Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

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Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

I have recently revived a long-dormant interest in early stamps of the Maldives.


.
Maldives, 1950: Four top values of set of 9.
Maldives, 1950: Four top values of set of 9.
.
Maldives
Maldives /ˈmɔːldiːvs/, US: /ˈmɔːldaɪvz/; Dhivehi: ދިވެހިރާއްޖެ [Dhivehi Raajje], officially the Republic of Maldives, is a small archipelagic state in South Asia situated in the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 700 kilometres from the Asian continent's mainland. The chain of 26 atolls stretches from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to Addu Atoll in the south (across the Equator).

Comprising a territory spanning roughly 298 square kilometres, Maldives is one of the world's most geographically dispersed sovereign states as well as the smallest Asian country by land area and, with around 557,426 inhabitants, the second least populous country in Asia. Maléis the capital and the most populated city, traditionally called the "King's Island" where the ancient royal dynasties ruled for its central location.

The Maldivian Archipelago is located on the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, a vast submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean. This also forms a terrestrial ecoregion, together with the Chagos Archipelago and Lakshadweep. With an average ground-level elevation of 1.5 metres above sea level, and a highest natural point of only 5.1 metres, it is the world's lowest-lying country.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maldives

Maldives [Google maps]
Maldives [Google maps]
Maldives lie southwest of India and Sri Lanka
.
800px-Malosmadulu_Atolls,_Maldives.jpg
Maalhosmadulu Atoll seen from space.
Northern Maalhosmadulu Atoll and Southern Maalhosmadulu Atoll
can be seen in this photograph.

Another map source of interest is at the website
https://maldivestour.guide/maps/maldives-island-on-world-map.html
.
I have a motivating question which I will put in the next post, now that this post has set the context.

/RogerE :D
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Re: Early Maldive philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

In 1906 the first stamps for use in the Maldives were created by overprinting the current KEVII stamps of Ceylon.

The denominations overprinted were 2c, 3c, 4c, 5c, 15c, 25c [SG 1-6].
Some used examples currently on eBay:

Maldives, 1906: 3c. SG2
Maldives, 1906: 3c. SG2
.
Maldives, 1906: 4c, SG3
Maldives, 1906: 4c, SG3
.
Maldives, 1906: 15c, SG5
Maldives, 1906: 15c, SG5
.
Maldives, 1906: 15c, SG5
Maldives, 1906: 15c, SG5
.
The Stanley Gibbons 1840–1970 catalogue says that the overprint has been extensively forged.

Question: Do the examples shown here have genuine or forged overprints?
Question: How can we distinguish genuine from forged?
Comment: Only the first 15c looks to have a convincing overprint, but I know
nothing about the distinguishing characteristics of the genuine overprints.

Any knowledgeable comments/posts welcome!

/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by Catweazle »

A fascinating area of postal and philatelic history here, I'm sure!

Since the twelfth century, the Maldives has had strong commercial and cultural ties with Asia and Africa. Later, in the sixteenth century, the Europeans took a liking to it especially as a port for use on their exploration and trade journies (you know how it was). It became a British colony in 1887, before achieving independence in 1965. So, in terms of postal history, 1906 is relatively late for a first issue.

That makes me curious - any idea what post from the Maldives looked like before then? Did they use other British stamps before 1906?

Sometimes I end up with mixed British Commonwealth stamps in auction lots. Good to know you collect this stuff, so when I next see something 'Maldivey' I'll forward it along to you!

I see what you mean about the 4c overprint, but as I'm no expert on these issues I shall refrain from comment...

By the way, that satellite photo really provides a useful perspective of these islands. Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by bazza4338 »

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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by Waffle »

Had a very interesting visit to the Maldive Islands quite a few years ago, some 2-3 years after a cyclone had severely damaged much of the coral with what was left, bleached, making snorkeling a waste of time. Definite a Moslem nation with armed guards watching over us from arrival at Male airport from Singapore, until we boarded the boat to take us to our Island.

My wife was unable to order drinks at the bar on her own (being totally ignored), I had to be with her. Areas on the Island were totally out of bounds to foreign men. We had one Arabic gentleman of very corpulent proportions who sat at the pool, wearing far too small budgie smugglers, waving his hands for the staff to bring him regular rounds of Alcohol.

His wife,clad from head to foot in black looked after the children, even going into the pool wearing her robes and face covering. Got loads of stamps at Male departure lounge as we left. No intention of ever returning. Not an enjoyable or happy visit. It may just be my Ulster protestant ethics at work.
I prefer to collect UK, British Commonwealth esp Pacific area ( not excluding West Indies/Canada ) and Western Europe. At the bottom of my zone of interest is Eastern Europe and communist countries.
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by MarkM »

Waffle wrote: 06 Jun 2021 17:49 Had a very Interesting visit to the Maldive Islands quite a few years ago, some 2-3 years after a cyclone had severely damaged much of the coral with what was left, bleached, making snorkeling a waste of time. Definite a Moslem nation with armed guards watching over us from arrival at Male airport from Singapore, until we boarded the boat to take us to our Island.

My wife was unable to order drinks at the bar on her own, I had to be with her. Areas on the Island were totally out of bounds to foreign men. We had one Arabic gentleman of very corpulent proportions who sat at the pool waving his hands for the staff to bring him regular rounds of Alcohol.

His wife,clad from head to foot in black looked after the children, even going into the pool wearing her robes and face covering. Got loads of stamps at Male departure lounge as we left. No intention of ever returning. Not an enjoyable or happy visit. It may just be my Ulster protestant ethics at work.
That’s interesting. We had our honeymoon there in 2004, and the conditions that you mention weren’t in place, although the country was under military rule at the time so you couldn’t take photos of certain buildings on the capital. I can only gather that they have realised that the tourist dollar means that they had to make concessions. The customs people were quite scary, but pretty much every time they saw our passport they would smile and ask if we live near the Great Barrier Reef.

