I’m always excited this time of the year tracking down new Christmas stamps (and am preparing the last two entries for my “A Month of Christmas” series on A Stamp A Day) as well as following announcements of the upcoming stamps for the New Year. Of course, many of the first issues are the myriad of Chinese New Year releases (2019 is the Year of the Pig) some of which are quite attractive but some countries such as Hong Kong seem to go a bit overboard with these. I much prefer the single stamp releases by the United States or Thailand for this particular topic. There are a few blogs around that do a good job of keeping track of various new issues and I’ve been checking some of the various issuing entities’ websites as well. It can be difficult to find decent-resolution images of stamp designs prior to their release.
United States of America
While 2018 saw some quite interesting stamps from the U.S., 2019 is shaping up to be much better. January will see several releases brought upon by rate increases including a couple of nicely-designed Priority Mail stamps that I would be happy to add to my collection were it not for the extremely high face values (US $7.35 and $25.50!). I’m extremely interested in the Wild and Scenic Rivers issue (reminiscent to last year’s O Beautiful! set) and the Post Office Murals stamps (I have seen one of those portrayed in person). Other favorites from the recently revealed designs include those of the USS Missouri, Marvin Gaye and Woodstock’s 50th anniversary. The Alabama stamp actually makes me want to revisit the state as I never found it THAT attractive but the Cactus Flowers, Coral Reefs and Frogs stamps don’t do much for me. The County and State Fairs issue is interesting but the design reminds me a bit too much of the Thanksgiving Parade issue of a few years ago.
It gives me great pleasure to announce the issuance of the first souvenir sheet to be released by Republica Phuketia. The sheet contains a block of four se-tenant 50-farang stamps which together form a outline map of Phuket Island which lies in the Andaman Sea off the west coast of southern Thailand. The Republica Phuketia seal is featured at the center of the stamp design so only a portion of it appears on each stamp. The stamps are also the first to be inscribed with the full name of the local post-operating micronation, REPUBLICA PHUKETIA. The background design of the souvenir sheet is a photograph taken by myself on October 13, 2008, at Kata Yai Beach on the west coast of Phuket Island. It portrays a rain squall approaching the beach; a long-tail boat in visible in the center background. The sheets were printed by Yoursetamps in Berlin, Germany, using high-resolution laser printing technology, comb perforated 13½ x 13.
Before I give details about the latest Phuketia local post stamp release, I am pleased to announce that the Republica Phuketia government is no longer “in-exile”. After nearly a month in the wilds of Phang Nga Province, I was allowed to return to the much more civilized (we have a mall!) and familiar surroundings of Phuket. As a result, there are no provisional postal markings noting the temporary location — meaning that I never had a chance to get to the post office while in Phang Nga. Thus, the Phuketian definitive set was not released until November 30 when the first day covers were delivered to the post office in Phuket (and have yet to complete the vast 2-kilometer distance back to Posta Phuketia headquarters).
With the definitive first day covers still in transit, another set is prepared and ready for the December 12, 2018, release of three commemorates marking the 200th anniversary of Thai-U.S. Friendship. Observant readers will notice that this is a change from the previously-announced date of December 10. This is due to the fact that the Thailand Post facilities will remain closed on that date (tomorrow) for the Constitution Day holiday. Yes, the kingdom still observes this as a government and banking holiday although they still haven’t adopted a new Constitution since the latest military coup back in May 2014. However, they did announce this week (as they do every year) that elections to vote on a new Constitution will be held in the near future (February 2019, according to the latest announcement). I suspect that, as they do every year, they will find some excuse to again delay these elections.