Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Is the 10g Airmail and postcard rate remaining on the new tariff ? - YES!!

Breaking News - the 10g airmail (International Standard) rate may not be disappearing on Sunday!


As I write there is uncertainty over what is happening to Airmail rates on Monday.  According to the first downloaded rate chart, and the leaflet in Post Office branches, there will be no 10g rate from Monday 31 March.

But I have been told about a new download chart which shows that the 10g rate of 97p applying to both Europe and the rest of the world - which will please Postcrossers.   There may also be implications for Post and Go machines.

For an up-to-date statement on what is happening on Post and Go machines from Monday 31st please see the Tariff-change blogpost.



I'm seeking clarification from Royal Mail !

UPDATE 1.45 26 March 2014

Royal Mail have confirmed that the rate for postcards and 10g letters worldwide will be 97p replacing the 88p current rate.

This will NOT apply to premium services, Tracked/Signed/Tracks+Signed: the minimum rates for these services will be postage +£5 outside the EU, ie £5.97 Europe and £6.28 World. EU 20g rate is £7.16 (including VAT at 20%) 

Download the changed Postage Rates leaflet from Royal Mail's website (pdf).



Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Slogan Postmarks for people featured on Remarkable Lives stamp issue

I'm short on details so far, but understand that special slogan postmarks - similar to those for Footballers and Doctor Who - were used from yesterday for the people featured on the Remarkable Lives stamp issue.

Here's the Dylan Thomas one, not a very clear example, unfortunately



Roy Plomley was born in Kingston, Surrey.
Barbara Ward was born at Heworth, Yorkshire
Joe Mercer was born in the Wirral
Kenneth More was born in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire
Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea
Sir Alec Guinness was born in London
Joan Littlewood was born in south London
Abram Games was born in Whitechapel, London
Max Perutzwas born in Vienna, and
Noorunissa Inayat Khan was born in Moscow.

I don't know whether the postmarks will be applied on mail going to their birthplaces or the places where they are best known, or did most of their work.  Time will tell!

UPDATE 26.3.14
Royal Mail have provided these mock-ups for two other postmarks which are being used for Noorunissa Inayat Khan to London WC1 and Roy Plomley to the KT (Kingston-upon-Thames) postcode area:




The Dylan Thomas slogan is in Welsh this week and English from March 31st, on all mail addressed to Wales.


Max Perutz slogan used on mail to Cambridge - see here

More 2014 Machin definitive stamps are appearing

Just a week ago we announced the first Machin with a 2014 year code outside those in the Locomotives prestige book, and now I can show two more.  Thanks to the reader who sent these pictures.


The 12x 1st Class books with code M14L and 'T' have a packing date of 04/02/14

The 50 x 2nd large Business sheets with code MA14 and 'B' have a printing date of 07/01/14 (Richard reminds me that the MBIL is now to the right of the value, rather than to the right of the Queen.)




That brings the total to date to 6, with these four already in stock.  We'll add the two new ones as soon as stock is available.  And of course there are 4 more tomorrow, for the new tariff.
2931R.2W - 2nd class coil 10,000 printed by Walsall - M12L MRIL

4002P.3E - 2p From Classic Locomotives of the UK prestige stamp book M13L MPIL

4005P.3F - 5p ditto.  4005P.3E was in the Merchant Navy PSB with inverted perforations

2911.4 - 2nd class counter sheet


Monday, 24 March 2014

Contents of Post and Go machines on change of tariff 2014

New postage rates will be introduced on 31 March 2014.  In Post and Go machines the Worldwide 10g and Worldwide 40g stamps will no longer be relevant and they will be replaced by Europe 60g and Worldwide 60g stamps.

The new 'values' or 'service indicators' are expected to be available on Machin head, Union Flag, and Spring Flowers stamps, but will also be available on previous issues where they remain in the machines.

If you find any of these I will be interested in obtaining stock of both new values, both for myself and for customers.  I still need Machin MA13, Union Flag MA13, Robin MA12, and all Freshwater Life.