The only time that we had to be more discrete was when we were touring the Mosque on the capital island. I had to make sure that my knees were covered by my shorts and my wife had to have her head covered with a shawl and that she was wearing a skirt.

It is a beautiful part of the world and were lucky enough to be able to spend 10 days on one of the islands. It hadn’t got back into my hobby by that time unfortunately.

I am now following this thread with interest. :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Thanks Catweazle (nice to see your post) and MarkM (my Stampboards-met local philatelic friend) for your happy background contributions. Also thanks to Waffle, my Ulster and Sunshine Coast Stampboards friend, for your rather less happy visit recollections. All part of the context.

I reserve my most abundant thanks for bazza4338. Your post is precisely on target, and provides very useful reference images of the 1906 overprints, both genuine and forged. That group of images goes a long way to helping us develop confidence in recognising the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The relative thickness of the two vertical strokes of the M is a good characteristic.
I find the S is also a good letter to study.
The sharpness and intensity of the genuine overprints contrasts with many of the forgeries.

From those characteristic I judge the four stamps in my post of Sun Jun 06, 2021 02:21:07 am as follows:
• 3c (SG2) — forged overprint: M has equal width vertical strokes; S is broken/incomplete; MA space too large.
• 4c (SG3) — forged overprint: left vertical stroke of M too thick; V uneven; poor inking of DIVES.
• First 15c (SG5) — forged overprint: both vertical strokes of M are thin, and top left point is uneven; base of E is long and thick, midstroke of E is too short. This example is the most "dangerous" of the four shown.
• Second 15c (SG5) — forged overprint: image fuzzy, but overprint is not dark enough; ES too low.

Summary: all four have forged overprints. Do other Stampboards viewers agree?

/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Two more questions about the MALDIVES on Ceylon 1906 overprints:

Q1: Was the same overprint forme used to overprint all six denominations?
Q2: How many stamps were overprinted by one impression from the forme — the whole sheet, or a smaller portion?

Because the information in bazza4338's post remarks about bogus postmarks, can a reader kindly supply images of various genuine postmarks of the era?

Any relevant information most welcome. :D

Thanks,
/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Here are some more Maldives 1906 items from eBay, to test readers' opinions on whether the overprints are genuine or forged. Refer to bazza4338's post of Sun Jun 06, 2021 16:28:12 pm for guidance.

(1) Maldives, 1906: 3c SG2
(1) Maldives, 1906: 3c SG2
.
(2) Maldives, 1906: 15c SG5
(2) Maldives, 1906: 15c SG5
.
I apologise that the next two shots are not sharp
.
(3) Maldives, 1906: 15c SG5
(3) Maldives, 1906: 15c SG5
.
(4) Maldives, 1906: 25c SG6
(4) Maldives, 1906: 25c SG6
.
What do you think of these?
By the way, I notice that the Stamp Forgeries page describes the Maldives 1906 stamps as "surcharged" whereas I would say they are "overprinted", since the face values are unchanged.
http://stampforgeries.com/forged-stamps-of-maldives/
.
/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

The following link, included in the post by bazza4338, has a brief literature reference list.
http://stampforgeries.com/forged-stamps-of-maldives/
The first article cited in that literatyre reference list is
• Eugene V. Connett 3rd, “The Maldive Islands: Their Postage Stamps and Postal History”, The Collectors Club Philatelist, Vol. 35 (November 1956): 339-57.
Here is page 352 of that rather discursive article:

Screen Shot 2021-06-07 at 3.43.06 am.png
Eugene Connett, The Collectors Club Philatelist, v35 part 6 (Nov 1956), p.352
Eugene Connett, The Collectors Club Philatelist, v35 part 6 (Nov 1956), p.352
.
/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

The Maldives 1950 set, with one design, covers nine monochromatic stamps, up to 1 rupee.

Maldives, 1950: Dhow and parl tree definitives,<br />SG 21-29 = Sc 20-28.
Maldives, 1950: Dhow and parl tree definitives,
SG 21-29 = Sc 20-28.
.
This arrangement seems to have been motivated by a desire to place contrasting colours beside each other.
It certainly results in a scrambled order by denomination.
.
/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by Princestamps »

This will be interesting. I just have one set of Maldives, the common 1952 set and all of them except the 5 Rupee. Only the 10 Rupee has much catalogue value (About $10).

Already in 1960 they started making "wallpaper" with 6 or 7 issues of 7 or more stamps with values from 2 Larees to 1 Rufiyaa or more. I think the first may have been Rome Olympics after another definitive set.

Still the 1960s wallpaper is colourful and I can't wait to see it!
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

The Maldives 1952 issue of two low face value stamps.
I am guessing that they were issued to make up shortfall in these frequently used values from the
current "Palm tree and dhow" definitive set. (Any expert comment about this would be welcome!)

Maldives, 1952: &quot;Isolated&quot; definitives 3l. and 5l.
Maldives, 1952: "Isolated" definitives 3l. and 5l.

The Maldives 1956 issue of 11 definitive stamps, comprised eight stamps
with face values in laree, and three larger format stamps with face values in rufiyaa — rupees :

Maldives, 1956: Definitive set, SG 32-42
Maldives, 1956: Definitive set, SG 32-42
.
/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by Princestamps »

Sorry it was 1956, like I said its very much a "D" country for me. I had all the Laree stamps and the 1 and 10 Rupees/Rufiyaa.

I guess we see those Rome Olympic and colourful sections of Male sets next.
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

The Maldives 1960 long definitive issue.

