Category Archives: Stamps

Estonia – 100th Anniversary of the Ornithological Society

Introduction

On 29 April 2021, Eesti Post commemorated 100th anniversary of the Estonian Ornithological Society.  According to the information on the Eesti Post Website[1]:

“The Estonian Ornithological Society was established on 1 May 1921. For over one hundred years, the society has contributed to the research, protection and introduction of our bird species. With more than 600 members, the ornithological society is currently one of the largest nature protection societies in Estonia and it is also a partner of the international bird protection organisation BirdLife International. We continue to stand for the wellbeing of Estonian wild birds.”

The stamp issue includes a sheetlet of two colourful stamps, both at €1.90 (the letter rate for postage outside of Europe, up to 250g), with the left-hand stamp featuring the Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and the right-hand stamp illustrating a pair of binoculars and the logo of the Ornithological society, plus a Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus).


[1] 100th Anniversary of the Estonian Ornithological Society (omniva.ee)

Isle of Man

Europa 2021 Endangered National Species
The Calf of Man and 70th Anniversary of the Manx National Trust

Introduction

On 12 April 2021, the Isle of Man Post Office issued a set of 10 stamps which simultaneously commemorate:

  • The Europa 2021 “Endangered National Species” stamp theme, with one stamp (NVI “EU”), illustrating a Manx Sheerwater (Puffinus puffinus) chick;
  • The 70th Anniversary of the founding of the Manx National Trust (MNT); and
  • The Calf of Man nature and conservation reserve, which is managed by the MNT. 

Five of the stamps have a 1st NVI, for use on postage within the Isle of Man and valid for post to the UK; and five stamps with the “EU” NVI. 

There is an additional stamp featuring a bird; and this is the EU stamp illustrating the Calf of Man Bird Observatory and the Common Whitethroat: more of which below. 

The consultancy EJC Design developed the stamp illustrations, each stamp being available in sheets of 20.  The printing is in offset lithography and each stamp measures 40.00 x 31.66mm in portrait format.  The set is available in a presentation pack (limited to 1,500), and the usual First Day Cover (FDC) is available (limited to 2,250).  The Europa 2021 stamp also has its own FDC and miniature sheet (see below).  Isle of Man Post Office has also issued a set of postcards to accompany the stamp issue, which carry enlarged illustrations of each stamp.

The Manx Shearwater

Fiji Definitive Overprints – New finds!

Further to my original piece on the Fiji overprints of some months ago, The Pacific Islands Study Circle (PISC) have now reported two new additions to the already large list of overprinted bird definitives. The original definitives were issued in 1995 but due to a severe shortage of postage stamps to cover their postal rates in early 2006, Fiji resorted to overprinting with new denominations the large stocks of these definitives with redundant values. As my article hopefully showed, the overprintings have resulted in a huge number of overprints with new values while at the same time producing a stunningly complex array of varieties and errors. Frankly, they have become a collector’s paradise!

6c/44c “xxx” overprint

In the latest edition of Pacifica magazine, PISC have announced that two new overprints have been found on the original 44c Purple Swamphen. In January this year they reported that a 6c with lower case triple “x” obliterating the 44c (“xxx”) had been found with an overprinted line measuring 11mm. This combination has not been seen before. More recently a 23c new value, also with triple lower case “x” obliterations appeared. It is thought that this was issued in either March or April. There are currently no further details on the crucial overprinting measurements for this 23c/44c arrangement. Only one other version of this overprint combination – appearing in late 2016 – is known.

23c/44c “xxx” Overprint

As can be imagined, COVID has had a substantial impact on tourism for the Pacific island nations and this has contributed to severe economic difficulties, leading to substantial cutbacks in their issuing of new stamps. It is possible – perhaps probable – that Fiji has responded by further plundering of its old stocks. Some of the original values were never used for the overprintings, perhaps because of insufficient numbers, but I now wonder if more examples might emerge.

Hildasay Island – Cinderella Stamps

Where is Hildasay Island?

Hildasay is a small, uninhabited island located in the Shetland Islands, off the West Coast of the Shetland mainland. 

There are some attractive bird stamps relating to Hildasay Island. First up is this sheetlet of four stamps featuring a Redshank (Tringa tetanus), Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) and Curlew (Numenius arquata).   All four of these birds can be found in the Shetland Islands.

These Cinderella stamps are based on attractive watercolour illustrations of all four birds.  Graham Soult (of dealer Graham Land Stamps) states on his website that the origin of these issues is not clear, though he thinks that they may date form the 1990s.


2010 and all that

Last thoughts on the Lapwings and other Guyana bird surcharges

First an apology and a correction to the previous blog. I had been unsure whether there were any Stanley Gibbons numbers to the Lapwing issues, particularly as there is no current catalogue to refer to. However, a closer look at the well crammed and tiny print spreadsheet provided by Steve Zirinsky revealed a misreading that indicate SG numbers do indeed exist for these issues. I am still unsure about the sequencing, but can at least now show the Scott and SG equivalent catalogue numbers together, as per Table 1 in the attached document.

But let’s move on from these birds – we have surely done them to death now? There are a handful of other surcharged bird stamps that emerged from the Rainforests of Guyana during the period 2010 to 2013. This piece is intended to sweep them all up and present them.