Saturday, 13 October 2018

Office closure 13-22 October 2018

Our office is closed from 13-22 October but the web shop will remain open. 

All new Machin definitives that we have been able to obtain have been made available, but stocks of some, particularly blocks, are low.  If you wish to buy any recent additions which are shown as out of stock, please buy what you can, choose the 'pay by cheque' option, and email us with your further needs.  That will ensure that what IS available is reserved for you.  We will endeavour to obtain the remainder when we are back in the office.

We will process all new orders as quickly as we can, and post as many as are ready by Friday 26th. 

UPDATE:  Day 1 of our return will be devoted mainly to domestic and business administration and catch-up.  If you have placed an order on the shop since 12 October, thank you - yours is one of 35 orders awaiting processing, and some of you have also written to ask for 'out of stock' items to be added.  When we have opened the three packages that arrived from Royal Mail last week we will have a better idea of what we can fill (but one of these will be the Christmas stamps).   Meanwhile, thank you for your continued patience and for those of you on school half-term this week, enjoy it while you can: this glorious weather can't continue!  Last week on the Isle of Wight it was only 7º cooler than a month ago in Mallorca!

Summary of Machin Definitive stamps issued in 2018

Summary of Machin Definitive stamps issued in 2018

2911.8        2nd class counter shee, blu ephosphor
2911B.8      2nd class business sheet
2913.8       2nd Large counter sheet, blue phosphor
2913.8a     2nd Large counter sheet, blue phosphor yellow fluorescence
2913B.8     2nd Large business sheet
2914a.8     1st class counter sheet, yellow phosphor
2914a.8a   1st class counter sheet, blue phosphor yellow fluorescence
2914a.8b   1st class counter sheet, blue phosphor only
2914aB.8   1st class business sheet
2916a.8     1st Large counter sheet, blue phosphor
2916a.8a   1st Large counter sheet, pale blue phosphor, pale yellow fluorescence
2916aB.8   1st Large business sheet
2985.8       100g Special Delivery
2986.8       500g Special Delivery

3001.8       1p maroon
3002.8       2p green, yellow phosphor
3002.8a     2p green, blue phosphor yellow fluorescence
3005.8       5p maroon, yellow phosphor
3010.8       10p orange, yellow phosphor
3010.8b     10p orange, blue phosphor only
3020.8       20p green, yellow phosphor
3020.8a     20p green, blue phosphor yellow fluorescence
3101.8        £1 wood brown, yellow phosphor
3125.8        £1.25 green, blue phosphor
3125.8a      £1.25 green, blue phosphor yellow fluorescence
3145.8        £1.45 dove-grey, blue phosphor
3145.8a      £1.45 dove-grey which fluoresces yellow, blue phosphor
3155.8        £1.55 greenish-blue, blue phosphor
3225.8       £2.25 purple, blue phosphor
3265.8       £2.65 bluish-violet, blue phosphor

2931.8       2nd class retail booklet of 12 MTIL
2933.8       2nd Large retail booklet of 4 MFIL
2936a.8     1st class retail booklet of 8 MTIL
2936aC.8   1st class mixed booklet of 6 MCIL blue phosphor
2936aC.8a  1st class mixed booklet of 6 MCIL blue phosphor, yellow fluorescence
2936aS.8    1st class retail booklet of 6 MSIL 
2937a.8      1st Large retail booklet of 4 MFIL

3702P.8       1st class vermilion from WWI PSB MPIL
4002P.8       2p green from RAF PSB M_IL
4005P.8       5p dull red-brown from RAF PSB M_IL
4117P.8        £1.17 vermillion from RAF PSB M_IL

Also, with M17L year code:
2985.7a       100g Special Delivery on SBP2

A new version of our Checklist incorporating these recent additions will be available as soon as we can overcome the continuing software issues that make the upload a problem.

Thank you to the people who pointed out the 20p escapee from the original list.
We understand that both Royal Mail Signed For stamps printed by Walsall will be distributed by Tallents House on 4 December.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Post and Go Poppies include new printing this year.

The Post and Go Poppy stamp will make a further return appearance in Post Office branches nationwide, from 23 October 2018 in time for Remembrance Day and the many special covers which are being produced by the usual cover producers.

I've been told (thanks RW & SL) that this year stamps will be from a new printing with the year code showing as R18YAL - although branches with existing stocks will be likely to use those first.  Look out for stamps with 2nd class service indicators - it's bound to happen somewhere!

UPDATE 12 October.  Press release from the Postal Museum:
The poppy stamps with an overprint reading ‘The Postal Museum/ WWI 1918 – 2018’ marking the centenary of the armistice ending World War I will replace the Mail by Sea designs. Stamps will be available on all values and will run until 30 November.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Another early release of a special stamp

I wonder how long it will be before a Post Office branch lets out early a stamp which Royal Mail have placed an absolute embargo and kept the design secret until the day of issue.

