China – Mexico 2022 architecture

At the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the United States of Mexico, both countries have issued a set of two commemorative stamps on February 14, 2022. The first stamp represents the Star Observatory located in Gaocheng Town, Dengfeng City, Henan Province. It was founded in the early Yuan Dynasty by astronomer Guo Shoujing. It is the oldest existing and well-protected astronomical observatory in China. The second stamp represents the Kukulcan Pyramid located in the northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, the ancient city of Chichen Itza. Both sites were included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. 

The stamps have a design showing the buildings in the dark and are quite difficult to represent on the screen. In fact, with the Chinese stamps, the design is improved by combining the pictures with light effects. The text of the stamp “Star Observatory” is made of extra-bright silver ink, the background halo and stars use colorless white fluorescence to highlight the night scene effect. In the “Chichen Itza temple” stamp, the text is made of extra-bright gold ink, and the background light is colorless orange fluorescence, which highlights the radiant effect of the sun. Additionally, both stamps are perforated on both sides with special star- or sun-shaped holes.

Failed opportunities

The programme of new stamps from Belarus included a potential joint issue with China and another with Vietnam, both expected to be released during the month of January at the occasion of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relationships. The Belarus stamps were issued respectively on January 12, 2022 and January 24, 2022, but there is absolutely no news from either China PR nor Vietnam for event-associated stamps. There are great chances that these issues will remain unilateral and that the entries will have to be removed from the list described in the catalogue (Vol 15). At least, here are the pictures of the Belarus stamps.

An other opportunity was mentioned by Cesar Ittman (The Netherlands). During the year 2022, France celebrates the 200th anniversary of the death of the famous author Moliere. France issued a first stamp on January 17, 2022, at the same time as Monaco, while Czech Republic issued a stamp on January 20, 2022. There is absolutely no claim from one of these countries for a joint issue. These are just stamps issued at the occasion of an anniversary and it would not be surprising to see much more other stamps released to honor Moliere during this year without any joint character.

The first true joint issue to be released this year is scheduled for February 14, 2022, not earlier. This is quite late compared to previous years.

Don Birschel (USA) explored older issues and asked about the relevance of some 2006 China-Africa Forum stamps as joint. Indeed, some of these stamps show the same design, but this is a logo and none of the countries have claimed a joint issue character. So again, this is an exemple of a non-approved joint issue. Here are the pictures of the stamps from countries that celebrated this event: Algeria (November 6, 2006), China (November 3), Egypt (November 5), Eritrea (November 3) and Ivory Coast (November 28).

Iran – China 2021

Kazem Alamdari (Iran) was able to provide information about and pictures of the Iranian stamps issued on December 11, 2021 jointly with China PR [T20211211]. The Iranian stamps were issued as se-tenant pairs with a printing run of 60,000 pairs.

This modification led to the change of version of Vol 14 (to V3.02). At the same time Vol 15 was also updated with the description of the first joint issue of the year (China – Macau Tiger year issue).

2022 Year of the Tiger

On January 5, 2022, appeared the first joint stamps of the year. As for previous years, China PR issued two stamps at the occasion of the change of Lunar calendar, in 2022 Year of the Tiger, at the same date as Macau, issuing four stamps and one souvenir sheet with a round stamp. A high number of countries are issuing stamps at this occasion, but Macau and China are the only postal administrations which got used to produce a mixed first day cover with the stamps from both countries (not including the souvenir sheet).

Rindert Paalman (the Netherlands) noticed that the issue of 2021 (Year of the Ox) was missing in the catalogue. This will be corrected within the next days and will correspond to an important addition which will affect for the first time the upgrading of one catalogue volume. As Macau and China PR are politically dependent countries, these issues will be filed in the category [D].

By checking for earlier issues reported in the catalogue, it appeared that for the year 2019 (Year of the Pig), the entry was mistakenly filed as [P20190105] which has to be renamed as [D20190105].

A check of Lunar Year stamps issued by China and Macau before 2019, showed that both countries issued stamps usually on January 5 of each year, since at least year 2000, but we have not seen mixed FDCs for such products. So, earlier Lunar Year stamps from these two countries will not be reported in the catalogue, unless someone provides proof of the existence of mixed FDC covers corresponding to these stamps.