Stamps in the News - May 2024

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Stamps in the News - May 2024

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Enjoy this month's news roundup.

Royal Mail under siege 1
Reported at www.euronews.com

Shares in IDS, the owner of Royal Mail, rose after reports that it has received - and rejected - a bid from Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský.

UK postal and courier service, Royal Mail, has received a takeover bid from Daniel Křetínský, a Czech billionaire who has also invested in Sainsbury's and West Ham United Football Club.

Royal Mail has reportedly rejected the offer and apparently Křetínský is now renegotiating.

Křetínský's EP Group has already acquired a 27.5% ownership share in Royal Mail through his investment entity, Vesa.

"EP Group recognises that Royal Mail is in a challenging situation," Křetínský's company said in a newly released statement.

"EP Group also recognises that Royal Mail is an important national asset that would benefit from being able to take a longer-term view and is prepared to support this iconic business as it transforms and rebuilds into a modern postal operator delivering high-quality service to its customers, stability to its workforce and sustainable financial performance."

Last year, Royal Mail reported a "substantial loss" of £419 million (€490 million) for the financial year 2022/23.

EP Group has until 15 May to either declare a definitive intention to make an offer for IDS or withdraw from the process.
kretinsky-royal-mail-1640x872-c.jpg
Caption: Daniel Křetínský

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Royal Mail under siege 2
Reported at www.dailymail.co.uk

Thousands of fake stamps are entering Britain from China, leaving victims paying £5 penalties to collect their post.

Royal Mail has been urged to investigate what security experts called 'economic warfare', with the forgeries said to be behind the rise in complaints from customers that stamps bought from legitimate sources are being flagged as counterfeit.

It is understood that convincing copies, sold for as little as 4p each, are being purchased by smaller retailers, who are not obliged to buy directly from the Royal Mail.

Websites based in China offer sheets of 50 counterfeit stamps at a time, complete with Royal Mail's new barcode – designed to make the post more secure and efficient – for those willing to commit to a minimum purchase of 20,000.

The Post Office minister said he would work with Royal Mail and retailers to investigate.

'The Royal Mail must do everything possible to prevent counterfeits entering our circulation and must establish where they are coming from and how they are entering our marketplace' he said.

Stamps are considered a 'secure print item' in the same way as bank notes – which means it is a crime to knowingly reuse or sell used or fake ones. Observers have called for a criminal investigation.

Stamps bought from the Post Office are not affected because it receives all of its stamps direct from the Royal Mail's secure printers in Wolverhampton.

It is claimed four major Chinese suppliers are printing up to one million counterfeit stamps a week and delivering them to Britain in days.

One large factory is only taking orders for more than 300,000, cutting the cost to 4p a fake.

They are then being sold through scam websites imitating the Royal Mail's online store and via marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay.

Both Amazon and eBay insisted last night that they strictly prohibit counterfeit items on their websites.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: 'We regularly monitor online marketplaces to detect suspicious activity and work closely with retailers and law enforcement agencies to identify those who produce counterfeit stamps.'

Meanwhile, a diplomatic row has broken between the UK and China over the fakes.

Chinese embassy officials have denied responsibility for the counterfeit stamps flooding into Britain.

The chair of the British foreign affairs committee has demanded the Chinese state launch an investigation and crack down on factories “brazenly” producing the counterfeits.

The Liberal Democrats have called on the Chinese government to face questions from ministers and urged the Foreign Office to arrange a meeting with the Chinese ambassador.

However, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy dismissed the reports to The Times, describing them as “baseless” and “low-level”.

They said Royal Mail should “have a thorough investigation over the internal supply chain, instead of pursuing the attention of the media” and said claims it was “triggering war by bringing fake stamps” were “totally ridiculous, absurd and ill-intentional”.

It comes after the founder of national security think tank the Henry Jackson Society, told The Telegraph: “It is inconceivable that a large-scale counterfeit operation like this could be occurring without the knowledge and therefore tacit approval of the Chinese Communist Party given its strict control over the Chinese economy.

The chair of the foreign affairs committee, said: “It is incumbent upon the Chinese state to now crack down on these companies who are openly supporting illicit trade in stamps, investigate printing facilities and expose those funding them.”
uk fakes.png
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China Post diversifies
Reported at www.scmp.com

Postal and parcel workers in an eastern Chinese province who report possible threats to state security could be rewarded with up to 30,000 yuan (US$4,100).

