Georgia’s diplomatic relations – 30 years

Georgia issued already stamps at the occasion of the 30th anniversary of its diplomatic relationship with different countries, first on December 7, 2022 with Azerbaijan, then on December 20, 2022, with Israel.

More recently, we learned from Kenneth Sequeira (Singapore) and Enzo Cafaro (Italy) that Georgia issued also one stamp identical to the Italy stamp itself issued on December 7, 2022. Date of issue of the Georgian stamp is apparently December 27, 2022, leading to a Concerted issue [C]. The only problem here is that despite the fact that the stamps are identical, Italian Post does not consider this issue as joint (???), at least it was not defined originally by an official decree. Fabio Bonacina (Italy) in Vaccari News, tries to give some explanations (https://www.vaccarinews.it/news/Dentello_pure_da_Tbilisi/33994). It is possible that Georgia produced their stamp on the basis of the Italian model once the Italian stamp was released, but up to the point to officially present pictures of both stamps, in a same room, on December 27, in presence of the Italian ambassador. In our case, it is clear that with such a similar design, the stamps must have been created on the basis of at least a limited initial collaboration between both postal administrations. Therefore, we will report this pair in the catalogue and I am sure, collector will be glad to have a funny story to tell behind these two stamps, despite the non-recognition of the joint character by one part. If we discover in a near future, another example of such (unilateral) twin stamps, we will probably have to create a new sub-type in our classification system.

Another astonishing point relates to the illustration. It represents the construction of the cathedral of Bichvinta, based on a design of Father Cristoforo Castelli (1597-1659). Bichvinta (also called Pitsunda) is located in Abkhazia, a territory that is under Russian control since 2008…

Georgia – Israel 2022

A Joint stamp was issued between Israel and Georgia in honor of 30 years of diplomatic relations on December 20, 2022 (information provided by Varda Lask, Israel, and Don Birschel, USA). The issue of the stamp is described in the Israeli brochure as follows:  ” The Umm Leisun inscription appears on an ancient Georgian tombstone made of limestone and is written in Georgian Asomtavruli script. It was discovered in 2002 during the excavation of a Byzantine-period Georgian monastery in the Umm Leisun neighborhood in southern Zur Baher, 4.5 kilometers south of the Old City of Jerusalem. The tombstone was found in an underground crypt beneath a colorful mosaic floor. The crypt contained 24 skeletons, all adult men, as would be expected in a monastery. The most important tomb has an inscription identifying it as that of “Georgian bishop Iohane”, the oldest monk, with the highest status. This inscription is the earliest known example of Georgian script found on any archeological artifact, both in the Holy Land and in Georgia. The inscription is engraved on the tombstone and measures 81 cm X 49 cm. It dates back to the late fifth or first half of the 6th century and is on display in the Knesset Archeological Garden. The full inscription reads: “This is the grave of Iohane, Bishop of Purtavi, a Georgian”. 

Israel – Mexico 2022

On September 13, 2022, Israel and Mexico issued stamps at the occasion of the 70th anniversary of their relationship. The stamps are illustrated with symbols of both countries: the Eurasian hoopoe (Upupa epops), Israel’s national bird, the prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica), the Mexican national bird, the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) and the columnar cactus (Stenocereus dumortieri or Isolatocereus dumortieri). Interestingly, Israel issued as usual its stamps in sheetlets of 15 stamps ([5×3]) together with 5 tabs at the bottom of the sheet. This tab becomes the design of the second stamp of Mexico. For the first time, this twin issue involving Israel must be considered as complete only if the pair of Mexican stamps is associated with the Israel stamp mandatorily linked with a tab, reducing by two third the possibility to create matching pairs. At the same time, this will give also a much higher value to the Israelian stamp with tab and e.g., mixed FDCs make sense only if the set is complete (with Israelian tab). Most of the information was provided by Dov Lask (Israel), thanks to him.

Gibraltar – Israel 2022: finally

This issue was expected to be released on February 26, 2022 and surprisingly came out two weeks earlier, on February 15, 2022. Uri Barlev (Israel) could confirm that Gibraltar and Israel released on the same day identical stamps showing interiors of churches. Stamps depict the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth and the Nefosut Yehuda Synagogue in Gibraltar. Mixed covers as well as the usual Israel mixed Souvenir Leaf became also available. We are still waiting for additional data from Gibraltar.

This Gibraltar – Israel joint issue eventually reaches the market after a first attempt made during the year 2011, more precisely for an issue planned to be released on June 27, 2011, when a first common design was proposed. In Israel, the stamps reached even the printing stage. Despite agreement from both countries, Gibraltar forgot to get in time approval of the design from the British Authorities. Not a recommendation, but a request came from the British Foreign Office to remove the illustration of the Jerusalem’s David Citadel and to substitute it with a landmark from Tel-Aviv. When this request came, it was too late, and the whole print run was destroyed while Gibraltar accepted to reimburse all costs. So, finally, ten years later, we can welcome a now politically acceptable Gibraltar – Israel joint issue. But why having waited so long ?

TGM (2021)

Tomas Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1937), familiarly called TGM, co-founded Czechoslovakia at the end of WWIO, in 1918, together with Milan Rastislav Štefánik (1880-1919) and Edvard Beneš (1884-1948). He served as its first president from 1918 to 1935. He is the first head of state to visit the Mandate for Palestine in 1923 and 1927. Czech Republic and Israel issued identical stamps on November 30, 2021. The stamps represent the portrait of the politician and an artistic mosaic of the Kfar Masaryk kibbutz in Northern Israel (founded by Jewish immigrants from Czechoslovakia and Lithuania). The tabs show the flags of both countries. Mixed FDCs, mixed souvenir sheets and mixed maximum cards became available.