Monday 4 December 2023

December 2023 slogan postmarks and other interesting postal markings.

Slogan postmarks used in November will be shown here; please check for latest updates before spending your time scanning, but if you have something new or another format, then please do send it in for publication. 

Our first stamped post of the month shows a continuation of the British Heart Foundation default postmark, and as it's a square envelope we have a good example of the slogan layout reversed - and the wavy lines go squarely across the barcode due to the position of the stamp.  

Gatwick Mail Centre 02/12/2023 reversed layout.

British Heart Foundation slogan postmark Gatwick 02/12/2023.

Other postmarks, postal markings etc,



If you have any other interesting postal markings, please send them to one of the email addresses in the top right of this blog.  Thank you.

Remember, any other slogans appearing in Decvember will be added to this post, so check here before you spend time scanning and emailing.  I'll add new ones as quickly as possible.


Friday 1 December 2023

Royal Mail make postboxes festive in major cities.

After a quiet year for decorated postboxes, Royal Mail has once again decorated postboxes for the festive season.  

The press release is not yet on the corporate website but the gist of it is in the media already.

Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail, said: “This is Royal Mail’s busiest time of the year.

“December sees about twice as many letters, cards and parcels as other months.

“At Royal Mail, we’re geared up to help with festive preparations, whether that’s delivering the nation’s love and best wishes through Christmas cards, or the presents that tens of millions of people will be shopping online for right now.

“This year we’re adding some extra festive joy and cheer for people sending their letters and Christmas cards to loved ones through our amazing singing postboxes.”

The postboxes are located in London’s Oxford Street, Glasgow’s George Square, Belfast’s Donegall Square West and Union Street in Swansea.


The postboxes are pictured on Royal Mail's X-account (formerly Twitter).  "Four of our Postboxes across the UK have been decked out for Christmas, and merrily respond to post with one of three festive tunes."

Belfast – Donegall Square West Singing Postbox
Glasgow – George Square Singing Postbox

London – Oxford Street (opposite John Lewis) Singing Postbox

From Google Street View, a view from the other side showing the John Lewis store.

London – Oxford Street (opposite John Lewis) Postbox - Google Street View

Swansea – Union Street Singing Postbox

An odd picture against a shuttered storefront. Was it a run-down part of Swansea? No, it was a jewellery store on overnight closure!

Swansea – Union Street  Postbox - Google Street View.

Monday 27 November 2023

Machin Bargain Sales resume now

Observant readers will have noticed that the sales lists which I removed in August have not yet reappeared.

The list of Machin definitives with elliptical perforations (the Gibbons Y-numbers) have not previously been listed at all.

That list is now available on Dropbox.  Quantities available are shown and I will try to update this as soon as possible as stamps are sold.

List 8 - Machin Y-numbers with elliptical peforations. 

List 10 - Smilers Sheets and singles, including Smilers for Kids, and the very rarest normal Smilers. For many of these we have only a single copy.

Other lists, mostly revised versions of previous lists, will be added shortly. 

I'll also be producing a list of Smilers FDCs for sale at attractive prices. 

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Old Smilers Sheets, still valid for postage, for sale at under face.

As part of my operation to run-down business stocks so as to be able to concentrate on my collections, I'm now offering a range of 'Hello' Smilers Sheets issued to mark Royal Mail's participation at philatelic events.

These are all valid for postage and each contains 20 x 1st class stamps, so face value £25.

For sale now at only £15 each plus postage.  They can be used with or without the labels.

Italia 2009

 Beijing Olympic Expo 2008

Washingtgon International Stamp Exhibition 2006.

Hong Kong Stamp Expo 2004.

Thaipex 2009

UPDATE: I found some more, not pictured, one of each: Pacific Explorer 2005,  Belgica 2006, Monaco 2009.

ONLY TWO NOW available, mix and match, postage will cover several sheets.

PRICE £15 each – buy six for £85.
Postage extra – these are A4 sheets so will be Large Letters in the UK and Worldwide.
Check Royal Mail price finder for your area outside UK.

UK by bank transfer or cheque.
WORLD by Paypal family and friends. (or bank transfer from UK account or UK cheque).

If the buyer only wants postage I can remove the stamps from the sheets to send just the stamps, which might reduce the cost of posting them.  Folding the sheets also allows them to be sent as ordinary letters.

First come first served.  Leave a comment to reserve, and send an email providing mailing address and confirming requirements.  Send no money until confirmed by me!

More special offers coming.

Datamatrix Machins, April 2022 printings available - sheets, part sheets or singles. Cheap!

Due to an ordering/supply error I have complete sheets of the low value Machin barcoded stamps.  Knowing that ordinary collectors find it difficult to order positional singles and blocks from Royal Mail I thought I would offer to break up these sheets and only send the remainder back for credit.

1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p Queen Elizabeth II Datamatrix stamps with April 2022 printing dates.


