Other highlights were: early appearance of M12L Machin printings (including 1st gold books), early release of 1st class Large Jubilee, and steep increases in postage rates. Three new stamps were not included in Royal Mail's standing order arrangements. Scotland's new country stamps were released with fanfare but those for England and Wales were not. Locally overprinted Faststamps were made available at the Philatelic Congress in Perth and collectors voiced their disquiet over the restricted availability of any future local overprints.
In 2013 we start with a rash of new Machins, and the promise of more when the prices rise again in the spring. Following the success of the gold medal issues in making the general public more aware of special stamps, there will be some this year which should also have wide appeal. We'll continue to provide the news as we get it, though there may be occasional delays as we plan to take a few more breaks from the desk from now on.
Away from the blog we are planning to open a new e-commerce site in the spring. Those who have visited the old one will notice a marked difference in the look and shape of the new one. This is open for viewing but not yet fully operational - no buying until there is much more stock and everything is fully tested. The new system will enable automatic checkout and payment, something that we know has been a problem for some buyers since we set up in 2004. Feel free to browse and let us know what you think!
Before we close, a big thank you to our customers, to all the regular readers (over 360,000 visits to the blog in 2012), and also to the regular reporters who keep sending us their finds, together with pictures without which the blog would not be what it is. We don't include names, to preserve your anonymity, but you know who you are, and I'm sure our readers in the UK and internationally are as grateful to you as we are.
MERRY CHRISTMAS and
A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Our offices will be closed intermittently from 20 - 30 December,
with possible absence before then and for a few days afterwards !