Mock-ups of what we can expect



In order to keep track of which designs of Post and Go stamps are available this post is available for readers to record what has appeared, and where - and on which type of machine, as the NCR version is rolled-out through the country.  Mock-ups of what might be available




Some people have asked about FDCs for the new rates. Apart from the very first sets of brown which was sold in a pack of 5 values, and the first set of blue Machin heads, Royal Mail have only ever produced official FDCs for the designs, rather than the values.  However FDCs can be obtained by dealers and collectors.

Only on-topic comments will be published!

UPDATE 28 MARCH 2014
For both Wincor-Nixdorf and NCR Post and Go machines (and the BPMA machine) I have reliable information that the new stamps will be available from start of business.  A notice should tell customers wanting Worldwide 10g to buy Europe 20g.  At a later date the Worldwide 10g option will be reinstated under the 'post an item' menu.

See PostagelabelsUK blog.

UPDATE 10 April 2014

Apologies for not adding this earlier: I thought it had been done, but I now rectify the omission! Regarding the future value of obsolete Post and Go stamps Royal Mail have advised:

"Existing P&G stamps for WW 10g and WW40g and other previously issued NVI’s for which there is no current postage value e.g. WW Postcard, will continue to be valid for the next applicable weight step up from its stated value i.e. WW 10g stamp will be valid at the WW 20g value and the WW 40g stamp will be valid at the new WW 60g value."

I'm not sure of the position now that the basic Worldwide 10g and Postcard rates have been re-instated to the tariff.



REPORT 31 MARCH 2014

Contrary to statements by some people who thought they knew something that Post Office Ltd and Royal Mail managers did not, the software changes for the new tariff were effected before the branches opened for business this morning.

Wincor-Nixdorf machines dispensed Europe 60g and Worldwide 60g stamps, and the Worldwide 10g and Worldwide 40g options were no longer available.  To cater for the restored world postcard and Worldwide 10g letter rate of 97p, a magnetic notice was affixed to the machine advising customers who wanted to post such items to choose the "Letter Europe (up to 20g) option" for a 97p stamp (see pictures).  Unfortunately the body of the machine is mainly plastic so the label placed on the red and white metal pictogram panel below the screen.  One unfortunate side-effect of the software change is that instead of dispensing up to 99 stamps the machine will now only take orders for up to 20, meaning far more transactions.  [However, it is still possible to purchase at least 5 x Collectors Sets of 6 in one transaction.  I regard the reduction as a fault and have reported it as it does produce longer queues.]



The IAR Machine at the BPMA produced Machin stamps with MA13 and Union Flag with no year code.

Reports from two NCR machine locations referred to software problems.  Apparently the machine displayed the 60g options, took the money, gave change and printed receipts but not stamps.  The fault was reported before noon and it is to be hoped that it will be rectified by tomorrow.  If it is, then 1 April will be the first day for NCR 60g stamps - unless anybody can tell me any differently ?
A second report was that when a 'Collectors Set' was selected, the 4 old stamp values were printed but the two 60g were not, so producing a strip of 4.

Contents of Machines

I'm grateful to the many correspondents who have phoned, left voicemail messages, and emailed, about what they have found in various machines from Truro to Glasgow and many points between.  I'll summarise this and put some more pictures up in this same blogpost later.

Meanwhile, here is a picture of a collectors set of the Spring Flowers from Norwich, demonstrating the small figures of value used for the two 60g stamps, compared with the others.  Also the weight line is inset compared with the Europe 20g but is in the same place as the Worldwide 20g.



Table of contents as advised to 2 April.
Please see added comments for ongoing details of machine contents, 
which will only be shown here if they are new stamps to the list

Location
Contents
Comment
Norwich
Machin undated. Also Robin MA13
Spring Blooms
1 out of order
York
Machins in both.

