Belarus-Russian landscape painter honored

Vitold Byalynitskiy-Birulya was a Belarus, Soviet and Russian landscape painter born in the Krynki hamlet of the Mogilev province, on January 12, 1872. He studied first at the Kiev School of Graphic Art, and then at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Vitold Byalynitsky-Birulya painted landscapes almost exclusively, depicting simple, uncomplicated landscapes of the central zone of Russia. In 1904, Byalynitsky-Birulya joined the Itinerants group, and in 1922, the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia. He was a member of the Arkhip Kuinji Society. He died on June 18, 1957, in its datcha near Tver, at age 85. This house became a museum.

On May 17, 2022, Belarus and Russia postal administration decided to celebrate jointly its 150th birthday through the issue of similar souvenir sheets. The frame and margin of the souvenir sheets are similar (portrait of the painter), but the stamps represent two different landscapes.

European Capital of Culture 2022

Lithuania and Luxembourg came together to celebrate the European Capital of Culture 2022 with an identical souvenir sheet showing two paintings from local painters. One stamp displays the painting “Bathing” by the Lithuanian artist Stasys Ušinskas (1905-1974), the other one shows the painting “Nemrod” by Foni Tissen (1909-1975) from Luxembourg. Lithuanian souvenir sheet was issued on May 13, 2022 while Luxembourg stamps became available only on May 17, 2022.

Since January 1, 2022, three cities in Europe – Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg), Kaunas (Lithuania) and Novi Sad (Serbia) – hold the title of European Capital of Culture for one year. Serbia issued also dedicated stamps, but there is no relation with this Lithuanian – Luxembourg joint issue.

Don Luigi Orione’s 150th birthday

Luigi Orione was born into a poor family at Pontecurone, Italy, 150 years ago, on June 23, 1872. He became priest and founded the catholic religious congregations ‘Sons of Divine Providence’ (1899) and ‘Little Missionary Sisters of Charity’ (1915). He died on March 12, 1940. On October 26, 1980, he was beatified by Pope John Paul II. Nearly 24 years later, he was canonized by that same pope, on May 16, 2004. He is the Patron Saint of the Abandoned.

On May 16, 2022, the postal administrations of Italy, Vatican and Argentina, but also the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, issued each the same stamp showing a portrait painted by Raul Berzosa (born 1979). Each country issued the stamp in miniature sheets of 4 stamps. Only Argentina issued a smaller square size stamp. The painting shows several symbols related to Don Luigi Orione’s life and holiness. He created several missions abroad, including in Argentina (1921), hence the link with this country.

Mixed first day cover became available the first day, but so far do not include Argentina.

Croatia and Switzerland Lakes 2022

On May 5, 2022, Croatia and Switzerland jointly issued twin stamps. The subject of lakes was selected for this project. For their design, the Croatians selected a widening of the River Krka, in the middle of which Visovac Island is found. This island is 200 metres long and has been inhabited since the 14th century. The smallest book in the world, containing the Lord’s Prayer in seven languages, and a valuable copy of Aesop’s fables are kept on the island. Both are part of a collection of monastic treasures assembled by Franciscan monks.

Switzerland chose Lake Cauma near Flims, which also has a very picturesque, albeit slightly smaller island. The Romansh dialect Sursilvan, in which the lake is called “Lag la Cauma”, was intentionally used
in the name.

Croatia issued both stamps in sheetlets of 9 stamps [9×9] while Switzerland produced miniature sheets of 16 stamps [4×4]. Mixed FDCs with all 4 stamps became also available.

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.

India – Turkmenistan 2022

A large joint issue involving India and several countries from the former Soviet Union had been announced recently intended to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the relationship between them. Souvik Ghatak (India) was first to provide information about an issue actually involving only India and Turkmenistan. The Indian stamps was supposed to be released on April 2, 2022, but for unknown reason, stamps and souvenir sheet became avilable only one day later, so first day cancellation bears the date of April 3, 2022. Unfortunately, so far we are lacking information about the Turkmenistan stamps. The Indian stamps representing traditional dances from each country, as well as the FDC cover, refer to this specific 30-year relationship and a potential identical issue from Turkmenistan. Any information is welcome to confirm if this issue can be considered as joint.

Railway opening anniversary 2022

The history of Košice–Bohumín Railway track dates back to as early as the 19th century when the only railway lines within the Kingdom of Hungary were the steam-powered Vienna–Pest–Debrecen railway and the horse-drawn Bratislava–Trnava railway. As early as 1839 the Diet of Hungary debated an Act which may be considered to be the foundations of Hungarian traffic policy. The project of the construction of a track that would connect Silesia via Jablunkov, Žilina, Liptovský Mikuláš, Poprad, Spišská Nová Ves, and Košice, led to a first real design to be implemented that dates back to 1864. The railway was intended to speed up the transport of iron ore from deposits in Spiš and Gemer to the Třinec ironworks, to make it more effective. It was also expected to provide the same benefits to the transportation of coal from the Silesian mines to northern and eastern Hungary. The initial works finally began on October 15, 1867. However, the construction was suspended or postponed several times due to financial problems, until the situation finally improved with the involvement of a new investor, the Anglo-Austrian Bank.  The Košice–Kysak–Prešov section was completed first and put into operation on September 1, 1870.  Further sections followed in 1871, and the last section, Spišská Nová Ves – Kysak, was put into service on March 12, 1972. The entire line from Bohuním to Košice went into regular operation, with a single pair of mixed trains, on March 18, 1872.

On March 18, 2022, so 150 years later, Czech Republic and Slovakia celebrate this date with a souvenir sheet showing nicelly designed steam machines (twin issue with one stamp and two labels).  The background of the souvenir sheet shows an older map depicting the railway line.   

Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton

On January 5, 2022, the British Antarctic Territory, the Falkland Islands and the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands have issued a series of stamps in honor of Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton at the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his death. Shackleton is well known for several Antarctica expeditions including an heroic behavior to save his team stuck in the ice. He died on January 5, 1922 at age 47 from a heart attack while starting a new Antarctic expedition and he is buried on the South Georgia Island. The twelve pictures used for these stamps are based on black and white or colorized photographs of Shackleton taken at different ages, with team, with ship or map, including also some pictures of his grave. This issue is considered as a territorial parallel issue [D/PD].

Adam Paish (UK) mentioned very recently that these three countries associated to Ascension, Bahamas and Tristan da Cunha will issue four stamps each and a souvenir sheet to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elisabeth II. Exact dates of issue are not known yet, but Bahamas seems to be the first and plans to issue stamps on March 17, 2022. This issue will be considered as an omnibus parallel issue [O/OP].

Moroccan and Serbian bridges

Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Serbia and the Kingdom of Morocco were established on March 2, 1957. So, 65 years later, why not celebrating this anniversary with joint issue illustrated with bridges? The two architectural structures shown on the stamps represent the new Road-Railway Bridge over the Danube in Novi Sad, built in 2018 (474 m long and 31.60 m wide) and the cable-stayed Mohammed VI Bridge in Rabat, opened in 2016 (947 m long) which is the largest cable-stayed bridge in Africa, with the tallest concrete and steel viaduct in the world. The stamps were issued on March 1, 2022.

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.

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 ?

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.