Retail booklets and Business Sheets were issued in March 2009. Of course we knew from the outset that the overlay included the words ROYAL MAIL. It was only in April 2009 that we dealers and collectors found out that the stamps were coded to identify their source, with B for Business Sheets, T for booklets of 12, S for booklets of 6, and C for mixed booklets of 6, with F for booklets of 4 large letter stamps.
But in April 2010 Alec Withell reported the MA10 code in the London 2010 advert booklet, and the process has continued from there.
So how to keep these in the album?
I asked myself this question as I have been sorting the 2011 versions, arranging them on a stock-card to make sure that we have all the variations for all the standing order customers. What we are distributing early next month consists of the last two 2010 2nd class Large, the 2010 Recorded Signed For, all the 2011 NVIs so far available (14), plus the litho-printed stamps from the Wm Morris PSB.
Maybe it is best to keep them as year sets, based on the code rather than on the date of issue or discovery? Many do not have a specific date of issue, although some do, and the last two 2nd Large MA10 stamps have been discovered well into 2011.
For those who follow the catalogue there is no easy answer because the many variations are not shown in the basic (Concise) catalogue. And, for example, because the MPIL 50p from 2010 is gravure and the 50p from 2011 is litho it is likely that their catalogue numbers will be distant. Better then, maybe, to keep them together by 'value', with a page for the 2nd class small, another page for the 1st class small, and so on.
What do you do? I suspect many collectors will keep these as a work-in-progress collection on stock pages. Because I thought it would be easier I have allocated a page to each stamp (not value), and arranged them by year - but if there is an order, for example, for all the business sheet stamps then the 2nd class from 2009 (2911) is often followed by the next two, 2911.0 and 2911.1 - which involves much back and forth in the stockbook to pick an order!
Let everybody know if you have found another solution - please leave a comment here.