Barnsley
Spring Blooms

Camden High Street
Cattle, Union Flag

Truro
Flags
Birds 3
Birds 3 available on 31 March, only just reported.
Sutton (1 m/c)
Spring Flowers

Croydon (6 m/c)
#1,3,6 Flags no year code; #2 spring blooms; 
#4 Machins no year code; #5 Robins MA13

Darlington
#1 Cattle; #2 had Flags on Saturday

Trafalgar Square
#1 Spring Blooms,   Rivers in all other machines

Aldwych
Machins (no year) in both

Old Street
Sheep; Flag (no year); Machin (no year)

Holborn
Machin (no year); Rivers
8 April update: Lakes

Baker Street
Rivers (both)
8 April update: Ponds

Paddington
Flag (no year)

Glasgow (branch?)
Pigs, Cattle

Harrogate
Sheep, Flags

Leeds
Birds 4, Pigs

Birmingham
Pinfold St
2 out of order; most had Machins
One: Flowers jammed, second flowers jammed, so replaced with Flag

Basildon WHS
Machin no year
(no magnet)
Southend-on-Sea
1. Spring Blooms; 2. Machin (no year)
(magnet)
Golders Green
Machin (no year)
(magnet) 'Newvision' on receipts
Blackfriars Bridge
Machin (no year)
(no magnet)
Cirencester (NCR)
Machin – Col Set of 4, no 60g

Stroud (NCR)
Machin – Col Set of 4, no 60g

Bristol
2 x Flags; 3 x Spring blooms
(machines labeled with contents)
Durham
Spring Flowers; Robins MA12

Plymouth
Machins (no year)
All 3 machines
Macclesfield
Spring Blooms (1st and 2nd)
-
Manchester (Spring Gardens)
Machins in 2 m/c)
One machine not working
Sydenham (NCR)
Machins (1st and 2nd)
All working well Tuesday 1 April with upgrade.
Grimsby
Birds 2
Seen on eBay 20 April, with April purchase date (see below)


Images from Norwich and supplied by readers. (Click on each for larger images)

Norwich

BPMA
Old Street, London, Sheep

Trafalgar Square/William IV Street Rivers
Old Street Flags
Durham Silver Street
Glasgow St Vincent Street
Pigs and Cattle

Harrogate Sheep
Leeds Birds 4

Spotted on eBay (not bought on 31 March but in April)
Birds 2 from Grimsby

And lastly, Lakes and Ponds from Paignton (update 15 May)




Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Happy New Year! Security Machins enter 2014.

I am pleased to announce that the first 2014-coded Machin Security stamp is now available, the 2nd class counter sheet.  The printing date is 22/01/14



This is the fourth new Machin definitive to appear this year.  All are available on our shop.


2931R.2W - 2nd class coil 10,000 printed by Walsall - M12L MRIL

4002P.3E - 2p From Classic Locomotives of the UK prestige stamp book M13L MPIL
4005P.3F - 5p ditto.  4005P.3E was in the Merchant Navy PSB with inverted perforations

2911.4 - 2nd class counter sheet



Monday, 17 March 2014

ROYAL MAIL'S FIVE-YEAR PROGRAMME TO COMMEMORATE THE GREAT WAR


Royal Mail will issue a landmark series of Special Stamps each year from 2014 to 2018 to commemorate the Great War. The set will feature 30 stamps, with six being produced each year. The first set of stamps will be issued in July this year.  

From Press Release
"The stamp range will provide a wide-ranging and inclusive commemoration. Themes that will be covered during the five years include:

-      How artists, including writers and painters, interpreted the events
-      The role of non-combatants and civilians
-      The role of the Services
-      The role of women
-      The contribution of the Commonwealth"


These are the stamps that will be issued on 28 July 2014


For this issue a new 1st class Poppy stamp, designed by Fiona Strickland, has been commissioned by Royal Mail Group Ltd © 2014.  The other stamps show:

Poetry: ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon, September 1914
Portraits: Private William Cecil Tickle, 9th Battalion, Essex Regiment
War Art: A Star Shell by Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson, 1916
Remembrance Memorials: The Response, Newcastle, sculpted by Sir William Goscombe John RA Artefacts: Princess Mary’s Gift Fund box


The stamp issue consists of a set of 6 stamps and a prestige stamp book containing the six stamps and two definitive panes.  The usual stamp cards, first day covers and presentation pack will also be issued, along with a Coin Cover.  More details will be on our website later.  See the full Press Release here.

