Here is a list of all the postings Graham Knight has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.
|Thread: Symbolic Flowers|
This issue appears one day before the Scottish independence referendum is held, I believe. The appearance of a stamp depicting the Scottish national flower so close to the huge political event is a little dubious particularly as Royal Mail failed to issue a commemorative stamp to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn a few months ago because of the political implications of releasing an issue so close to the date of the referendum.
I wonder if Scottish nationalists will make a big thing about this particular stamp particularly if the Yes campaign wins the referendum and how will they feel about having the English rose appearing alongside the thistle on their Post And Go "collectors' strip".
|Thread: Prime Ministers stamps|
You are of course precisely correct - this issue was a way of commemorating Britain's first (and only) female prime minister whilst achieving a politically neutral balance. There is no doubt that Baroness Thatcher's unique achievement of being the only woman to hold the post deserved philatelic commemoration especially as other places such as Ghana, St. Vincent, St Helena and, er, Mustique (among others) have already produced commemoratives in memory of her.
In many ways Royal Mail should be congratulated on coming up with this solution - everyone is represented - old fashioned Tories and Whigs, Conservatives, Liberals and the Labour Party. It is difficult to fully justify the inclusion of some of those depicted except on the grounds of political balance - Gladstone appeared on a stamp in 2009 and I can't really think of any great achievement of Harold Wilson that really marks him out as someone to be commemorated. But Gladstone and Lloyd George are probably the only two modern Liberal prime ministers who are noteworthy and with the latter's appearance very recently indeed on a stamp Gladstone seems like the best bet to appease modern Liberals.
Likewise Wilson and the more worthy Attlee appease Labour supporters but perhaps instead of Wilson we might have had Ramsey MacDonald.
It would have been hard to omit Churchill no matter how many times he has already appeared on British stamps.
There must have been endless discussions at Royal Mail before they sorted this lot out and in the end they managed to commemorate the first female British prime minister (which pleases her supporters) but at the same time hiding that commemoration among 7 other notables (which placates her detractors).
|Thread: Issues under a dictatorship|
I think I would have a preamble to my collection by including stamps which depict the earliest dictators who were around long before stamps were even invented.
I guess the earliest were the Tyrants of Ancient Greece and the Dictators of Ancient Rome. Lists of these people are to be found on Wikipedia and there is a remarkably large number of them. A few of them must have been featured on stamps at some time or the other. An easy start is Gaius Julius Caesar who has certainly made an appearance on some Italian stamps, as shown above.
Edited By Graham Knight on 08/05/2014 15:21:04
The illustration here features one of my favourite stamp issues which depicts a modern dictator. The Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, ruled and terrorised the country for 8 years but never appeared on a Ugandan postage stamp which is unusual for dictators since many of them liked to use stamps for their own aggrandisement. The only occasion Amin's portrait appeared on a philatelic item was when he was depicted, decked out with all his decorations pinned to his chest, in the margins of the miniature sheet which was issued in 1978 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II. Linking Amin with The Queen in such a way really could not have been more inappropriate.
Issues from the African continent since 1960 are well worth studying if you are looking for stamps featuring its dictators which sadly have been rather numerous.
|Thread: 2014 stamp programmes (non-GB)|
Yes, Adrian, I think it is. (Sighs with resignation).
Edited By Graham Knight on 29/12/2013 11:31:55
It is interesting to see these 2014 programmes, thank you. But I wonder why is Guernsey planning to issue 6 stamps and 1 miniature sheet at a cost to collectors of more than £7 to commemorate the Chinese New Year? The island, as far as I know, does not have a significant East Asian population who might want to use such stamps on their mail. And why is it necessary for Guernsey to issue expensive miniature sheets annually which depict foreign wildlife. When I was last there I did not spot any orang utans swinging through the trees of the island's woods.