Regulation says workers must be on the lookout for dangerous items as well as books and printed and audiovisual material that ‘harm national security.’

China’s top counter-espionage watchdog, the Ministry of State Security, hailed the development in Jiangsu province – the first in China to introduce such rules – as an “innovative initiative”.

In an article published to the ministry’s WeChat account this month, it said the regulation was “aimed at severely cracking down on the use of the delivery service to endanger national security”.

The new local regulation is the first government document in China to reward delivery companies and delivery workers for tip-offs about spying.

The 25-article regulation states that courier companies and their employees are obliged to report “clues about national security violations and crimes” they discover during their work.

If the tip-off leads to a criminal case involving national security, authorities will give the source a cash reward of 10,000-30,000 yuan, the highest level of the regulation’s three-tiered reward system. And at the lowest level, informants will receive less than 1,000 yuan for clues that “play a certain role”.

According to the regulations, delivery workers in Jiangsu should be aware of suspicious parcels, including “dangerous items related to national security”, such as weapons, bullets, drugs, explosives and threats to biosecurity as well as books and printed and audiovisual material that “harm national security”.
China.jpg
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Georgia Post diversifies
Reported at www.gpost.ge

Georgia Post has started implementing a project to set up libraries in nurseries in the mountainous regions throughout Georgia. The Post Office will create a thematic selection of literature, purchase and deliver to the regions as part of its social responsibility charter.

The first stage of the project was implemented in Kazbegi municipality and implemented with the support of the Kazbegi municipality's town hall and the center of educational pre-school institutions.

The project will continue for a year.
Georgia.jpg
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La Poste diversifies
Reported at www.rfi.fr/en

Food deliveries to be top activity for French postal service by 2035, says CEO.

With fewer people sending each other letters, France's post office will change its strategic plan for the next ten years, looking to significantly increase its home meal delivery business - aimed in particular at elderly people - and to continue to deliver parcels.

There are only 7,000 post offices left in France, compared with 14,000 at the end of the 1990s. For many village post offices, fewer than five customers turn up a day.

"We are committed to our public service missions," the CEO of France's postal service told the French Senate recently, but "[we] are under pressure".

Letter and parcel deliveries dropped from 70 percent of France's post office business in 1990 to just 15 percent by the end of 2024, as letters have been replaced by e-mails and most invoices are now digital.

The steady decline over the last ten years has left a €6 billion gap in the group's business.

La Poste is making a "strategic gamble" with parcel and meal delivery, which it "is in the process of winning" according to its CEO.

France's post office currently carries out ten percent of food deliveries nationwide.

Working with community centres, hospitals and caterers, drivers bring more than 15,000 meals per day to mostly elderly people.

La Poste delivered 5 million meals last year and hopes to double that figure for 2024.

By 2035 it is predicted that "food deliveries will be the top activity for postal workers".

Meanwhile, increasing numbers of post offices are closing, much to the dismay of the local populations they serve.
For 40 percent of village post offices, fewer than five customers turn up a day.

La Poste is consulting with local mayors on the issue and the group is planning to launch "yellow lorries", or mobile multiservice offices, in rural areas, which should be on the road by the end of April.
francefood.jpg
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La Poste embraces the baguette
Reported at www.linkedin.com/posts/universal-postal-union

France will honour the baguette on a stamp to be issued May 17. Stephane Humbert-Basset designed the stamp based upon his original artwork.

Recognized in November 2022 on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list, the French baguette is considered the bread of daily life. Its simple ingredients of flour, water, salt and yeast contrast with the complexity of the careful measurement of ingredients, kneading, fermentation, shaping, priming and baking in the hands of the skilled artisan.

The baguette transcends international borders with the production of 6 billion baguettes each year for its daily 12 million consumers.

According to La Poste, a special feature of this stamp is that it will have a “bakery scent.”
France.jpg
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Poste Italiane embraces bunga bunga
Reported at www.examiner.com.au

Late former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, one of the most influential but also divisive figures in Italian politics, is to be featured on a postage stamp, his Forza Italia party says.

