Thursday, 21 June 2018

Web-shop notice for customers

Thank you for all the recent orders.  Most orders to 4328 have now been despatched.

We are waiting for more supplies of many of the recent books which we will offer as whole books and as singles.  With this, and our visit to Philanglia (St Ives, Cambridgeshire) at the weekend, there will be a delay in processing most new orders until next week.

Apologies for the delay.  We hope all 2018 codes issued will be back in stock, at least temporarily.  As far as we know there will be no more new stamps, except perhaps the 2nd Large business sheet, and premium rate stamps, until mid-September.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Two more new stamps added to the shop - but with a twist

I am pleased to say that the 2p counter sheet and 1st Large business sheet 2018 printings have now been added to our shop - see 'recent additions'.

The twist is that the 2p is a 'non-visible change (NVC)' stamp printed by Walsall on 09/02/18, the same date as the 10p, 20p and £1 stamps - which were distributed by Royal Mail Tallents House to customers with NVCs as standing orders.

Obviously having discovered it after the previous distribution, they cannot economically distribute the 2p alone, so they have indicated that it will be delayed until September when the 1p, 5p and 2nd class Large counter sheet stamps will also be available.

Meanwhile the 2p can be found in Post Office branches across the country - and can be bought from Royal Mail's business website!  But dealers cannot buy from Royal Mail through normal trade channels.  What a farce.

SO.... if you regularly get NVCs from Royal Mail you don't need to buy this stamp from us - nor to pay 99p on eBay!   On the other hand if you want (and don't get) positional blocks then we have them.

An updated version of our Checklist will be available shortly.  Thank you to those people who have read it so thoroughly as to find the errors: doubtless some still exist, for which we apologise.  Please let us know if you find any.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

New stamps added to our shop

I am pleased to say that we now have stocks of several of the new stamps and booklets, which can be found on our webshop as 'Recent Additions' and in the 2018 Definitives and Booklets categories.

The additions are:

2931.8   2nd class from retail booklet of 12
2933.8   2nd Large from retail booklet of 4

2914aB.8  1st class from business sheet
2936a.8  1st class from retail booklet of 12

ME 7a.8  12 x 2nd booklet
MF 9a.8  12 x 1st booklet
RA4.8      4 x 2nd Large booklet

Latest news on the Walsall printing of counter sheets - and this is by no means final news - is that Royal Mail intend, as they did on 23 May, to distribute all the new printings to standing order customers for non-visible changes in September.  Rather than issue single stamps as they become available, which is uneconomic for them even if they charge 45p to send customers a 2p stamp, the 1p, 2p, 5p and 2nd class Large counter sheets will be distributed coinciding with the Autumn Stampex issues (World War I and Post and Go).

As readers have reported the 2p is widely available in Post Office branches up and down the country, and may have been available briefly from Tallents House in error.  We will list the 2p as soon as we can find a local post office that has stock, and the other values as they become available. Indications are that current Post Office and Royal Mail stocks of some values are sufficient for a reprint to be delayed until at least August.  Time will tell.

Because of attendance at Stafford Stamp Fair and Philanglia there will be some delay in despatching orders of these new stamps.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

June Slogan Postmarks

June's slogans has got off to a flying start with a new one in use on the first day!

Coronation 65th Anniversary
Thanks to MB & RW for the two different versions of this slogan both used on 1 June 2018.  One from Mount Pleasant and the other from North West Midlands.  I wonder what they used at Tyneside?
Commemorating the
65th anniversary of the
Queen's Coronation
2 June 2018

Chippendale 300
Thanks to MB for sending the second slogan for June.  This appears to be a one-day campaign on 2nd June and we only have one version so far from Edinburgh.
Update: Thanks too for an example of the other format from Gatwick on 4 June, so apparently running in parallel with the Scott one below.

300 years
A celebration of Britain's
greatest furniture maker 


Scott 150
Thanks also to JG for the third slogan, in use apparently on 4th June, period unknown. Again the only example so far is from Peterborough Mail Centre.  (See also Chippendale above, used on 4th June.)

150 years since the birth
of polar explorer
Captain Robert Falcon Scott
6 June 2018

Update: Thanks to GF we now have the alternative which is a 6-line format, from Belfast's Northern Ireland Mail Centre used on 7 June.

Update 11 June.  Thanks to BM we can now show the fourth new slogan in June, this one marking the 250th Anniversary of the Royal Academy, used at Peterborough on 8 June.  Would have been useful on 5 June for first day covers of the related stamps, but not used in time.  Another sales opportunity lost by Royal Mail.

12 June: Thanks to MB we can now show the alternate layout from North West Midlands Mail Centre, dated 11 June, so clearly this slogan is running for a few days.  Unfortunate that Chippendale and Scott were celebrated on their birth anniversaries which coincided with the issue of the Royal Academy stamps.  The Royal Academy was founded on 10 December 1768, but as this is the 250th anniversary year most of their celebrations are taking place in the summer.

