18 January 2012
As the Olympics approaches, Bob Farley of the Society of Olympic Collectors, begins his exclusive Stamp & Coin Mart blog with news of the many significant events taking place before the London Games and the philatelic souvenirs produced to mark them… ...
Innsbruck 2012, the First Winter Youth Olympic Games takes place from the 13 to 22 January. The flame for the torch relay was lit in the Panhellenic Stadium, Athens on 17 December 2011, and was commemorated by a special cancellation.
The torch relay through Austria has not been marked by special cancels, but one torch relay enthusiast has been accompanying the relay and mailing covers from the overnight stops and key locations. Covers are arriving daily and include Wenns (27.12), St Anton am Arlberg (28.12), Millstadtt (29.12), Wien (31.12), Graz (2.01).
January 5 saw the release of the Olympic and Paralympic definitive stamps. Royal Mail introduced two illustrated first day cancels, one text ring first day cancel, with seven new special handstamps. Of these, three have little relevance to the Olympics - two show London landmarks, and one is generic for all 2012 definitive and commemorative stamp issues.
The illustrated first day handstamp for Lands End (Sennen, Penzance) seems to be a strange choice for 5 January as it would be far more appropriate for a handstamp to commemorate the start of the torch relay in May.
Two obvious locations for first day cancels have been overlooked. Much Wenlock and Stoke Mandeville with their direct relationship to the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games. To rectify this a number of SD covers were delivered to their post offices on the 5 January.
These visits resulted in new 'finds' at Much Wenlock - recently published postcards now mention the status of the town as 'Birthplace of the Modern Olympics' (Salmon 5-02-33-01, and Inner Visions PC0101), and a third card (Inner Visions PC0102), also mentions '30th Olympiad London 27th July to 12th August 2012'.
The visit to Stoke Mandeville also proved eventful because the collection van arrived just as the SD covers had been processed. The Postmaster quickly cancelled the covers to pass them over. This was obviously the first use of the cancel on the 5 January because on arrival, the covers are all cancelled 04 JA 12. Fortunately the receipts and the horizon label used for the balance of the franking confirm the mailing date as the 5th.
Olympic collecting is never dull!
Bob's monthly blog coninues next month. Read more about stamps and coins relating to the Olympics in every issue of Stamp & Coin Mart.
Find out more about the Society of Olympic Collectors at: www.societyofolympiccollectors.org