Maldives, 1960: Long definitive set <br />SG 51-61, plus three high face-value revenues
Maldives, 1960: Long definitive set
SG 51-61, plus three high face-value revenues
.
In principle, the 11 stamps with face values up to 10 rufiyaa — 10 rupees were for postal use,
while the three top values were intended for fiscal use.
Stanley Gibbons (2018) wrote:25r, 50r and 100r values in similar designs were also issued,
intended mainly for fiscal use. (Price £150 for set of 3, unused).
Stanley Gibbons, Commonwealth and British Empire Stamps, 1840–1970


Maldives currency, 1960

These examples are on eBay right now (but they are not "cheap").
.
Contemporary 50r banknote
.
Maldives, 1960: 50r banknote (P6b)
Maldives, 1960: 50r banknote (P6b)
.
The 1960 coin set (1l., 2l., 5l., 10l., 25l., 50l.)
.
s-l1600-2.jpg
Maldives, 1960 coin set: KM43-46, 47.1, 48.1
Maldives, 1960 coin set: KM43-46, 47.1, 48.1
.
/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by Catweazle »

Catweazle wrote: 06 Jun 2021 17:01 That makes me curious - any idea what post from the Maldives looked like before then? Did they use other British stamps before 1906?
Quoting myself here – what is the world coming to now? :lol: Well curiosity kills the cat, so they say, and perhaps leads fellow philatelists down a wild, dusty path on the world wide web...

Found this little article in Vol. VII of The Postage Stamp, published in October 1910 (ed. Fred J. Melville), four years after your first issue of 'Maldives' overprinted KEVII stamps. Here 'tis, in all its glory:

TheThousandIslands1.png
&quot;The Thousand Islands&quot;
"The Thousand Islands"

The article suggests that "there were no postal arrangements whatever" on the islands. So, my guess is that local mail would have been few and far between. The islander communities would not have had far to travel – the islands not being large at any rate, so popping across to the other side would not be hard by foot. My idea of a pleasant walk. Moreover, would many such folk have been writing with pen, ink and paper?

The islands are, however, spread out across a vast expanse of ocean. Perhaps any colonial mail destined for overseas was sent aboard ships, or held on to until such time as ships were back in Ceylon, within coo-ee of a post office on the mainland?

By the way, that other stamp pictured in the article is from the 1909 Minirat Juma Mosque issue. Have you got these too?

1909 Minirat Juma Mosque
1909 Minirat Juma Mosque

Back to you!
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Maldives Minaret Issues


Thanks Catweazle for posting that historic article from The Postage Stamp, 1 Oct 1910, p.3. Presumably Fred Melville was the author. Its contemporary commentary about philatelic demand for the
1906 issue of stamps of Ceylon overprinted MALDIVES (SG1-6) is enlightening.

The Minaret issues which followed, in 1909, were the four shown by Catweazle.
They were recess printed by de la Rue, and watermarked with multiple rosettes. The SG catalogue value of the set (2018) is a modest £10.00 mint, £2.50 used.

Maldives, 1909: SG 7-10
Maldives, 1909: SG 7-10
.
These were followed in 1933 by a set of nine Minaret issues, in slightly smaller format, and new colours. The set was printed in photogravure by Harrisona and Sons, and watermarked multiple script "Harrison & Sons". All nine values exist with the watermark upright (SG11A-20A) or sideways (SG11B-20B). The SG catalogue values (2018) differ marginally between the two watermark orientations, with mint A £95, B £110 and used A or B £130.

Maldives, 1933: SG 11-20
Maldives, 1933: SG 11-20
.


The Minaret in the news

The 17th century minaret outside Male's Friday Mosque
The 17th century minaret outside Male's Friday Mosque
.
Minaret, Old Friday Mosque, Male
Minaret, Old Friday Mosque, Male
Mohamed Visham on 24 Aug 2016 wrote:Government on Wednesday moved quickly to deny rumours that a 17th century minaret in the capital Male was being relocated for a road expansion project.

Social media had been rife with rumours that the government had the minaret next on its list after relocating an 18th century coral stone mosque to a southern atoll.

The Kalhuvakaru mosque, carved from coral stone in 1799, was dismantled for the development of Sultan Park. It is to be moved to the island of Thinadhoo in Gaaf Dhaal Atoll.

However, the heritage department insisted that there were no plans to move the minaret.

The minaret is hugely popular among visiting tourists to the capital Male.

The Friday Mosque, its minaret and the adjoining burial ground for former rulers was added to UNESCO’s tentative list in 2008.
https://edition.mv/news/788
.
/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Maldives News — United Nations General Assembly President

Breaking news, 7 June 2021:

Screen Shot 2021-06-09 at 3.19.14 am.png
Screen Shot 2021-06-09 at 3.19.54 am.png
Screen Shot 2021-06-09 at 3.20.42 am.png
https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/maldives-abdulla-shahid-elec ... ly-2458560
.
The appointment of Mr Abdulla Shahid as President of the 76th United Nations General Assembly = UNGA commences in Sept 2021, and runs for 12 months.

/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Maldives Minaret Issues


Here are two nice multiples from the 1933 Minaret set

Maldives, 1933: 2¢ minaret, lower right corner block of 4, mint. SG11A
Maldives, 1933: 2¢ minaret, lower right corner block of 4, mint. SG11A
.
Maldives, 1933: 5¢ minaret, block of 4, used.  SG13B
Maldives, 1933: 5¢ minaret, block of 4, used. SG13B
.
/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RevRed+ »



NICE! :mrgreen:
Red.
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Two covers, with mixed franking from three different issues, from Maldives to Aden.
Both covers were sent to the same recipient, presumably by the same sender.