18 June:  Thanks to MB and RW for the two different examples of the Father's Day slogan from North West Midlands and a poor example from Norwich both dated 15 June.

After that one-day slogan the default seems to be back to 'youth mental health Action For Children'.  This has been seen on 2nd class from SE Anglia on 15th and Manchester on 16th.

19 June:   Thanks again to MB and to CH for the two versions of the latest slogan which makrs the award of the Walter Scott Prize to Benjamin Myers, one from Exeter and the other from North West Midlands both on 18.06.18

Benjamin Myers
Winner of the 2018
Walter Scott Prize
for historical fiction

As usual, we will be pleased to show more new ones that you find and will add them here as soon as possible, although we will be away for Philanglia (23 June at St Ives.).  I won't have a stand but if you want to meet, ask Tony at Arun Stamps.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Checklist corrections; blog comments alert, and more New Machins

With the number of changes made for the latest version of our Checklist, it was inevitable that some errors would occur.  Thankfully few have been reported so far, but I'll wait a bit before producing a new version.

Thanks to IP & JV for these:

Page 5 - 2nd class, new number is U3010 not U3030
Page 7 - 1st class business sheetM12L etc is U3021 not U3016
Page 14 - £1.28 MA12 etc new number is U2939 not U2399
                £2 MA13 new number is U2955 not U2914
       Page cross-references
Some page number references within the body have not been updated as they should have been because of new pages being added or tables being split. Mostly the correct number will be 1 more than the one quoted.  Sorry for the errors; hopefully the links won't be too difficult to find.

Blog comments
Changes to the way that Google software is working on Blogger, it seems that when comments are made we are no longer getting an email to moderate (ie allow) comments to be published.  This will mean that your comments will not appear as quickly as before.  We will check the administration pages and permit comments once a day, at least.

Hopefully they will fix this soon!

UPDATE 30/31 May:
Additions to this year's Machin stamps.   We can now show the 2nd class booklet stamp, and the previously unreported and not yet made available from Tallents House 2p counter sheet (See foot of post).  This, like the 20p, 20p & £1, was printed on 09/02/18.  (These pictures taken from eBay, but seller ID not revealed). The same seller has also found the 1st Large business sheet.


These will be added to the Checklist as 2931.8, 3002.8 and 2916aB.8 respectively.

UPDATE 1/2 June:
As my informant wrote, "another day, another stamp".   And now we have the 1st class business sheet, with a printing date of 07/03/2018, from the same eBay seller.  (Norvic 2914aB.8)
I'm reminded that the 2nd Large booklet was around late last month and hasn't been pictured here  


You would think that if Royal Mail production department arranged the printing of the 2p (and maybe others), then they might have told Stamps & Collectables so that they could be made available along with the others.  I've made enquiries as to what else might have been printed on the same day - watch this space!

UPDATE 7 June:  I have asked RM about the 2p and any other values and suggested that the Production team (which is down a couple of people at present) and stamps & collectables ought to talk to each other more.  The failure was acknowledged but I didn't get any word on further values.  However, on an earlier post, this comment has been posted today by Petermk:
I am waiting to hear from TH regarding the 2p counter sheet which was printed at the same time as the ones issued in May if you have NVC issues on your standing order, they seem to have no knowledge of this stamp, but I explained they were on e-bay & asked why I did not receive one. But I was told that in July/August the 1p & 5p counter sheets will be available.
So at last somebody has found something out from the 'collector' side of TH before the trade side! 


LAST UPDATE 11 June:   
The 12 x 1st booklet has now appeared on eBay - picture added above.

I inferred from the comment above that the July/August distribution would include the 2p: I was mistaken, although it might by then be available.  

In any event I have now been told officially that the philatelic availability of more Walsall values will probably be held back until September Stampex, as happened in the spring with the 50p.  Something will be confirmed next week, and I'll report it in a new post.

IF this has been confirmed with the production team, it suggests that there are no new printings of other values yet.  The 1st Large Signed For stamp was reprinted last year on plain backing paper, the last 500g Special Delivery stamp was printed in 2016.   Time will tell - and we will let you know as soon as possible.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Machin Checklist Update!

I have great sympathy with catalogue editors.  Forever trying to include all the new stamps that are issued but at the same time making sure that the numbering system is logical and properly accommodates new additions to, for example, a definitive series.

It has taken some time to update our Checklist to accommodate not only the over a dozen new definitive stamps issued this year, but also to incorporate - into already tight tables - an extra column to show the new SG numbers that will be in the 2018 Concise catalogue (now due for release in June).

To download the new version,  v2.0.3,  please visit the usual page - you should only need to do this once for each device.   We've amended the page with roivacy information about how we use the information that you provide.  Other new versions will be announced here and on Twitter only.  No emails will be sent to tell you of knew versions.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) - Privacy Policy.

