Friday, 2 October 2015

This FDC of Penny Black miniature sheet is not A miscut sheet ...

It happened with the Diamond Jubilee miniature sheet in 2012 and I thought it might happen with the Penny Black (and might still happen with Long To Reign Over Us.)

This first day cover has a full set of stamps - indeed all the elements of the miniature sheet - but in the wrong order.

This cover has been cut from a Press Sheet - the person who produced it has carefully cut across the middle of two of the miniature sheet impressions and divided the stamps, providing a 'miniature sheet' which has been miscut, but it is not a miscut in the accepted sense of the words.

A miscut - as in booklets from the 1980s - results from an incorrect machine setting which divides the stamps which are in two vertical columns or horizontal rows in the centre position instead of the correct positions.  Or the Sheep Post and Go Faststamps which resulted in various different Sheep appearing at the top of the strip in presentation packs.

This is a deliberate novelty cut from a press sheet which results in spare stamps at the top and bottom of the sheet, stamps which can only sensibly be sold as individual stamps or used as postage.

I expected to see some of these on eBay as we did the Diamond Jubilee MS fdcs.  I haven't seen them on eBay but spotted this one at a local fair.  The dealer acknowledged it for what it was, and said that he hadn't produced it.

Buy one if you like it, as a novelty, but not as a print-factory-produced miscut.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

We don't mind anonymity but.....

Many people choose to remain anonymous when posting their comments on blogs, and of course that is fine - absolutely.  Some may be dealers who want to just sow some seeds of thought, some may work for Royal Mail or Post Office Ltd, or others with inside information, others may work for companies that it might be better not to associate with online activity.

But sometimes with long threads with a lot of comments there are many comments from 'Anonymous' - and they are not all the same person!!  That may lead to confusion among other readers and those who are referring to the posts by 'Anonymous'.

So it would be really useful if readers could use a name - as White Knight does, for example.  You can choose any nom-de-keyboard, initials, etc, that you wish, but it would help to use the same 'name' for all comments. 

Comments welcome - and remember, even if you use a pseudonym you are still Anonymous unless it is one that you use widely elsewhere!

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Much More Post and Go News 3 - Poppies

From Royal Mail's Post and Go News webpage today:

"Poppy stamp

The Poppy design from the Symbolic Flowers Post & Go set will be re-introduced nationwide from 19 October 2015. The stamps will be available from Post & Go /Self-Service Kiosk post offices, BPMA, Royal Navy Museum and Royal Mail Enquiry office machines."

It will also be one of the options at the Sindelfingen and Paris stamp exhibitions - see here.

UPDATE: The Poppy stamp has been reprinted with MA15 year code: there are reports of blank examples already being offered on auction site eBay.

Much More Post and Go News 2 - UK Museums

From Royal Mail's Post and Go News webpage today (updated with latest information):

Royal Navy Museum Machines
From 19 October, printings at the four Royal Navy sites will be updated to replace the current museum abbreviations.  The Poppy stamp will be reintroduced from 19 October to 15 November, and the Machin will replace the Poppy on 16 November. The Union Flag stamp will remain on sale.

New printings will be as follows:

The NMRN will change to Royal Navy + logo (Machin only)

The RMM will change to Royal Marines + logo (Machin only)

The FAAM will change to Fleet Air Arm + logo (Machin only)

The RNSM will change to RN Submarine + logo (Machin only)

The Union Flag and Poppy stamps will just have the abbreviations replaced. A location-specific logo graphic will be added to the Machin stamp design: the first day of use of this (based on the above information) will be 16 November.

Trafalgar Day
Royal Navy and Royal Marines machines only will carry a ‘Trafalgar Day’ inscription  on the Union Flag design from 19 October until 15 November.

Machine A001 introduced the Lion design from the Heraldic Beasts issue on 16 September. The Lion design will be temporarily replaced by the Poppy stamp from 19 October until 15 November. The Lion will be re-introduced along with the Winter Fur and Feathers stamps on 16 November.

The change to the Royal Navy Museum machines will be welcomed if only because it avoids having to explain what the various abbreviations mean.  Watch out for switched reels so that the Union Flag stamps have the logo!

Much More Post and Go News 1 - Overseas Exhibitions

From Royal Mail's Post and Go News webpage today:

Royal Mail will attend the Sindelfingen exhibition on 29-31 October 2015.

Machines A007 and A009 will carry Union Flag, Machin and Lion, Poppy respectively.

