Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Walsall = ISP = Cartor

It seems that the name of Walsall Security Printers is to disappear for good.  We understand that ISP - International Security Printers Group (Walsall and Cartor) have changed their company name to Cartor Security Printers.  

According to the filing at Companies House, the change took effect from 23 August 2021.

What appears to be a press release on the Digital Labels & Packaging website reads:

UK-based International Security Printers (ISP), Walsall Security Printers (WSP), and France-based Cartor Security Printing have announced a rebranding to Cartor Security Printers. The move, which reflects the way the company has grown and expanded in recent years, consolidates their existing brands to form a single unified identity.

A new logo based on the Cartor name style, which has been designed to reflect the company’s security printing offering, includes a hero graphic to suggest a barrel lock – or fingerprint – providing a creative and impactful nod to the “C” of Cartor. The firm’s current website is being completely redeveloped to reflect the rebrand and is scheduled for launch in January 2022.

As a security printer, Cartor Security Printers produce high caliber print for a large global client base from both their UK and France production sites. This includes work for more than 180 postal administrations throughout the world, where the Cartor name has become synonymous with  creative stamp printing.

While the new branding reflects this heritage, the company will be targeting new markets where it can apply its expertise in print, ink and materials technology, to create highly innovative, secure solutions for businesses with high monetary or intellectual value products and services. From security printing to advanced track and trace and authentication capabilities and tailor-made consultancy services, Cartor’s wide range of solutions help companies combat fraud to better protect their brands and revenues.

Ian Brigham, Cartor’s managing director, says, “Both the existing ISP/WSP and Cartor parts of the business are different in terms of offering, approach, communication and customers. Despite complementing each other, the current configuration can be confusing for customers, so the time is right to unite our brands under one identity.

“With significant investment in plant and facilities, together with an experienced, skilled and committed workforce, we believe that we are well placed to deliver an industry-leading security printing service to global organizations in order to protect revenues, brands, and reputations,” he adds.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Royal Mail - 1st February 2022

A number of people have written, or added comments to other posts, about stamps due on 1 February - this is in addition to the ones due on 4 February which we also can't tell you about.

Customers with standing orders paying from their accounts or by regular charge against their cards will have received notifications about:

DS1201 for £3.76 plus service charge - or it may be multiples thereof

DF071 for £5.15 plus service charge.

UB450 for £3.40 plus service charge.

From previous orders you will know that UB products are retail booklets, DS products are Definitive Stamps, and DF are Definitive First Day Covers.

There may be other UB products and DP (Definitive Presentation Packs).

Images and information will be released on 1 February (the issue date) by Royal Mail as part of a wider service announcement.

Our blog posts are already written, but we don't know what the service announcement is about so that will be added later.  We will publish as soon as we can, ie midnight+1 on 1st February.


Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Music Giants VI: The Rolling Stones - 20 January 2022; stamps, MS, PSB etc.

Royal Mail continues to find reasons to issue stamps for British musicians who were well respected in their time, but who are now well past their best.

The Rolling Stones are revered as one of the greatest live acts of all time.  They have sold an estimated 250m records and in the UK have eight no.1 singles and twelve no.1 albums.  To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the band, Royal Mail is issuing a new set of eight Special Stamps capturing moments from some of their legendary performances over the years.

Rather than writing a lot about the band - which you can find in Wikipedia - I'll stick to the stamps.  I'll just say that there are only two members who have lasted the course: Jagger and Richards.

The stamps for this set of Music Giants mark a departure from previous similar issues.  The earliest ones were similar to the Album Covers with the 'throw-out' vinyl disc breaking through the right of the stamps.  The next ones were similar, but the disc edge, Queen's head, and denomination were outside the album cover design, but within an overall rectangular area.

The Rolling Stones stamps simply show scenes from concerts, rather than album covers.

Set of 8 Rolling Stones stamps, 4 each 1st class and £1.70  - 20 January 2022

The scenes on the stamps are:

1st Class: London, UK, July 1969;  East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA, August 2019;  Rotterdam,
Netherlands, August 1995; Tokyo, Japan, March 1995
£1.70: New York City, USA, July 1972;  Oslo, Norway, May 2014; Hertfordshire, UK, August 1976; Düsseldorf, Germany, October 2017.

