I am excited about the upcoming week for a number of reasons, several of which are fairly non-philatelic. Sunday the 25th marks the official beginning of the Lunar New Year, the second of three New Years which are enthusiastically celebrated in my adopted home of Phuket, Thailand. There is a Chinese clan shrine just a few steps from my front-door and I anticipate a long night of hourly fireworks explosions. This leads to about a week of New Years festivities which is immediately followed by one of my favorite local events: the annual Old Town Phuket Festival with plenty of great food and music in this UNESCO City of Gastronomy.
We have arrived in the Twenties and I am ready to see a lot of new stamps. Promo artwork is fine but it is so much nicer to have an actual stamp to hold in your tongs as you place it into an album or stockbook for the first time. I will have my first chance in 2020 when Thailand’s Year of the Mouse Zodiac stamp is issued tomorrow.
My New Year’s Eve was a quiet affair spent at home although I did go out to the balcony at midnight to watch the fireworks over Phuket Town. They may not have been as impressive as those in Singapore or North Korea (both of which were broadcast live on television here), but there was a nice breeze making it much cooler to be outside than in my non-air conditioned apartment.
I did take the time to create a new handstamp inspired by one I saw on Timbre Phil-Ouest’s Facebook page:
With 2020 just 34 hours away as I write this in southern Thailand, there are eleven stamp-issuing entities set to release a total of 59 stamps, five postal cards, 2 single-stamp souvenir sheets, one multi-stamp miniature sheet and more during the first four days of the New Year. I am certain I will learn of others sometime later. Last year, the philatelic agency representing the African nation of Chad unleashed dozens of stamps and mini-sheets on New Year’s Day all of which I discovered through listings on the eBay auction site.
To date, Great Britain has not revealed even the subject matter for its 2020 Stamp Programme in sharp contrast with 2019. You may recall that the design for one of the announced stamps for the D-Day 75th anniversary set included a major error in design and had to be recalled. Perhaps Royal Mail is taking extra time this year for fact-checking.