There are many different ways of collecting these: some people collect sheets, some collect a date and cylinder block of 10 (ie the top two rows in this view), and a number of marginal singles. Clearly these are not mutually exclusive.

I use this template to inform Royal Mail of my requirements.

Sheets available at face +15%

Blocks of 8 or 10 at face + 20%

Blocks of 4, 6, pairs singles at face + 25%

Cheque or bank transfer only, no cards.  (Foreign buyers can use PayPal Friends & Family payment.)  Postage extra.  Sheets & blocks of 10 are large letter rate.

First come first served.  Leave a comment to reserve, and send an email providing mailing address and confirming requirements.  Send no money until confirmed by me!

More special offers coming soon.


Wednesday 8 November 2023

The Postal Museum: Final throes of Post and Go

The Postal Museum Press Release:

Following the announcement made by Royal Mail earlier this year, November and December will be the final months that visitors and collectors will be able to make purchases from The Postal Museum’s two Post & Go machines. Please find the final schedule of Post & Go at The Postal Museum below.

Mail Rail Lest We Forget additional inscription for 2023.

UPDATE 24 November - Revised and accurate position*



Friday 1 Dec – Saturday 23 December

Weds 27 – Sunday 31 December (5pm)

A001 Reel 1

1st class Machin R20

The Postal Museum

Winter Greenery 1st

The Postal Museum  §

Anniversary Machins

End of Post & Go at

The Postal Museum

A001 Reel 3

2nd class Machin MA15

The Postal Museum

Winter Greenery 2nd

The Postal Museum §


A001 Reel 4

Mail by Bike

The Postal Museum

Dressed to Deliver



A001 Reel 5

Poppies MA15

The Postal Museum

Lest We Forget '23

Mail Coach

The Postal Museum


A001 Reel 6

PO Underground*

The Postal Museum


Union Flag

End of Post & Go at

The Postal Museum

Mail Rail

A013 Reel 1

PO Underground*

Mail Rail



A013 Reel 3

Poppies MA15

Mail Rail

Lest We Forget '23

Winter Grenery 1st

Mail Rail §

1st class Machins

End of Post & Go at

Mail Rail

In both cases Reel 2 produces receipts.

§ Malcolm confirms that Greenery this year will be R19YAL and CL17S into A001 with R17YAL into A013.

*Further information:
Please note that the final overprint wording may still be subject to change. As these are the museum’s final stocks, availability is subject to demand and may run out before the dates listed above.

Although it may seem logical for the End of Post & Go inscription to be on all reels at present Royal Mail have limited it to those three shown.  It would certainly produce more revenue - which would go straight to the bottom line - if all 7 reels were treated alike.   Watch this space.

Friday 3 November 2023

November 2023 slogan postmarks and other interesting postal markings.

Slogan postmarks used in November will be shown here; please check for latest updates before spending your time scanning, but if you have something new or another format, then please do send it in for publication.

The month has continued the use of the Movember campaign started on 31 October (see October listing).  Two further examples from RW who provides examples from Exeter and Manchester on 2 November.

The Moustache is Calling
Raise funds. Save lives.
Sign up now.


Movember slogan used at Manchester Mail Centre 02/11/2023

Movember slogan used at Exeter Mail Centre 02-11-2023

The second slogan for November is the traditional one for this time of the year.  Here's an example we received this morning from Norwich Mail Centre dated 7 November.

Lest We Forget Armistice Day 2023 slogan Norwich Mail Centre 07-11-2023

Update 19 November. Thanks to MA for providing this clean example of the other layout on a House of Commons envelope postmarked at Birmingham Mail Centre 07/11/2023

Lest We Forget Armistice Day 2023 slogan Birmingham Mail Centre 07/11/2023


Update 19 November.  Thanks to JH for reporting that the slogans have now defaulted to British Heart Foundation, this one from Chester & N Wales Mail Centre dated 16/11/2023.

British Heart Foundation slogan postmark Chester & N Wales 16/11/2023.

Other postmarks, postal markings etc,

Update 19 November.  I've been sent a picture of an tracked envelope sent from the UK to Canada with £11+ worth of barcoded Machin definitives. I'll add this to the Postal History blog, but show here the counter date stamp from PETERSFIELD HANTS 02 NO 23, nice to see a cover properly cancelled at the branch counter.              

Petersfield Hants counter date stamp 02. NO. 23

Earlier this year
Royal Mail decided against leaving 'come and collect' cards at addresses where they could not deliver packets and instead opted to retry delivery the next day.  This wasn't universally welcome because it added to what the post-person would carry out for delivery, and also meant that if the addressee was out (maybe at work) every day it would be an extra day (or more) before they could collect the item from the Enquiry Office or arrange redelivery elsewhere.

My thanks to MD for sending this example of a new version of the P739 label reflecting the new practice with spaces for '1st Attempt' and '2nd Attempt'.