The stamp will be available on the first anniversary of Berlusconi's death, Forza Italia, which was founded by Berlusconi.

The politician died on June 12 last year at the age of 86 after a period of ill health.

Berlusconi was one of the most influential figures in Italian and European politics from the mid-1990s onwards.
A real estate, media and football mogul who moved into politics, Berlusconi was a controversial and at times divisive figure in Italian public life who shaped Italian politics for decades.

He enjoyed a successful career as a businessman before reinventing himself as a conservative politician, who proved prone to public gaffes and run-ins with the law.

He was Italy's longest-serving prime minister, with terms in office in 1994, 2001-2006 and 2008-2011.

Berlusconi's rise to power was meteoric, winning his first elections in 1994 at the helm of a new party named after a football slogan, Forza Italia, or Go Italy.

He resigned in disgrace in 2011, at the height of a debt crisis that risked destabilising the entire eurozone while he was on trial for tax evasion and soliciting sex from an underage prostitute in the infamous "bunga bunga" affair.

The numerous scandals Berlusconi was involved in have led to debates in Italy about how he should be remembered. The renaming of streets and buildings, for example, is seen as controversial in many Italian cities.

The decision in favour of a Berlusconi stamp was made at a cabinet meeting in Rome, Forza Italia said. It is not yet known what the stamp will look like. Forza Italia is one of three parties in the coalition government of current Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
berlusconi-escort.jpg
Caption: Silvio Berlusconi

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New Zealand shows its True Colours
Reported at www.noise11.com

Split Enz have been honoured by the New Zealand Post Office with a series of stamps based on their classic album ‘True Colours’.

Split Enz was New Zealand’s first internationally recognised band. Revered and influential to this day, they were true originals who created their own sound and style of performance from the time they formed as Split Ends in 1972.

‘True Colours’ was the sixth Split Enz album. The album was released on 20 January, 1980. It was the first album to notably feature Neil Finn with the band. It was a number one album in New Zealand and Australia and reached number 10 in Canada, number 38 in the UK and number 40 in the USA.

The album would influence a whole range of international artists including the B-52s and a young Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), as well as many of our New Zealand musicians back home.
split enz.jpg
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Jersey sees the light
Reported at www.bbc.com

Jersey Post has released a set of new stamps to mark 150 years since La Corbière lighthouse was first lit on 24 April 1874.

Jersey Post said the illustrations, created by Norwegian artist Martin Mörck, were inspired by the original sketches from lighthouse engineers.

Jersey Post said the lighting of La Corbière was a "huge achievement" for the island and key moments of its construction have been depicted on the stamps.

CEO of Ports of Jersey, which manages the lighthouse, said it was an "honour" to be entrusted with one of the island's "most iconic landmarks".

"We take our responsibility seriously and carry out regular inspections to maintain the critical service the lighthouse performs," he said.
Jersey2.jpg
Jersey1.png
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Australia Post drops the ball
Reported at www.9news.com.au

Australia Post has been left red-faced after an "embarrassing" mistake led to some customers being sent out custom stamps missing an essential detail.

A Victorian small business owner is one customer who was sent out sheets of stamps without the dollar sign printed on them.

He ordered 2000 custom-made stamps from Australia Post's MyStamp service for his collectables business on April 4.

It was a day after Australia Post increased the prices for its regular stamps from $1.20 to $1.50.

The non-compliant stamps missing the dollar sign (left) and a previous version (right) including the essential character.

"I was waiting eagerly for them to come up with the new pricing, and then I ordered them the next day," he said.
When the sheets of $1.50 stamps arrived in the mail, he didn't notice anything amiss and began using them.

However, on Wednesday he received an email from Australia Post alerting him to the fact that the stamps were "non-compliant" because they were missing the dollar sign.

He said he found the mistake "kind of hilarious".

"They had one job, to change the two to a five, and they messed it up," he said.

Affected customers were told the stamps without the dollar sign could not be used because they were non-compliant but that a refund would be made and replacement stamps sent.
Aust post.jpg
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A soft landing at Christmas Island
Reported at https://australiapostcollectables.com.au/

The 50th Anniversary of the Christmas Island Airport is being commemorated with a new stamp issue.

Until the 1970s, the remote Indian Ocean Territory of Christmas Island had no substantial aviation infrastructure, with the only regular transportation being by sea.