European Collector strips of four stamps (1st Class, Euro 20g/World 10g, Europe 100g and Worldwide 20g) will be introduced for the first time.

Standard Collector Strips of 6 stamps will also be available. Overprint will be ‘Sindelfingen October 2015

Royal Mail will be attending the Salon de philatelique d’automne in Paris on 5-8 November 2015.

Machines A007 and A009 will carry Union Flag, Machin and Lion, Poppy respectively.

European Collector strips of four stamps (1st Class, Euro 20g/World 10g, Europe 100g and Worldwide 20g) will be available. Standard Collector Strips of 6 stamps will also be available. Overprint will be ‘Paris November 2015

Royal Mail Post and Go machine A011 badged up for Qatar Post

A new Royal Mail Post and Go Kiosk (A011) was in use at the 20th GCC Stamps Exhibition in Doha, Qatar, are 29 September to 3 October (at the Landmark Shopping Mall).  

The event is organised by Qatar Postal Services (Q-Post), in cooperation with Qatar Club for Amateurs of Collecting Stamps and Coins, with participation of all GCC states and a large number of GCC amateur associations for collecting stamps.

The exhibition includes more than 200 frames, 25 of which are allocated for GCC states, to showcase their best collections of stamps and history to share experiences and support amateur groups. The annual expo is held alternately on the sidelines of meetings of GCC postal corporations directors. Qatar Philatelic and Numismatic Club will hold an auction of stamps and coins on the third day of the exhibition.  

The Exhibition was opened yesterday by Minister of Communication and Information Technology H E Dr Hessa Sultan Al Jaber at Landmark Mall.  [From]

I'm told that the machine dispensed Q-Post stamps printed by Cartor.

UPDATE 3 October
More details and pictures on the Commonwealth Stamps blog here.

Hong Kong Sea Travel Post and Go stamp on solo reel for Exhibition in November

Royal Mail have announced their attendance at the 31st Asian International Stamp Exhibition in Hong Kong from 20 - 23 November 2015 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

To spread the word further about Post and Go / Self-Service Kiosks, Machine A007 will carry Union Flag and the Hong Kong design from Sea Travel. The additional inscription will be 
Hong Kong 
November 2015

Gibraltar machine GI04 (a new machine) will also attend, carrying Gibraltar Flag stamps.

Looking at the international stamp exhibition schedule in conjunction with the Sea Travel Faststamps, there is also New York 2016, so it seems quite likely that the New York Manhattan Skyline stamp from this set will also appear as a single-roll offering if Royal Mail take their Post and Go machines to the USA next May.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Stampex Post and Go News and other things!

Autumn Stampex seemed to be a quieter event than usual, possibly because we had already had two events at the Business Design Centre this year.  Royal Mail released the new Sea Travel Post and Go faststamps on Wednesday (day 1) but visitors on Wednesday found that once again all was not smooth sailing with the machines. 

I haven't heard of any problems with Royal Mail's output but the Jersey and Guernsey (and Gibraltar?) machines were not operational until the middle of the afternoon on day 1 due to card machine problems, and then the meagre supplies of Jersey stamps were exhausted before the end of the day!

Royal Mail's Post and Go news webpage was silent as to what might be expected, although the IAR website once again provided some information in advance.  It was only after I started checking my purchases and found I had stamps from machine A009 that I realised that IAR's statement that A006, A007 and A008 would be present was wrong.  A009 replaced A007, although the IAR site still states that A007 was at Stampex, and is silent on A009. (Thanks to Anonymous for reminding me of this.)

The set of 6 Sea Travel stamps were as expected.  The BPMA had announced some months ago that the machine in their foyer would be loading a single-design Lion Heraldic Beast roll (with added BPMA inscription) on 16 September, and in just before Stampex it was confirmed that this would also be available at Stampex, with no extra inscription.   Nobody has explained why this roll was produced, nor whether any other Beasts will appear as single-design rolls - maybe the Dragon for PO branches in Wales (or maybe a Welsh museum?).

Vince Patel reports a glitch on the first purchase from the Guernsey machine, which produced 8 stamps, only one of which had the correct Longest Reign inscription as shown (left).  I noticed on eBay a similar error from Jersey Broad Street (right).

Vince writes that the second collector who purchased stamps spotted the error and reported it: the error was rectified immediately. (See whole strip at the foot of this post.)

