Digital printing of Post and Go stamps has previously been confined to stamps produced for Qatar and Gibraltar, but this is the first for Royal Mail: it won't be the last. Royal Mail initially announced that 'GB' versions would be available from Tallents House Edinburgh. When dealers tried to order they were told that no GB versions would be available, and then a couple of days later were sent an order form, and the stamps also appeared on Royal Mail's shop website.
Only 12 rolls of the new stamps were taken to Hong Kong, and there were long queues at both machines (A008 and A009) with the familiar faces appearing to buy quantities of collectors sets and 1st class strips. These have duly appeared online at various prices.
Understandably there was less interest in the home-produced GB versions, despite the Hong Kong stamp being a new printing. However, those who did order early were in for a surprise. Whilst the Union Flag strip was normal, with a receipt for £7.68, the Hong Kong strip had different 'values' or Service Indicators, and a receipt for only £6.12 (although £7.68 was charged by Royal Mail's shop).
The Service Indicators of Local Standard, UK Letter 20g and 30g, EU and Worldwide 20g were odd but the final stamp is the clincher - 'Registered Fee' shows this to be almost the same set as appeared at Europhilex from the Royal Gibraltar Post machine, the difference being that the Europhilex strips had a UK 40g Letter stamp, whilst this has a UK 30g stamp!
So yet another in the long series of errors on Post and Go stamps.
According to the Post and Go News page on Royal Mail's website
Royal Mail has recently moved Post and Go product and pre-order printing to Tallents House.In other words, they are no longer relying on a contractor to print the stamps for sale.
After a series of errors of inscription at live machines, notably at Stampex on several occasions, the idea that the stamps produced from the back-office machine B001 would be produced in house was welcomed. After all, Royal Mail would be in control, and - presumably - have more control, or at least check what was being produced in house.
In carpentry the saying is 'measure twice, cut once': I'm sure there could be a similar maxim applied here: look at how good they are, and whether they are of saleable/ collectable quality, and then look again harder to make sure they are exactly what you expected to produce. And have more than one pair of eyes looking!
Where is the quality control?
Inevitably some customers contacted Tallents House to complain that they had been charged £7.68 but had a receipt for only £6.12 - without realising that they actually had a collectable error. Royal Mail thus alerted, I understand that the remaining stock was immediately removed from sale, leaving those of us who ordered later likely to get a new printing of the stamps with the correct UK Service Indicators.
My thanks to the several collectors who sent pictures and reported what they had received.
Just for the record this (above right) is what the stamps from the exhibition looked like, with UK Service Indicators from machine A008 (click on the image to see it larger).
UPDATE 4 December
The only one of the error strips I have seen on the eBay auction site, item 381478639269 sold yesterday for £220.
UPDATE 30 November
By chance I am also able to show the box label for these Hong Kong Coils - ignore the datestamp as this relates to when something else was despatched to me from Tallents House using the P&G box.