brexit and the perceived benefits to Britain which would accrue from its political separation from Europe.

  The whole interview was marked by poor insight into Royal Mail's new issue policies. Though unstated, the first aim of any new stamp put out by Royal Mail is not to upset anybody. Hence it took Royal Mail a very long time for it to commemorate the extremely historically important but controversial and divisive first female British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, after her death and even then it chose to do so by including a stamp in a set of eight which featured politicians from all parts of the political spectrum.
  As the issue of a Brexit stamp is likely to upset almost 50% of the population of The United Kingdom the chances of such an issue making it to our post office counters seem minimal.
  The Remoaner politician also made the point that 'taxpayers' money should not be wasted on such an issue'. As far as I know no taxpayers' money is wasted on the production of new stamp issues. If anyone wastes their money on them it's definitely we stamp collectors who, I suppose, are also taxpayers when you think about it. Still, it was a meaningless statement on her part and misleading to viewers who are not stamp collectors. Don't these politicians know that Royal Mail has long been privatised?
  Still this was a little outing for stamp collecting on a notable BBC programme and even if the programme's researchers could not track down a true example of the 1973 stamp issue at least it represented exposure for the hobby on a mainstream programme on BBC television. That is, if you can accurately describe programmes about politics as "mainstream".