UPDATE 18 August 2014
The pictorial stamps issued in sheets have two phosphor bands except for the 'Starburst' painting and 'We Will Remember Them' poetry stamps which are all-over phosphor.  We now know that all 6 pictorial stamps in the PSB have all-over phosphor which means that at least 4 will have a separate listing in some catalogues.  They are certainly different stamps and we have them in stock now.

Full details, including ultra-violet pictures, on our website.

List of Post Offices with NCR Post and Go machines

By popular request part of the blog will list Post Office branches which have NCR Post and Go machines, as they are reported to me.  Only comments which refer to this, the date that the machines went live, or content of the machines will be published on this post.

All reports so far which have mentioned machine/kiosk numbers show machines are numbered 67, 68, 69 etc. Number 67 has been described as a 'master', with the others all 'slaves'.

Note:  as the NCR machines are being installed all over the country, with some speed, I can no longer keep the table up to date, but will continue to accept comments about new locations.  Note that the Spring Blooms stamps are also appearing in NCR machines.

UPDATE 1 June 2014:  A new list of NCR branches, provided by Post Office Ltd, can be found here. The list has not be checked against information we already have and no start dates are shown.  That list will be updated with extra information as received and all future comments may be made there.

Number
Location
Live
Comment and date
008033 Harpenden, Herts 28.2.14 2nd class MA12 in RH m/c; MA13 in LH 22.3.14
004134 Leighton Buzzard Beds 13.3.14 1st and 2nd both MA13 in m/c 68 13.3.14
Grantham, Lincs - No details available -
013004 Muswell Hill, London 14.3.14 2nd #67 MA12, #68 MA13, 1st class MA13 in both -
005226 Kettering Northants 11.3.14 1st MA13; 2nd MA12 in 67, MA13 in 68 -
008523 Stroud, Glos 21.3.14 3 machines all MA13 -
015523 Cirencester, Glos 26.3.14 - -
013002 Kingsland High St, Dalston [1] - 2nd class MA12 17/3/14
037005 Hoddesdon, Herts [2] 21.3.14 Started 1st MA13, 2nd MA12 -
- - - 2nd MA13 in #68 26.3.14
025007 Sydenham 24.3.14 1st and 2nd both #67 and #68

018002 Poplar - Due to go live 26/3 but awaiting delivery of machines and Horizon terminal -
- South Woodford - Awaiting delivery -
- Walthamstow Central - Two machines installed, staff awaiting training -
023201 Harborne, Birmingham 27/3/14 2nd MA12, 1st MA13 in both machines -
- Banbury - Expected 4/4/14 2 machines -
- Bracknell - 'Soon' - new PAG office -
- Plymouth - 3 before the end of April -
- Eastcheap Five machines, 67 - 71
All MA13
-
- King Street, Action 3 machines all MA13 -
008113 Cambridge 3 installed by 22 April. Date to be confirmed. Cambridge City, 57-58 St Andrew Street, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB2 3BZ
- Harlow
2 machines now installed -
006504
025511
002006
017937
012137
017907
010941
004900
?
Trowbridge
Nailsea
Acton
Bognor
Banbury
Eastbourne
Faversham
Camberley
Stockport
10 April
9 April
7 April
8 April
4 April
9 April
7 April
4 April
?
2 machines
2 machines
3 machines
3 machines
2 machines
?
2 machines
?
3 machines
-
002820 Dundee 11 April ?  MA13 -
- Oldham 4 April 2 machines -
- Dartford n/k 3 machines -



(1) Dalston


22.3.14 - According to Malcolm (see commnets)
"Sydenham, Poplar and S Woodford all have building work progressing with S Woodford probably closest to finishing with kiosks due next week with no promises according to the staff there" - see above

I was told several weeks ago that Truro is undergoing a refit, so that may be the first in the SW. 


