Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Another slogan postmark: Hampton Court is 500

Royal Mail are using another unannounced slogan postmark at mail centres around the country, this one marking the 500th anniversary of Hampton Court royal palace. (See the HCP500 website.)

Thanks to Trevor from this example from North West Midlands MC, I think dated 30.3.15

Monday, 30 March 2015

Post and Go Stamps Tariff Change News

As I mentioned a month ago, new postage rates came into effect today. Whilst the new definitive stamps were issued last week in preparation, Royal Mail Post and Go machines and Post Office Self-Service (NCR) Kiosks could only be updated after close of business yesterday in preparation for opening time in branches today.  The change in structure of the airmail rates required the introduction of Europe 100g and Worldwide 100g stamps, replacing the previous 60g stamps

Norwich had Machin definitive (MA14) and Working Sails stamps:

It is likely that other Machin versions will exist - MA13, MA12 etc.  Indeed MA13 stock was in the Royal Mail machine at Crewe Delivery Office.

But the surprise - and perhaps disappointment for collectors and dealers - was that the location identifier, introduced only with the new machines on 2 February, had been removed.  Thanks to Stuart and Alf for telling me about Crewe and Bradford North respectively.

Mike reports that Mount Pleasant, Camden, Baker Street, Great Portland Street & Trafalgar Square offices in London all have Machin stamps only. 

UPDATE 31 March
Thanks also to Stuart for pictures of Crewe (M002) and Bradford North (M003) stamps produced yesterday with no name. These are both MA13.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Machin Security Stamps coming thick and fast in 2015!

Three new 2105 Machin printings have been reported this week, and we can show two of them here.

The 2nd class business sheet was printed on 26/01/05 - my sheet number is 0372383.  (Norvic number 2911B.5 now available in our webshop but no top panels available.)

The 1st Large retail book of 4 has also been found.  The cylinder numbers on these are hidden by the front cover, so careful examination of packs is required to extract cylinder booklets.  (Norvic number 2937.5, a few now available in our webshop: we hope to have more supplies and whole booklets.)

Somebody remarked to me this week that some of the M15L codes on other stamps have been unclear, the '5' looking like a '3' in many cases.  I think it depends on the angle you look at, and the magnification used.  Here are two pictures of the same stamp, with the light at different angles:

The other new stamp which has been reported to us is the 2p green counter sheet.  Pictures will be here as soon as we get them. Apologies, this was a misunderstanding; what was mentioned was a new late 2014 / M14L printing of the 2p.

BPMA Post and Go Stamps to have Penny Black 175 inscription

As part of celebrations to mark the 175th anniversary of the issue of the world's first postage stamp, the Penny Black, the BPMA will produce another new Post and Go stamp.

According to GBStamp.co.uk the stamps will include a graphic of the the Maltese Cross, the iconic postmark cancellation.

Stamps with the new inscription will be available on the 1st and 2nd class Machin Post & Go stamp designs. The inscription will read "The B.P.M.A. / Penny Black 175". The first day of issue will be 6 May 2015, and they will remain available until 7th August.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Wincor-Nixdorf RIP

As expected all of the Wincor-Nixdorf Post and Go machines have been removed from Post Office branches.  Postagelabelsuk has reported that the plug was pulled at the WH Smith Swiss Cottage PO just after 4pm on Monday 23rd March 2015.

The following day the last operational kiosk – from Swiss Cottage - was removed to the BPMA store for preservation for decades to come.

I haven't received any details about any replacement machines.  From personal experience I would say that Perth (WH Smith) doesn't have room for an NCR machine, and Kidderminster does but only for one, so I don't expect either office to have them.   The final list provided by Post Office Ltd in November was:

Branch Code
Branch Name
Address 2
Address 3
Post Code
Chester Le Street
137 Front Street
Chester Le Street
27 Strait Bargate
PE21 6EG
7/8 Guildhall Square
SA31 1PN
Crewe Town
13 Victoria Centre
Farringdon Road
39-41 Farringdon Road
116-120 Seven Sisters Road
Holloway, London
N7 6AE
27 Cooke Lane, Airedale Centre
BD21 3PF
19/20 Vicar Street
DY10 1DD
Model office  
148 Old Street
91-97 High St
22 Chapel Street
Swiss Cottage
9/10 Harben Parade, Finchley Rd
South Hampstead, London

Technically this is the end of Post and Go in branches as the new NCR machines are designed to cover so many more transactions that simply selling stamps and are designated Post Office Self Service Kiosks.  Nonetheless Royal Mail's RM2 machines are still designated Post and Go and that is how we expect them to refer to new stamp issues for the forseeable future.

UPDATE  25 March
An update from Roy S - Phoned Carmarthen, Perth & Keighley yesterday and they are not having replacement NCR kiosks fitted.

So presume that all the WHS offices that had a Wincor kiosk will not have NCR kiosks fitted.

Chester-Le-Street, now that it is not relocating, is going to get NCR kiosks.