The Miniature Sheet has four more stamps (2 x 1st class, 2 x £1.70) featuring shots of the band together and a selection of some of the Tour Posters from around the world.

Rolling Stones stamp miniature sheet 2 x 1st, 2 x £1.70 - 20 January 2022.

The 1st class stamps show photos of the band; the £1.70 stamps show posters for the 1971 UK Tour, Tour of the Americas 1975, the 1981 American Tour, and the 1990 Urban Jungle European Tour.

Technical details and acknowledgements

The gummed stamps were printed in lithography by International Security Printers.  The sheet stamps are 50 x 30 mm perforated 14, and the MS stamps are 60 x 30 mm perforated 14½.  The MS is 192 x 74 mm.   Design is by Baxter & Bailey.  The Rolling Stones logo and typography © 2022 Musidor B.V. Under license to Bravado Merchandising. All Rights Reserved.

Prestige Stamp Book

As usual the Prestige Stamp Book (PSB) includes all the special stamps and a pane of definitives.  The two sets of Machins are coded M21L MPIL, and include 10p, 20p, 50p & £1.  However, only the £1 stamp is new - the 10p was included in the Music Giants V and Industrial Revolutions books (DY38/39), the 20p was included in the Industrial Revolutions and DC Comics books (DY39/40), and the 50p stamp was included in the Music Giants V (DY38) book.  The £1 will be listed as Norvic 4100P.21.

The 24-page PSB is written by well-renowned rock and pop critic, Alexis Petridis, who looks back in detail at the unrivalled success of The Rolling Stones.  The book starts with The Rolling Stones’ first gig in 1962 and takes the reader on a journey through their rapid rise to the top and their growing reputation as one of the best live touring bands in the world.  The book is filled with a stunning selection of photography captured throughout the past 60 years.  The price is £20.85.

Cover of Music Giants VI Rolling Stones PSB, 20 January 2022.

There is also a limited edition PSB (5,000 run) sold in a bespoke flight case style presentation box. The Stamps and Panes are identical to those in the standard Prestige Stamp Book but with a Limited Edition front cover - price £49.99.

Collectors sheets: 'Hyde Park' and 'On Tour'.  These sheets include the stamps of the counter sheets but are printed self-adhesive in litho, probably printed by ISP Cartor.  

Rolling Stones: Hyde Park, Collectors Sheet - AT133 £11.50

Rolling Stones on Tour, Collectors Sheet - AT132 £11.50

Other products

Presentation pack, first day covers, medal covers, silver stamp ingot, gold stamp set - reproduction of the stamps in 24 carat gold (edition of 1962), fan sheets (Hyde Park, Voodoo Lounge), Souvenir Folder, Framed stamps & MS, and stamp prints.

Monday, 10 January 2022

Post and Go news in 2022

As I mentioned in November, I now aim to have a Post and Go post (and comment thread) for each year, so this is the first post for 2022.  Malcolm has already provided a comment on the November post about what happened when The Postal Museum re-opened, but I have copied this here so that we have something to start the year with.  And of course it has a glitch - well an oddity I think.  Read on!

Postal Museum changes 1 January 2022

Reader Malcolm reports: After service on the 31st December, the Winter Greenery stock was removed and from Saturday 1st January 2022 it was replaced with Union Flag undated stock for 1st class and MA15 2nd class Machin, but without the Wish You Were Here inscription.  This did continue on the 1st class, ending at close of business on Sunday 2nd January.

The museum was then closed on its usual Monday and Tuesday, reopening on Wednesday 5th with the Wish You Were Here inscription now removed from the 1st class Machin, so therefore a new variety of strip was available, being the first time with the Europe and Worldwide Large strips have been available without a commemorative overprint.

For the first half hour of operation on 5th, the stock was MA13, and it was then replaced with MA14 stock subsequently.

UPDATE 12 January: Malcolm has sent these pictures from the Postal Museum:

January 2022 Postal Museum Post and Go 1st class stamps, MA13 (left) and MA14.

UPDATE 19 January: The Commonwealth Stamps Opinion blog reports the latest Post and Go imprints from Jersey and Guernsey. 

