Small is good

I don’t usually flag up new issues here, but, for once, why not?

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Here’s the latest, two small format low values (500K counts as low these days) to honour the 23rd ASEAN Postal Business Meeting, hosted this year by Myanmar at Naypyitaw. These came out on the 21st, together with an official first day cover and a maximum card for each value, which seems to be the default current practice.

On the minus side, that’s too many  items to service – four official covers and cards plus the privately produced covers. Why do we need a separate cover for each value?

On the plus side, these are neat, unpretentious little stamps that celebrate an actual occasion of political and postal significance, mundane though it may seem. Myanmar still produces and prints its own stamps. They commemorate real events, not collector-targeted themes. And stamps are still very widely used in Myanmar. And that’s all good. Long may it stay that way!

Improvising censorship in the Military Administration

Apologies for the unforgivably long time since my last post here.

I’m continually fascinated by the postal history of the 1945 Military Administration of Burma, which still has secrets to reveal, seven decades on. Amazing how much there is still to discover, even within the space of just six months of postal service.

Here’s an example. This cover was sent to the Regional Inspector of posts from Prome on 15 August 1945, the day that office re-opened following the reoccupation. It’s paid at over the actual letter rate, probably as a way of confirming what values of stamps had been supplied. But if the office was new to the business, so was the Prome censor. Since the cover contained no letter, the censor signed and enclosed a typewritten slip confirming this, a practice I haven’t encountered before. A piece of typewritten censor label covers the rear flap, and this was duly stamped with censor marks. An individual examiner’s mark, DG/110, was applied but the proper hand stamp for the Prome censor station – an octagon with crown and “PASSED”, numbered DGE/1 – seems not yet to have arrived.

As a makeshift the censor put to use an Airgraph censor mark with a Rangoon number, DGB/1, crossing through the word “AIRGRAPH”. This is a usage not previously recorded. Its scarcity is not just in this context; airgraph forms were generally stamped with military unit censor marks, but even when a civilian censor mark like this was used, the original form was destroyed after it had been photographed for transmission. Since very few original forms survive, few original censors survive either. And come to that, I’ve never seen an airgraph with a Burma “DG” censor mark, and I’m not sure if Burma airgraph censorship has ever been explored and documented.

Hopefully, someone can tell me. If you can, please send a message via the “Comment” option”!