When they were first introduced Post and Go machines had two primary functions: dispensing stamps in fixed 'values' (or service indicators) for customers to take away and use later; and dispensing labels for immediate posting of letters and packages to inland and international destinations. The latter could be of various weights and values.
Post and Go Stamps (as designated by Royal Mail) were pictorial with, first, the Machin head and later a selection of birds, farm animals, etc, with which most collectors are familiar.
Post and Go Labels (the ones for immediate posting) were printed on non-pictorial labels, the design of which has changed over time.
The variable data shows the weight, price, and in some cases part of the UK postcode, as well as the Post and Go data string, and a 'Post By' date.
Now, with the introduction of the new range of NCR Post and Go machines at Harpenden the system has changed, so collectors face a dilemma. No more white labels means that the 'Post and Go Label' data is now printed on what until now we have known as Faststamps, as 'Open Value' labels.
Here are examples taken from eBay sellers. On the left, the conventional Collectors Set of Faststamps with the 6 current 'values'; on the right and below, examples of the traditional 'Label' data printed on Open Value Machin heads - a basic set of 1st and 2nd class inland standard (L) and large letters (LG) and a 28g Airmail letter costing £1.88.
Somebody suggested to me that Collectors will no longer want the Faststamps, but will collect different 'Open Value' labels.
But the number of different Open Value LABELS is
enormous, taking account of weight (including parcel rates), destination
and special services such as Royal Mail Signed For, Special Delivery
1pm, Special Delivery 9am, Special Delivery Saturday Guarantee, Airsure,
International Signed For, etc. The cost of the most expensive single label must be approaching £30 at current rates, maybe higher.
So where does the collector stop (or even start)? Some say the 'Collectors Set' should not be the traditional set of 6 values (2 for 2nd class), but a representative set of 6 'Open Value' labels. But what constitutes a 'representative set' ? When I posed this question, I was told that they should be the same as on the Faststamps, but Open Values - ie
1st class|| 1st Large || Europe 20g|| World 10g || World 20g || World 40g
1L £0.60 || 1LG £0.90 || A £0.88 || A £0.88 || A £1.28 || A £1.88
But - apart from the fact that this (at current rates) would produce two labels with the same value - why have 3 extra airmail labels? Maybe more representative would be a set with 1st, 1st Large, 1st RMSF, Special Delivery, Airmail - that's 6. But which Airmail? To have Worldwide as well as Europe would need one more - but International Signed, Tracked, and Signed and Tracked, and Surface would need another 4.... and so it goes on.
I think these should all be collected as postal history - on cover - but how will you collect them?
Update 14 March 2014: Here's my latest one and the observant will see that it has a different branch code. This one is from Leighton Buzzard
From the comments (anonymous - thank you)
"there are three other Post Offices which have NCR machines, Grantham, Kettering and Muswell Hill (in London)"
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