UPDATE 26 March

My thanks go to a mystery benefactor (who is probably wondering why I haven't mentioned this earlier in the week) who sent this Last Day Cover from Swiss Cottage on Monday (it arrived this morning, obviously treated as 2nd class!)

Nicely cancelled by Swiss Cottage PO staff (thanks also to them!) this has one of the now obsolete 2nd class labels, as well as a 1st class stamp with the datastrings showing machine number 1.  The last machine number 1 in operation, all the replacement NCR machines being numbered 67 upwards.  

If you're thinking that you really ought to have had an example of the Label in your collection, we have a few left on our shop, still at the bargain price of £1.  These are from Kidderminster.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

New postage rate stamps 2015

New Machin & country definitive stamps 24 March.

Pictures of the actual stamps are now included in the original post here.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Commemorative Stamp Sheet marks Anthony Trollope Birth Bicentenary.

As forecast in the Daily Mail and reported here last year, Royal Mail are commemorating the bicentenary of the birth of novelist Anthony Trollope.  But rather than a set of stamps as forecast, this is a premium-priced Commemorative Sheet.

Issued on the bicentenary of the birth of Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) he was one of the most successful and respected English novelists of the Victorian era and had a long association with the Post Office.   Anthony Trollope began his career with the Post Office in 1834 when, at the age of 19, he became a Post Office clerk at St Martin’s-le-Grand in London. Though his early career was not especially distinguished, as his responsibilities grew so did his enthusiasm for the postal service during an innovative and interesting period of its history, with the introduction of the penny post and the steady organisation of efficient delivery routes.

One of Trollope’s key achievements was his determined lobbying for the introduction of pillar boxes into Britain.  Such facilities already existed in France and so during a review of postal services in the Channel Islands, he recommended that pillar boxes be trialled in St Helier, Jersey, in 1852. The following year they were introduced to mainland Britain, in Carlisle, and in 1855 London’s first pillar box appeared.

Special postmarks have been announced for the issue of this sheet:

Ref 13381 is available from London Special Handstamp Centre, Mount Pleasant.
Ref 13386 is available from the North of England Special Handstamp Centre, South Shields.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

2015 Machin Definitive Stamp reprints now available.

We can now show the 5 new stamps which were originally reported here.

The 1p, printed 21/01/15 - for sale in our webshop here.

The £1, printed 13/01/15 - in our webshop here.

The 2nd class counter sheet - 26/02/2015

1st class Signed For - 25/02/15

1st class Large Signed For - 24/02/15

New Tariff stamps.

These are expected in stock very soon.  If you would like date blocks of the above (we mainly have one of each) please let me know as soon as possible.  Otherwise if you wish to order the new values in addition to those shown here to be sent in one batch, please wait until the new values are added.  We have sufficient stock of the single stamps.

Known printing dates are:  
Updated 23.3.15 (thanks Brian)

£1.33         26/01/15 and 27/01/15
£1.52         15/01/15, 23/01/15 and 26/01/15
£2.25         14/01/05 and 15/01/15
£2.45         16/01/15
£3.15         19/01/15
£3.30         19/01/15 and 20/01/15

Any more dates found?

Stamps in Spring Blooms Post and Go Bureau pack also reprinted.

We reported that the Union Flag Post and Go Bureau Pack had been found with reprinted contents, the stamp being from the RM2 machine with a revised font for all text.  The Spring Blooms Bureau Pack (16) has also been found with stamps from RM2.

The change did not affect Symbolic Flowers or later packs which were all printed on RM2 machine C002.

Click on the image for an enlargement.

Both packs are available on our webshop while stocks last.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

New BFPS Cover: RAF Leuchars transfers to the Army

RAF Leuchars in Fife, Scotland will be formally handed over to the British Army on the 31ˢᵗ
March 2015. The base will be re-named “Leuchars Station” and will become home to a variety of military units. In recognition of this historic occasion the Forces Philatelic Bureau will be publishing a special commemorative cover.

The cover carries a stunning aerial photograph of Leuchars taken by Drew Dudgeon superimposed with the Station crest and the cap badges of the four main military units that will occupy the site.  This issue will include a limited edition of the cover signed by the RAF Station Commander, Wg Cdr Neville Clayton, and the incoming Commanding Officer of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, Lt Col Ben Cattermole MBE. All versions will bear the unique BFPS 3183 special handstamp.

Lt Col Graham Meacher, Managing Director of the British Forces Philatelic Service, said “It is fitting that BFPS should commemorate this handover by issuing a special cover. Leuchars has played a major role within the Armed Forces in general and the local area in particular and will continue to do so with this change of use.”

The covers may be purchased from the BFPS online shop (www.bfps.org.uk/shop). They will cost just £6 for the unsigned version and £12 for the signed version (UK/BFPO postage and packing free). They are available to order now on a strictly first-come-first-served basis. The covers are also available by post by sending a cheque (payable to ‘BFPS CIC’) to BFPS The Old Post Office, Links Place, Elie, Fife, KY9 1AX Scotland.