Stamps from three Maldives issues, on 1952(?) cover:

Maldives to Aden — cover, posted 1958.<br />Franked (l. to r.): SG 9 (x3), 10, 21, 30.
Maldives to Aden — cover, posted 1958.
Franked (l. to r.): SG 9 (x3), 10, 21, 30.
.
Mixed franking from three different Maldives issues, on 1958 cover:

Maldives to Aden — cover, posted 4 Nov 1958.<br />Franked (l. to r.): SG 30, 22, 12, 14, 16.
Maldives to Aden — cover, posted 4 Nov 1958.
Franked (l. to r.): SG 30, 22, 12, 14, 16.
.
/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

A Maldives postmark study (circular datestamps of 1935):

Maldives, 1933 issue: 1935 postmarks on 6c minaret, SG15B
Maldives, 1933 issue: 1935 postmarks on 6c minaret, SG15B
.
/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Another example of the 1933 Maldives minaret issues on cover:

Maldives, 1933 minaret issues 2c, 10c, 50c (SG11, 16, 19)<br />Registered cover to Switzerland, via Colombo<br />Maldives datestamps 1947 (indistinct ddmm)<br />Backstamped Colombo 14 Dec 47, Berne 29 Jan 48
Maldives, 1933 minaret issues 2c, 10c, 50c (SG11, 16, 19)
Registered cover to Switzerland, via Colombo
Maldives datestamps 1947 (indistinct ddmm)
Backstamped Colombo 14 Dec 47, Berne 29 Jan 48
.
We owe the existence of such covers to European philatelists/dealers.
I assume that enterprising European dealers "organised" such covers, by engaging someone to act as a local
agent (in the Maldives, in this case) to create and post the covers. Comparable covers exist from many
other "small and remote" countries, neatly prepared and mailed to the relevant European addressee.

/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

An example of a Maldives cover to Europe, in this case franked with 1960 pictorials.

Maldives, 1960 pictorial issues 2l., 3l., 5l., 6l., 50l.  (SG51-4, 58)<br />Datestamped Huvadu Atoll, 1 Mar1961<br />Registered cover Malé to Switzerland, via Colombo<br />Backstamped Colombo 18 Apr 61, Berne x2: 13 May 61
Maldives, 1960 pictorial issues 2l., 3l., 5l., 6l., 50l. (SG51-4, 58)
Datestamped Huvadu Atoll, 1 Mar1961
Registered cover Malé to Switzerland, via Colombo
Backstamped Colombo 18 Apr 61, Berne x2: 13 May 61
.
Another cover addressed to Otto Wenger in Berne, Switzerland.
Can a viewer with knowledge of the Swiss postal system explain for us the "Berne 2 Transit" postmark, please?

/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

An example of a Maldives cover to USA, in this case franked with the 1950 and 1952 definitives.

Maldives, 1950-52 sets: SG21–29; 30–31.<br />Franked with full set of Palm Tree and Dhow definitives, plus the two 1952 &quot;supplementary&quot; issues.<br />Datestamped [Malé] Maldive Islands, 18 Aug 1953.
Maldives, 1950-52 sets: SG21–29; 30–31.
Franked with full set of Palm Tree and Dhow definitives, plus the two 1952 "supplementary" issues.
Datestamped [Malé] Maldive Islands, 18 Aug 1953.
.
Another philatelist/dealer cover. In this case the addressee is in Nassau Street, New York, USA.
Nassau Street was famous for the many philatelic/dealer offices that were concentrated in that neighbourhood.

Once again, we have the philatelist/dealers of the time to thank for the existence of such covers.
The top value 1r. of the "Palm Tree and Dhow" set is very scarce on cover. Its face value was almost equal to the total face value of the other eight stamps in the set.

/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by Catweazle »

The Maldives, by all stereotypes, sound exotic enough these days.

But I would imagine the 'exoticism' of that faraway place, in contrast to downtown New York, would have seemed even bigger back then!
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Catweazle wrote: 14 Jun 2021 15:47 The Maldives, by all stereotypes, sound exotic enough these days.

But I would imagine the 'exoticism' of that faraway place, in contrast to downtown New York, would have seemed even bigger back then!
I'm sure Catweazle is right. But in fact international communications and travel (in pre-Covid circumstances) have become so familiar and accessible that it is easy to forget how much more exotic and remote a large proportion of the world was 70 years ago.

/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Maldives Sultanate

From 20 Nov 1953 to 10 Nov 1968 the Maldives was a Sultanate.

It was during this period that the Maldives stamp-issuing policy shifted focus from primarily meeting the needs of a postal service to being a fund-raising source for national revenue. There are few natural resources in this nation, and it was obvious that inbound tourism was the best source of foreign funds. But the production of postage stamps oriented towards collectors worldwide became a trend in the 1950s, and by 1960 development of that source of revenue moved into full swing.

It is clear that this was a Maldivian initiative rather than the exploitative initiative of foreign stamp marketers, because numerous printers were involved in producing the various stamp sets issued in the 1960s. They included B.W. = Bradbury Wilkinson & Co. Ltd; Harrison = Harrison & Sons Ltd; Enschede = Joh. Enschede en Zonen; OeSD = Österreichische Staatsdruckerei = State Printing House, Vienna; Government Printer, Israel = המדפיס הממשלתי; and Rosenbaum Brothers, Vienna.

The Sultanate, 1953–1968
.
Screen Shot 2021-06-15 at 2.02.17 am.png
https://dbpedia.org/page/Muhammad_Fareed_Didi

Muhammad_Fareed_Didi,_Sultan_of_Maldives.jpg
Wikipedia wrote:King Muhammad Fareed Didi

He studied at Royal College Colombo in Ceylon. After spending 7 years in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), he came back and became the prime minister of Sultan Hassan Nooraddine II on December 16, 1932. He served as the speaker of People's Majlis from 1933 to 1942...

After the fall of President Mohamed Amin Didi, a referendum was held and the country was again declared a Sultanate. A new peoples majilis was elected, as the former "People's Majilis" was dissolved after the end of the revolution. The members of the special majilis decided to take a secret vote to elect a Sultan, and Prince Mohammed Fareed Didi was elected as the 84th Sultan in 1954. His first Prime Minister was Ehgamugey Ibraahim Ali Didi (later Ibraahim Faamuladheyri Kilegefaan). On 11 Dec 1957 the Prime Minister was forced to resign and Velaanagey Ibrahim Nasir was elected as the new Prime Minister the following day.

