I have been advised that the previously reported security code MA10 is regarded as a production date, included on these stamps in the same way that the year is included either as a microprint in the design of, or reversed out of the phosphor on, special and commemorative stamps. As such the production date will be included on all future security printings, this year and in subsequent years, in any format that needs a reprint.
(My response to this when told, was that production dates are only added to commemorative or special stamps. They are not even included on the Madonna Christmas stamps, whilst their secular counterparts in 2007 did have the year shown in the phosphor. Similarly Royal Mail didn't see the need to include the year in the original security stamps. You can draw your own conclusions as to why this change has been made: but it can't be only because collectors will want them, though.)
As Royal Mail no longer provide a true philatelic service, only a sales and marketing function to collectors, it will be up to dealers and collectors to find them, as they will not be regarded as new 'visible change' stamps by Royal Mail for standing order purposes. I can easily anticipate their response to any challenge on this position, based on previous responses to similar illogicality: the stamps are not sufficiently different to previous stamps and we didn't want to send them to collectors who didn't want them. (Note: this is not a quote, it's a suggested response.) I did ask a Royal Mail trade manager about these changes over 2 weeks ago, but have not yet had a response. I suspect he is busy getting ready for the London 2010 Festival of Stamps. Guess what? So are we, and we are dealing with current orders at the same time!
As regards the 2nd class x 12 booklets, we have been advised that, having sold the booklets at Stampex, Royal Mail's Tallents House 'Philatelic Service' is refusing to sell them either to collectors or to dealers by mail order even though they have them and can, we understand, easily identify them. We've also been told that the cellophane wrapping on the packs of 50 indicates if all booklets inside have Cylinder numbers. People who buy all their new stamps by mail from Tallents House rather than spending time queueing at Stampex may have to reconsider their tactics - or their collecting interests!
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