|Thread: Paralympic gold medal thread|
While in Sheffield today I visited the Head Post Office to see if I could buy some of the Paralympic gold medallist miniature sheets printed at Preston. There were only a few examples available - PGMW A, B, I1,2,3 and K. I bought an example of all 6 and have compared them with my examples of the same items printed at Solihull and, just as was the case with the Olympic stamps, there is an obvious difference between the miniature sheets from the 2 different sources with the Preston-printed stamps being darker and more intense in shade than the Solihull-printed items just as was the case with the Olympic stamps. Will try to post some comparative pictures over the weekend. Incidentally, there were a large number of Olympic medallist stamp sheets also at the counter and I asked about them but I was told that they were not allowed to sell them as they were only allowed to have them on sale for a limited period and that time has now elapsed. Really, is there any hope for British industry when a seller has the opportunity to sell some unsold stock and turns down the opportunity because of some arbitrary rule? I wonder what will happen to these sheets.
How many of the 17 people would have been expected to have bought the stamps? For instance are you able to say how many collected British stamps or perhaps were sports stamps collectors? More particularly, I suppose, is how many of them normally buy British new issues? My feeling from visiting the post office frequently during the Games period was that the general public who would not normally collect stamps were increasingly interested, as the Games went on, in the Olympic stamps especially as gifts for grandchildren (I was asked to buy stamps for 2 people who don't normally buy stamps who intended them to be souvenirs for their grandchildren but they only had the single stamps and not the miniature sheets) but there was much less interest in the paralympic stamps (no-one asked me to obtain them for them and there were far less people buying them at the post office though admittedly I was not able to go every day as I had for the Olympic stamps). I have a feeling, as I've written before, that some of the Paralympic stamps will be very hard to obtain in the not too distant future and I would love to get hold of a set of the East Anglia-printed Olympic and Paralympic stamps which, if I'm correct, still no-one has written about on this site.
Thank you for all the hard work in publishing all the ongoing information in the last few weeks. I went to Birmingham Head Post Office on my return from holiday, mid-morning yesterday. One counter assistant was dealing with the new Paralympic stamps as well as doing other aspects of her work. One man was in front of me in the queue buying the latest issue and said he had visited there last week to keep up with the stamps (I noticed he was only buying a single miniature sheet of each design). It took quite a long time for the assistant to identify every stamp I wanted which was everything since last Tuesday (including the top two items from sheet F and the whole of sheet E which were not sold at that particular post office (at least when I visited there at 1030am) on the generally accepted day of issue (4 Sept) but must have been put on sale there on 5 Sept. They had no complete sheets of F for sale and it looked as though they had all been broken up into 2 halves of F1 & 2 and of F3 &4. Sheet E had not been broken up at all and was sold fully intact while there was no complete sheet of J available, they all seemed to have been separated into the various parts although it was the day of issue (perhaps someone had been hyper-efficient although they had not done the same to sheet K). Because any pieces of broken up sheets had all been put into one envelope regardless of which sheet they originated from, it took well over 20 minutes for the assistant to sort through all the stamps she had in order to provide me with the complete range of designs that I required. She was polite, patient and helpful throughout although she found the task easier once I pointed out to her that the miniature sheets were numbered, a fact of which she was not aware until then. Eventually, I had obtained all the items I wanted and completed my set of Solihull-printed miniature sheets. There was at least one more person waiting to buy the paralympic stamps but I did not get the impression that anywhere near as many people were buying them as for the Olympic stamps. It must have been a nightmare for Royal Mail; it must have been extremely costly to carry out this exercise and, in my experience, the post office I visited never threw itself into selling the paralympic stamps as enthusiastically as it did with the olympic stamps - no dedicated counter, no chair for customers to sit on whilst being served and so on. It's been interesting but I hope that these medal winners stamps (Olympic or Paralympic) are a one-off and that they do not repeat the exercise in 4 years time and certainly not at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 (though I expect they may well get political pressure put on them to do so - if London winners stamps then should not Glasgow winners also?)