[2] Muswell Hill and Hoddesdon


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

British Postmark Bulletin 7 March

A number of people have emailed about discrepancies between the postmark reference numbers shown on our website and as in the printed version of the Bulletin sent out this week.  The Bulletin was printed from an early proof in error.  The numbers on our website, taken from an email sent by Royal Mail last Friday, are correct.

I don't know whether a new version of the Bulletin is being posted.
I understand that a reprint was mailed to subscribers.



NCR Post and Go - what do collectors want?

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?
Suggestions please!!

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)"




Monday, 10 March 2014

SPS Annual Congress at Perth: Post and Go arrangements.

The following details have been provided by the organisers of the Scottish Philatelic Societies' Annual Congress in Perth.  Two innovations make things interesting and more complex.  Stamp dealers have been notified of arrangements for pre-ordering from Royal Mail, the stamps being printed on machine B001 and B002, and Jersey Post will attend for the first time but with their stamps will not have also carrying the Perth Congress caption.



The Annual Congress of the Scottish Philatelic Societies at Perth on 11-12 April 2014 will again have new items of interest to collectors.   For the first time Jersey Philatelic Bureau will be attending Congress with Post and Go machine J001.  This will print stamps with the Jersey flag and with the Union flag – both with the Congress overprint. For those not attending Congress details of ordering Jersey Post materials will appear on www.jerseystamps.com and orders for Jersey materials must be sent to the Jersey Philatelic Bureau. (See below *)

Post and Go Machines numbers A003 and A004 will be used at Congress for both Machin and Union Flag stamps. Congress overprints will be available from both machines for strips of six of each of 1st class (£3.72), 1st Large (£5.58) Europe 20g (£5.82) and 60g (£8.82) and Worldwide 20g (£7.68) and 60g (£12.90). The Collector’s Strip is £7.42.

Similar stamps will be issued by back of office machines B001 and B002.

Also available are two Souvenir Smiler Sheets, one with the Union Flag and one with the Scottish Saltire flag, the latter having a Scottish Postal History and Perth Lamb image alongside each stamp. The background will feature the badges of the Scottish battalions that fought in Wold War I. Designs are being finalised. The sheets will each cost £10.20 (A5) and £18.65 (A4).

Unless otherwise requested, orders may be made up using stamps from machines B001 and B002.

All items are charged at cost plus postage and packing as detailed below.

POSTAGE and PACKING

UK
Europe
Rest of World
Up to 5 items
Over 5 items
Up to 5 items
Over 5 items
Up to 5 items
Over 5 items
£3
£6
£6
£8
£8
£12
Special Delivery up to value of
£1000: £10 extra
£2500: £15 extra
International signed for up to value of
£500: £15 extra

Purchasers will be advised if the weight of their order exceeds the above costs and additional payment is required.

Special posting requests for all the above items will be costed and purchasers advised prior to sending the items.

Please note that orders (or total of multiple orders) exceeding £500 will be subject to a surcharge of 10% of the total cost.  Update 17 March 2014: ASPS have changed this today: orders over £100 now are subject to a surcharge of 10%.  The total cost of a £100-face order paid by PayPal is now over £121.


PayPal account: dundeephilatelic@btinternet.com
PayPal surcharge on all orders: 4% of total order

Cheques/Postal orders in sterling should be made payable to ‘ASPS’

Orders should be sent to
Colin G Campbell, 11 Denoon Terrace, Dundee DD2 2EL, Scotland, UK
or to dundeephilatelic@btinternet.com

Commemorative cover and postcard:
All requests regarding commemorative covers featuring Gleneagles Hotel and golf course and/or postcards, with badges of Scottish battalions that fought in Wold War I, should be made to Alan Wishart at at.wishart@btopenworld.com

These items and more information on the ASPS Congress can be viewed at www.scottishphilately.homestead.com

* UPDATE 12 March
Two points on Jersey: the stamps will not have the Perth Congress caption.  Jersey Post will only take orders for stamps from the B machine.  So the Congress organisers will now take orders for stamps from the J machine under these terms:

Costs (including VAT that is payable on Jersey stamps) are as follows. 
Postage and packing costs are the same as above.