On 15 Nov 1967 a vote was taken in parliament to decide whether the Maldives should continue as a constitutional monarchy or become a republic. Of the 44 parliamentarians, forty voted in favour of a republic. On 15 Mar 1968 a national referendum was held, in which 81.23% of the votes cast favoured establishing a republic. The republic was declared on 11 Nov 1968, thus ending the 853-year-old monarchy.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Fareed_Didi
/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Maldives: World Refugee Year

One of the earliest stamp sets with which the Maldives clearly targeted the international collector market was the 1960 World Refugee Year set of eight:
.
Maldives, 1960: World Refugee Year, SG62-9.
Maldives, 1960: World Refugee Year, SG62-9.
.
Maldives, 1960: World Refugee Year<br />full set on first day cover, 15 Oct 1960.
Maldives, 1960: World Refugee Year
full set on first day cover, 15 Oct 1960.
.
Even today, over 60 years later, the stamps in this set have trivial catalogue value.
For me, the set on first day cover is quite attractive.

/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by Princestamps »

In a lot of ways that would be considered their first truly commemorative set. Every Maldivan stamp to that point was basically a commemorative (Well the 1952 pair may also be, but those were 2 low values).

That refugee set was for an occasion in which most countries issued 1 or 2 stamps with different designs, rather than 8 with the same design in different colours.

I agree too about price, 90% of the Maldivan "Wallaper issues" are cheap up to the highest or 2nd highest value as these had a bit of a challenge for original buyers to buy. The joy is these stamps are much cheaper for us today in 2021 than they were in 1961 for original buyers when 1 Rupee still was a bit of a cost.
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by fchd »

RogerE wrote: 15 Jun 2021 04:25 Maldives: World Refugee Year


For me, the set on first day cover is quite attractive.
It may have looked even more attractive if they'd used a slightly larger envelope to enable all the stamps to be placed in their correct orientation.
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by MarkM »

Catweazle wrote: 14 Jun 2021 15:47 The Maldives, by all stereotypes, sound exotic enough these days.

But I would imagine the 'exoticism' of that faraway place, in contrast to downtown New York, would have seemed even bigger back then!
It really is a different world. And that is just coming from Newcastle. As you say I can only imagine the exotic pull from this place back then.
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

fchd wrote: 15 Jun 2021 21:24
RogerE wrote: 15 Jun 2021 04:25 Maldives: World Refugee Year

For me, the set on first day cover is quite attractive.

/RogerE :D
It may have looked even more attractive if they'd used a slightly larger envelope to enable all the stamps to be placed in their correct orientation.
.
s-l1600-4.jpg
.
Aaahh, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, fchd. For me, two features of that cover that don't meet your artistic ideals are in fact advantages.
• The sideways placement of two stamps gives some variety and relief from what would be a more sterile arrangement if all were uniformly horizontal.
• This cover nicely fits horizontally on a standard size display page. A slightly wider cover would still fit on a standard size display page, but the eight stamps would not fit such an envelope in two horizontal rows, and three such rows would not all be the same length. A much larger envelope would be needed for two horizontal rows of four stamps, and if that envelope was also illustrated with a cachet, it would surely be too wide to fit horizontally on a standard size display page. Many judges dislike envelopes displayed diagonally or vertically, and subtract marks from the "presentation" aspect of an exhibit with covers that are not displayed horizontally. (I regard that as allowing a personal preference to override an objective assessment of "presentation", but in such contexts there is no court of appeal.)

/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Maldives 1960 Olympic Commemoratives

Actually, the first of the philatelically motivated commemorative sets issued by the Maldives in the 1960s was the set of eight celebrating the Rome Olympic Games, held 25 Aug – 11 Sep 1960. The Maldives set was issued on 20 Aug 1960.
.
Maldives, 1960: Rome Olympics commemoratives, SG42-50
Maldives, 1960: Rome Olympics commemoratives, SG42-50
.
Maldives, 20 Aug 1960, illustrated First Day Cover<br /> Rome Olympics commemoratives, SG42-50
Maldives, 20 Aug 1960, illustrated First Day Cover
Rome Olympics commemoratives, SG42-50
.
The mint set has minimal catalogue value, and the used set rates only slightly better. It is interesting to note that the three members of the set with "best" catalogue value (in my SG 2018 catalogue) are the used versions of the top value (1r) and the two lowest values (2l., 3l.).

It seems perfectly obvious that the 1r should have highest catalogue value, both mint and used. The reason the used version of the 1r catalogues about three times as much as the mint version is that the set must have been sold widely as a complete mint set, leaving fewer copies to be actually "used", whether postally or philatelically.

As for the two lowest values (2l., 3l.), the used versions catalogue six times as much as the mint versions. This must be because the very cheap lowest values were bought up in quantity (by the sheet) by dealers, and broken down into mint singles to go into the "packet trade". I'm imagining small packets of six different Maldives stamps for 25¢. They would have targeted junior collectors happy to add some colourful mint stamps to a page of their printed albums that would not otherwise have any stamps, or if there were several 'M' countries on the one page, then these stamps would at least let 'Maldive Islands' be represented. The two lowest values of three different colourful sets from 1960-61 would serve that purpose nicely. But that would mean the number of remaining copies of those low values available to be "used", either postally or philatelically, would be relatively low. Hence the used versions have higher catalogue values. Exactly this pattern characterises most of the Maldivian commemorative sets of the 1960s.

/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Two more Maldives covers franked with Minaret issues

Enterprising western philatelist/dealers arranged for agents to prepare covers franked with early Maldives stamps. Their products were often rather unsophisticated, but to them we owe the existence of such covers bearing full sets, or nice part sets. They are in fact part of the history of philately, relating to its social history aspects.

In my post on Mon Jun 14, 2021 14:38:26 pm I showed a cover sent to Nassau Street in New York. The dealer/ addressee was J.F. Droucette Dias. The cover carried the full 1950 "Palm Tree and Dhow" set, together with the two supplementary low value pictorials of 1952. Note that the cancellations on that cover are dated 18 Aug 1953.