In June 1974, after years of planning, the Christmas Island airport was opened in the north-east of the island, initially with a 2,100-metre-long sealed runway and serviceable passenger terminal, known locally as ‘the shed’.
The first commercial jet service from Perth, a TAA Boeing 727, arrived on 6 June 1974.

In 1982‒83 the runway was extended and in October 1992, a modern airport terminal was constructed.

Since 2010, an Airbus A320 operated by Virgin Australia has provided passenger air services from Perth via the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. The stamps depict the first TAA aircraft and original passenger terminal together with the current carrier and terminal.
Xmas Island.jpg
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A soft landing in Russia
https://www.stampworld.com/

A new Russian stamp issue features patterns from felt carpets of the Republics of Ingushetia, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, and North Ossetia-Alania, all part of Russia.

For centuries, Caucasian peoples have been famous for their exquisitely patterned carpets, which were used to warm and decorate homes.

At present, connoisseurs of folk art are working on preserving the national culture, restoring the ancient craft; felting schools are being opened, and master classes are being held for all those interested.
Dagestan.jpg
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Postcrossers cross to Uzbekistan
Reported at https://uz.post/

On April 14, the first international meeting of postcrossers was held at the Museum of the History of Communications of Uzbekistan! 26 postcrossers from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia took part in it.

The participants exchanged welcome postcards, actively participated in quests and quizzes, held a master class on mail art, made new acquaintances and received pleasant gifts from UzPost.

We were very happy to support this event, in which people passionate about their hobby from different countries met each other, shared joy and opened up the fascinating world of postcrossing to newcomers!
Ukbek.jpg
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Music…and stamps – what’s not to love?
Reported at www.motivgruppe-musik.com/

Motivgruppe Musik, the international Philatelic Music Study Group, has arranged for online voting in its poll to determine the most popular music stamp of 2023.

The study group reports that members selected 66 stamps issued by postal administrations in 2023 as candidates eligible for the title of the year’s most popular music stamp.

The designer of the most popular music stamp will be awarded the Yehudi Menuhin trophy, awarded in memory of violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin (1916-99), who was the patron of the Philatelic Music Circle from 1969 until his death.

To vote in the poll, visit the group’s website. The deadline for voting is July 31, and all voters will be included in a raffle to receive a philatelic gift.

Motivgruppe Musik was founded in 1959 and has conducted an annual poll to determine the most popular music stamp of the year since 1980.

Margo’s note: Have a look at the selected 66 stamps and have a vote [at]
https://tinyurl.com/philmus

Music voting.jpg
Caption: A selection of the 66 music stamps in the poll


***********************
Next month's Stamps in the News is available [at] https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?t=105476

Last month's Stamps in the News is available at https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?t=105098
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Re: **NEW** Stamps in the News May 2024

Post by FairyFoot »

Postcrossing is great (except for the cost of international postage!). I've only been to one meetup and that was in Dublin. Might see if I can get there again at some point.
Both Amazon and eBay insisted last night that they strictly prohibit counterfeit items on their websites.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: 'We regularly monitor online marketplaces to detect suspicious activity and work closely with retailers and law enforcement agencies to identify those who produce counterfeit stamps.'
Not sure I quite believe this... There are so many listings on Amazon at over face value, and some of the comments (cheaper than the PO!!!? great value for money!!!). e.g. 6 x 1st for £12.99!

I fancy some baguette.... wonder if I can sneak a small bit before a late dinner!

Great read, thanks.
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Re: **NEW** Stamps in the News May 2024

Post by norvic »

Thank you Margo, another good read.
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Re: **NEW** Stamps in the News May 2024

Post by KevinHedley »

.
Thanks once again to the lady with the red-shoes.

The lighthouse set and minisheet is eyecatching. "Jersey Post said the illustrations, created by Norwegian artist Martin Mörck, were inspired by the original sketches from lighthouse engineers."

