In years gone by (not so long ago) Royal Mail distributed the stamp calendar at Autumn Stampex but no more. Although they announce the programme to the stamp trade at that event, with details of the first six months, all information is now on strict embargo. And even if it wasn't, the last list I saw showed at least two 'To Be Announced' entries with not even the month known!
I've been told that the programme will not be announced until January. All I can do is repeat what was printed in the October edition of the Philatelic Bulletin (and reprinted in some magazines):
- Ancient BritainI expect Mail by Rail to be a Post and Go issue, and Windsor Castle to be similar to Buckingham Palace - so 6 sheet stamps, 4 in a miniature sheet and an expensive prestige stamp book. I also expect there to be a 10 x 1st class set in March or April just before the postage rates increase.
- Royal Mail Heritage - Mail by Rail
- Racehorse Legends
- Windsor Castle
- Post and Go
To find out more about new issues readers should look at the websites of first day cover producers. Restrictions by Royal Mail Stamps and Collectables mean that cover producers and others can often promote their own products 10 weeks before the issue date.
However I can't now publish pictures of any of the Royal Mail products (stamps, FDCs, etc - even if I was using a special postmark on my Royal Mail FDCs) "until the stamp images are released by us via our website or in mailings to regular order customers".
Typically Royal Mail will undertake PR on the day of issue with a “buy them now” notice.
So I'm sorry, I'm not going back to first day cover production just so that I can provide the pictures and other details at the earliest possible time. And you can't rely on the philatelic press either because they have never had the '10 week' rule even though they have long printing lead times.
The Royal Mail Philatelic Bulletin costs £18.95 (UK and Europe) or £24.95 (rest of world): you can ask for a sample copy but I leave it to you to decide whether it is value for money, given that some of the details of new issues have, in the past, been omitted or inaccurate.
UPDATE 7 DECEMBER
I've been told that there will be a PR announcement for 1 January about (all or one of) next year's new issues, but I have no details. This may mean that - as last year - the first you read about some of the new stamps will be in the national press on that day, if you can be bothered to go and get a newspaper! Again, look at the websites of majors, like The Telegraph.
2nd update: if you follow my twitter account you can see the Windsor Castle stamps which will be issued on 15 February https://www.twitter.com/Ian_norvic/status/806612388539748357
Thanks also to Mia who pointed out that one of the 1st class stamps carries the PostEurop Europa logo (top right on the FDC).