Arrived at Birmingham Head Post Office en route to the airport (rather obsessional isn't it?) at about 10.30 am. For the third consecutive day no-one else appeared to be waiting to buy the Paralympic stamps and I was very surprised to hear that they had only received 1 composite sheet today containing the Ellie Simmonds second stamp vertically setenant below the second Natasha Baker stamp. The counter clerk appeared to have completely separated the full sheets of 8 and I did not get to view a complete sheet. I bought the lower half of the sheet and it was only when I was back on my way to the airport that I realised that I did not know what the top half of the sheet looked like and on inspection of the numbers of the stamps, Baker is PGMWF3 and Simmons is PGMWF4, so I cannot say what PGMWF 1 and 2 are (are they different designs or a repeat of the 2 stamps issued today?). Also the numbering has skipped from PGMWD to PGMWF, so presumably PGMWE has been held back (and likely as not PGMWF 1 and 2 as well which is why all the sheets had been split up prior to sale - perhaps this is because the appropriate permissions have not been received yet). If this is the case and the same applies to other post offices and not just B'ham then we have an unusual example of a sheet of stamps being printed where half of the sheet is comprised of stamps issued on one day and the other half of the sheet has a different date of issue. It really is proving to be very interesting, I'm almost sorry to be going away.
It's taken several hours for the penny to drop but it occurred to me that the implications of the various sheet formats mean that some stamps will be much rarer than some others, for example, the Colbourne miniature sheet which appears only twice on a full sheet will be twice as rare as the Simmons stamp and four times rarer than the first two issues (PGMW A & B) which occurred 8 times in a sheet. If your suggestion that 8 different designs may be included in a single A4 sheet was realised then those stamps would be 8 times rarer than the first two stamps. If all stamps to be sold over the internet and in second sale post offices originate from Swindon as with the Olympic stamps then some of the regionally printed stamps will be remarkably scarce in relative terms. This leaves the field open for some terrifying market price manipulation of some of the stamps. I may have missed it but I haven't seen anyone reporting to you about the Olympic stamps originating from the Norfolk printer and I wonder if the stamps printed there will be the future problem area. It's also interesting to note that unlike the Olympic stamps no-one else appeared to be buying the Paralympic stamps when I visited the post office so will this apparent reduced interest in the stamps lead to a reduced printing of the Paralympic medallist stamps and therefore a future shortage? Even at this early stage this issue seems to be proving to be the nightmare that Royal Mail wanted to avoid and a potential headache for collectors of British stamps. Interesting, isn't it?
Visited B'ham Victoria Square P.O. around 1.30 PM - the place was terribly busy but I was the only person at the counter which was selling the new stamps so I was served quickly and helpfully as usual. Two sheets were for sale - PGMW C and D - the numbering therefore applies to sheets rather than individual stamp design. Sheet C had 4 different designs - Colbourne, Cockcroft, Fachie and Whitehead while sheet D had 1 each of Baker, Storey and 2 of Simmons. In the margin are tiny numbers against the relevant stamp so that from top to bottom we have PGMWC1-4 and PGMWD1-3 (there are of course 2 D3s). Therefore there are still 6 gold medalists from Sunday to be commemorated but the counter assistant could not tell me when they expected the next issue?
Against my better judgement I went along to Birmingham Head Post Office in Victoria Square this morning to buy the first 2 paralympic medal winners stamps. It was only just before setting out that I'd read on the Norvic Stamps site that one of them was actually released yesterday contrary to the previous announcements, so if I had been wanting to send first day covers, I would have fallen at the first hurdle. Why did those in charge of this paralympic stamp programme change their mind again? Actually I expected to buy 4 stamps since there had been 4 gold medals won by yesterday evening but I was told that only the first 2 stamps had been delivered and that the next issue would be Monday (so, not the 4 September as had previously been announced). The charming young lady counter assistant was very helpful and had her miniature sheets mostly all separated for sale. Unlike the closing days of the issue of the olympic medallist stamps when lots of people wanted to buy them, there did not appear to be anyone else buying the paralympic stamps (it was about 10.30 AM). I bought the bottom left hand miniature sheet from the sheet of 8 and so obtained the printer's imprint (Solihull of course) with the stamp number - PGMWA & PGMWB. For some reason, I didn't have the heart to ask if the counter assistants were allowed to cut out individual stamps as with the olympic issue given what a long-winded process it had proved to be and the fact that this time we only have 2 stamps per sheet to buy instead of 6. I may make another sally forth to the post office at the beginning of next week but will happily not be able to do so later in the week as I shall be out of the country - what a relief!
