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.

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.

First 2022 se-tenant issue

On September 9, 2022, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland joint efforts to release together a se-tenant souvenir sheet with three stamps dedicated to the 150th anniversary (1872-2022) of the railway connection Feldkirch – Schaan – Buchs (earlier information provided by Cesar Ittmann, the Netherlands).

Each country issued the same souvenir sheet but with perforation limited to the country’s stamp and denomination only on this stamp. In parallel, a se-tenant souvenir sheet containing the three stamps, all perforated (see illustrations below) and with the three denominations, two in CHF, one in Euros, was issued. On September 9 and 10, 2022, the train made the connection between the three places with a possibility to obtain a special cancellation from a post office installed at each station, allowing creation of triple mixed FDC covers. Stamps feature three locomotives from different eras used in each of the nations: a 1927 steam engine for Austria, an electric ÖBB traction unit from 2004 for Liechtenstein and SBB’s legendary Re 4/4 II built between 1964 and 1985.

200 years of Brazil independency (2)

On June 29, 2022, Brazil issued unexpectedly a stamp at the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the independence of the country and claimed joint character with a to-be-issued Portugal stamp. The design of the Portuguese stamp was missing at the date of the first announcement, but Enzo Cafaro (Italy) was able to provide it, ahead of release on September 7, 2022. This issue is definitely a concerted [C] issue as designs are identical [C20220629].

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.

Concordat anniversary

On September 1, 2022 (earlier than expected as issue date we had up to now in our files was September 9), Latvia and the Vatican State celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Concordat joining both states. Stamps are identical and show the figure “100” made of flags with the inscription “Concordia res parvae crescunt (in harmony small things grow)”. Thanks to Enzo Cafaro (Italy) and Don Birschel (USA) for having provided the information.

International tiger preservation forum (2)

The second international tiger preservation forum took place as scheduled on September 5, 2022 and, also as scheduled, most of the participating countries issued at this occasion a stamp related to this forum illustrated with tigers. A first list had been provided earlier. This is now a complementary information page with new details provided mainly by Enzo Cafaro (Italy).

Eventually, 10 countries are participating to this joint parallel issue [P20220905]. Among the 14 countries where tigers still live in the wild, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam, we already know that Thailand decided not to participate. No information is available from Bangladesh, Bhutan and Indonesia.

Myanmar, Russia and Vietnam have issued their stamps on September 5, 2022. India issued its stamp already on September 1, 2022, while Cambodia will issue it stamps only on September 22, 2022. Exact dates of issue for Laos, Malaysia, and North Korea are still to be confirmed, but seem to be September 5 as well. In parallel, Russia is preparing a mixed folder containing the mint stamps from (almost) all 10 countries.

Indian stamp pays tribute to ‘Collarwali’, a tigress from Pench Tiger reserve, Madhya Pradesh, who gave birth to 29 cubs in her life time, among which 25 survived to adulthood. She passed away in January 2022.

Below, additional pictures of stamps released or to be released by these countries are depicted.

On September 5, 2022, China PR issued a set of stamps entitled Tiger cultural relics. The 6 stamps represent a) the Shang-Fu double-tailed bronze tiger, b) a spring and autumn jade tiger-shaped pendant, c) the Han Baihu ’tiledang’ with tiger (grey pottery), d) the Bronze Tiger Festival object with Cuojin inscription of Han dynasty, e) a white glaze brown flower crouching tiger pillow and f) a puppet flying tiger. There is no hint about a relationship with the tiger preservation forum, but if no other stamp is issued by China PR, we will have to consider that the stamps released at this same date may be part of the joint issue (same date of issue, same topic). However, more information is needed here.

The site from Yonhap News refers also to another souvenir sheet issued by North Korea on September 5, 2022, next to the souvenir sheet with different 4 stamps. Here also, more details are needed.

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.

Arab Postal Union unified issue

Our friend, Med Achour Ali Ahmed (Algeria), provided updated information about the new 2022 Arab Postal Union stamps. APU members have adopted the design proposed by Algeria for a unified issue. All countries have been given the freedom to issue their own stamp between August 3, 2022, corresponding to the annual Arab Post day and November 2, 2022, date of the closing of the Arab League Summit. We know that next to Egypt, stamp already issued on August 3, 2022, and Algeria, stamp issued on August 20, 2022, National Day of Moudjahid, Palestine and Tunisia have confirmed their participation. It is highly probable that most of the participating countries will issue their stamp during the Arab League Summit, scheduled November 1 and 2, 2022. At this stage, we need to wait probably until November before we can define the exact entry name in the catalogue of this issue. Any additional information from other Arab postal administrations is welcome.

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.

Surprise from Ecuador

A joint Ecuadorian – Mexican joint issue was initially scheduled for March 23, 2022. In the meantime, the stamp release was delayed two times and still not issued by end of June 2022. Recent information referred to the bankruptcy of the Ecuadorian Post which has not issued stamps for more than two years. As a consequence, we considered this issue as cancelled.

All of a sudden, we learned from Stan80djk that both stamps were officially released on July 28, 2022. Stamps are identical and honor two heroines of independency, Leona Vicario (1789-1842) and Manuela Saenz (1797-1856). Ecuador issued only 2,000 units, while Mexico released 100,000 stamps.

International tiger preservation forum

The second International Forum for the Preservation of the Tiger Population is supposed to take place in Vladivostok, Russia, on September 5, 2022. About one year ago, JSC Marka, the Russian postal administration initiated the creation of a joint issue related to this event with all participating countries. Officially, it is announced that 10 countries will participate to this joint issue that is supposed to be released on September 5, 2022, and a few of them have already shown the designs of their stamps.

Taking in account the present international situation, it is time to make some review of the different announcements, but also to use this opportunity to ask the local collectors to provide as much as possible reliable information on top of what is described below. None of the stamp designs seen so far are identical. Most of the information described here has been provided by Enzo Cafaro (Italy).

The forum runs a web site and has a dedicated logo. Decision to held this second international meeting in Vladivostok was taken on September 3, 2019. The 1st International Tiger Forum took place in St. Petersburg on 21–24 November 2010. The Forum web page explains that today, there are only 14 countries where tigers still live in the wild: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

So first let us start with the countries that have already announced their participation and provided the design of their stamp. Russia is of course the first with a single stamp issued in miniature sheets of 8 stamps and bearing the logo. Vietnam will issue two different stamps, North Korea a souvenir sheet containing a block of 4 different stamps and Malaysia a souvenir sheet with one stamp. All of them will bear the logo but the exact date of issue of September 5, 2022 is only confirmed for Russia, even if JSC Marka claims all participants will release the stamp the same day.

Some other countries have provided the design, but the stamps are missing the logo. We should not forget that the year 2022 is the Chinese Lunar year of the Tiger and dozen of countries have issued stamps depicting tigers, without any link to this forum. So, most of the tiger stamps issued in 2022 are not part of this joint issue. In the following cases, Cambodia (one stamp and one souvenir sheet, available perforated or not, but only one to be confirmed for release on September 5) and Laos (2 stamps) show either within the stamp or within the margins of the miniature or souvenir sheets a text referring to the preservation of the species.

Lastly, there are a few other countries that have been announced by Russia (JSC Marka) as being participant to the joint issue, but have not released information themselve, nor confirmed participation on their side. These countries include China PR, India, Myanmar and Nepal. On top of these ten countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia and Thailand could also participate. Information from these additional countries are also missing.

Roughly, we have now one full month to confirm if this joint issue will really exist and which country will participate. With the information we have collected so far it should become a Parallel [P] issue. Any additional detail is of interest. Thanks in advance.