Not yet determined

13 08 2008

Pakistan, 1961, Scott 122, 39mm x 23mm

The text in the upper region in white reads Jammu & Kashmir (Final status not yet determined). And in the lower section of the stamp, next to the denomination, Junagarh & Manavadar which were once also disputed areas between India and Pakistan. The most prominent features shown in Pakistan are the waterways: the five rivers of the Punjab and River Ganges flowing through East Bengal.

The overprint in red marks the Lahore Stamp Exhibition of 1961, along with the national symbol of the Minar-e-Pakistan also depicted on the emblem of the city of Lahore.

As of the time of issue, the stamp was inaccurate as it postdates the accession of the two Gujarati seaside states to India in 1947, however the division into East Pakistan and West Pakistan which was the situation at the time. And, of course, the controversial status of Jammu and Kashmir which continues to this day.


June 25, 1975

1 07 2008

Mozambique independence issue.

Mozambique, Scott 516, 1975, Litho, 22mm x 31mm

One with a red overprint, one without. This issue in an attractive combination of Gray, Light Blue, Blue, Carmine, and Black shows the southeastern African nation of Mozambique, former colony of Portugal. The map shows it all: political boundaries, cities and towns, waterways, neighboring countries, and roadways. These are somewhat obliterated by the overprint proclaming the date of independence and a nicely ornamental flourish.

Independence came in the middle of an extended period of political strife. Even after political reforms came, the country has had trouble developing economically. Some hope, however, to bring the beauty of the long Indian Ocean coastline and the attractions of the country’s wildlife reserves to higher prominence among the international tourist trade.

Fishhook island

28 03 2008

Bermuda stamp
Bermuda, Scott 165, 1953, 38mm x 21mm

This is not about the place in Colorado, nor the one in Minnesota, but about the island of Bermuda in the middle of the North Atlantic as depicted on the map here, a young Queen Elizabeth II surmounted by coronet looking on benignly from the east. The nine “parishes” making up the island are shown: Devonshire, Hamilton, Paget, Pembroke, Sandys, Smith’s, Southampton, St. George’s, and Warwick. The overprint in red commemorates a series of Three Power Talks held in 1953.

In December 1953, Churchill, Eisenhower and Joseph Laniel, the new French premier, and their foreign ministers met in Bermuda. The conference proved to be Churchill’s last summit meeting. At Bermuda, Larres said, Churchill continued to push for a top-level summit with the Soviets. However, the conference yielded few results and ended in chaos and personal animosity. Larres quoted a frustrated Anthony Eden, writing to his wife: “Please make me retire before I begin to behave like the current Prime Minister.”

I am posting this not so much because of the early Cold War period theme, but because I remember fondly a trip we made to this country four years ago to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We sailed out of Pier 90 on Manhattan’s Hudson River waterfront, cruised out for two nights, spent two nights docked at St. George and in Hamilton, and two nights back. Part of the voyage was a bit choppy and we hit some tempestuous activity once we were on land, but all in all it was a marvellous and restful vacation. We saw no high heads of state at the time, only entertainer Regis Philbin who was a fellow passenger.

Ha’penny independence issue

3 02 2008

Ghana independence overprint issue

Ghana, Scott 5, 1957, 32mm x 23mm
This is the same stamp issued by the Gold Coast (Scott 148) with the main design covered with a bold black overprint Ghana Independence 6th March, 1957. Unlike many other overprinted issues, the issuer declined to obliterate the old name of the colony which appears in three places on this stamp. The borders are engraved with a banknote style pattern and there is an inset profile of Queen Elizabeth II. Ghana was the first of the sub-Saharan colonies to receive independence in West Africa.

This stamp depicts only the “position” of the Gold Coast, highlighted, alongside Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria instead of a detailed map, which would show more topography and perhaps a city or two. Check out, for instance, the features on this 1747 map of West Africa which labels the neighboring regions the “Tooth Coast” and the “Slave Coast” and has the amazing title A new and accurate map of Negroland. (via Sociolingo). The stamp does, however show lines of latitude and longitude in the same red used to render the outline of West Africa, revealing that the southern edge of the new country is only about 300 nautical miles away from the 0° North 0° West spot in the petroleum-rich Gulf of Guinea.