Collectors Strip: £4.75

Cost of strips of 6 stamps
Local letter: : £3.24
UK Letter: £3.96
Europe: £4.32
Local Large: £4.92
UK Large: £6.36
International letter: £5.76

[Some errors have been corrected: Norvic Philatelics takes no responsibility for any not picked up!]



So although Jersey Post has not yet installed one of these machines in a Post Office branch or any other location on the island, they are now going down the road of adding to collectables made especially for collectors.  Not a wise move and likely to deter collectors from buying their products (and those of Guernsey should they ever join the Post and Go club).

Although not stated, I presume the Jersey machine in Perth will be dispensing both Jersey and Union Flag stamps. Collectors will want at least the Union Flag and possibly the Jersey stamps from the J machine, which the organisers are not offering.  It remains to be seen whether Jersey Post is offering both those and the B machine stamps: their website is so far silent on the matter.

What was originally a Royal Mail souvenir for collectors visiting the event was always going to be a problem when the organisers made arrangements to supply collectors (something I asked for as I didn't want to be inundated with requests to get these stamps - Perth is not 'nearby' after all!).

With UK and continental dealers requiring hundreds or thousands of sets in diffierent combinations the organisers will have had a problem dealing with the orders and have (correctly in my view) decided to capitalise on this demand by ensuring that their servicing fees more than cover simply the face value and cost of postage.

Pre-order machine.  When the stamp trade was told about the pre-ordering facility it was to be for local payment and collection at the show only (which was fairly pointless as if I we couldn't get to the show to get the stamps from the machines, we couldn't get them from the pre-order facility either!).

It makes sense, of course, for the Congress organisers to take advantage of this to fill as many orders as possible with pre-printed stamps rather than stamps dispensed from the machines actually at Perth.  But if Stampex is anything to go by, collectors (and therefore dealers) will want stamps from both the B machine/s and the A machines.

It remains to be seen whether the organisers are busier because colletors want both or less busy because they want none!


New version of BPMA Postage Due inscription as Postal Heritage gets series 2 machine

Postal Heritage Press release 10 March 2014

"On 24 March a new A001 Post and Go machine will be installed at the British Postal Museum and Archive (BPMA).  Supplied by Intelligent AR Limited, the new model represents the next generation of Royal Mail Post and Go vending machines and incorporates a number of new design and software features. First introduced at Spring Stampex 2014, the A001 has been further developed to be easier to use, ensuring the BPMA can offer the best service to its customers.

"The installation will take place on the morning of Monday 24 March, meaning that no Post & Go facility will be available at this time. The new machine should be available to customers from 13:00. As previously advertised, the Post and Go underprint “The B.P.M.A./ Postage Due 1914” will continue until 25 April (updated by BPMA 21 March).

"The A1 Post and Go machine currently in Freeling House - home of the BPMA’s Archive collections - will be accessioned into the BPMA’s Museum Collections."

Yes, this means that the Postage Due version of the Machin and Flag faststamps will have a different variant.   The existing version has a data string with machine number shown as A1


The new version will have machine A001 so the data string will look like the one which was on the stamps sold at Stampex:



Obviously Royal Mail wanted the machines to be used at Stampex first, rather than the BPMA - although why is not clear.  But if the Postage Due caption had been delayed until the anniversary of the introduction of Postage Due stamps (20 April) the new machines and the caption could have been introduced at the same time.  It rather makes one think that Royal Mail wanted collectors and dealers to buy twice as many stamps as necessary.....