Thursday, 8 August 2013

Australia 'GB' Faststamps - how many produced?

I'm trying to establish the highest session number used on machine B1 to produce the UK versions of these stamps.  This is for Machin and Union Flag stamps.

This is the version inscribed World Stamp Expo on the stamps, with GB in the data string, and the session number is the 6-digit number shown - A5GB13 B1-003881-22 (and itemised at the foot of the receipt).

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The highest number reported to me so far is 4974

We have been told that "5,000" were produced, but I think this refers to 5,000 sessions.  As it is possible to get 99 stamps per session, it seems likely that 16 strips (x 6 = 96 stamps) were produced for each session, making a total of 80,000 strips produced for each design.

Demand from Europe would have been high as always, and the dealers didn't even have to make the trip to the UK for Stampex! 

Many thanks to those who contributed by comment or email.

11 comments:

  1. It was 5000 of Machins & 5000 of Flags, i did ask before, do you know if this will get an SG listing in concise becuase they were sold at face from Tallents house?

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    1. Thank you for the 5000 figure - where was this published, or do you have inside info?

      I don't think they will be listed in the Concise; none of the overprints have been. Although I accept that the Stampex ones and BPMA ones have limited availability at least they are available on a 'walk-in' basis. These Australia ones (as well as having totally fictitious receipts) are only available in sets and not at any Post Office or publicly accessible outlet. I wouldn't list them if I were catalogue editor: another footnote item.

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  2. 5.000 sets was what has been told me as well

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    1. This is all very well people, but Anonymous A may have told Anonymous B or vice versa. Or the same person may have told you both! At least give us a clue as to the source of this.

      And when were you told - before they were available or after they were sold out?

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  3. Of course the session number is only an indicator if based on the presumption the B1 machine was reset to '000000' before this print run. Also, as your illustration shows each session number can produce more than one strip (maximum 16 strips as 16x6=96 given that 99 stamps is maximum in a single session - but if pre-done makes sense this would be done in batches of 10 or 15 for easy calculation purposes). Usually, a better 'guesstimate' is achieved by knowing how many rolls of stamps were used in the production i.e. 250 strips of 6 are possible from each roll of 1500 post and go blank labels. So, without definitive knowledge, and as they were 'sold out' - one can only safely say the numbers were in multiples of 250! Rumours/'knowledge' previously suggests that X number of rolls of this or that were brought to STAMPEX and travelling PAG fairs/exhibitions - so estimated MAXIMUM numbers can be fairly accurately guessed.

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    1. We know that the stamp numbers on some sessions were high so it is likely that they did 16 per session, making 80,000 sets in all.

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  4. 5000 sounds like a feasible figure given 250 strips per roll and I believe the rolls are boxed as 4s or 5s - so this would be suggesting that a decision was made to use X number of boxes in the print run - so that would tally but then.....who knows??!! I'm surprised they 'Sold Out' given that the machines were set up to print - they could have given a date cut off point - like the usual year for commemoratives, for example. A variation in policy given also, for example, the Olympic and Paralympic sheets were continually printed to replenish stocks on demand during the timed period they were available. Interesting.

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  5. Personally I would like the actual overprinted versions to be catalogued - after all they are dispensed at cost from a RM machine. 5000 would be much less than most of the current commems, in fact comparatively scarce. It would be nice to know how many genuine Melbourne 2013 strips exist. I wonder what the ratio of A5AU13 is to A5GB13.

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  6. There is only one problem with the idea of 5,000 transactions, session/transaction numbers can’t be altered for a number of reasons including accounting, payment and legal. If the transactions were reset, then it should be possible to find from 0 to 3,000+ for this issue, the lowest number appears to be over3,800. If it wasn’t reset, then the highest number should be 8,800+. The only way we will have a rough estimate, is by finding out the highest session number from Spring Stampex and the lowest number from Autumn Stampex. Both the flags and Machins appear to be printed from roll A.

    One of the reasons for the “sell out” may well be the lack of availability of the non MA13 labels.

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  7. The Hytech-machines with A- and B-id. would need a couple of weeks to print 80.000 sets. For this reason the Philatelic Bureau uses the much faster machine with C-id.
    You can estimate that no more than 500 sets per hour or 4.000 sets a day may be produced with the B-machine. And then you will need more time for verifying and packing.
    The number of 5.000 sets each from "Australia 2013" with B-id. (GB) should be correct. The number of sets with A-id. (AU) should be considerably smaller, as the machines were running on days 3 to 6 for the smaller part of the day only.

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    1. Thank you for this detail.

      So although they were sold from the Philatelic Bureau which has a faster 'C' machine the "Australia 2013"(GB) stamps were produced on the slower B machine. Presumably the C machine could also have been programmed to show the additional inscription.

      What this means is that the Philatelic Sales forecast was wildly underestimated, which is suprising considering the attention that these machines get at Stampex and every other local venue. The 5,000 sets would have been produced - and probably checked and matched with receipts inside 2-3 days; a stock twice as great would only have taken twice as long. 500 sets per hour at £6.42 is over £3,000 - quite a good rate of return whatever the labour, materials, and overhead costs attributable. Clearly the people who decide these things have no idea how to maximise their income!!

      But it does explain why a reprint could not be produced at Tallents House, if they don't have the B machine.

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