Stamp spitters gain even more ground!!
Already short after the founding of the MFN our club's magazine informed about the many illegally looking stamp issues with our theme that overrun us. We reported regularly about it and we try as good as its gets to play an advising role in this matter. It may be clear that it is sometimes not easy to judge what is and what is not honestly. Of those sticker sheets from Abchasilezia and whatever they may be called, it was soon clear that it was not more than fill-up, but still we had to be a little reserved in this. Many of the issues that we earlier called 'rubbish' appeared later to become official. And now we see that stamps from many countries that we classified as 'probably not official issues' are yet incorporated in the various reliable catalogues, sometimes with retroactive effect up to even 7 years. The magazine Filatelie can't even list all these items at once, and makes a bunch of announcements in every volume.
Already in 1999 Gerrie Coerts wrote in the newspaper article quoted in newsletter 49, that 10% of all countries make up for more than 40% of all the newly issued stamps, and when we would make this calculation again now, I bet it will even be worse.
But how is this stamp spitters market organized? Well, most of the countries with a backlog in development (if you may still say it like this nowadays) put out the manufacturing and distribution of stamps to agents. Most of these agents probably want to execute this assignment properly, to keep their name free of blame.
For instance one of the most reliable agents is Crown Agents Stamp Bureau, that takes care of the issue of stamps for (much) more than 40 countries within the Commonwealth. Off course also their stamps contain some excesses, like stamps with a franking value enough to ship an elephant at the local tarifs, but for sure none of those stamps that really make your ears itch.
One of the biggest agents in the field of stamps is the New York based IGPC (Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation) that takes care of design, production and distribution for more than 70 countries. Well-known stamp spitters like Tuvalu, Togo, Sierra Leone, Guyana en Gambia let their issues be handled by IGPC. Almost all Disney issues come from their business. They pretend themselves to be the inventors of 'a new kind of stamp that shows images of sporting heroes, pop-icones and movie stars to the big audience'. Nicely spoken, but in the end it is all about our money.
Another spitter, and especially of this one we see the big make up in becoming official over the last period, is the Brussel/Belgium based Stamperija with CEO Mr. Algirdas Satas (from Vilnius, Lithuania, also chief of Conquest Trading Corporation, and supposed issuer of those Russian imprints, labels/vignettes from Abchazia, Buriatia, Dagestan, Karjala and many more of those countries). Stamperija takes care of issues of amongst others countries like Comores, both Congos, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Sao Tomé e Principe, Benin, Korea DPR, in total for 24 of this kind of countries. And this will for sure fill up our albums. Stamps issued by them are offered to us in sheets, blocks and single blocks and other variations. And still they are nice pictures. And now included in the official catalogues and registered by the UPU, and thus to be regarded official. But if we will ever see a sent letter with these stamps....????
By the way, we are not alone in our concerns about and struggle against these practices. On internet several initiatives have been started to fight the illegal activities. For instance the UPU has set up a website to check the status of issues, but unfortunately this website is not really up-to-date.
Here are the addresses of some websites that have been used to compose this article, and that are for sure worth visiting:
Hans de Kloet
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