Readers will have been bombarded recently by emails from many - some long-forgotten - businesses about GDPR and about how well they look after your personal data.  This is often subsumed into a new Privacy Policy.  

And this applies to businesses worldwide who have any dealings with customers in the European Union.  Some ask you to sign up to continue receiving communications, others simply tell you about the new rules and what they are doing to comply.

Long term readers and customers will remember when we used to send occasional emails about Great Britain news and what we were planning to do, what we had or would soon add to our shop.  It was a way of assessing interest before we produced (for example) first day covers, and giving regulars a head-start when we added unusual and desirable items for sale.  We also originally intended to tell everybody who downloaded our Machin Checklist when a new edition was available.

Sadly this became more and more difficult as our mass emails (to many hundreds of addressees) were identified by some ISPs as spam.  You will sometimes find a genuine email has been sent to your spam or junk folder, and wonder why: that is the reason.  [What I don't understand is how Gmail can sidetrack Google News Alerts to the spam folder, but that is an odd diversion.]

So I stopped sending those emails, and as the blog became more popular it became the goto place for regular readers and especially customers to find out what was going on.

So we won't be writing to anybody asking for permission to keep sending marketing emails, simply because we don't send any at all.  Your personal data - email address and name (if attached) especially - is stored at Google's mail servers and we rely on them to hold it securely. Emails are also stored on computers here in the office, so - as we receive an email of every order placed in our shop - are details on those orders: name, address, email address and what you have bought.  Telephone numbers are usually deleted.  The computers have passwords, and we lock the doors when we leave: what more can we do?

All payment details are held by PayPal: none of the card or bank detail that you type into the PayPal interface when you buy from us is communicated to us, and so that is covered by PayPal's security and privacy policies.

GDPR is, of course, mainly targetted at the big boys, in all forms of business.  I did read on a stamp forum recently that although the writer has emails about this from his bank, credit card co, ISP, phone co, and other mailing lists that he had signed up to, he had had nothing from any of the big stamp auction houses, so not everybody is keeping up with the rules.

We've done what we think is necessary, and updated our Privacy Policy with the help of our eCommerce-platform host, Freewebstore.  You can see it on a permanent page linked in the right-hand panel, so if you ever want to check after this post has dropped way down the list, Privacy Policy will always be there.

As for your personal data, on the shop only you can change it so if there is anything there that you want to change, you are the person to do it.  If you want old emails to be deleted, just let us know, by private email.  Like many people I have emails going back 20 years. (Thank you to those who are still with us!)

I'm happy to hear from any real experts on this to let me know if they think there is anything missing, or misleading (or just plain typos!). 

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Our Shop: Order processing update; new Machin; P&G error; new products.

Thank you for all the recent orders and for your patience while we deal with them.  As most were for the new Walsall printings being distributed tomorrow (23rd) by Tallents House, we could not send these last week.

All orders to 4175 have now been despatched, except for those which are being held pending receipt of other stamps/covers.

Machin: I understand that the 2nd class Large booklet with M18L year code is around although we don't have a picture or stock yet.

Harlow Post Office has been using Mail be Sea Post & Go stamps in the 2nd class position on their machine.

The next products to be added to the shop will be some maximum cards of the owls stamps, and some older Machins or definitive FDCs which have been missed.

Friday, 18 May 2018

May Postmark Bulletin available shortly

The May edition of Royal Mail's Postmark Bulletin has just been distributed by email and should be on their website shortly.  Most of the postmarks, but not the official FD handstamps are already shown here.

The latest Bulletin includes the official first day postmarks for the Royal Wedding, Royal Academy and Dad's Army stamp issues, and the TUC Commemorative Sheet.  There are no special handstamps coinciding with the release of the new Machin's by Walsall other than ongoing changeable date handstamps.

There are a number of other long-term and one-day handstamps not directly connected with new stamp issues.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

First batch of Machin reprints now available

It never rains but it pours.  In addition to the Walsall printings of counter sheet stamps, to be made available by Royal Mail from 23 May, we have several other stamps and I can now show them all here.

Counter sheets

Example of small counter sheet, 25 stamps


1st and 1st Large Booklets

2nd class business sheet

The Norvic numbers for these are

10p counter sheet, printing date 09/02/18, issued 23.5.18 - 3010.8
20p counter sheet, printing date 09/02/18, issued 23.5.18 - 3020.8
£1 brown counter sheet, printing date 09/02/18, issued 23.5.18 - 3101.8 
2nd counter sheet, printing date 14/02/18, issued 23.5.18 - 2911a.8
1st counter sheet, printing date 14/02/18, issued 23.5.18 - 2914a.8
1st Large counter sheet, printing date 14/02/18, issued 23.5.18

2nd business sheet, printing date 14/03/18,  found April 2018 - 2911B.8
1st book of 6 (pack date not known) - 2936aS.8
1st Large book of 4 (pack date 29/03/18) - 2937a.8

and they will be added to our shop very shortly, but not posted until after next week.