Romania – SMOM 2022

With one stamp representing firefighters in action, removing snow, and the other one showing Ukrainian refugees arriving in Romania and welcomed by local volunteers, Romania and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) celebrated on September 16, 2022, 90 years of relationship. SMOM conducts diplomatic relations with 112 countries, among which Romania, and the European Union and its stamps are recognized by 57 postal administrations. However, for example, SMOM does not have bilateral diplomatic relationship with China, or the United States.

Unfortunately, as SMOM is not recognized by the Universal Postal Union (UPU), even if these stamps look like a Twin issue and the words “Joint issues” appear on all stamps, this issue will be filed in the category Non-approved [NR].

This situation is quite difficult to handle and it is not our role to decide which country have to be collected by whom. It must be a personal decision to include SMOM in ones own collection or not. After having written that, it was interesting to explore both the UPU and SMOM web sites to get more details about recognition and consequences. Interestingly, in the list of non-recognized countries, one counts also, among others, Kosovo (which mail is routed through Serbia) and Taiwan (mail routed through Japan or the USA). Palestine has an observer status with mail routed through Jordan, while a series of other smaller countries are not members of the UPU, but issue stamps, and their post is routed through an UPU member state, e.g., Andorra (through France or Spain), Marschall, Micronesia, Palau (through USA), SMOM (through Italy), Northern Cyprus (through Turkey), … A full updated list is provided by Wikipedia under the link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_members_of_the_Universal_Postal_Union.

We will continue reporting about stamps from all these countries and leave each collector define if it should belong to his own collection, but we will also continue mentioning the official situation for each country. In our particular case, we will have to update some issues and to add some comments for some of the above mentionned countries in the catalogue pages (use of grey color instead of black and itamlics characters).

There is a last point that needs to be mentionned in this specific issue. We do not have yet details about the printing runs of SMOM stamps (they should however remain small), but we got the figures for Romania. This country issued 2 stamps in sheets of 32 stamps ([8×4]) and sheetlets of 5 stamps ([3×2] including one label). Only 2×5,120 stamps were issued in sheets, meaning only 160 sheets were printed for each stamp, while only 2×530 sheetlets were printed. On top of this, Romania issued a folder containing an imperforate souvenir sheet with both stamps at only 292 samples! This is not the way to help collectors completing there collection, another reason not to recognize this issue as a true joint issue.

World Post Day 2022

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) released a proposal to all their members to issue a stamp with common design at the occasion of the next World Post Day on October 9, 2022. The UPU is providing the design based on the theme ‘Post for Planet’ and all information regarding the possible associated products are provided in a full description post (stamp design in the 6 official languages – see below, templates for 6-, 8-, 9-, 10-, 12- and 20- stamps sheets, first day covers, cancellations, phone apps and even T-shirts, …).

More than 200 postal administrations could in theory participate, but with this quite short notice (earliest information is dated June 2, 2022), there are great chances that the number of participants will remain quite limited. In 2020, a similar attempt was made with the “Family Remittance” stamps [B20200716] which resulted in a single independent country participating in 2020 (Bulgaria) and another one in 2022 (Bosnia Herzegovina). A series of stamps were issued later by countries for which the philatelic program is not controled by the administration, but by a professional dealer (Stamperija). If this is again the case, this issue will also be considered as an omnibus non-approved joint issue (borrowed design). Let us wait until October 9, 2022 to see if some countries, and how many, are seriously interested.

Non-joint Germany Liechtenstein 2009

Don Birschel (USA) submitted an interesting item looking like a se-tenant souvenir sheet containing a pair of stamps from Germany and Liechtenstein. The design of these stamps are similar to stamps issued by Germany and Liechtenstein, respectively on March 12, 2009 and March 2, 2009. Germany issued two additional stamps with similar design on May 7, 2009.

However, this item exists only with oblique bars-canceled denominations. In the margins, there are references to the Federation of German Philatelists (Bund Deutscher Philatelisten e.V.) and it is specified that the illustrations correspond to competition designs (Konkurrenzentwürfe), i.e. not-issued designs to the above mentionned stamps dedicated to the Post of both countries. In fact, each year the Federation of German Philatelists is issuing a facsimile of stamps to be distributed to their members and in 2009, they represented exceptionally stamp designs from two countries. The stamps from this item cannot be used for mail and therefore this souvenir sheet is simply a cinderella, not to be considered as a joint issue. Nevertheless, an interesting item that can be found on the web for about 4 to 5 €uros.

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).

Faroe Island – Greenland 2022

The date of January 14, 2022 corresponds to the 50th anniversary of the death of King Frederick IX of Denmark and at the same time to the date of accession to the Danish throne of Queen Margrethe II. At the occasion of this Golden Jubilee, both Faroe and Greenland issue a souvenir sheet. The Faroe souvenir sheet shows the Queen in national Faroese costume in front of the ruins of Magnus Cathedral, while Greenland issues a souvenir sheet showing the Queen in Greenlandic costume in front of icebergs. Unfortunately none of the postal administrations claim these products being joint. Also, there is no common product available for sale (e.g. mixed FDC or mixed folder). Therefore these souvenir sheets cannot be considered as joint, but simply as a parallel anniversary issue [PA/N]. On top of this, the main country, Denmark, is not issuing stamps at this January 14, 2022 anniversary date and prefers concentrating on different products related to this jubilee released over the year, with the first one which became available already on January 3.

Non-accepted logo-based stamps

The logo of the 100th anniversary of the funding of the Chinese Communist Party corresponds also to the design of the identical miniature sheets issued by Centrafrica, Chad, Djibouti, Guinea Bissau, Niger and Sao Tome, in which the stamps are the round centers of the zeros in figure “100”. These items are simple commemorative products created centrally (Stamperija), not related to the basic issue [D20210701] and therefore not considered as joint. Information provided by Wayne Chen (USA).