The Jersey issue was actually on 6 December 2021 and marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the island's Finance Industry, as it was 1961 when banks started establishing offshore branches to meet the growing demands of British customers living or working abroad. The additional inscription is applied to all six colours of the Jersey Arms stamps.

Jersey Arms Post and Go stamp with inscription marking 60 Years of the Finance Industry.

On 17 February Jersey Post will issue a new set of 'Harvest of the Sea' Post and Go stamps in six new designs. (Via Gulfmann ATM Collection blog).

Jersey 'Harvest of the Sea' Post and Go stamps (1 of 6) issued 17 February 2022

Meanwhile on 19 February Guernsey Post will issue a set of six new designs entitled Guernsey Cuisine, all are pictured on the CSO blog.

Guernsey 'Cuisine' Post and Go stamp (1 of 6) issued 19 February 2022

All news about P&G in 2022 will be here, and comments for the old (November 2021) post will be closed.

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Royal Mail Stamp Programme for 2022 - more, much more, of the same.

Two days ago I wrote about the Royal Mail Stamp programme for 2022, the calendar for which has been available at some post offices and on a blog and forum.

Today one of my contacts who has an account with Royal Mail told me that along with their First publicity leaflet for the Music Giants VI issue, they sent him the Stamp Calendar!  So I have no hestitation in adding that information here.

Of course there are some gaps, but some of these can be easily guessed and others will be announced later.

I'll fill in the gaps in due course.   UPDATE:  Cats is 9 June due to the public holiday on 2nd.

Some of these issues are very worthy, and expected: FA Cup, London 2022, Commonwealth Games, Heroes of the Pandemic and Platinum Anniversary.

Royal Marines must be a follow on from the previous armed forces issues (which concentrated on 'vehicles' or transport - boats, planes and tanks).  But migratory birds, and cats?  Really?  Why.  These will not be blockbuster issues, they are aimed squarely at thematic collectors so there will probably be 10 x 1st class for each!  

The surprise is the lack of stamps related to American media - cartoons and films.  Perhaps they have all been done?  Yes, I know there are July, September and October issues to be announced, but my understanding is two of these don't fall into that category.

Wednesday, 5 January 2022

January 2022 postmark slogans and other interesting postal markings.

As often happens after Christmas slogans are usually changed, although in the absence of Merry Christmas or Happy New Year we half expected the 'Get Your Booster' slogan to continue for much longer. 

In fact January's slogan postmarks started in December when the system defaulted to the Action for Children slogan just in time for January delivery (details below).

All slogan postmarks will be shown here for January; 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.  Scans at 300dpi are fine; mobile photos tend to be very big and have to be reduced.

My thanks to PC.  This one image shows usage from South Midlands Mail Centre on 31-12-2021 and Bristol (BA BS GL TA) Mail Centre 02/01/2012.  Thanks to PC for this, which shows both IMP and iLSM versions.

Royal Mail
supporting youth
mental health with

 This might be the first time this has appeared with the datamatrix-inspired three wavy lines?

Default 'Action for Children' slogan used at South Midlands Mail Centre on 31-12-2021 and Bristol (BA BS GL TA) Mail Centre 02/01/2012

Update 26 January 2022:  My thanks to several members who sent the latest slogan, from Chester & NW Wales (KD), Sheffield (RW) and the best here, from Birmingham Mail Centre 24/01/2022 (from GH).

Holocaust Memorial Day
Light a candle
in your window
8pm 27 January 2022

Holocaust Memorial Day slogan Birmingham Mail Centre 24/01/2022

The other format, from RW from Swindon Mail Centre also on 24-01-2022

Holocaust Memorial Day slogan Swindon Mail Centre 24/01/2022



My thanks to KC for forwarding this image of a counter date stamp postmark he recently received on a 1st class large letter. This postmarking is correct for mail handed over or stamped at the counter.   The branch is DALES ROAD which is in Ipswich, Suffolk, although you would not know that from the datestamp which is dated 17 JA 2022.

Dales Road (Ipswich) counter date stamp 17 January 2022.

Remember, all postmarks appearing in January will be added to this post, so check here before you spend time scanning and emailing.  I'll try to add new ones as quickly as possible.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Happy New Year 2022 - the quiet times stay quiet!

