Week of 20 May 2023
I have decided Fridays and Saturdays are probably the best time of the week to put together these Philatelic Round-Up! summaries of stampy stuff found around the Internet. We will see how that works out once I return to work (only one more week remaining in our extended holiday).
Let’s start off with some recently released stamps that highlight how difficult it can be to find out about some territories’ New Issues…
Birds of Paradise from Papua New Guinea
It is not often that I find myself on the website of Post PNG these days but this week’s post on Commonwealth Stamps Opinion Blog sent me searching and I found pretty much what I expected:
The most recent stamps listed on the philatelic section of the Papua New Guinea postal administration’s site were scheduled for release in November 2022 but still — as of late May 2023 — have “coming soon” banners. The department has experienced release delays for a number of years, even before Philatelic Manager Banian Masiboda “called it a day” last year. The first reference I recalled mentioning the Birds of Paradise issue was in Post PNG’s Stamp News for January/February 2021. In a post on 1 May 2021, Commonwealth Stamps Opinion Blog (which I am going to start abbreviating as CSOB) listed a 7 June release date for the stamp but also stated,
These dates may be somewhat optimistic as the PNG postal service tends to announce the date of issue of stamps and then the philatelic items fail to appear on the new issue market.White Knight on CSOB
On 19 July 2021, the blog mentions that the stamps may actually appear in the “foreseeable future” and paraphrases something Mr. Masiboda wrote in the aforementioned January/February 2021 newsletter:
As promised in our newsletter late last year, 2021 will be a whole year of Papua New Guinea related issues. The decision here was derived from numerous concerns raised against excessive release of irrelevant issues over the years. But before emphasizing further on this, I’d also like to make mention here that the long awaited last two issues for 2020 (Saltwater Crocodile and Bilums) have finally arrived from our overseas supplier. Respective components of the both issues have been transferred to Inventory for distribution to post offices nationwide, and then the Philatelic component to follow suite straight after related stationeries are produced.I’m Talking Stamps by Banian Masiboda
Finally, in a post on 19 August 2022, the set of stamps was again mentioned on CSOB at the end of a report on a set of stamps that had finally been issued after having been originally scheduled for 1 June 2021:
Note – a long awaited set depicting Birds of Paradise was scheduled for release on 7 June 2021. It will be interesting to see if this now also becomes available on the philatelic market.White Knight on CSOB
And now, nine months later, the blog reports that they have finally been released:
🇵🇬 PNG Post (postal service of Papua New Guinea) –
?2023 – Bitds of Paradise – 10 stamps and 2 miniature sheets, one containing 6 different stamps and the other a single stamp. Rating:- ****.White Knight on CSOB
One of the better sources for recent PNG stamps is the New Jersey-based Bombay Stamps so I went over to their site to see if I could find better images. I believe the scans are of the actual stamps:
Bombay Stamps also lists the release dates for the issues and has 1 May 2023 for the Birds of Paradise issue. There’s also another 2023 release listed, an obviously delayed issue marking the 2022 Platinum Jubilee of the pre-deceased (!) Queen Elizabeth II. The release date is given as 16 March. As I still do not have a schedule page for Papua New Guinea on my site, I think it’s time for me to create one!
I wonder if the stamps were designed with the black borders or if they were added later, causing the delay?
Sanitary Stamps of Rosario, Argentina
Yes, stamps are endlessly fascinating items. Although I have collected them for nearly 50 years, I am constantly finding out things that I knew nothing about. In the first installment of this series, I included a Private Proprietary stamp. While I had heard the term from time to time, I never knew exactly what that meant. The same with the term “Sanitary” stamp. What? A stamp clean enough to eat off of? Or was it a tax on cleanliness?
I came across a post this week by collector Kristen Danielle Shafer on the American Topical Association’s Facebook page explaining Rosario Servicio Sanitarios:
Rosario, Argentina in the 1890’s worked to control the practice of prostitution/spread of venereal disease by mandating prostitutes to register and undergo a medical examination twice a week. These revenue stamps were purchased by prostitutes in order to pay for the examination. The results of the examination were inked onto the stamp.Kristen Danielle Shafer
This brief description (and the stamps she included in her post) sparked one of those “That’s interesting!” moments that I often stumble upon. Those are usually followed by the thought, “I need to know more.” Down the rabbit hole, I went. . .
It turns out there is a catalogue that covers these items which were issued from 1893 until 1928. A description of the catalogue reveals the following:
As part of a program to control the spread of venereal disease, the City of Rosario, in the Argentine province of Santa Fe, issued revenue stamps (Sanitarios) to pay the fee for mandatory twice-weekly examinations of registered prostitutes. Each prostitute was given a booklet in which the examination results were recorded. The prostitute (or the madam) had to purchase Sanitarios to pay for the examinations. The stamp was placed in the booklet and various markings were added at the time of examination. There were five possible results: SANA (healthy), CON REGLA (menstruating), ENFERMA (sick), OBSERVACION (under observation), and REPUESTA (recovered).WorthPoint
I also came across an exhibit by Anne Triggle on the website of the Rochester Philatelic Society in New York, the first page of which appears below:
Finally, a 2011 post by “SanitarioSteve” on the StampBoards forum provides the following information:
From 1890 until 1932 (when bordellos were outlawed) all brothel workers in Rosario de Santa Fe were required to have medical examinations twice each week.
