Apart from my daily articles for A Stamp A Day, my main philatelic activity this week involved putting together a spreadsheet summarizing all of the stamp issues I’ve been able to find that are scheduled for release in 2019. I’ve been perusing a wide variety of sources and even uncovered a few on eBay that I hadn’t come across elsewhere (including stamps by both Myanmar and Russia). I now have images for most of January’s new issues and a few others scattered later in the year. The problem is that most of the images are rather low-quality. My spreadsheet currently has 89 separate issues with a total of 211 face-different stamps from 48 stamp-issuing entities. I am trying to figure out how to embed this spreadsheet onto a (free) WordPress blog so that a constantly-updated version will be available here on Philatelic Pursuits.
My favorite stamp issue of the week is a pair issued yesterday (January 21) by Greenland marking that territory’s involvement in World War II. This is the fourth set in the series. Artist Naja Rosing-Asvid from Nuuk, Greenland, designed all the stamp images while Norwegian engraver and illustrator Martin Mörck undertook the engraving. The series, comprised of 10 stamps, is printed in combined offset and laser etching. The 25-Danish krone stamp for this year portrays “Communications” while the 41-krone denomination illustrates “Weather Stations”.
I am also quite interested in tomorrow’s release of a self-adhesive “embroidered” souvenir sheet marking the 300th anniversary of the Principality of Liechtenstein. Lying between Switzerland and Austria, it took its current name as a principality of the Holy Roman Empire in 1719. This is the first time that Liechtenstein has issued an embroidered stamp. Denominated at 6.30 Swiss francs, it is in the shape of a prince’s hat and was created by the embroidery firm Hämmerle & Vogel in Lustenau, Austria. A limited edition version of the stamp, embroidered with real gold thread, will also be available.
A few days after I was able to snap a photo of a Thailand Post stamp release schedule at my local post office (including a couple of issues marked as “under consideration”), a Thai friend of mine posted a similar schedule on Facebook as well as images of a few forthcoming releases. Thus, I am finally attempting to put together a “Stamp-Issuing Program” article for Thailand. I hope to have that finished within the next few days. The usual annual series and birthday anniversaries are in place and this year’s Diplomatic Relations stamps honor the Philippines (70th anniversary) and Luxembourg (80th anniversary); it still bothers me that Thailand Post didn’t mark last year’s 200th anniversary of Thai-U.S. friendship but the Phuketian stamps I created have proved rather popular with my trading partners. There will also be a joint-issue with the Maldives in June and what seems to be two 4-stamp topical issues scheduled for September — one on the subject of “Marine Life” and the other portrays “Lighthouses.”
On January 17 (the same date that the second United States stamp of the year was released), the U.S. Postal Service announced that it would offer four low-denomination Fruit series coil stamps in rolls of 3,000 on January 27 as well as in the previously released rolls of 10,000 stamps. The stamps affected are the 2-cent Meyer Lemons (originally issued on January 19, 2018, and listed as Scott #5256); 3-cent Strawberries (May 5, 2017, Scott #5201); 5-cent Pinot Noir Grapes (February 19, 2016, Scott #5038); and the 10-cent Red Pears (January 17, 2016, Scott #5039). It is as yet unknown if the stamps in the new size coil rolls will differ in any significant way from the original issues in the larger rolls (such as, for example, bearing microprinted “2019” dates). The same date will also see the reissue of the Uncle Sam Hat stamp previously released in panes on 20 on February 18, 2017 (Scott #5174), this time in coils of 100 stamps including a “2019” year inscription. January 27 will be a very expensive day for those few collectors left who still obtain all new U.S. issues.
Meanwhile, the 12th stamp of the U.S. Postal Service’s Celebrating Lunar New Year series was released on January 17 in ceremonies at the Chinese Community Center in Houston, Texas. USPS vice president of finance and planning Luke Grossmann was on hand to introduce the Year of the Boar stamp, the final stamp in a series that began in 2008. As with the previous 11 stamps in the series, the central artwork features a painting by New York-based artist Kam Mak. The 2019 illustration shows purple peach blossoms on a branch against a pale green background. Peach trees in China typically bloom in February. The upcoming Year of the Pig (or, Boar) will begin February 5, 2019, and end on January 24, 2020.
A Stamp A Day articles published last week:
- January 15, 2019: “Franz Grillparzer” (Austria — Scott #489, 1949) 2,435 words
- January 16, 2019: “Wan Khru (วันครู), or Teacher’s Day in Thailand” (Thailand — Scott #2849v, 2015) 1,509 words
- January 17, 2019: “Happy Birthday, Ben Franklin” (Great Britain — Scott #785, 1976) 794 words
- January 18, 2019: “Daniel Webster & the Dartmouth College Case” (United States — Scott #1380, 1969) 2,202 words
- January 19, 2019: “Edgar Allan Poe & His Stamps” (United States — Scott #986, 1949) 6,525 words
- January 20, 2019: “The British Colony of Hong Kong” (Hong Kong — Scott #173, 1941) 2,743 words
- January 21, 2019: “Monte Carlo Auto Rally” (Monaco — Scott #333, 1955) 2,539 words
Today’s article, which will be post #939 to that blog, will be about the The Pontifical Swiss Guard (Cohors Pedestris Helvetiorum a Sacra Custodia Pontificis in Latin and Guardia Svizzera Pontificia in Italian). This is the small force maintained by the Holy See that is responsible for the safety of the Pope, including the security of the Apostolic Palace. The Swiss Guard serves as the de facto military of Vatican City. Established in 1506 under Pope Julius II with the first 100 soldiers arriving on January 21 of that year, the Pontifical Swiss Guard is among the oldest military units in continuous operation. I am still trying to decide which stamp to feature for the article (I have several to choose from issued by the Vatican as well as Switzerland) and will put it together later this afternoon or evening.
I didn’t spent much time on my “virtual stamp album” pages this week, only adding a couple of stamps to the United States Trans-Mississippian issue of 1898, which I’d received in the mail last week. The 4-cent and 8-cent values are next on my list to acquire as well as upgrades and adding to the Pan-American issue of 1901.