Royal Mail's new year stamp announcement is usually released to the press in what they call the 'quiet news' period when they would get maximum publicity, ie the inter-holiday period (28-31 December)

But this year they have delayed it.  Even the Music Giants VI issue for which we had  a blog post scheduled for 6 January is now delayed until 11 January (release date 20th.

So I currently have draft blog posts scheduled for:

- 2022 programme

- Music Giants VI: The Rolling Stones (Jan 20)

- Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee (February?)

- Covid Heroes (March ?)

- another which I can't tell you anything about

I could also draft posts for the rest of the year's issues, it would certainly help to get ahead while I can.  Blogger allows me to set a scheduled date for publication, but I can push it further back if Royal Mail delay the announcements, or bring it forward if they suddenly release details earlier than they told us they would (not unknown).

UPDATE 5 January: I've today been sent another copy of the full calendar which somebody picked up from his local Post Office branch, and on Stampboards there is a thread devoted to worldwide 2022 stamp programmes and somebody else has found a calendar and posted it there.  You just have to search.

The December postmarks have been updated and we're ready for your January slogan news - it will probably be a continuation of the Get Boosted Now campaign for a while.   Did anybody see a Merry Christmas or Happy New Year slogan as we have had in past years? 

Royal Mail Merry Christmas slogan postmark 2020

Royal Mail New Year slogan postmark 2019

5 January: a further update to December and a new post for January are imminent.

So there isn't much to add except to wish you all a Happy New Year with this card by Jenny Nyström from Sweden.

Happy New Year - 365 Happy Days!

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Chris Whitty didn't make the cut: Heroes of the pandemic, 8 x 1st class - Spring 2022

Back in April, Royal Mail announced a competition to design a set of special stamps entitled Heroes of the Pandemic, and in September I provided a link to the 120 artworks in the long-list and showed the ones that I particularly liked.  I then added three at the end which I thought were particularly good concepts but which I didn't think would make the short-list.

The short-list of 24 has now been published and I am pleased to say that these from my shortlist have been included.  I didn't filter designs by area and age group but the short-list includes two from each of Royal Mail's 12 regions, which must have exluded a lot of good designs in favour of those by younger artists. 

The final selection of eight designs will be made by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and should be announced at the end of February. Of course with 24 to choose from, it is possible that none of these will be chosen, but I think these are some of the better designs.

Monday, 20 December 2021

Seasons Greetings: The Review of the Year 2021, déjà vu on so many fronts.

As easily predicted this time last year, things did get worse before they got better in 2021. But there was success in the form of vaccines.  We three - and most of our wider family - have been fortunate in having had our vaccinations and not having been infected by Covid-19.  The exceptions are some of those with children of school age, who were occasionally required to isolate.

On the political front it's turmoil again: as I quoted from a wise US dealer last year:

'The currently available vaccines seem to be effective against the current version of the virus.  However, the "enemy has a say in all this".  We DO know that the virus WILL mutate, but we don't know HOW the virus will mutate, nor if the current vaccines will be effective as the mutations occur.'  And so it has turned out.  

And it has turned out that way again, the difference this year being that we now have Delta and Omricon alongside each other.  This year the government is dithering again, primarily giving advice rather than laying down strict lockdown rules which would cost them money in business support and furlough payments.  Meanwhile other European countries are back in full precautionary lockdown.

I suppose it's a bit difficult to lay down more rules if you can't be seen to be complying in our own backyard.

Posted in advance
for delivery on Christmas Day,
Norwich 1907 - the closest
I could get to Dereham!


2021 & 2022 Special Stamp Programmes

The 2021 stamp programme was announced on 5 January, but there were some gaps to be filled in later.
Even once we knew the titles or even the subjects we were left to wonder "Why?".  What possible reason was there to include the Legend of King Arthur?  It's not even as if it was likely to be a big money-spinner for Royal Mail like Music Giants or DC Comics.  The Philatelic Bulletin's annual poll for the most liked stamp of 2021 records 147 stamps.  And that huge number includes only one definitive as all the January tariff stamps were issued on 23 December 2020.

Some issues mark anniversaries, although few members of the general public who were sold the stamps, from the diminishing number of post offices that sell them, would know in most cases what those anniversaries were.  Collectors of the future will have problems working this out from catalogues as well.  As an example, for the 1981 Fishing Industry set, Stanley Gibbons Concise catalogue records that this was issued on the occasion of the centenary of the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen.

