Wednesday, 27 August 2014

FORE!! Advance notice of Ryder Cup slogan postmark.

From 23 September Royal Mail will be selling "a stunning limited edition Medal Cover" which they hope will appeal to golfers worldwide.  The cover commemorates the 40th Ryder Cup being held this year at Gleneagles in Scotland. 

Of additional interest to postmark collectors, especially those who have sport or golfing as one of their collecting areas, is the advance news that a special slogan postmark will be in use nationwide "from 15 to 29 September".  (NB, this usually means"mail delivered on.." these dates, so it is lilely that the slogan will be in use on Friday 12/Saturday 13 September.)


The image in the Press Release shows the Ryder Cup logo (and the 'Delivered by Royal Mail' slogan) with a postmark from Edinburgh Mail Centre, but sthe cancelling machines at Edinburgh don't have the capability of printing logos.  They did print the 'Homecoming Scotland' slogan in April, but not the Commonwealth Games Logo slogan in July.  (Thanks to Adrian for pointing this out.) 

So it seems likely that there will be two versions of this slogan, one with an one without a logo - let us know what you find. 

In the United Kingdom there are two types of ink-jet cancelling machines in use.  The 'Delivered by Royal Mail' add-on, and slogans with logos, are generally applied by Integrated Mail Processors (IMP).

Intelligent Letter Sorting Machines (iLSM) generally do not include logos and don't add the 'Delivered by ..' slogan, although they do produce Prostate Cancer slogans with the figure of a man, and did produce the boxed script 'Homecoming Scotland' slogan, with the remainder being just text.

More about postmarking later.  Meanwhile thanks again to Royal Mail's media department for giving us 3 weeks' notice of this slogan!


Saturday, 23 August 2014

Classic Locomotives of Wales retail book will be issued 18 September.

The final miniature sheet in the Classic Locomotives series (Wales) was issued on 20 February 2014, along with a prestige stamp book, Classic Locomotives of the United Kingdom, but no retail booklet was issued at that time.

Royal Mail have announced that this booklet will be issued at Stampex alongside the Seaside Architecture set and miniature sheet (and the day after the Symbolic Flowers Faststamps!).  The Sustainable Fish retail booklet issued 18 August will be distributed by Tallents House on the same date.

Two sponsored postmarks have been announced so far for this booklet and are shown below.  The booklet contains 2 x 1st Locos of Wales stamps (LMS No. 7720 leaves the Britannia Bridge with a Bangor-to-Holyhead local train c.1930) and 4 x 1st class Machin definitives.  These will have source code MCIL but we cannot be sure which year code they will have. The Football Heroes 2 booklet issued 2 days after the Locos miniature sheet had M13L but that was printed last year with Football Heroes 1.



13186 Smethwick is available from the Midland Special Handstamp Centre, and
13222 Cardiff is available from the Wales and West Special Handstamp Centre.


Monday, 18 August 2014

Interruption to our normal service

Due to the recent hospitalisation and now convalescence of a close family member there will be fewer updates here, and service from the web-shop may be slower than normal.

I will use this space to add details of what we have that you may be waiting for, with the assurance that I will send orders and reserved items out to customers as soon as possible.

1. As noted in the relevant blog posts (but not yet on the website) the Great War stamps in the prestige stamp book are not the same as those printed in counter sheets. 

The pictorial stamps issued in sheets have two phosphor bands except for the 'Starburst' painting and 'We Will Remember Them' poetry stamps, which are all-over phosphor.  We now know that all 6 pictorial stamps in the PSB have all-over phosphor which means that at least 4 will have a separate listing in some catalogues.  They are certainly different stamps and we now have them in stock.


2. First day covers of the Machin stamps from the Great War PSB, the three new booklet/business sheet stamps issued on 31 July, and the Commonwealth Games booklets will be added to the web-shop soon.

3. More Poppy Maximum cards will also be added to the web-shop in the near future.  Part of the proceeds of these will go to the Royal British Legion National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.  If you haven't been, it is a very impressive and moving place to be.


4. PHILAKOREA
We have supplies of the 'GB' codes stamps from Edinburgh, and the KR stamps have now arrived. Customers who pre-ordered have been contacted: if you have not received an email please look in your spam folder, and email me if you haven't had one.  (The image, right, shows the machine with the Philakorea screen.)

Korean stock includes Undated and MA13 Machins from two machines, Undated Union Flags from three machines including JE01, and the Jersey Flag stamps.  We also received three different covers, for these variations.  Smilers stamps are arriving soon.


5. Update 20 August.  BPMA Airmail exhibition opened today with new Post and Go stamps.  And guess what? The brown Machins exist undated and with MA13, probably not surprising, and the blue are MA12.
What is surprising is that BPMA produced a Presentation Pack as well as FDCs.  But they only had 100 Packs for sale on their website !!  Do they think that there are only 100 Post and Go collectors worldwide?  OK, so not all of them would buy it, but at £12 it wasn't expensive and I am certain they would have sold nearer to 1,000 than 100 and thus added to the funds available for the new museum.

Anyway, they are already on eBay, as are the strips of stamps.  I'll not be doing any FDCs for these and don't have any stock.


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Only 8 Prime Ministers in October stamp issue

Royal Mail has released details of the Prime Ministers stamps to be issued on 14 October 2014.  

Originally shown to the trade as a set of 8 x 1st class stamps (with Clement Attlee the only one not in colour) the set is now revealed as 4 x 1st and 4 x 97p, with the same portrait of Attlee now coloured.

The 1st class stamps show Margaret Thatcher, Harold Wilson, Clement Attlee, and Winston Churchill.
The 97p stamps show William Gladstone, Robert Peel, Charles Grey and William Pitt the Younger.