Now look at this pair of covers:
.
s-l1600-1.jpg
.
s-l1600-3.jpg
.
Maldives to Nassau Street, New York,
franked with the full 1933 minaret set, SG 11–20.
High values datestamped 18 Aug 1953.
.
Observations

• The dealer/ addressee is once again J.F. Droucette Dias, with an office in Nassau Street, New York.

• Both covers we posted on the same day, 18 Aug 1953, and that is the same date as the cover bearing the full "Palm Tree and Dhow" set. Evidently the agent had a busy day at the post office in Malé. I wonder how many covers were prepared and mailed to J.F. Droucette Dias that day.

• Evidently the covers created on that day were intended to carry full sets of all Maldivian stamps that were still on sale in Aug 1953.

• The four top values (15c, 25c, 50c, 1r) have very healthy catalogue values used, and attract a significant premium used on cover. The 10c also falls into that class if it is SG16B, but not so much if it is SG16A. All stamps of this set exist with upright or sideways watermark, but for "used on cover" the watermark orientation is not readily discernable.

• The five top values (10c–1r) form the second row on each cover, and the datestamps (similarly placed in both cases) tie them to the cover, with the rightmost date stamp showing most detail clear of the 1r stamp.

• Evidently the four low values (2c, 3c, 5c, 6c) on each cover were cancelled before being added to the covers. They are clearly cancelled, but in a variety of orientations. The partial cancels on the two 5c stamps might be part of the same strike, suggesting that those two stamps could have been cancelled while they were still joined, then separated to be added to these covers. None of the other matched value pairs have part cancels which could have been part of the same strike, so if we assume similar methodology, we might conclude that the low value stamps were probably cancelled "in [part?] sheets", then separated and applied to covers.

• However, the partial dates on the cancellations of the four low values (top cover) appear to be four different dates. How might this have come about legitimately? Might sheets of the low value stamps been purchased at different times (say Jun-Aug 1953), when the agent could afford to acquire them, and they were cancelled to order at time of purchase, finally to be added to the few covers prepared for the whole set when funds were available. This speculative explanation seems plausible, but perhaps others can suggest likely alternative explanations...

/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Reminder: I asked several questions about the 1906 overprints MALDIVES on Ceylon. If you have relevant knowledge or thoughtful comments, please share them.

On Sun Jun 06, 2021 16:28:12 pm bazza4338 kindly posted images of genuine and forged examples of the MALDIVES overprints.

(A)
• On Mon Jun 07, 2021 02:11:06 am I gave my reasoned opinion on the four MALDIVES overprints shown on Sun Jun 06, 2021 02:21:07 am. I added
Summary: all four have forged overprints. Do other Stampboards viewers agree?

(B)
• On Mon Jun 07, 2021 02:35:20 am
Q1: Was the same overprint forme used to overprint all six denominations?
Q2: How many stamps were overprinted by one impression from the forme — the whole sheet, or a smaller portion?

(C)
• On Mon Jun 07, 2021 02:56:48 am I posted images of four overprinted stamps, and asked readers for their reasoned opinions as to genuineness of those overprints.

(D)
• Because the information in bazza4338's post remarks about bogus postmarks, can a reader kindly supply images of various genuine postmarks of the era?

Any relevant information most welcome. :D

Thanks,
/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Maldives 1962 Eradicate Malaria set

Another of the early philatelically motivated commemorative sets issued by the Maldives in the 1960s was the set of eight promoting the Anti-Malaria Campaign. The Maldives set was issued on 7 Apr 1962.
.
Maldives, 1962: Eradicate Malaria set, SG 88–95.
Maldives, 1962: Eradicate Malaria set, SG 88–95.
.
Maldives, 7 Apr 1962: Two first day covers for the <br />Eradicate Malaria set, SG 88–95.
Maldives, 7 Apr 1962: Two first day covers for the
Eradicate Malaria set, SG 88–95.
.
Again, the mint set has minimal catalogue value, and the used set rates only slightly better. For this set only the two lowest values (2l., 3l.) have noticeable catalogue value used. My earlier suggestions about the "packet trade" of the 1960s are again relevant for this set.

/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by Princestamps »

Agree totally about the packet trade taking low values from these sets.

In my own collections have noticed the ½d value of the 1957 Pitcairn Pictorial set and same value of the 1954 Tristan da Cunha set also a low value mint, but high one used.


Pitcairn 57 set
Pitcairn 57 set

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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Thanks for your latest post, Princestamps. The impact of the "packet trade" is widely discernible in the 1960s low face value stamps of many small, "exotic" British Commonwealth colonies and allies.

Another factor influencing the scarcity of used stamps of this era is the fact that international philatelists/dealers organised for first day covers in relatively large numbers. These were especially prepared for "short sets" when the full set was long, with expensive top face values.

In contrast, usage on "commercial mail" (more generally, genuine postal use for real communications) would have been much less frequent, especially because populations were small, and few of the envelopes that carried such correspondence would have survived, because the recipients were typically not "philatelically inclined". In other words, usage on intact "commercial mail" of the period is intrinsically scarcer than philatelically motivated covers or other items.

My 2018 Stanley Gibbons catalogue Commonwealth & British Empire Stamps 1840–1970 lists multiplier factors for very early stamps used on covers. However, these guidelines typically refer only to the very earliest periods (for example, for the Maldives the guidelines only refer to stamps issued in 1933 or earlier). Guidelines for later issued used on covers would be desirable, but they should be in two categories — usage on "philatelic" first day covers, and usage on "commercial covers".

