Yesterday morning I suggested that the new coil stamps with security features might have a new security code. Yesterday evening came news of a new discovery that makes this almost certain!
Dealer Alec Withell reported that the retail booklet of 6 x 1st with the London 2010 Festival of Stamps advert has an additional year code, the word MAIL to the left of the Queen's forehead reading MA10. This is in addition to the normal code for a book of 6, MSIL in the top right corner.
Apparently the other 2010 retail booklet, with the postcode URL changed from 'P' to 'p' also has this year code, even though it must have been printed in 2009 (for a 25 January 2010 distribution). So the code indicates the year in which Royal Mail intend that the booklets will go into distribution? Maybe!
But that is only the start. Looking back at the other 2010 booklets, it turns out that the Olympic/Paralympic booklet 2 also has the MA10 code, but this time with MCIL at the top right.
And there's more!
A new printing of the 12 x 2nd booklet also incorporates the MA10 code, with MTIL at top right, as normal for a book of 12. This booklet, however, has very limited availabilty. It was available at Spring Stampex from special packs containing 50 booklets all with cylinder numbers. People who buy all their new stamps by mail from Tallents House rather than spending time queueing at Stampex will be interested to know that these booklets have an edge strip which is 7.5mm wide instead of 5mm wide. Whilst some might consider this just a minor difference, to others it is a fundamental change.
But here's the rub. The new booklets obviously have a different overlay cylinder showing MA10 - but the cylinder number has remained the same! Blue W4, phosphor W2, security W1 - the same as the regular booklets of 12 printed in February 2009.
At this stage the 2nd class stamp will be the key to find, and as these booklets have not - as far as we know - been distributed to post offices, the stamps are unlikely to be found in kiloware.
Lastly, the 1st class book of 12 exists with MA10 code as well. Announced for mid-December, but not distributed to us until mid-January, the 12 x 1st book was re-released without the printer's imprint on the back. These books do not have MA10, although they do have the 7.5mm strip. But similar booklets bought by dealers at Stampex from 'cylinder only' packets, not only have the wide strip, but also have code MA10.
So we have a booklet with a new cover, under which condition Royal Mail decide it is a separate product and allocate it a new product code; But when it is issued with new stamps, they don't consider it necessary even to tell us, let alone make it available as a new product!
Thanks to Alec for providing all the pictures. All these are our copyright: may be reproduced elsewhere on the web provided the source and Alec Withell as the copyright holder is acknowledged. Reproduction in printed media, please write first.
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