And I have also been told that some London Post Office Post and Go machines have been dispensing the Poppy-only Faststamps last week or earlier. What I didn't realise when I first wrote this is that the early release was on a Wincor-Nixdorf machine which may have been removed by 21 October. There are few W-N machines remaining and getting solo-Poppy stamps from such a machine may be difficult.
Of course the Poppy stamp was included in the Symbolic Flowers set issued in September and all values could be obtained on the Poppy stamp, so 21 October was not intended to be a first day of issue or even philatelic availability - just the first day that all six values could be bought in a strip, and with NCR 'open values'.
In other Faststamp news, new installations at Inverness (3) and Norwich (4) are loaded with MA14 Machins, brown and blue, with no Symbolic Flowers delivered and (I understand) only 2 rolls of Poppies supplied (for the branch, not per machine).
Based on information from the unofficial IAR website, there will be a further short-term inscription on the NMRN Portsmouth machine:
The Poppy stamps will be available at the NMRN from the 21st with a ‘Remembrance’ inscription replacing the current Machin stamp from 11-13 November 2014
Although the regular issues are on the Museum shop website, the short-term specials will only be available in person or by telephone 02392 727596 or possibly email: email@example.com They are taking advance orders, but take particular note of the following:
The price shown on the Museum website is £15 for a Collectors Strip.
The price includes the Museum charge, to people who cannot attend, for the service of getting the stamps from the machine. My understanding now is that Royal Mail regards the Museum as a secondary seller; being registered for VAT the Museum also charges 20% on the goods including their charge for the service. So £7.42 + £5.08 = £12.50, plus VAT = £15.00 plus postage and packing. Explained that way the charge does not seem as bad.
But the appeal of the Post and Go stamps must exceed that of the HMS Victory stamps from Universal Mail UK, also sold by the museum. To a postage price of probably £4.85 (5 x 97p) the museum adds only 57p, plus VAT of £1.07 to arrive at a selling price of £6.50.
As collectors you have the choice, to vote with your feet rather than your hearts!