Armenia Russia Churches

Armenia and Russia celebrated on August 30, 2022 both the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the 25th anniversary of the treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual assistance. This is a parallel issue scheduled from long date and dedicated to architecture, focusing on churches from both countries.

Stamps are different and represent for Armenia, the Church of St. Catherine in St. Petersburg, Russia and the Saint Michael the Archangel’s Church in Gyumri, Armenia. Russia issued stamps representing the Holy Cross Church in Samara, Russia and the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Vanadzor, Armenia. Both countries have issued their stamps in miniature sheets of 4 pairs of stamps [2px2] in chess board order.

Centenary of Mexican Embassy in Rome

On June 27, 2022, Mexico issued a stamp celebrating the centenary of the building of the Mexican embassy in Rome, Italy. Such a stamp was not in the program of the Italian philatelic program, but shortly after the release of the Mexican stamp we learned (Source: Fabio Bonacina and Enzo Cafaro, Italy) that the Italian postal administration intended to produce also a stamp related to this topic by end of July 2022. We had to wait very closely to the release of the Italian stamp to discover its design which eventually appeared to be the same. Italy issued its stamp on July 28, 2022.

None of the postal administrations claim a joint character to these stamps. It looks that the Italian administration had to react quickly after they learned about the issuance of the Mexican stamp, probably only during the spring of 2022. Nevertheless, it became obvious that we had to consider this issue as joint for several reasons:

  • The building and the topic are unique to Mexico in Italy
  • The Mexican ambassador participated to this issue confirmed by a text written by him in the presentation package of the Italian stamp. Indirectly, Mexico was involved in the Italian stamp creation discussion
  • The fact that there was an agreement on the image is also a confirmation of the collaboration. The situation would have been more questionable if the designs were different or if one stamp would only give a simple text
  • Slight differences such as appearance of Mexican flag in the Italian stamp are minor modifications that can be considered as the degree of freedom left to the two designers, but both had to work on the same basic picture
  • However,there was a kind of hiccup in the decision to collaborate and absence of agreement on date of issue. The official anniversary is July 2, 2022, so none of the two first day dates (June 27 and July 28). This could be the consequence of last minute decision to collaborate

In summary: this issue will be considered as joint, with the sub type concerted [C20220627] (same design but different dates of issue) and the lack of communication about the joint character is mainly due to the short time left to the two postal administrations to define a common date. Apparently, the Italian postal administration considers a true joint issue only if both stamps are released on the same day and if mixed joint FDCs can be created on this day. These mixed documents will probably exist in the near future, but of private origin.

Euromed stamps 2022 now available

Don Birschel (USA) collected all information relative to the Euromed 2022 stamps, topic submarine archeology, which started to appear at different countries’ post offices since July 8, 2022. The collection is not complete yet, but he was able to provide most of the illustrations of the following countries:

Croatia (July 11 – 1 stamp, issued 30,000; ancient city of Pula-Pola, amphitheater) – Cyprus (July 11 – 1 stamp) – France (July 8 – 1 stamp, [5×3], 495,000; West Giraglia 2, submarine excavations, Cap Corse) – Greece (July 11 – 2 se-tenant stamps and souvenir sheet with 2 pairs of stamps, as well as a booklet with two pairs; [2px4], [1px2] and [2px1]) – Malta (July 11 – 2 stamps, 100,000 and 30,000; Citadella Victoria, Gozo and Phoenician shipwreck site, Xiendi Bay, Gozo) – Montenegro (July 12 – 1 stamp printed 40,000, in miniature sheet of 8 stamps [3×3] with central label; coin of King Ballaios (2nd century BC) – Morocco (July 11 – 1 stamp; view of Titwan) – Portugal (July 11 – 2 stamps; 2x[5×4], 2×75,000) – Slovenia (July 11 – 1 stamp, ancient city of Ajdovscina; [5×5]) – Spain (July 11 – 1 stamp; [4×4]; 134,000) – Tunisia (July 11 – 2 stamps; [5×4] and [4×5]; child paintings of Tastur and Takruma) – Turkey (July 9).

Although normally issued at time of printing this page, we are still missing detailed information from Cyprus , Morocco, Spain and Turkey. We know that Bosnia Herzegovina will issue its stamp only on November 15, 2022. Eventually, compared to previous years, we could also expect participation from the following countries: Albania, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine.

On top of this, the Albania Euromed 2021 stamps were issued on May 11, 2022. (block of four, issued 4,000, [b4x2]). Albania Euromed 2022 may become available only in 2023.

