Whew! What a month! Hopefully, June will be much, much better than May…
Some of you may be aware of the current situation in Thailand. We have been in the grips of a third wave since the beginning of April and the situation just keeps getting worse.
I have remained out of work during this period which has meant that New Issues posts to this site are an almost daily occurrence. The month of May, saw 135 articles on this site which is the most I have created in a single month since November 2020 (which saw 174). The articles are generally longer and some are quite well illustrated both of which can take considerable amounts of time. As always, the formatting and images are best viewed on larger screens.
One of the reasons for the increased number of articles (other than my increased amount of free time) is the organization brought about by my full schedule of new issues (found under the 2021 tab and then just click on the Schedules page for different letters of the alphabet). These are quite easy to quickly update and they give me a sense of what’s coming and what has already been issued much more than my previous systems.
The difficult part is — once I decide which entity or issue theme I would like to tackle on a given day — finding quality images and/or information. Some postal administrations are much better than others in the amount of details (whether technical or background) than others. One of my future plans is to start writing mini-reviews of the many different websites where I obtain the information provided in the articles. I have started listing sources on individual articles but it would be nice to gather the postal administration sites into one easy to use list.
In addition to the difficulty in finding quality images and information mentioned above, there are also internet issues as the connection tends to fail whenever there are rain storms (and we are just beginning the 4- to 5-month monsoon season). I am really quite amazed that I managed to add so much to the site this month.
So far in 2021, I have posted 186 New Issues articles about stamps from 59 different stamp issuers. Even so, there are always a few who complain that (insert name of country) has not been represented yet this year. There are, after all, 223 stamp-issuing entities by my count that still actively issue postage stamps. I would like to include at least one article from each before the end of the year but I doubt that will be possible. I tend to do blocks from the same countries or territories at a time (today, I did four from Russia and four from Brazil, the latter covering all of their 2021 issues to date). I covered a lot of different places last month and I hope to do the same in June (but my plan is to do the upcoming United States issues first as those are always the easiest).
Still, there are areas that I am far behind on. I have all but abandoned my listing of all the COVID-19 related stamp issues, starting from March 2020 on up to the present. For one thing, I am a bit overwhelmed with the amount of issues that suddenly appear without any warning. I am also becoming less of a fan of the entire theme as time goes on — I have seen too much heartbreak as a result of the pandemic to find any joy at seeing it portrayed on a postage stamp. It has been difficult to motivate myself to work on it but, one day, I will resume work on it.
I also want to reformat all the entity pages but have so far given that treatment only to Abkhazia, Afghanistan, Aitutaki, and the Åland Islands. These are very time-consuming and the formatting doesn’t always display the way I want it to. This might be a good project for July or August as the number of stamp issues usually slows down during the summer months. However, this June is shaping up to be another month very full of stamp issues.
Right now, I count 102 separate issues due to appear during the upcoming month. Of these, about half are releases of multiple stamps while the others constitute singles. Almost every day of June will see at least one stamp released somewhere in the world.
Personally, I am probably most interested in Canada’s Bluenose anniversary issue. The original stamp is widely considered the most beautiful ever released by Canada and possibly the world. I was quite thrilled when I added a copy of this famous stamp to my own collection several years ago. The single stamp commemorating Japanese-American soldiers during World War II to be released on 3 June by the United States also is quite an interesting subject as is the 10-stamp Sun Science sheet coming out on 18 June. I think June might be the heaviest release month for U.S. stamps all year.
A few other June issues that I am looking forward to are a batch on the 7th from Liechtenstein (which produces beautiful stamps no matter the topic), Guernsey’s sets marking Postcrossing and Sark’s Dark Skies both due on the 10th, a set picturing Traditional War Shields from Papua New Guinea scheduled for 14 June, a hydrant (yes, a hydrant!) from Austria on the 18th, and a sheet of ten by Japan on the 25th.
I suppose that I am also waiting for the release of Malaysia’s Frontliners in the Battle Against COVID-19 that has been repeatedly rescheduled since last September or October just because I am tired hearing about it. The most recent change saw it moved from issuance on 20 May to 29 June. Somehow, I doubt it will appear on that date either considering how the country has just been ordered into yet another full lockdown starting tomorrow. I get the impression that Malaysia and Indonesia are both experiencing a really bad couple of months just as we are here in Thailand.
Looking at the advance schedules (and I LOVE advanced schedules), there are some stamps that leave me scratching my head. I was intrigued when I found out that Tunisia would be issuing a set commemorating Street Art and their release a couple of weeks ago caused me to learn quite a bit about that nation’s beautiful works gracing many buildings (and other objects). Greenland is planning a set for this fall also on the subject of Street Art; the Arctic is not a place I generally associate with people standing outside for hours with a spray can of paint so I am anxiously awaiting to see their design. I will also have to wait until 28 September to see if my Microsoft Translate was accurate in naming Brazil’s stamp commemorating the 150th anniversary of “the Law of the Womb”.
In non-New Issue news, the philatelic community is probably most excited about the Sotheby’s auction to be held on 8 June which will see two of the hobbies’ greatest rarities go under the hammer. The plate block of four Inverted Jenny’s actually pales a bit in comparison to the sale of the British Guiana One Cent Magenta. Pre-auction estimates have the hammer falling somewhere between 10 and 15 million U.S. dollars. Non-philatelic but just as interesting is that the auction also features a very nice gold coin — the 1933 Double Eagle, this particular item being the only example that is legally sanctioned by the United States government for private ownership. Clicking the link above will take you to the official digital catalogue for the auction.
The One Cent Magenta was featured in an early episode of Graham Beck’s excellent Exploring Stamps YouTube series (Season 2 Episode 13). More recently, Beck had an interesting discussion about the Magenta which aired on his spin-off vlog series called #Philately. The conversation between him with Michael and Charles from the popular podcast and YouTube channel Conversations with Philatelists touched on the auction process itself and other details including the fact that each of the previous owners have actually left their marks on the back of the stamp. This was something I had never heard about before; in the earlier episode, Graham recommended a book called The One-Cent Magenta: Inside the Quest to Own the Most Valuable Stamp in the World by James Barron. I think I need to track down this book and read it!
And, that is all I have to report on for the month past and looking forward to the month to come. Quite a few great stamps will be released and we have a very very special event slated for next week (Tuesday, the 8th). I hope that life in other areas improves but at least there is plenty within the hobby to keep us collectors more than happy.