The exam was paid for with a stamp purchased by the madam, and new stamps were issued every year, usually — but not always — in different colors. The stamps were placed in the prostitute’s medical booklet and cancelled to show the result of her exam:
SANA (Spanish for ‘healthy’) — The lady could continue working.
CON REGLA (‘with period’) — The examination was not performed and the woman was temporarily barred from work.
ENFERMA (‘sick’) — The prostitute was isolated and barred from work.
EN OBSERVACIÃ“N (‘under observation’)– She was undergoing treatment and not allowed to work.
REPUESTA (‘recovered’) — A previously-sick prostitute was declared cured and could resume her employment.
SANA and CON REGLA marks are what you usually find, with SANA more common by about 10 to 1. The ENFERMA cancellation is the most sought-after, but EN OBSERVACIÃ“N and REPUESTA are also very scarce.SanitarioSteve
In the post, “SanitarioSteve” also mentions his website dedicated to the subject but the link no longer works.
I found these quite interesting (not sure why) and, if Thailand Post ever starts delivering mail again (OMG!), I may try to order a sampling. I found nine current listings on HipStamp, six on delcampe, and 17 on ebay (some of which might be duplicate listings from the other sites). None of these were especially expensive other than the matched pair seen above (a Buy It Now price just above US $100).
There is also an ebay listing for the aforementioned catalogue. It’s expensive for a 47-page book — US $24.00 plus $17.40 shipping from Fort Worth, Texas, to Thailand — so, unfortunately, I will not be adding a copy to my bookshelf. I have always had an issue with most philatelic literature being prohibitively expensive (nice albums, too!). In most cases, I would rather spend my money on stamps or covers.
Researching a TITANIC Cover
Something I do know a fair amount about is the RMS Titanic, that infamous ship of the White Star Line which struck an iceberg and plunged below the North Atlantic Ocean a little over 111 years ago. I first developed an interest in the disaster in the early 1970s (roughly the same time I began collecting stamps); at this late date I cannot recall if I read Sir Walter Lord’s A Night To Remember before I saw the movie or vice versa but whatever format it was, sparked what has become a lifelong interest. Today, I believe I have more Titanic books than philatelic ones (most of these are eBooks, by the way).
The liner is never far from my mind and constantly pops up in my news feed. This week was no exception as I came across a BBC report on YouTube about the recent 1:1 high-resolution scans of the entire ship as it currently lies on the ocean bottom:
I love how they superimposed the scan onto the pitch at Wembley Stadium!
It has long been known that the only covers actually carried upon Titanic that exist today are a precious few that went ashore during her port call at Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland, on 10-11 April 1912. The rest were in some 3,364 canvas sacks of mail deep within her hold. An interview with New York Postmaster Postmaster Edward M. Morgan published a few days after the sinking stated that, “As the standard ocean mail bag helds [sic] about 2000 letters, it is estimated that in all about 7,000,000 pieces of mail matter have been lost”. Amazingly, Titanic‘s postal clerks and several others — including steward Albert Theissinger who actually survived — attempted to rescue some 200 bags of registered mail as the ship sank. None of this mail, nor any of the five mail clerks, survived. There has, however, been occasional discoveries of March 1912 covers bearing TITANIC handstamps.
While down the rabbit hole looking for information about Rosario’s sanitary stamps, I came across an excellent article detailing collector Tom Fortunato’s research into his own Titanic cover, most of which was done in the pre-Internet era. Again, this was on the Rochester Philatelic Society website which is an excellent source of interesting presentations such as this one.
The true GOLD is found on the website started by Fortunato as a result of his research. I am not sure if I would have found this site had it not been for the link found on the RPS presentation — despite it having been online since April 2012! Thankfully, Titanic Covers That Missed the Boat is still maintained (the most recent update on 29 March 2023). Not only does the site highlight the 22 covers with Titanic markings found to date (most including scans of both the front and the back of the items) but it also includes links to .pdf files of what I assume is every article published about these types of covers plus auction listings and a fair amount of reference material.
Despite my nearly 50-year interest in Titanic (and most other classic ocean liners), I do not have a large collection of related philatelic material. I have a few liners on stamps and postcards as well as a fair amount of paquebot covers (mostly featuring various Cunarders) but I really missed the boat during the centenary year of Titanic‘s sinking eleven years ago. In early 2012, I was still on an eight-year hiatus from collecting stamps (my first blog article about the subject — “Return To A Lifelong Hobby” — was published that September). I still have the anniversary copy of National Geographic that I purchased at an inflated price in a Phuket bookshop but I did not buy any of the large amount of commemorative stamps and books coming out around that time. Since then, a few have trickled into my holdings but certainly not as many as I would like.