But the same catalogue does not mention that the January 2021 National Parks issue marked the anniversary of the first National Parks being established.  It looks like just another pictorial landscapes set.  Even Royal Mail couldn't tell us why the abomination of the United Kingdom: A Celebration MS was issued.  And then there was King Arthur: I think we are likely to get mystery issues more and more.

Royal Mail produced three issues this year to appeal outside the hobby: television's Only Fools & Horses, Music Giants V, and DC Comics' Batman etc.  All in stamp collectors were able to buy 101 new stamps, 10 miniature sheets, 10 booklets, 4 prestige stamp books and 9 collector/smiler/generic sheets.

Having seen the outline programme for 2022, I can tell you that things won't be much better, if at all!  We already know that Music Giants VI (The Rolling Stones) will be issued on 20 January (some bogus 'stamps' purporting to be from Tajikistan).  You can expect all the usual paraphernalia associated with such issues. And despite the January embargo date, the 2022 programme has already been listed - from the Philatelic Calendar available from Post Offices - on another blog site.

Machin & Country Definitives

While collectors who avoid 'special' stamps were spared more than the single new stamp, almost the full range of 2021 reprints of normal stamps occurred spread through the year.  Note, though, that this is the first year since the white-bordered versions were issued in 2003, that no Country Definitives have been issued!  

With stamp fairs thin on the ground for much of the year, collectors who didn't manage to find new stamps in their local shops or post offices were forced into contacting dealers or ordering online.

The only totally new Machin, issued in March showed a new development, likely to be extended, that is the inclusion of a datamatrix code on a new, larger, 2nd class business sheet stamp which was sold through limited outlets to businesses. 

After nearly 9 months, only one person has reported receiving one of these on non-philatelic mail, used by local a branch of the NHS (National Health Service).  The sheet printed Christmas stamps included a similar code, and these have been widely used although nobody - perhaps not even most Royal Mail employees - know what the purpose is.

There was one other strange new Machin stamp which Royal Mail used to mark the 95th birthday of Her Majesty the Queen.  Deciding not to burden ordinary stamp collectors with yet another stamp issue, which might have included 6 or 8 stamps and a prestige stamp book, Royal Mail and The Royal Mint produced a commemorative £5 coin coverInitially the block of stamps - which looked like a cut-down PSB definitive pane - was available only on the official cover, but was then made available mint to registered dealers.  The idea was that these dealers would produce their own covers.  

Several dealers sold used copies of the pane, or the Machin stamp, cancelled with a pictorial or CDS handstamp, but inevitably some were sold against the wishes of Royal Mail, as mint singles or whole panes, often reaching ridiculous prices on that well-known auction site. A little research would have found them on sale at UK stamp fairs - although those dealers who were selling them were wise enough not to advertise their offerings widely.  Another black mark for Royal Mail; however good their intentions, they were wrong on so many levels.

After a summer announcement about their demise, we didn't expect to get any reprints of the Special Delivery or Signed For stamps this year, but it took until 15 November for Royal Mail to provide the philatelic trade with an official statement about their withdrawal from Post Offices and Royal Mail online channels, which had already happened at the end of October.

Post and Go

We did not stock any new Post and Go stamps, so the blog is simply a record illustrated by reader- contributors for the benefit of all collectors.  My thanks to those contributors for their continued sharing their news with the world.  Don't forget Stuart Leigh's Post and Go Checklist can be downloaded here.

Steam GWR 'Zones' error.
As in 2020 there were no new Post and Go designs and, after 1 January, no rate changes to expand the number of basic stamps that collectors might want.  However, material at the new rates was available from museums which re-opened at different times through the year.  Some of the announced dates proved to be inaccurate because the museums did not open on Mondays!  New printings of Machin, Poppy, and Winter Greenery stamps have been available.

Errors a-plenty occurred, starting with the insertion of the wrong (2nd class) Winter Greenery stock in the 1st class position in January, SteamGWR having the old software and therefore producing the old Zone stamps in April, and missing text.  Some collectors were frustrated in travelling to museums only to find that software/SIM-card issues meant that the machines could not function.