Maldives example of 1960 "commercial mail"
.
Here is a wrapper from a small parcel of commercial correspondence from Malé to Houston, Texas:
.
Maldives to USA, 1960: parcel wrapper,<br /> franked with definitives from the 1956 set<br />— 5c + 4x10c + 2x25c (SG 34, 36, 38)
Maldives to USA, 1960: parcel wrapper,
franked with definitives from the 1956 set
— 5c + 4x10c + 2x25c (SG 34, 36, 38)
.
In my assessment, this wrapper is considerably more valuable than a "philatelic" first day cover bearing the full 1956 set — even though I'm grateful to the dealers responsible for the existence of such first day covers. :D

/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Malé, capital of the Maldives
.
Satellite view of atoll: Malé is in southeast corner
Satellite view of atoll: Malé is in southeast corner
.
Southeast corner of atoll
Southeast corner of atoll
.
Screen Shot 2021-06-17 at 10.23.46 pm.png
.
The city is located at the southern edge of the North Male Atoll (Kaafu Atoll), about 740 km southwest of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Formerly Malé was the King's Island, a walled city surrounded by forts (kotte) and bastions. After the abolition of the monarchy in 1968, under the rule of President Ibrahim Nasi, the Royal Palace and the fortifications were destroyed and the city was remodelled.

Today Malé has a population of about 100,000 inhabitants. The spoken language is Dhivehi (Mahl).

Malé points of interest

Most visitors to the Maldives head to the tropical beaches of the resort islands and atolls like Villingili, Meedhoo, Hithadhoo and Gan, but also the capital has some attractions.

Historical sites: Malé Friday Mosque — oldest mosque in Malé, completed 1658, the building is on the tentative UNESCO World Heritage sites list as a unique example of sea-culture architecture.

Palace: Mulee-aage Palace — the Muliaage is a palace in the historic centre of Malé; it has been the official residence of all four presidents of the Maldives.

Museums: National Museum — the museum exhibits a large collection of historical artefacts and documents, related to the history of the islands and the nation.
https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/map/google_map_Male.htm
.
/RogerE :D
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RevRed+ »



The Maldives.

Photo: Sunset in the Maldives.
Photo: Sunset in the Maldives.

Photo:Maldives -  The end of land!
Photo:Maldives - The end of land!

Red.
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by MarkM »

RevRed+ wrote: 18 Jun 2021 09:44

The Maldives.


Image

Image
We spent 10 days on out honeymoon on Ihuru Island back in July 2004. We visited Male once for a tour, and part of that was a tour of the main Mosque, paid for by Saudi Arabia. It can hold something like 8000 people.

A fascinating place and in my opinion Heaven on a stick. I just wish my old laptop hadn't just died yesterday otherwise I would also share some photos.
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RevRed+ »



Hi MarkM.

I actually wasn't there. My wife and daughter went. :(
Red.
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by MarkM »

RevRed+ wrote: 18 Jun 2021 09:59

Hi MarkM.

I actually wasn't there. My wife and daughter went. :(
Oh bugger Red. Lucky them.

Because of this thread I am now on the lookout for stamps from this nation. I know some of them are aimed at the collector market, but the ones that are being putting up I find easy on the eye.
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Thanks RevRed+ and MarkM for your recent posts.
They are contributions helping us see the Maldives as a real place, with geographical/historical/social dimensions, not simply a philatelic source.

The stamps are in fact primary documents through which we gain insights into the culture. The early issues depict local views and subjects, so clearly show aspects of the culture. By 1960 the stamp issuing policy shifted to using stamps for fundraising from the international collector market. Then the stamps seldom depict local subjects, and the evidence they give regarding local culture is more subtle and indirect. To learn what they can tell us about the culture we need to think about why the stamps were issued, what information the inscriptions convey about the culture, what can be deduced from surviving "commercial" covers and from postcards mailed by tourists, and so on.

Look at this 1990s postcard to Germany — obviously it carries geographical information and insights into tourism. The message has commentary about weather/climate(*) and food/meals. But a little less directly, the postcard has implications about local transportation (note the jetty) and about national income (from tourism), as well as the modernisation of the postal service (new style cancellation). We can also reflect on how global warming and rising ocean levels threaten the Maldives.
.
Maldives postcard, 1996(?): franked 2xRf3.50, to a hospital in Berlin, Germany
Maldives postcard, 1996(?): franked 2xRf3.50, to a hospital in Berlin, Germany
.
Maldives postcard: pictorial side, Lohifushi views.
Maldives postcard: pictorial side, Lohifushi views.
.
/RogerE :D

(*) Footnote: Mark Twain remarked that Climate is what we hope for, weather is what we get.
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by nigelc »

.
Thanks Roger for this fascinating thread. :D

It's been a delight seeing the original minaret from the 1909 design along with many nice stamps and covers.

I have a few few pages of Maldives' stamps with many gaps but I do like the early issues.

Here's my one and only 1906 overprint:
.
EVIII_Maldives_001.jpg
Nigel
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by RogerE »

Thanks nigelc. The Stamp Forgeries post by bazza4338, on Sun Jun 06, 2021 16:28:12 pm, showed us images from
http://stampforgeries.com/forged-stamps-of-maldives/

Let's compare your 5¢ MALDIVES overprint with some images from Stamp Forgeries:

Maldives overprints on Ceylon: genuine overprints<br />(detail from Stamp Forgeries)
Maldives overprints on Ceylon: genuine overprints
(detail from Stamp Forgeries)
.
Maldives overprints on Ceylon: genuine overprints and postmarks<br />(detail from Stamp Forgeries)
Maldives overprints on Ceylon: genuine overprints and postmarks
(detail from Stamp Forgeries)
• The date stamp on your 5¢ looks genuine nigelc, as to size and appearance. However, the year digits are not discernible in the impression. I read the date as 27.VIII.—
• The overprint looks appropriately clean and dark. The vertical strokes of M appear to have the correct relative width.

Overprints on 5¢ stamps in Stamp Forgeries reference images

Let's now concentrate on the five examples of the overprint on 5¢ stamps in the Stamp Forgeries images. Let's call them
SF5.1 (in the top image, just the overprint in the middle of the second row);
SF5.2 (in the lower image, top left stamp, dated 21.X.06);
SF5.3 (in the lower image, vertical strip of three, top stamp);
SF5.4 (in the lower image, vertical strip of three, middle stamp);
SF5.5 (in the lower image, vertical strip of three, bottom stamp).