2022 UAE-India issue delay to be explained

Jaap Sarelse (the Netherlands) just provided a sample of the first day cover of the UAE stamps, dated June 30, 2022. Stamps from this country were supposed to be released at the same date as the Indian counterpart, namely on February 18, 2022. Actually, a long unexplained delay affected the release of this UAE issue. As a consequence, in the catalogue, this joint issue has to be re-attributed the category of Concerted [C] issue and is now filed under [C20220218] instead of [T20220218]. By looking closer it appears that the design of the final UAE product is also slightly different from what was presented in the February 2022 project, in particular regarding the building depicted in the margin of the souvenir sheet. Take a look below on the illustrations to see the differences in lengths and position of texts in the margin (four lines instead of three) but also on building representations and compare them to the issued Indian souvenir sheet. The delay was probably not only due to logistics issues, but also to the agreement needed from India regarding the depicted buildings. In other words, it may be possible that the UAE stamps had to be reprinted due to this design mistake. We do not know if the first design was printed on time and needed to be destroyed. There is a need to dig further and any information is welcome.

UAE FDC cover dated June 30, 2022
Original February 2022 UAE project – not released (wrong building on the bottom right side)
Final design of the UAE souvenir sheet issued on June 30, 2022
Indian souvenir sheet issued on February 18, 2022, for comparison

How about 2022 Russian JIs?

The present Ukrainian-Russian political situation affects also stamp collecting. As we have an obligation of neutrality, we shall not give any comment on this situation. The following is just to provide some information about the stamp programs of both countries. Actually, on the contrary to Ukraine, Russia had planned several joint issues for this year 2022, involving different countries.

On April 7, 2022, Russia participated to the officially yearly Joint issue of the RCC Member Countries, illustrated by parks and gardens. Stamps of Russia showed the N. Tsitsin Main Botanical Garden of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. Unfortunately, this has to be considered as a standalone issue, as so far, only Belarus issued another different stamp on April 5, 2022. Also, Armenia plans to issue an RCC stamp with garden during the third Quarter. Only the RCC emblem appears on all stamps. As a consequence, these stamps cannot be considered as joint.

The Belarus – Russia joint issue dedicated to the painter V.K. Byalynitski-Biruli on May 22, 2022 was issued as scheduled (see previous post) and was considered as a true twin issue.

The following issues announced in the Russian philatelic program are more doubtful to be released:

Russia plans to release on August 26, 2022 a joint issue with Azerbaijan on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, illustrated with art pieces. No information is available from Azerbaijan.

Three days later, on August 29, 2022, Russia intends to release also stamps with Armenia, also on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the 25th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, illustrated with the topic Architecture. These stamps are still in the Armenian philatelic program for 2022, but shifted to Quarter 4.

The international forum for the preservation of the tiger, to be issued on September 5, 2022, as a joint stamp series, is still on the agenda. It si quite difficult to tell if this issue will really be a joint issue. several countries have already issued stamps at the occasion of the Chinese year of the Tiger, but this has nothing to do with this international forum.

The celebration of the twin cities of Zagreb and St Petersburg, so, between Russia and Croatia, originally planned to be released on June 23, 2022, has been postponed to November 23, 2022.

Nothing will guarantee these stamps will be released. We will continue to watch carefully the situation and keep you informed.

Djibouti adds to the 2019 Al-Quds series

Jaap Sarelse (The Netherlands) via Benjamin Busch (France) reported new products released on November 1, 2021 by Djibouti and related to the Al-Quds/Jerusalem, Capital of Palestine stamps from 2019. It was obvious that other countries would join at a later stage this twin issue as did last year Libya and Saudi Arabia. This series is described in the catalogue under the entry code T20191009a. Djibouti produced a quite large series of products including two stamps available as perforated and non-perforated and for the smaller denomination produced in a sheet of 20 stamps [4×5]. The higher denomination became available in miniature sheets of 6 stamps [2×3], while a gold souvenir sheet in a folder is also available but produced only at 100 samples each as perforated and non-perforated.

As a reminder, countries having so far participated to this series include the following ones (for details see catalogue Part XIV, year 2019, which has been updated): Algeria (October 9, 2019) – Egypt (October 9, 2019) – Iraq (July 2, 2019) – Jordan (December 24, 2019) – Lebanon (October 9, 2019) – Libya (June 27, 2021) – Morocco (October 9, 2019) – Oman (November 14, 2019) – Palestine (December 6, 2019) – Qatar (November 14, 2019) – Saudi Arabia (June 24, 2021) – Tunisia (November 20, 2019) – United Arab Emirates (November 17, 2019). Here is a selection of images.

Unexpected UAE – India relationship issue

Discovered by Don Birschel (USA) and confirmed by Kenneth Sequeira (Dubai), here is an unexpected joint issue linking the United Arab Emirates with India and released on February 18, 2022 at the occasion of the 50th anniversary of their relationship. Both countries offer a nice souvenir sheet with flags, but also governmental buildings. Actually, this souvenir sheet refers to the celebration of the Year 2022 of the 50th anniversary of the UAE’s formation and the 75th anniversary of the independence of India.

This was also the occasion to update Catalogue 15 – 2022-2024 V3.04.

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.