By Andrew Francis FIG Postmaster - A country's stamp issues are important for many reasons. They are an indication of sovereignty, are a chance to promote the country throughout the world and raise money for the government.
In a changing world where video games, I-pads and so many other things compete with stamp collecting, stamp issues throughout the philatelic world have modernized both in terms of artistic output and production methods.
Nevertheless, Falklands issues are still based on beautiful paintings and illustrations. This is part of the reason why Falkland Islands stamp issues have always been and still remain very popular with collectors.
Stamp issues in the Falkland Islands are effectively controlled by the Stamp Advisory Committee, which meets on a quarterly basis. The committee discusses potential ideas for future stamp issues and sets a plan for releases. The meetings are interesting and creative and the Falklands Islands is lucky in having many wonderful and diverse features to take inspiration from. These meetings are open to members of the public.
Once the stamp designs have been agreed upon, Royal Approval is sought and printing of the stamps is arranged. The methods of printing stamps have evolved significantly over the decades. In the 1960s for example, Intaglio was a common method of printing stamps. The method results in a ridged surface, and is often popular with some stamp collectors.
However, the Intaglio method is expensive, and whilst certain large countries still use this method for stamp production, it is generally reserved for bank note printing. Similarly photogravure is uneconomic unless millions of stamps are produced. For these reasons the Falkland Islands stamps are currently printed by lithography as is the case with most countries.
The most recent Falkland Islands stamp issue is the New Small Bird Definitive that includes a booklet designed for the benefit of the public. Comments on the issue have generally been very positive, and includes praise from an internationally renowned bird specialist. The UK National Philatelic Society has indicated plans to do a feature on the Small Birds Definitive.
The Falkland Islands’ good philatelic reputation in part stems from many excellent stamp issues over a long period of time. Just a few years ago a panel of experts and readers of a major philatelic publication voted the Falklands the ninth best issue of the year, from a choice of thousands.
The next stamp issue to be released will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Falkland Islands Fisheries. Again it is beautifully illustrated, relevant to the Islands and appealing to Islanders, tourists and international collectors.
The next meeting of Stamp Advisory Committee will be on September 28, in the Liberation Room, Secretariat building at 1.30pm and members of the public are welcome to attend. Alternatively, please contact Andrew Francis email: AFrancis@sec.gov.fk for any enquiries or comments and even an informal discussion on stamps. It’s a fascinating subject, and new ideas and thoughts are always welcome. (Penguin News)
More information: www.falklandstamps.com/