|Thread: Help us survey the Olympic gold medal stamps|
Here, as promised, are some scans comparing Preston (upper stamps as before) and Solihull-printed stamps. The shade differences (paler appearance in Solihull stamps) seem apparent throughout as before.
Currently visiting Sheffield again and have obtained a further 11 Preston printings and all have the same, darker appearances in comparison with the Solihull printings. The face of Charlotte Dujardin (GMW23) is markedly darker in the Preston printing and there is a discernible difference between the 2 versions of the Ed McKeever issue (GMW 26) but I do not think the difference is any greater than in the earlier stamps. Will try to post some scans over the next couple of days when I return to Birmingham so that you can form your own opinions.
As requested, scans of Preston-printed stamps bought in Sheffield (upper stamps) compared with Birmingham-bought Solihull-printed stamps (lower specimens). I think the scans show the deeper colours of the Preston stamps reasonably well although in the Laura Trott stamp it is most obvious in the red background and not really clear in Laura's skin tone unlike the other designs.
As a follow up to my recent message, now that I've returned to Birmingham I have had an opportunity to compare the Preston printed 4 stamps I bought in Sheffield with my set printed in Solihull. The stamps I bought in Sheffield were Jessica Ennis, Nicola Adams, Chris Hoy and Greg Rutherford. There is a rather slight but discernible difference between the 2 printings: all 4 of my Preston-printed stamps have a slightly richer colouring than the Solihull stamps which look slightly anaemic in comparison. The results are that Jessica Ennis seems to have rosier cheeks on the stamps from Preston, Chris Hoy definitely looks paler on the Solihull stamp, Rutherford has redder legs and face on the Preston stamp and Nicola Adams is also rather paler on the Solihull stamp. The Sheffield counter assistant chose a selection of stamps for me but they all show the same trait in comparison with those from Birmingham so I'm guessing that the differences are probably consistent for all the other stamps as well.
Visiting Sheffield today so I went to the main post office to buy a few Preston-printed stamps (the ones I bought in Birmingham were of course all Solihull-printed). Waited in a long queue of people who were there for normal things (not stamp collecting) and eventually got served and despite the queue the counter assistant was very helpful and made no complaint about cutting some individual stamps out for me. They have quite a number still in stock but, just like my experience in Birmingham, the Bradley Wiggins stamp has sold out. Then I went to photograph the post box which had been painted gold in honour of Jessica Ennis (apparently it had been vandalised a few days ago and had to be repainted) but there was a sizeable crowd around it and it looked as though some local entrepreneur had come up with the idea of charging people to take their photos standing by it holding what looked like one of the Olympic torches and in the company of a couple of people dressed in costumes including someone dressed as a clown. I decided to go back another time when it was quiet. Have decided to order the numerous Paralympic stamps on Royal Mail's website rather than go through it all again.
Day 12. Arrived about 9.45 am. The manager was at a dedicated counter to sell the GMW items. I was the only person there at the time. Final miniature sheet ready for sale. I said that I thought that he would probably be pleased that the Games were over now and he replied "yes and no" (I think he meant that although they had caused hard work, the stamps represented good business). I told him how impressed I'd been with the service they provided and he said that most customers had seemed pleased though there were a few who apparently must have been less happy. I guess some people's expectations surpass the impossible. As for myself. I'm quite pleased that no more trips to the post office are necessary for a while.
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