This thought occurred because my friend Mia told me about this blog from Eva in Spain, has had not one but two examples of early use of the Old Vic stamps, officially issued on 30 August.  One was posted just two days early on 28 August, but the other was postmarked 20 August.  Although errors do occur on postmarks, this is most unlikely to affect the date and time on modern ink-jet postmarks.


Apparently the Post Office branch concerned had run out of any other stamp!  That would be because so few stamp issues have the basic European/postcard £1.25 stamp.

Friday, 5 October 2018

More news on Machin counter sheets

New stock from Royal Mail is arriving sporadically and will be made available on our ecommerce site as soon as we have everything organised.

Meanwhile, a third printing of the 1st class counter sheet has arrived.  And this is yet a third variant.

The stamps, shown left to right in the image below, are
14 February - yellow-fluorescing phosphor
8 May            - blue phosphor with yellow fluorescence in the transparent iridescent ink.
28 August     - blue phosphor only*


* Although you can see a very pale W1 for the iridescent cylinder number I believe this is reflection, and no more than you can see with the naked eye.  I'll have another look in real darkness!

Thursday, 4 October 2018

New in our shop - Stampex FDCs, and maximum cards

We've put a few new items in our shop today, new Machin first day covers and Mail by Bike Maximum Cards, which are found most easily by looking at Recent Additions.



September Slogan Postmarks


Quite simply, there haven't been any reported aside from the default Action for Children.

Is this the first month in recent times when there have been no special slogans?
Although they never announce them to collectors, is this another move by Royal Mail to simplify their operation, or is the person who sets up the system on extended holiday?

Who knows?  If you have had any slogans, please do let me know so that they can be reported.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Special Delivery Definitives 2018

The number of basic definitive stamps (that is, without any fluorescent variants) still to come this year is going down all the time.  We are now able to show the two Special Delivery stamps and hope to have these in stock soon.

These will be listed as 2985.8 and 2986.8 in our checklist.  Both were printed on 17/0718 and have blue phosphor with no yellow fluorescence.

Readers tell us that Royal Mail will distribute these as non-visible change in December for those who have these on standing orders.  Note that this is only because of the change of printer, not because the year date has changed.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Summary update after our break

Summary of recent news.

1.  The October stamp issue has now been revealed as another for Harry Potter.  You can pre-order on Royal Mail's website.  This includes a set of 10 x 1st class, a miniature sheet, and a retail booklet.  This last contains 4 x 1st class Machins coded M18L MCIL and so no different to earlier booklets.  More about this on another blogpost where you will be able to let us know what you think.
(Edit: I've now seen that there is a Prestige Book as well, which may contain something more interesting for collectors.  Thanks to IR and Royal Mail's website, where the December-issued PSB has a 16 October FD postmark(!), we know that the stamps are shown to be 1p, 20p, 50p & £1.25, so 4 new stamps.)

2.  More new Machin definitive has been found - both Special Delivery stamps, 100g and 500g, M18L are now known to exist, and we are making arrangements to obtain them.  The 2nd Large business sheet has also been noted on eBay.

Finally, please take a look at the rewritten review of the 2018 counter sheet stamps, which now contains more startling new information.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Machin Definitive Stamps Checklist v 2.0.8 now available

My apologies for the delay in providing a new version of the Checklist.  This is now available at

Version 2.0.8 incorporates the latest information about blue and yellow phosphor on Walsall printings of the counter sheet stamps, and includes the 1st class from the World War I PSB issued last week.  Some changes have also been made to Royal Mail product codes for these stamps.

Updates and Corrections:
Thanks to readers who have provided corrections and additions to the list, and my apologies for the oversight.

Firstly, in the latest Gibbons Stamp Monthly John Deering has pointed out that the colour of the 1st class from the World War I PSB is 'vermillion' rather than 'bright scarlet'.  This is the one we have listed as deep scarlet 3702aP.8 - but it could be renumbered as 3702P.8!  In fact, looking at all the 1st class red MPIL stamps, they are remakably similar in shade, and viewing them is not helped by the iridescent printing which does alter ones perception of the shade.  Anyway, I shall scan them side-by-side in due course and leave you to judge.

20p: the second printing of the Walsall M18L counter sheet was omitted, this should appear as

2018 - M18L - Issue 12/09/18 - DS207WL - U2924 - U2924 - (Norvic) 3020.8a - PD 085/0/18 Blue phosphor.

Page 16, 2p M_IL:  the SG number is U3071d not U3071e.