Postmark slogans and others

I believe we have recorded 48 slogan postmarks this year - it may be one or two more or less as some run over a month end, and others have been used months late.  But a loyal band of reporters continues to make this the only place on the internet outside Stampboards - as far as I know - that records all new British machine postmarks.  

A significant number related to the pandemic but there was nothing new in August when we thought things were improving.  The busiest month was March with 10 new slogans.  My thanks to the people who regularly vie to be first to send the latest.  We get so little stamped post that if you depended on my receipts, the reporting would be very thin indeed!  As usual a number of machines have been brought out of retirement, including one using the census diamond!

The Post Office Horizon IT Scandal

There have been many developments in this story during 2021. The Criminal Cases Review Commission referred more cases to the Court of Appeal and many of these were uncontested by The Post Office and this continued through the year.  A system for the Post Office to make interim awards of up to £100,000 started; although payments have been slow they have been made.  

The Post Office declared that it didn't have the money to settle everything and the government eventually said that it would cover the amounts that were settled.  Nobody knows how much this will be in total.  More particularly we don't know how much of it will be recovered from Post Office Ltd's future profits - it will be a balancing act between the government taking their dividend and leaving enough in the business to keep it sustainable.

The government's enquiry into the scandal was eventually put on a statutory footing and the remit seems to be as wide as it possibly could be including looking at redress, restitution and blame.  Perhaps 2022 will see the Metropolitan Police actually charge some previous case witnesses with perjury, and perhaps the enquiry - which has already secured access to POL's internal papers - might question former directors and senior managers.  We can but hope.

Finally the definitive story so far, 'The Great Post Office Scandal' written by Nick Wallis was published by Bath Publishing to wide acclaim.  Buy it here!

I haven't had time to report everything here, but if you're really interested you should follow Nick Wallis on his blogs, firstly The Post Office Trial, and subsequently The Post Office Horizon Scandal.


Post Office, Royal Mail, Revenue Protection and Invalid Stamps that aren't

Although the number of new forgeries being reported this year seems to be fewer than previous years, that did not mean that problems with forgeries was any less.  This year the principal problem seems to be that Royal Mail's Revenue Protection (RP) teams have been flagging more and more genuine stamps as invalid, and charging the recipients as if the items are unpaid.

What makes this worse is that some have been accepted at post office counters, such as the special delivery item shown alongside.  It seems to me that if Royal Mail's retail partner (Post Office Ltd counters) accepts stamps proven to be invalid, then the money should be recovered from POL.  And if the stamps are only suspected of being invalid, it is incumbent on Revenue Protection to investigate further and not just rely on a gut feel or the information published on its own website

Strangely they seem to have no problem with a multitude of special stamps that are used, the problems seem to occur only with pre-2006 gummed Machin definitives.

Of course in cases like this the complaint is made, the claim is registered, and the money refunded, but at what cost in time and inconvenience, to say nothing of the fact that the 'next day' service is never achieved because of an error on behalf of Royal Mail.

It seems to me that it might be time for the regulator to be involved, and maybe issue a stern warning (for a start) to Royal Mail to get the RP house in order.  The next step would be a fine, or standard compensation for every case - much as power companies are obliged to pay if the power is off for more than 12 hours.

The business

In last year's review I said that we would open our online shop ( from Christmas and we were grateful for the people who came back, and to new customers.  Unfortunately other pressing matters with the premises and domestically prevented me from adding as much new material as I would have liked, but I have been able to sort through some foreign postal history and postcards to at least find that which has potential as single items, and that which is best sold in bulk.  I also drastically reduced some GB prices; there are some bargains available, look for the flashes on the thumbnail images, or click the Special Offers tab - nearly 250 items reduced.  Hopefully while I am keeping out of the way of the builders I can start making that available.

I'll put news about developments here on he blog - and on Twitter as well.  

Saudi Arabia 1960s airmail stamp.
For collectors with wider interests I'll be continuing the modern GB postal history blog, and starting other blogs, including one on Saudi Arabia and one on the Former Soviet Union countries: Armenia to Uzbekistan.  And whatever I sell, it will be yours to keep, I won;t be selling fractions of a stamp or cover!