It certainly inspires me.
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Re: **NEW** Stamps in the News May 2024

Post by MargoZ »

Ha ha, Kevin - I thought of you specifically when I saw this issue.
Lighthouses and Martin Mörck - what a winning combination 8-)
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Re: **NEW** Stamps in the News May 2024

Post by MargoZ »

Many thanks Fairyfoot & Norvic.
That baguette looks scrumptious doesn't it ?
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Re: **NEW** - Stamps in the News - May 2024

Post by Global Admin »

MargoZ wrote: 28 Apr 2024 23:01

Australia Post drops the ball
Reported at www.9news.com.au

Australia Post has been left red-faced after an "embarrassing" mistake led to some customers being sent out custom stamps missing an essential detail.

A Victorian small business owner is one customer who was sent out sheets of stamps without the dollar sign printed on them.

He ordered 2000 custom-made stamps from Australia Post's MyStamp service for his collectables business on April 4.

It was a day after Australia Post increased the prices for its regular stamps from $1.20 to $1.50.

The non-compliant stamps missing the dollar sign (left) and a previous version (right) including the essential character.

"I was waiting eagerly for them to come up with the new pricing, and then I ordered them the next day," he said.
When the sheets of $1.50 stamps arrived in the mail, he didn't notice anything amiss and began using them.

However, on Wednesday he received an email from Australia Post alerting him to the fact that the stamps were "non-compliant" because they were missing the dollar sign.

He said he found the mistake "kind of hilarious".

"They had one job, to change the two to a five, and they messed it up," he said.

Affected customers were told the stamps without the dollar sign could not be used because they were non-compliant but that a refund would be made and replacement stamps sent.

Image

I hope he contacted some dealers with them - they'd be $20 pieces!
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Re: **NEW** Stamps in the News May 2024

Post by yellowduck »

FairyFoot wrote: 03 May 2024 04:59 Postcrossing is great (except for the cost of international postage!)
£2.50 to send an international postcard now. :cry:

Bombs, bullets...and books. Typical thinking towards security in China. :roll:
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Re: **NEW** - Stamps in the News - May 2024

Post by ebayer »

I think it has gone up to send a postcard here to Europe to about $4!

Postcards cost the same as letters oddly. The rate once was a lot cheaper.
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Re: **NEW** - Stamps in the News - May 2024

Post by Ubobo.R.O. »

Postcard rate overseas is $3. Came into force Oct, 2023.
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Re: **NEW** - Stamps in the News - May 2024

Post by Global Admin »

Ubobo.R.O. wrote: 21 May 2024 12:32
Postcard rate overseas is $3. Came into force Oct, 2023.

And from April 2024, this $A4.30 max postcard rate came into force it seems! Or is a 'greeting card' now called a postcard?

Domestic letters were also $1.20 last year - now $1.50. Rates change.


https://auspost.com.au/content/dam/auspost_corp/media/docume ... nation.pdf

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Re: **NEW** - Stamps in the News - May 2024

Post by Ubobo.R.O. »

It's now classified as a greeting card. Here's a postcard BigSaint sent to lesbootman.
Image (59) B.jpg
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Re: **NEW** - Stamps in the News - May 2024

Post by FairyFoot »

Wow...
conversion.png
Googled 3 Australian dollars to Sterling. £1.57. Can I come to Australia? I have family dotted around the eastern side, from Cairns (or even further north), to Sydney....

However, first, better use some more postage stamps here though!
I am a Penpaller and Stamp User. I send therefore I receive. I muse on letters and stamps at correspondencefan.blogspot.co.uk. I have a forum, A World of Snail Mail. I need to collect "Welt der Briefe" stamps from Deutsche Post. I may need help to postally use RM postage stamps - does anyone want to get into letter writing?
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Re: **NEW** - Stamps in the News - May 2024

Post by anilkhemlani »

Thank you MargoZ

I would love a Baguette if anyone has one !!
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Re: **NEW** - Stamps in the News - May 2024

Post by MargoZ »

Ha ha ....who wouldn't love a beautiful fresh crispy baguette? 8-)
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Re: **NEW** - Stamps in the News - May 2024

Post by Global Admin »

FairyFoot wrote: 21 May 2024 22:09
Wow...

Image

Googled 3 Australian dollars to Sterling. £1.57. Can I come to Australia? I have family dotted around the eastern side, from Cairns (or even further north), to Sydney....

However, first, better use some more postage stamps here though!

Slight downside - 24 to 30 hours of flying and airports EACH way .. says he, typing this from 40,000 feet over Europe/Asia somewhere!

Glen
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