The stamps will be printed in litho by International Security Printers, in two sheets of 24/48, ie 6 se-tenant strips of 4.

Although the Churchill portrait by Yousuf Karsh is probably the best known it is also probably the most reproduced and it seems a pity that Royal Mail couldn't find a different portrait to the one that they (and Austraia and New Zealand) used in 1965.


Monday, 11 August 2014

Slogan postmarks mark World War 1 and Joe Mercer

In my absence two new slogan postmarks have been applied.  I've no precise details about these, but have several examples.

The first slogan marks the Centenary of World War 1, also known as The Great War (as in the stamp issue) or the First World War (as shown on these postmarks).   First, the image as shown in Royal Mail's library:


Now some examples, from Edinburgh Mail Centre 4 August 2014 (thanks Adrian),


Glasgow 6 August and Norwich 7 August


Today's post also had one of the above from Royal Mail Tallents House, with the Joe Mercer stamp. 

Unfortunate, really, as the other new postmark marks the centenary of the birth (9 August) of Joe Mercer who featured on the Remarkable Lives stamp earlier this year. Again, Royal Mail's publicity picture first:


Peterborough and possibly Plymouth/Cornwall MCs, showing the two different styles, used on 7 and 8 August 2014 respectively.





Friday, 1 August 2014

Surprise new 1st class coil stamp now distributed by Royal Mail.

The 2013 printing of the 1st class red self-adhesive coil first seen on mailings from Royal Mail's share registrar and reported here has now been made available mint, along with a new version of the 2012 2nd class coil.  Both are printed by Walsall Security Print, and both are numbered on the reverse.  

The original 2nd class coil was printed by Enschede, coded MA12, and numbered.  Then a Walsall printing coded M12L was discovered, which had no numbering on the reverse. On our initial supplies of the 1st class, the iridescent printing is inset at the left.



The 2nd class coil, showing unnumbered and numbered strips of 10.  We have two unnumbered strips remaining in stock.   The 1st class coil and strips are also listed in our shop.



Royal Mail have distributed these because of the new printer, as 'non-visible changes'.  This seems to be a new policy as previously stamps distributed as a result of a printer change have been 'visible changes' in counter sheets (where the cylinder number indicates the printer but the individual stamps are no different).  When Business Sheet printing moved to a new printer, the sheets were not identified by Royal Mail as different and were not available as a separate stock item.

Thanks to all the readers who emailed, phoned, and left blog comments about this surprise distribution.  I wanted to see them for myself before writing anything which might then have to be edited.


Thursday, 31 July 2014

More new printings of Machin Definitive Stamp sheets

More stamps from the May 2014 round of printings are now appearing:


10p       -  21/05/2014
20p       -  28/05/2014
2 Large -  19/05/2014
£1.47    -  22/05/2014
£2.15    -  27/05/2014

Date blocks of 8 of all these are available on request and while stocks last.  They have been added to our webshop, but not in the Recent Additions category - look at the individual listings within 2014.

Of more interest to collectors of the basic stamps, we are expecting to have stocks of the first Special Delivery reprint, the 100g stamp with M14L year code very soon.  Cylinder numbers and Date Blocks will be available.  This will be numbered 2985.4 in our system and is now available to buy.


UPDATE 11August
Back from our August break, I can now add images of the new Special Delivery stamps:

Comparison with the original - because of the silver printing the coding in the iridescent ink shows up in ordinary scans.  The blue ink on the new stamps is deeper, but no more than might be expected during the print run.


 Full sheet of the new stamps showing the 8 grid positions:


And a microscope view of the security coding:



Stamp Booklet and Business Sheet update 31 July 2014 (revised report)

As reported earlier, new booklets and business sheets are available from 31 July 2014.  The stamp content will be unchanged as far as Royal Mail concerned.  [This blogpost replaces the two earlier ones on the same subject.]

In accordance with new EU regulations on Customer Service, premium rate numbers are no longer permitted for Business-to-Customer after-sales services.  This affects the stamp booklets, on which the telephone number 08457 740 740 has changed to 03457 740 740, and the Textphone/Minocom number from 08456 000 606 to 03456 000 606. 

The new regulations do not apply to Business-to-Business communications, so on the Business Sheets the telephone number is unchanged.  However, the same Textphone number is used for all customers, so that number has changed on Business Sheets.

As mentioned on the original blogpost, the M14L 1st x 6 booklet with the old numbers appeared in June.  We were told by Royal Mail that the Large Letter booklets and small stamp Business Sheets with 2014 codes (MA14/M14L) would make their first appearance with this printing.

In fact supplies of the M14L 2nd class Business Sheet were found in post offices last week, with printing dates of 18/02/14 and 19/02/14.  Our FDCs for 31 July will therefore have only 3 stamps!

(Click on any image for a larger version.)







We don't have cylinders on all booklets yet:

12 x 1st - W5 (red) W2 (phos) W1 (security)

4 x 1st Large - W2 (red), W1 (phos and security)

4 x 2nd Large


12 x 2nd

6 x 1st -  31 July with previous M14L booklet for comparison.  Used copies are known from mid-June.

Barcodes and packing details:





BUSINESS SHEETS (Click on any image for a larger version.)





Printing date 05/06/14 - sheet number 9403397 


Printing date 11/06/14 - sheet number 2456883


The Large Letter Stamps are unchanged, so here are the sheet tops for the record:

Printing date 27/05/14 - sheet number 1749264


Printing date 21/05/14 - sheet number 1683411


Thanks to all readers who sent in comments on this subject, and apologies for the confusion on the changes.  Royal Mail did not tell us the complete details, so there has been detective work involved!
Thanks to Robert, Brian and Machnimaniac and others.