Whilst the introduction of the Machin head was welcome, I have been advocating for some time the use of pictorial Faststamps as used in other countries. Spain, for example, has used machine-vended variable value labels in similar designs to adhesive stamps, which seems a good idea if you have enough machines to make the print run worthwhile. Imagine, 10 different cats & dogs for Battersea were issued as 1st class stamps and those attractive designs could easily have been adapted for Faststamps.
Although nothing was done for the London 2010 Festival of Stamps - they only just managed to get the Post & Go machine installed - these machines must be essential for the 2012 Olympic Post Office, not just in the public areas but in the (closed) Olympic Village as well. I can't believe Post Office Ltd and Royal Mail will pass up an opportunity to provide a service which will reduce the number of counter clerks required.
We have news today of the first steps along this avenue, as Faststamps take flight at Autumn Stampex, on Friday 17 September. We don't have details yet, but have been sent images of six new labels with garden birds, as shown below. Six is an odd number considering the labels are dispensed in strips of 5. It would be better, surely, to leave the robin to be included in a Christmas-themed set? Although all shown as 1st class 100gr the Faststamps will, of course, be available with any of the 5 service indicators.
We don't yet know whether:
- the Post & Go machines will be working on the first two days of Stampex dispensing normal labels (surely they will be?);
- the new birds Faststamps will be available anywhere other than at Stampex on the day of issue;
- whether a special FDC will be produced by Royal Mail - remember, Post & Go is a Post Office Ltd product and the labels are not a product of the Royal Mail Stamps & Collectibles programme.
With these being launched on the Friday we will have three new issue days at Stampex. The regular stamp issue on day 2 is the Medical Breakthroughs set, whilst on the first day of the show the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain is marked with a retail booklet and generic Smilers sheet.
My 50th Anniversary columns for Linn's Stamp News - For my last Great Britain columns for *Linn's Stamp News*, I decided to go out with a bang and summarize the history of the Machins in a format that would...