Sunday, 26 July 2015

2. New Flags From Birmingham And Fiji.

  Although this Blog is intended to show national flags on stamps, I feel I should include mention of exciting new flags which have not yet been depicted on stamps or may not ever be shown in a stamp design.
  I have been particularly pleased this week by the announcement from my home city of Birmingham, Britain's second biggest and most important city, that a new flag has been adopted for Birmingham for use by the general public. 
  Previously, the city had been represented by the flag of the city council which is a banner of the arms of Birmingham. The council flag was adopted in 1977 to reflect the city's status as a metropolitan borough and the incorporation of the district of Sutton Coldfield which resulted from the Local Government Act of 1972. The arms were originally those of a branch of the De Bermingham family who were Lords of the Manor of Birmingham from 1100 to c.1527. The Bishop's Mitre represents Sutton Coldfield, being taken from the town's corporation arms, and commemorating Bishop Vesey of Exeter who had lived in Sutton in the 16th century.
  The new flag was the winning entry in a public competition held in early 2015 and was chosen from 470 proposed designs with the announcement of the winning entry being made on 23 July 2015. The flag was designed by 11 year old Thomas Keogh and David Smith and takes the form of a yellow bull's head, which recalls Birmingham's Bullring market, placed on a red field with an abstract yellow letter "B" on blue at the hoist, which when placed on its side, takes the form of the Roman numeral "M" (1000) representing the title "City of a Thousand Trades" by which Birmingham has long been known. 

  Until the 1972 Local Government Act, Birmingham was part of the county of Warwickshire whose flag, like the new Birmingham flag also features an animal - a bear. 
  The erect white bear, in profile facing the hoist and with a red muzzle and collar, is chained to a white staff by a golden chain and placed on a red field under a yellow horizontal stripe on which is placed 3 red crosses. The bear emblem is known as the ragged staff and is part of the arms of the Earl of Warwick. The chief is derived from the arms of the former Earls of Warwick, the Beauchamp family.

  Possibly the most significant new flag of 2015 has yet to be revealed - the new national flag of Fiji which the Fiji government intends to raise on 10 October 2015 to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Independence.
  Fiji became a British colony on 12 October 1874 when King Cakobau ceded the islands to a Great Britain. A stamp which was issued on 9 October 1974 to commemorate the centenary of the cession of Fiji depicted King Cakobau's flag:-

  A flag badge to be placed at the fly of the Blue Ensign for the new colony was adopted in 1877 and depicted a shield on which was placed a mermaid looking at herself in a hand-mirror on a blue background. The shield was placed over 2 crossed war clubs and surrounded by foliage. The badge was based on the Seal of the Supreme Court of Fiji:-


Flag 1877 - 1883.

 A flag badge was adopted in 1883 to be placed at the fly of the Blue Ensign which took the form of a white disc on which was placed a crown with a lion standing on it, all over the word 'FIJI':-

Flag badge 1883 - 1908.

  The 1883 badge was replaced by a new flag badge on 4 July 1908. The badge took the form of a white disc on which was placed the arms of Fiji which were a shield with a chief of a crowned lion passant with a gold coco pod held between its forepaws and below, a St. George's cross quartering the shield. The first quarter depicted three sugar canes, the second a coconut tree, the third a white dove with an olive spray in its beak and in the fourth quarter, a bunch of bananas. The crest was a local catamaran on a red and white striped base with supporters of two Fijiians standing on the motto 'Rere Vaka na Kalou Ka doka na Tui' ('Fear God and honour The King').
  The arms were first featured on the 3d and 8d value stamps of the 1938 to 1955 definitive series and appeared again on the £1 definitive stamp issued on 14 November 1961:-

  The first philatelic depiction of the arms in colour was on the £1 value of the definitive seies which was issued on 15 July 1968. The stamp was designed by E. Jones and printed in photogravure by De La Rue:-

  The form of the Blue Ensign flag was changed on 8 May 1924 by the removal of the white disc and the placing of the arms directly on to the blue field.
  Fiji became an independent monarchy within The Commonwealth on 10 October 1970 and adopted a national flag which was a variant of the former flag wherein the shield was placed on a pale blue field with the Union Jack, said to represent The Commonwealth, at the canton. The first philatelic depiction of the new flag was made on the 10c value of the 4 stamp set issued on 10 October 1970 to commemorate the achievement of Independence. The stamp, which also depicted the Fijian prime minister, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, was designed by John Waddington Studio and lithographed by Format International:_

 After a military coup on 14 May 1987, Fiji became a republic on 6 October 1987 but the national flag remained unchanged. Other useful philatelic depictions of the 1970 - 2015 flag include possibly the best depiction of the flag which featured on the 45c value of the set of 4 stamps issued on 6 October 1980 which commemorated the 10th anniversary of Independence. The issue was designed by John Cooter and lithographed by John Waddington:-

  Finally it useful to mention that the 1970 - 2015 national flag of Fiji was depicted on one of the 16 stamps issued by The United Nations on 26 September 1980 as part of its ongoing flag series. As usual the issue was printed in sheets of 16 stamps making 4 se-tenant blocks of 4 different stamps so that all 4 different stamps could be collected together by obtaining the centre block:-

Fiji stamp as part of central se-tenant block.

Maximum card, first day postmark 26 September 1980.

  Fiji's national flag design committee has shortlisted 23 designs from which the new flag will be chosen. Flag enthusiasts as well as the people of Fiji now have only a short time to wait before the revelation of the design of Fiji's new national flag and I expect that the release of a stamp illustrating the world's newest national flag can not be far behind.

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