Although these five overprints have the same M, I think the overprints are different.
Letter I
SF5.1, SF5.2: I is taller than D, and as tall as V.
SF5.3, SF5.4, SF5.5: I is shorter than D.
Letter V
SF5.1: tops of arms of V slope to left and right; probably so for SF5.5 as well, but not as clear.
SF5.2, SF5.3, SF5.4: tops of arms of V are horizontal.
SF5.1, SF5.3: arms of V have equal width.
SF5.2, SF5.4, SF5.5: right arm of V is thinner than left arm.
Letter E
SF5.1, SF5.2, SF5.4, SF5.5: top horizontal stroke of E is thinner than bottom horizontal stroke.
SF5.3: top and bottom horizontal strokes of E have equal width.
SF5.1, SF5.2, SF5.3, SF5.5: middle horizontal stroke of E has same thickness as bottom horizontal stroke.
SF5.4: middle horizontal stroke of E is short and thin.
Letter S
The letter S looks rather different in each of the five examples, mostly with thinner top half than the width of the other letters.

Conclusions

The vertical strip of three 5¢ stamps has three different overprints, so the forme used to overprint the stamps has at least three distinguishable rows.
In nigelc's example, the I is taller than the D. The arms of the V have equal width, but their tops slope left and right. The horizontal strokes of the E have equal width. The thickness of the S is uniform, and matches the other letters. This means nigelc's example is most like SF5.1, but the two are not identical because SF5.1 has top stroke of E thinner, and top half of S thinner.
Tentatively I conclude that nigelc's example is genuine (it passes the M test), and comes from a different position than the five SF5.1–SF5.5.

What do others think of that analysis?

/RogerE :D
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nigelc
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by nigelc »

Hi Roger,

Thanks very much indeed for your analysis. :)

I shall read this in detail tomorrow when I'm more awake! :D
Last edited by nigelc on 19 Jun 2021 09:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by castores »

Thank you for this thread RogerE, interesting and I really like their stamps.

Unfortunately the fate of the Maldives is under threat.

A low lying archipelago with more territorial sea than land, the Maldives is exposed to the risks of intensifying weather events. Sea level rise represents an existential threat to the country. With future sea levels projected to increase in the range of 10 to 100 centimetres by the year 2100, the entire country could be submerged.

The Maldives consists of a chain of almost 1200 small coral islands that are grouped into clusters of atolls. It is home to about a third of a million people. Arguably the lowest-lying country in the world, the average elevation is 1 metre (3.3 feet) above sea level. Waves triggered by the great tsunami of December 2004 spilled over sea walls to flood the capital with sandy water and then swept out just as suddenly. Residents fear this was a foreboding of disasters to come from sea level rise due to global warming.

Mohamed Nasheed, the charismatic young president of the Maldives who dramatized the threat of rising sea levels to his low-lying island nation in the Indian Ocean held his first cabinet meeting underwater:
mal1.jpg


Tsunami 2004:
mal3.jpg


The tsunami struck the Maldives at around 9:30am local time. Residents had felt the earthquake but thought little of it. The Death toll from 2004 tsunami in the Maldives was 82, including two British tourists. An additional 40 others were missing.

The Maldives is so low that tsunami water swept over nearly every inch of the entire nation. There was no high ground---or even dry ground--- to run to.

The Maldives were not hit by destructive waves like the ones that struck Indonesia and Thailand. Rather the tsunami waves were like rising surges of water that swamped the islands. Islanders said the were no waves. Rather it felt like the islands were sinking. It took about five minutes for the water to surge and retreat.

The government said the entire population was affected and development was set back two decades.
Australia : Islands : various countries : Thematics : etc
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Re: Sharing my early Maldive Islands philately (pre-1970)

Post by MarkM »

castores wrote: 19 Jun 2021 09:41 Thank you for this thread RogerE, interesting and I really like their stamps.

Unfortunately the fate of the Maldives is under threat.

A low lying archipelago with more territorial sea than land, the Maldives is exposed to the risks of intensifying weather events. Sea level rise represents an existential threat to the country. With future sea levels projected to increase in the range of 10 to 100 centimetres by the year 2100, the entire country could be submerged.

The Maldives consists of a chain of almost 1200 small coral islands that are grouped into clusters of atolls. It is home to about a third of a million people. Arguably the lowest-lying country in the world, the average elevation is 1 metre (3.3 feet) above sea level. Waves triggered by the great tsunami of December 2004 spilled over sea walls to flood the capital with sandy water and then swept out just as suddenly. Residents fear this was a foreboding of disasters to come from sea level rise due to global warming.

Mohamed Nasheed, the charismatic young president of the Maldives who dramatized the threat of rising sea levels to his low-lying island nation in the Indian Ocean held his first cabinet meeting underwater:
Image


Tsunami 2004:
Image


The tsunami struck the Maldives at around 9:30am local time. Residents had felt the earthquake but thought little of it. The Death toll from 2004 tsunami in the Maldives was 82, including two British tourists. An additional 40 others were missing.

The Maldives is so low that tsunami water swept over nearly every inch of the entire nation. There was no high ground---or even dry ground--- to run to.

The Maldives were not hit by destructive waves like the ones that struck Indonesia and Thailand. Rather the tsunami waves were like rising surges of water that swamped the islands. Islanders said the were no waves. Rather it felt like the islands were sinking. It took about five minutes for the water to surge and retreat.

The government said the entire population was affected and development was set back two decades.
The tsunami hit about 6 months after we were there. So I completely understand how low you are talking about.

Apparently when we were there they were building a man made island near the capital to house the entire population when the seas do rise to their expected height. But we had no idea that that was occurring, no one mentioned it, while we were there. It took a newspaper article a year or two after we had been there to alert us to this.

This was around the time the Howard government were trying to cheat, sorry negotiate, them out of fishing rights for the area in return for settling the entire population in Australia.
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