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!
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.
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.
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.
In truth, this wee update really ought to be entitled, “Gilly to the Rescue,” because she actually found this material and is the fortunate owner of the Scott catalogue that has helped clarify a little further the mysterious Guyana Lapwing surcharges. But perhaps that would have sounded like the title of one of those gymslip tales by Angela Brazil and terribly fifties; not at all right, so Scott’s it has to be.
And there is no denying that Gilly has worked wonders in unearthing more information here, proving yet again what I always thought, that the philately of the America’s is better handled by Scott’s than Stanley Gibbons as additional commentary to the first Lapwing blog confirmed. Scott’s scores even for a philatelic, “Wallpaper” country like Guyana. So what can we now add to the original piece? Firstly, all the Guyanese 1995 Birds of the World singles can be given Scott numbers in addition to SG ones.
I am greatly indebted to member Ton Plug for bringing these small mysteries to my attention as I had never seen them before. And after a few hours of internet excavation, whilst better informed, I am still a little uncertain about them.
The accompanying images show two Guyana stamps – a pair of a $6 Northern Lapwing (Vanellus Vanellus) (a and b), and then a further pair of the same stamps surcharged and overprinted $20 (c and d). But when were they issued? Which is a pretty a good question, because I am not sure.
You’ll probably recognise the design. Guyana produced two mini-sheets entitled “Birds of the World” for “Philakorea 94” and issued them on 16th August 1994. The sheets, each with twelve designs, depicted a variety of species but only two of which could actually be found in Guyana. Needless to say, the Northern Lapwing was not one of the native birds and it is amazing that they didn’t use the local sub-species of the Southern Lapwing (Vanellus c. cayennensis). The stamps on both sheets included the event logo and had a vertical rectangular format, each with the value of $35.