As most readers will know, the 40gr airmail NVIs are being replaced by these 20gr stamps which, like the earlier ones and the airmail postcard NVI, are sold in booklets of 4.
These are scans of the actual stamps from the Presentation Pack. Unlike the earlier stamps included in packs, these are not die-cut through the backing paper. (The original 40gr stamps were on booklet stock and die-cut through, and the postcard stamp - like these - was on unprinted backing.)
Most collectors will also know that Royal Mail made the 40gr and postcard stamps available, not only to dealers but to collectors, as singles. At least until 2008 (maybe later, but not now) the 40gr and postcard airmail NVIs issued in 2003/4 were sold from Tallents House as product codes US001 (40gr set) and US002 (postcard). The point of this was that collectors who only wanted one example of each stamp and had no use for the other three in the booklet, could obtain singles without incurring undue expense.
That isn't happening this time. If you want these stamps (face value £1.57) for your collection you have three options:
- buy the booklets at £6.28 (most POs don't have them yet.)
- buy the presentation pack at £6.05 (more POs have this than the booklets)
- buy from dealers at a premium over face.
When I pressed Royal Mail's philatelic service on this point of inconsistency, I received this reply:
Whilst it is appreciated that collectors will want to collect single
stamps, the product is a book of four stamps. International NVIs are not
available as sheets and therefore we do not supply them in that format. If
collectors want a single example, the presentation pack provides that
So there you have it. Personnel change, policies change. They want you to buy stamps, and to do so you will buy more than you want, or be forced to pay the excess for the presenation pack. Meanwhile at the London Festival of Stamps, they will be selling pre-packaged cylinder blocks, gutter pairs, etc, of some issues. Think about why - it's only so that the queues don't get too long. But the queues of people wanting one of each definitive but not a presentation pack will be lengthened as the Royal Mail people explain for the nth time why they can't sell single 20gr airmail stamps.
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