Remember, if you are tired of Royal Mail's modern productions, there is 180-years' worth of alternative stamps and postal history from 200+ stamp-issuing entities that you could turn your attention to and build extensive collections as complex or as simple as you wish, by region, country or even by theme; and you can do that for a much lower outlay than you would pay for new British stamps, mint or used.


Whilst many people share what they have with other collectors, either through forums or blogs like this, or at their local or specialist societies, I'm sure many of you have material which ought to be shared more widely.

Missent to Gibraltar metal handstamp
A few years ago I was looking at a cheap GB cover that I had picked up at a fair, which had been sent to the wrong BFPO number.  Consquently it was redirected.  The thing that made this interesting was that instead of being sent to Germany it went to Gibraltar.  Now in Gibraltar much use is made of the civil postal service; indeed FPO postmarks can often be found on Gibraltar definitives.  Anyway this cover received a MISSENT mark which turned out to be metal rather than rubber, indicating that it was much older than it's 1960s date would have suggested.  

The editor of journal for the specialist society which covers the area was interested, but none of the members contacted me about this very late usage - it extended the known usage of a Victorian postal marking by about 30 years - and I sold it on eBay for less than £10, which was probably very cheap indeed.

And the more I look at what I have, away from bog-standard stamps, the more I think that other collectors might be interested, and there must be a specialist society which should record this in their journal.  It has never been easier to find out about organised philately so there is no excuse for not sharing with others.  This year I shared Official Paid postal stationery with the Postal Stationery Society and had an illustrated article published; that led to somebody acquiring my small accumulation, which is useful as it creates more space here/

Be proactive - share what you have.  If it is already known, they can probably tell you more about it.  If it isn't, then you can bask in the knowledge that you have contributed to the world body of philatelic knowledge!


The future

It seems likely that we will get used to Covid variants and to having regular vaccinations.  Those club and society meetings that have not already done so should resume - we cannot put our lives on hold forever.  Some societies have been able to continue with online meetings, but those which were already struggling for officers - including some of the oldest in the country - have been in stasis for nearly two years.

Stamp fairs in the middle and latter part of the year have been successful so we must hope that they continue, with suitable spacing, masking and sanitising.  The London 2022 international committee are determined that the event in February will go ahead at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London.

I will not go to London, but I do hope to visit more fairs this year, even though I am no longer buying much, and I hope to meet friends and readers at those events. Please come up and say hello if you see me with my head down, oblivious to all around me! 

By moving from being a fullish-time dealer back to being a collector-dealer, I hope to have as much time for my collections as you have for yours!  

We hope all our readers have a happy Christmas whatever religion you follow (if any). 
Once again we hope that you and your friends and loved ones stay safe now and in the future. 
Remember those who are less fortunate than you and if you can help one person - try to make it two!

Norfolk, January 2021

Friday, 17 December 2021

Souvenirs of organised philately: Norfolk & Norwich PS Centenary 2011.

Ten years ago the Norfolk and Norwich Philatelic Society celebrated its centenary with a public exhibition and a host of souvenirs.

The Centenary coincided with the issue of the United Kingdom A-Z stamp issue and first day covers sold well to FDC collectors around the country.  Other souvenirs included a Smilers Sheet (see above), (covers were produced with single Smilers stamps on) and several others which, as predicted, did not sell as well.  See them here.

Ten years on the Society activities are on hold due to the pandemic while arrangements are made for the resumption of acitivities next year.  

As custodian of the souvenirs I have held these in my office but as I am now trying to make more space the society is disposing of them through various channels.

Revised special offer prices for covers.

3. NNPS Smiler cover - £2.50

4. 350th Anniv of the Postmark Smiler - £1.25

5. Norfolk Broads Millennium stamp on cover - £1.25

6. Prince of Wales Paintings set on cover - £1.25

7. PoW Painting, Dersingham + definitive on cover - £1.50
The Post and Go birds singles, signed by artist Robert Gillmor are available at a discounted price through the Norvic Philatelics shop, where you can also find the 64 page Centenary publication, Norfolk Posts & Personalities also available.  
Please let me know by email if you would like any of these (including the signed P&G covers); postage will be extra but cheap.  Payment by bank transfer, UK cheque, or PayPal Friends and Family. If you cannot pay by these means please include this in your email.