Albania and Other “New” Countries
I started to do another comprehensive update to my listings of 2023 stamp issues earlier this week, despite having not finished the previous update! Of course, I started at “A” and soon came across a pair of stamps released by Albania marking the 15th anniversary of Kosovo’s declaration of independence. As this was Albania’s first issue of 2023, I needed to create a country page before I could do anything else. It had been a while since the last time I did that (and I will soon be making another one for Papua New Guinea as explained earlier in this Round-Up!
A glance at my list shows there are at 18 more postal administrations that have released stamps this year but don’t yet have schedule pages on the site. These are Antigua and Barbuda, The Azores, Bonaire, Costa Rica, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Madeira, Mali, Oman, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Sierra Leone, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Syria, Togo, and Uganda. Unfortunately, several of these are clients of “abusive agencies” so I do have my work cut out for me! I will try to carve out a few days in the coming week to tackle these.
More New Issues: Bangladesh, Malaysia & Luxembourg
I missed several new stamps in the first installment of “Philatelic Round-Up!” when trying to list all of the stamps issued during this week. To make that task easier, I really need to update my Google Calendar listings. Another project on the To Do List…
Our first stamp was released this past Wednesday (17 May) by Bangladesh, commemorating World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. This had previously been known as World Telecommunication Day to commemorate the founding of the International Telecommunication Union on 17 May 1865, something I know about quite well due to one of my collecting topicals — year sets of stamps released in 1965 (my birth year). As that was the centennial of the ITU, I have a number of stamps marking that anniversary. The United States stamp was issued on 6 October 1965 in Washington, D.C. and is listed as Scott #1274.
The British Postal Museum published a nice “Stamp History” sheet about Great Britain’s ITU Centennial stamps which you can find here:
The main objective of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is to raise global awareness of social changes brought about by the Internet and new technologies. It also aims to help reduce the digital divide.
On Thursday, 18 May, a three-stamp set was released portraying Malaysian research institutes. According to POS Malaysia,
Research enables us to develop as a nation. In this Research Institutes in Malaysia (Pusat Penyelidikan Di Malaysia) collection, three local research institutes are featured on stamps namely Institut Penyelidikan Perhutanan Malaysia (FRIM) (30sen stamp), Institut Penyelidikan Perubatan (IMR) (70sen stamp) and Lembaga Minyak Sawit Malaysia (MPOB) (RM1.30 stamp).POS Malaysia
In “Philatelic Round-Up #1”, I showed Luxembourg’s Europa 2023 stamp which was released last Tuesday (16 May). In addition, Luxembourg issued the following stamps on the same day:
- Edmond de la Fontaine 200th Birth Anniversary
- Gëlle Fra Monument 100th Anniversary
- European Institute of Cultural Routes 25th Anniversary
- Asteroid Day: Discovery
I will add these to Luxembourg’s stamp schedule page and gallery in the very near future and will probably do an article covering them as well. In the meantime, there is an excellent write-up of these stamps on the website of the Small European Postal Administration Corporations (sepac). This is an organization whose members, much like those of PostEurop with their Europa issues, release stamps each year under a common theme. In 2022, the stamps portrayed Local Beverages while this year the topic is Traditional Markets.
Stamp of the Week: Ubangi Headdress
I have long had an affinity for this and the other stamps in the set of 26 stamps released by Belgian Congo starting in September 1923 and continuing until 1927 (Scott #88-113). They portray various indigenous women’s portraits as well as local crafts and skills such as basketmaking, weaving and working rubber. This is just one example of an outstanding set of “Engraved Beauties“.
Wrapping the Round-Up!
As it’s getting late, I think I will wrap-up this second installment of “Philatelic Round-Up!” with a couple odds and ends.
I just noticed that today (20 May) was World Bee Day which commemorates the date that Anton Janša, the pioneer of beekeeping, was born in 1734. The purpose of the international day is to acknowledge the role of bees and other pollinators for the ecosystem. The UN Member States approved Slovenia’s proposal to proclaim 20 May as World Bee Day in December 2017. While I don’t have a specific favorite bee stamp, I quite like the Language of Bees souvenir sheet released by Austria on 25 March of this year as well as this stamp issued by Australia on my sister’s birthday in 2019 picturing the green & gold nomia bee (Lipotriches australica):
I didn’t have any extra time to sit down and watch any philatelic YouTube videos the past few days and my subscription feed was fairly quiet. Let’s Talk Stamps tweeted that he will upload a video tomorrow (Sunday) about why he collects stamps from Jordan so I am looking forward to that. I added the latest from the Sandafayre auction house to my Watch List. It covers classic Israeli and Palestinian stamps.
This round-up! is now wrapped. . .
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