Sunday, 20 November 2011

Christmas 2011 Personalised Smilers - how and which?

Christmas is supposed to be one of the most popular times for people to get personalised stamps - Smilers.  Sometimes they use the Christmas stamps, sometimes they use one of the many greetings stamp alternatives.  But this year they could have a problem (especially today as Royal Mail's website is totally unavailable!).


As we know, Royal Mail philatelic have produced the usual Generic Smilers Sheet containing 2nd & 1st class stamps and the two airmail rates 68p & £1.10.  The Christmas catalogue shows the inland stamps personalised in sheets of 10 & 20.  The philatelic listing also mentions these but not the airmail stamps.


Go to www.royalmail.com/smilers as usual and there is no sign of the 2011 Christmas stamps at all!  So what's happening?  Have we actually got a pair of philatelic stamps (the 68p & £1.10) that are in a generic sheet but which are NOT available for personalisation?  


Has anybody ordered - better still received - any Smilers stamps this Christmas?  How did you get them??

Update:  
As I expected, Graham Howard at www.smilers-info.com is on top of this (click on 'News').  Royal Mail won't answer any questions about the Snapfish part of the operation, even a simple one like "why only 1st & 2nd class?".  I would have expected the principal to this contract (rather than the sub-contractor) to say, "yes the airmail values should be available and we will contact Snapfish and make sure it is so."  

And, says Graham, the ordering process at Snapfish is not entirely without its problems. 


Update 2:

This morning's post brought proof that this year's Smilers so exist!



5 comments:

  1. I have ordered a sheet of both first and second class Christmas stamps in a personalised sheet successfully, delivered within a week of ordering, as well as sheets of last year's Wallace & Gromit stamps in a personalised sheet (still available) ordered at a same time. First class stamps (of both designs) were available in sheets of 10 or 20, second class in sheets of 20 only. Stamps with the airmail rates were not available.

    However, the more interesting fact is that production of these sheets has now been outsourced completely to Snapfish (www.snapfish.co.uk), a company that print paper copies of digital photographs and produce very tasteful personalised products, like mugs and greetings cards, using your own photos. Ordering is done through Snapfish, including payment and delivery: it looks like Royal Mail have withdrawn from this market now.

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  2. Hi Ian, go to the smilers website, they have the up to date Personalised Smilers Application form through snapfish! it includes the 2011 christmas stamps! The RM website is up and running today but alas no Christmas Stamps for smilers yet! Regards Des Houghton.

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  3. Thank you both; I've also been looking and Graham Howard has updated his Smilers-Info website to include similar information.

    But no Christmas 2011 stamps on Snapfish yet - and the Smilers brand-name doesn't appear there either.

    (Over-)Printing of Smilers was already outsourced, though processing was by Royal Mail. I can see the logic of tying in with a company already processing images, though.

    Royal Mail's website is back, but shaky. Some recursive links, it seems.

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  4. Updated with latest news from Smilers-info.

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  5. Further updated with image of 2011 1st class Smiler received from a customer.

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