Wednesday 28 January 2009

New postal rates - new Machin and country definitive stamps 31 March 2009

On 31 March Royal Mail will issue new definitive stamps in advance of the change in postage rates which takes effect from 6 April.

Four new Machin definitives will be issued:
17p olive-green
22p stone
62p red
90p ultramarine

Of course these colours are Royal Mail descriptions so we can't be sure what they will actually look like until they show us, but the 17p is probably similar to the 18p & 30p, the 22p similar to the old 16p, red has been used a number of times (8p, 26p) and ultramarine is probably the 20½p blue.

New 56p and 90p country definitives will replace the 50p and 81p in existing designs.

Friday 23 January 2009

Machin £1 violet printed after ruby - just found

A collector reports the £1 violet with a printing date of 15-03-07, although the £1 ruby (issued 5 June 07), was printed in January 2007. Click on image to see a larger one.

One assumption is that there was an unexpected need for the £1 stamp during the first half of 2007 before the Machin 40th anniversary (ruby) issue was to be issued, but after it was printed. Why some have appeared with this date only now is not explained but they are thought to have originated from Royal Mail Direct.

Monday 19 January 2009

Machins with security features: delays and cancellations!

News from Royal Mail today

Retail stamp books
This range of books will now have a First Day of Availability on 31 March 2009, as opposed to 17 February 2009.

Business sheets
The business sheets will now not be available until 31 March 2009, as opposed to 17 February 2009.

Stamp rolls
Stamp rolls / coils of the Machin stamps with new security features will not be produced for this issue.

All other stamps and products for this issue remain unaffected.

Well - that will make production of first day covers on 17 February somewhat easier.

Wednesday 14 January 2009

Darwin PSB Machins very different to others

As with the Design Classics Prestige Stamp Book(PSB) Machins pane, the Charles Darwin PSB has some surprises, especially as the PSB stamps are printed by De La Rue as the ordinary counter sheets are. I don't think we've had a 5p - or indeed any Machin - quite this colour before!
The Machins from the Darwin PSB are printed by De La Rue in litho and are shown on the right.(The normal sheet stamps in gravure are on the left).

Remember these are simultaneous scans: if the 'old' stamps don't look like yours, make some allowances for your monitor and my scanner! The new ones are still different.

Tuesday 13 January 2009

Fire & Emergency Services stamps - 1 September 2009

Essex Girls and Boys on Fire Service Stamps

Ahead of information from Royal Mail the Halstead Gazette reports that the designs of this set will be as a result of co-operation with the Essex fire service.

There will be six stamps produced depicting firefighters working at various types of incidents. These are: a chemical incident, a major blaze, the urban search and rescue team, a road traffic collision, a water rescue and a generic firefighters image.

A spokesman for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: "It is wonderful to be able to showcase some of the excellent work our firefighters do, and for them to get national recognition."

Monday 12 January 2009

Scotland's Country stamps - now by Enschede

The Robert Burns miniature sheet is printed by Joh Enschede Security Print in Holland, and so the country definitives are new stamps. The new stamps are shown below alongside examples of the existing sheet stamps. The most noticeable difference is the smaller silver head and thinner figures of value. There are some shade differences, most notably the very red shading to the lower left corner of the 50p.
Note the labels on the images, as the Enschede stamps are in a block of 4!

Thursday 8 January 2009

Robert Burns first day postmarks - and some others

There's not much you can do for a commemorative postmark on Robert Burns apart from using his portrait, and so in the 15 postmarks we have added to the Burns webpage today, six of them show the man, one a thistle, one a mouse - but the official Edinburgh Bureau postmark shows a haggis!

.... and a few more for Design Classics

Tuesday 6 January 2009

Design Classics Prestige Book Machins quite different to earlier versions

The Design Classics stamp issue on 13 January 2009 includes a prestige stamp book. Stamps on two of the panes are Design Classics, another pane has a block of 4 Concorde stamps, two from the new set and two from the 2002 Jet Airliners set.

But as usual one pane contains a mix of Machin definitive stamps. As this book is printed by Cartor Security Printers of France, the definitives are all new, and as the enlarged images show, the Cartor versions are quite different to the sheet versions printed by De La Rue.

In each case the De La Rue stamp is on the left, and the new Cartor stamp is on the right.
Whilst the pane image above is from Royal Mail publicity, the images here are of actual stamps, which were scanned in one session with the same settings - in addition to the quite distinct head, the shade of the 16p is quite different. This will be required by specialist collectors and those with preprinted albums.

Robert Burns 250th Anniversary - stamp miniature sheet 22 January 2009

Robert Burns, one of the world's greatest poets, and Scotland's national bard, was born 250 years ago into a farming family at Alloway in Ayrshire in 1759.

To celebrate the 250th anniversary of his birth, Royal Mail is issuing two new Special Stamps in a Miniature Sheet to coincide with the annual Burn's Night celebrations that mark his genius, held not just in Scotland, but globally from South Africa to Canada.

The miniature sheet contains the four Scotland country definitives in a se-tenant block, and two new 1st class stamps. The stamp on the left features the title of the poem A Man's a Man for a' that with a detail from a copper plate engraving from a painting by James Sargent Storer Robert Burns turning up a mouse in her nest with his plough, while the stamp on the right is the famous portrait of the poet by Alexander Nasmyth. The background shows an engraving of Burns' birthplace in Alloway by James Sargent Storer.

As well as the stamps, Royal Mail will be selling a first day cover and presentation pack. To see some other products and the special postmarks for the first day of issue visit our website.

Royal Mail starts 2009 with Classic British Design Icons - 13 January 2009

The UK has produced some of the world's most iconic design work of the 20th Century and the 2009 Special Stamp Programme starts with a celebration of ten British design classics. These stamps, together with a prestige stamp book, a presentation pack, first day covers and stamp cards, will be on sale on 13 January 2009.

Classic design included the distinctive lines of RJ Mitchell's Spitfire fighter and the stylish chic of Mary Quant's daring mini skirt, the calm of the Penguin Books jacket and the practicality of Robin Day's Polypropylene chair.
But one brilliant design remains close to millions of people's hearts - the Mini car. In 1959 the first Minis rolled off the production lines at the British Motor Corporation's plants at Longbridge, Birmingham and Cowley in Oxford. Designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, the revolutionary small car remained in production until 2000 and is the most popular British designed and built car ever. Not only that but its stylish design made it a hit with the trend setters of the swinging sixties with everyone from John Lennon and Marianne Faithfull to Peter Sellers and Steve McQueen owning one. Minis were also a key element in the hit film The Italian Job.

On the same day Royal Mail will issue a Smilers Sheet of 20 mini-car stamps with attached labels depicting moments from the iconic small car's history and some of its many variants.

See the sheet and the special postmarks for the day of issue on our website.