Royal Mail 2023 revision of label when an item could not be delivered.

If you have any other interesting postal markings, please send them to one of the email addresses in the top right of this blog.  Thank you.

Remember, any other slogans appearing in November will be added to this post, so check here before you spend time scanning and emailing.  I'll add new ones as quickly as possible.

Thursday 2 November 2023

Amazing error on new Christmas stamps!

As we should all know after the invalidation period ended, the stamps which continue to be valid are all commemorative/special stamps, barcoded definitives, and Christmas stamps with and without barcodes.

But what about these?  Genuine 2nd class sheet stamps which somehow missed the stage of printing where the datamatrix barcode was added.   So now we have new Christmas stamps with no barcode - but an obvious space where one should be.

2023 2nd class Christmas stamps with no barcode

I was sent this image nearly a month ago: the stamps were included in a pack sent to a sub-post office.  Although I made efforts to find out what would happen to them, nothing was forthcoming from the third party who provided the information.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, perhaps, for Post Office Ltd and Royal Mail), the existence of these stamps was posted, somewhat naively, on a postmaster discussion forum which should soon have alerted Post Office management and appropriate action taken - or maybe not.  

It is quite likely that more than one sheet escaped inspection at the printers, by Royal Mail (do they ever inspect stocks sent direct to Post Office warehouses), and by the aforementioned Post Office warehouse checkers (if they exist), so keep on the look out and ask your postmaster.

This is the one issue which is supposed to be available at ALL post offices, even those which don't sell special stamps.

Tuesday 24 October 2023

New Stamps for 2024 - prizes for good predictions!

Occasionally in the autumn our band of readers starts producing realistic ideas for the next year's stamp programme. (Sometimes it's a spoof!)

So put your thinking caps on, consult some websites, and see if you can come up with a calendar for next year.

I would suggest 15 issues (although you could do more), starting in January and ending with Christmas in early November, unless you can think of anything that really must be issued after the Christmas stamps.

One programme per person, sent to me by email [] so as to not give too many ideas to other readers.

There have been some suggestions in comments on other blog posts, and they can be incorporated.  

I don't know what the programme will bring, save that there will be a Music Giants issue again, so look back to the golden age of popular music (or the 90s depending on how old you are!) and see what you can come up with.  

We have no reason to believe that the practice of the last few years - plenty of entertainment subjects with huge licensing fees for fdc producers to avoid - will be changed at all.  So there is your guide. 

I haven't decided on a prize yet because I have only just thought of this having had a firm suggestion about just one of 2024's sets.  

So off you go.  Comments are disabled: if you have any questions, please email.

Calendar 2024 PNGs by Vecteezy

UPDATE:  Only 8 entries so far and some of them are of the spoof variety, so plenty of chance to win prizes yet.


9 entries now received

Quite a lot of commonality among the predictions.

Of the 15 subjects in the outline programme I received today Christmas is a given, and four other subjects have been identified.

Christmas 2023 - Set of 5 and MS - 2 November 2023

Royal Mail's Christmas issue this year is reduced to only five stamps and retail booklets, plus the unnecessary miniature and generic sheets.

The set of five special stamps features brand new illustrations by artist Tom Duxbury, who specialises in the techniques of block printing to depict both vintage and modern scenes. The vibrant designs capture the themes of some of the most popular Christmas carols, including ‘Silent Night’ and ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’.

Great Britain Christmas 2023 2nd and 2nd Large stamps

ValueInfo provided by Royal Mail
Actual title
2nd Class O Holy Night
2nd Class LargeSilent NightO Little Town of Bethlehem
1st ClassAway in a MangerSilent Night
1st Class LargeO Little Town of Bethlehem        
Away in a Manger
£2.20We Three Kings 

I have checked the actual stamps and they are as illustrated above: Royal Mail's information to us was wrong, yet again.

Great Britain 2023 Christmas Miniature Sheet

2023 Christmas 'Collectors sheet'

Technical details

The range was designed by Steers McGillan Eves using illustrations by Tom Duxbury exclusively for Royal Mail ©

The 39 x 30 mm stamps are printed in sheets of 50 by Cartor Security Printers in gravure (ie by Walsall). The Miniature sheet is 179 x 74 mm also printed in gravure.

The Christmas 2023 Collectors Sheet includes a set of 20 stamps (8 x 2nd Class, 8 x 1st, 4 x £2.20) set against a backdrop of a starry ngiht. The Sheet will be printed in Self Adhesive, and is printed in litho.

Retail booklets of 8 will be available for the 1st and 2nd class stamps. The covers are green (2nd) and purple (1st) the same as the definitive stamps. 

Last year, for production reasons, the Booklets did not carry any cylinder numbers.  We think that this may be the same in 2023.

Product range

Set, miniature sheet, retail booklets, collector sheet, first day covers (2), stamp cards (6), presentation pack.