Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Elizabeth II, Queen of the Netherlands... Yeah, sure.

WTF?!! to summarize my first thought when I saw the last mail from WOPA.

WOPA, the World Online Philatelic Agency, is a Gibraltar Philatelic Bureau's division created 1994 around the British Crown Dependencies and Territory in Europe. Now, 36 postal and philatelic operators sold there at face value their stamps and products to a large international public (website in six languages and apparently 19 currencies accepted).

There are exceptions, but there is a tendency to sold products that doesn't need separating stamps: minisheets, booklets, yearbooks, or already packaged (British presentation packs, first day covers).
Fifty euros! Fifty! (WOPA).
Yesterday, that's the Dutch part of the webshop that provoked a roaring scream: since Tuesday 2 August 2016, PostNL has been selling a stamp for a registered mail (aangetekend) at the price of 49.95 euros or 43.43 pounds sterling...

The excuse: the stamp is made of silver with a small (tiny?) diamond on it. Okay.

The problem: it reproduced a 1950s picture of Queen Elizabeth II... Let's revise the Dutch monarchy: Wilhelmina (1890-1948), Juliana (1948-1980), Beatrix (1980-2013), Willem-Alexander (since 2013)... No Elizabeth, Queen of the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, etc.
The pipeau (reed pipe) is a music instrument, mostly used by philatelic bureaus as soon as the creation of stamps, because thought to be more efficient on collectors thant postmen's posthorn (West Germany stamp issued 1978, via commons.wikimedia.org).
Worse: nothing on PostNL philatelic website, the CollectClub... sigh.

When you think French collectors raised an eyebrow facing highly oxydable 5 euro Marianne stamps in 2006 et 2008 (issue at Paris Stamp Shows of June). Sport excesses in 2011 (rugby) et 2012 (handball) seem to have end this finally postally useful (though rusting) practise, useful compared to this Dutch monster.

A coincidence made me and the White Knight of the Commonwealth Stamp Opinion have the same discovery and questions while he was writing the Olympic precious metal issues from New Zealand and Australia. He reminds that 50 euros may be a bargain compared to the 125 pound minisheet of Jersey in 2012 (a special edition of the Queen Elizabeth and King George VI around an imperial crown minisheet).

In the context of the Brexit and a certain displeasure towards the European political project, could this stamp be a sign that the Dutch wish to join the Commonwealth? Or is it just a way to find pigeon money.

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