One more time: Gibraltar.
Is Royal Gibraltar PO aiming for the most different stamps in the shortest possible time?  How many stamps in a Collectors Set?  The Collectors Set produced in May at Europhilex is shown at lower left, consisting of
Local Standard, UK 20g and 40g letters, EU 20g letter, Worldwide 20g letter and Registered Fee.
The Collectors Set I bought at Autumn Stampex was quite different, being
GI Standard 50g and 100g, UK Letter 20g, 40g, 30g and 50g [in that order!]

So far so good - things change, if the administration finds that a better mix of services is appropriate.  But while the Gibraltar philatelic bureau also sells stamps with the same values, the machines in Gibraltar actually have 12 different service indicators!  In addition to the 6 stamps dispensed at Stampex, the machines at the Parcel Office and Main Post Office produce
Spain up to 50g and 100g, EU 20g and 30g Letter, and Worldwide 10g and 20g letters.

RGPO's postage rates to the UK are 64p for 20g and 12p for each additional 10g; EU & Worldwide rates have a similar pattern but letters to Spain are for 50g, 100g, 500g and so on.  An odd arrangement but at least the stamps do match postage rates.

Were there 12 Gibraltar stamps at Stampex?  I don't know: I used the menu to select the Collectors Strip and I don't know whether a second Collectors Strip was available.  It never occurred to me to look!

All I know is that there are at least 14 stamp values, without looking at variants of additional inscriptions.

Additional images here, including the receipts from Gibraltar Parcel Office showing W Collectors Strip and L Collectors Strip, courtesy of Thomas von Loeper whose eBay listing can be found here.

Friday, 25 September 2015

UNDP Global Goals marked by another new slogan postmark.

On 25th September 2015 at the United Nations, 193 world leaders will adopt the Global Goals, a series of 17 ambitious goals to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice and tackle climate change for everyone by 2030. 

"The Global Goals campaign aims to both make the goals famous and to push for their full implementation. If the goals are famous - if people care about what has been promised by the politicians, it greatly increases their chance of being implemented. So today the campaign along with the UN is calling on everyone to help make the goals famous and ensure they become a reality."  (More on the United Nations Development Programme website.)

Although Royal Mail's press release has yet to appear on their website, the UNDP website tells us that:
Royal Mail has designed a special postmark, featuring the Global Goals logo, which will be applied to all stamped mail in the UK from 25th September to 2nd October.
Thanks to a writer in Yorkshire, who didn't know that this would happen, I am able to show an example of this slogan. Hopefully somebody can come up with versions using a single current stamp so as to show the slogan more clearly. (BE confirms that this was in use on 2nd class mail on 23 Sept.)

The postmark reads: The Global Goals For Sustainable Development.

UPDATE 26 September

The Global Goals message will be pushed heavily on 26th September by major brands including all major mobile phone companies.  Here in the UK the Global Goals logo will replace the Standard Chartered logo on Liverpool FC shirts at the fixture against Aston Villa.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

New Format Horizon Label fatures 2D bar-code and much more detail.

The new format Horizon labels, first used at Europhilex and trialled at a number of offices since, were distributed last week and went into first use, as expected, on 21 September.  An earlier report had suggested that the change in format of the counter printing would start in mid-October, but it seems that the print details are being changed now and are already in use.

The new printing has a number of differences to the old, but we don't yet know how many of these will apply to all labels.  This one is - as printed at the top of the label - for Royal Mail Signed for 2C, ie 2nd class.   For such mailpieces the addressee postcode and house number, or in this case PO Box number, is entered into the Post Office Horizon system.

As you can see this detail is also printed on to the new label.   The postcode of the sending post office has gone, and at the lower right, the L indicates a Large Letter.

Keep your eyes peeled for other variants!

UPDATE 23 September.
DP has pointed out that the new labels have the die-cut slits only on the right-hand side, clearly visible in the large picture above. That must save money I suppose, with the added benefit that the printing is now clear of the cuts as well.

Faster than a speeding bullet, JE has supplied a picture of a non-premium service label sent from Farringdon PO on the same day. 

Two things to note: (a) inscription totally unchanged, so (b) the L for Large is not present at the lower right. 

UPDATE 28 September.
This could obviously go on and on, and vary as more offices move to the new system. First, though, an example of the new label from Wales: now we need a tracked one with the new print format so that we can see how the Welsh inscription is changed. 

It is clear that some offices are using new labels ahead of having the print software changed as these pictures from RW (1L signed for) and BM (Special Delivery 1am) show: