19 August 2013

Denomination Mistakes on Cambodian Stamps

In modern days for the smoothness of communication and the ease of postage calculation, all postage stamps are denominated in Arabic numerals, then often accompanied with respective native numerals (if exist) of the country so to hold up national identity.  For Cambodia, since 1980 almost all postage stamps are denominated in both Khmer and Arabic numerals.

Although it is understood that Arabic and Khmer numerals are to show identical value, stamp design mistakes can cause face value confusion.  Careless mistake in denomination notation has happened on both stamps and souvenir sheets of Cambodia.

In 1985 the Cambodian authority issued a 7v stamp set devoted to flowers.  An epic design mistake comes up on the stamp which features fairy primrose (Primula malacoides): the Khmer and Arabic numerals do not show the same monetary value.

The Arabic numerals indicate a face value of 1.5r, in Khmer a different value is shown,1.2r.

Below is a quick tutorial on Khmer number scripts if you do not speak the language:

Here is the question: should the face value be 1.2r or 1.5r ?

From 1983 to 1991, the majority of Cambodian pictorials are issued in the form of 7v per set with denomination patterns observed.  Starting from 1983, the most common denomination pattern has been 0.2r, 0.5r, 0.8r, 1r, 1.5r, 2r, 3r while there is a less used pattern of 0.1r, 0.4r, 0.8r, 1r, 1.2r, 2r, 2.5r.  Almost all 7v sets follow these two patterns until 1989 when new denominations were introduced because of inflation.

With the other six values taken into consideration, this 1985 flower set fits in the most common face value pattern of 0.2r, 0.5r, 0.8r, 1r, 1.5r, 2r, 3r.  It can be quite certain that there should be a 1.5r stamp, the Khmer numeral for "5" on the 1.5r stamp is just incorrectly illustrated with "2".

A stamp set of 6v and a S/S was issued in 2000 on the occasion of Bangkok 2000 - the World Youth Stamp Exhibition and the 13th Asian International Stamp Exhibition.  This time it is the S/S which catches the mistake, Khmer numerals state a face value of 5400r, oddly the Arabic  say 4500r.

Again, general denomination trend may provide a clue to the puzzle.  Cambodian S/S issued from March 1997 to the end of 1999 were face valued 5400r each, however in year 2000 there saw a lower value at 4500r, then the next year it was reversed back to 5400r.

The Bangkok 2000 S/S was officially issued on 27th February 2000, according to the denomination trend, it is likely that the correct value is 4500r, if such the Khmer numeral indication is wrong.

These denomination mistakes happen only on Khmer numerals, it may due to the fact that stamp designers at COPREFIL are Cuban, cursive Khmer numerals are too foreign and difficult for them to recognize.

2 August 2013

55 Years of Cambodia-China Diplomatic Ties

This year marks the 55th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Cambodia and PR China, both governments celebrate 2013 as the "Cambodia and China Friendship Year".  It is hailed by the Chinese with a commemorative cover issued in the "WJ" diplomatic commemorative cover series which kicked off in 1999.

The Chinese issued a similar cover back in 2003 (for a report on this, please click here), with both Chinese and Cambodian stamps franked and canceled.  This time it is reported that no stamps are issued for the celebration, and because of insufficient time for preparation, only a Chinese stamp is franked (from the 2013 "Gilded Buddha Statues" set), no Cambodian stamp is used.

Although the cover has postmark dated 19th July 2013, it was presented to H.E. Mr Khek Lerang, the Cambodian ambassador to China at the Cambodian embassy in Beijing on 2nd July.  The presentation ceremony was attended by about 200 officials and guests. 

Since last time the national flags were used, this time it is the coat of arms which occupy the bottom left corner of the cover as cachet.  The Chinese and Khmer inscription reads "55th Anniversary of Diplomatic Ties between the People's Republic of China and Kingdom of Cambodia".

Here is a large scan of the commemorative postmark, national flags of both countries make up the design:

The Chinese inscription is the same as that on the cover.

Unlikely the 2003 issue, none of these covers are sent to Cambodia for sale, after all the cover does not carry Cambodian stamp and postmark.

For my entry on the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Cambodia and China, please click here.

(Information source: Philatelic Association of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC)