Tuesday 30 June 2009

Benefits? of a high ranking on search engines

The Norvic Philatelics website was created 10 years ago when I first started using the internet and found that information about new British stamps was plentiful after they were issued but not before - not even on Royal Mail's website.

Before it even turned into a business our site was providing information not only about new stamps but the many pictorial postmarks associated with them. Sometimes it was difficult to get good images of new stamps: I once spoke to somebody on Royal Mail's IT team about this. He told me that - at that time - he had to wait until he got the PHQ cards, and then he scanned them and used those images for their website! How times change: now they have advance information, Preview in pdf files, and sometimes their published information breaks the publication embargo they impose on dealers and the media!

But our 10 year effort means that we get quite good rankings on search engines, and often get asked for permission to publish stamp images. All these requests we refer to Royal Mail's Copyright department.

Today's call, though, was something different. The lady - who seemed to be of asian ethnicity - asked if it was the Post Office. When asked to elaborate she asked about Post and Go machines...

"How can I get one of these in my shop?"

I gave her the number for PO Customer Service - 08457 740 740.

Happy Days!

Thursday 11 June 2009

2009 & 2010 Stamp Programme updates.

Update to the earlier update!

21 July Commemorative Sheet: 40th Anniversary of Moon Landing

3 August Thaipex Stamp Exhibition Smilers Sheet

18 August Design Classics retail booklet 3 - Concorde
(Same date as Wallboxes MS and Treasures of the Archive PSB)

17 September Design Classics retail booklet 4 - Mary Quant Mini-skirt stamps
(same date as Royal Navy Uniforms set & PSB)

18 September Commemorative Sheet - 150th Anniversary of Big Ben

7 October Commemorative Sheet - 800th Anniversary of Cambridge University

21 October Italia 2009 Exhibition Smilers Sheet

4 December MonacoPhil 2009 Exhibition Smilers Sheet


Update to 2010 programme
Design Classics retail book containing Spitfire and Concorde stamps will not, we think, now be issued in January. (It was odd that the Concorde stamp was postponed until after the end of the 40th anniversary year.)

Monday 8 June 2009

Surprise Machin Gold Head Horizon Label Trial !!

An unannounced new Horizon Label, bearing the Machin Head and with die-cut 'perforations', was trialled at the Branch Post Office at Camden High Street, in London, on Monday 8th June.

The new labels were printed by De La Rue, and were available only for the Special Delivery service, costing £4.95.

We understand that although exact quantities are not known the number of labels available for the trial is not large. Branch staff on the day explained there were only a limited quantity available as they were the only trial office and a nationwide roll out would be dependant on the results and a further printing of the label which would not necessarily be the same. The labels are gold, with ROYAL MAIL security overprint (no unusual spellings as far as we know!), and have several security slits similar to those found on the regular Machins issued in February.

Although this may not be regarded by some as a stamp, and may not be listed by mainstream catalogues, it is sure to be sought after by many collectors of Machin stamps and postal mechanisation speciaists. Unusually, for modern developments, examples will all be posted to UK addresses as the Special Delivery service is not available to international destinations.

As with all Horizon Labels it should not be available mint. Given the very few numbers and single-location this is likely to be strictly enforced. Some FDCs have been produced. Here's the label:

And here's the FDC:

Sunday 7 June 2009

Extra 'Design Classics' retail books???

Machin Mania's blog reports:

The third Design Classics themed retail booklet will be issued in August 2009. The booklet will contain 4x1st NVI gold and 2x1st NVI Concorde special issue stamps.

And now a fourth Design Classics themed retail booklet will be issued in September 2009. The booklet will contain 4x1st NVI gold and 2x1st NVI Mary Quant special issue stamps.

I don't know about you but I'm beginning to get annoyed at the variable information sent in different directions by different parts of Royal Mail.

Although I have posted an image of the Moon Landing Commemorative Sheet on our website, I haven't had the picture officially from our trade reps at Royal Mail. I took the picture from the Philatelic Bulletin - it was also in 'Preview', and even Stamp Magazine have a picture (July issue), so they had it weeks ago!

Friday 5 June 2009

Treasures of the (Postal) Archive PSB - more new versions of old stamps. 18 August 2009

On the same day that the Wall-boxes miniature sheet and Smilers sheet appear, Royal Mail is issuing a prestige stamp book with illustrations and narrative about the artifacts and philately in the British Postal Museum and Archive, successor to the National Postal Museum.

This book contains no fewer than 6 - and possibly 10 - new stamps, some of them new versions of stamps issued 20 years ago!

Pane 1 has four 1st and four 20p Definitives, both stamps bearing the double image of Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria from the 150th anniversary of the Penny Black stamps, set around a Penny Post label first issued in 1990, with the Penny Black portrait of Queen Victoria in the background.

Pane 2 has four 20p stamps featuring the Royal Mail Coach from the 1989 Lord Mayor's Show issue, showing the door of the Bristol - London Mailcoach in the backgound.

Pane 3 has all four of the Post Boxes stamps in a block of 4, rather than a strip. The background shows a Penfold hexagonal Victorian pillar box.

Pane 4 has four 17p Machin Definitives, two 22p Machins and two 62p Machins around a GPO logo label, the background showing images of the proposed 1937 coronation issue for King Edward VIII.

The book is printed by Walsall Security Print in litho. Doubtless somebody more expert will remind me if any of these are not new stamps because of that!

Postboxes Miniature Sheet and Smilers Sheet 18 August 2009

For no apparent reason Royal Mail is issuing a miniature sheet containing four stamps depicting wall-mounted post-boxes:

The boxes shown are:
1st class - George V type 8 wallbox;
56p - Edward VII Ludlow wallbox;
81p - Victorian Lamp Box* (here inserted in a wall);
90p - Elizabeth II Type A Wallbox.

* The 'lamp box' is designed to be fitted to a post, telegraph pole, or lamp standard. I think few are attached to lamp standards now.

The first class stamp also appears in a generic Smilers Sheet with labels showing 20 other (non-pillar-box) letter boxes.

Also on this day, another Prestige Stamp Book, but I'll put news of that in a separate message.

Fuller details of both sheets and book and (eventually) the special postmarks associated with them can be found here.


I should realy have started this June series of posts with an apology that I was so quiet in May. Apart from a two-week holiday we had some family matters to attend to which were quite unavoidable. I'll also be missing for 10 days this month, which is why I have updated our website and will cram in as much as possible this week.


40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing - Royal Mail Commemorative Sheet

To mark the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing Royal Mail will issue a commemorative sheet of 10 stamps with appropriate labels and illustrated border, in an illustrated folder. This is another one of those 'well-over-face-value' sheets which will be sold for £13.50 against a stamp value of only £3.90.

The picture I have isn't good enough and it's incomplete, so I'll await a better one. You can see what we have so far here

But why the 40th anniversary?

Giants, Pixies and other Mythical Creatures

From the land of the giants, to the prank-loving world of the pixies, the UK has a rich history of folklore and legend dating back to the oral tales handed down the generations by Celtic bards - and brought right up to date through Harry Potter and the hugely successful Dragonology books.

ON 16 June 2009 Royal Mail is issuing six new stamps:

The conventionally gummed stamps show:

1st class - Unicorns and Dragons;

62p - Giants and Pixies

90p - Mermaids and Fairies

But the real novelty is in the sheet margin or selvedge where the eyes are everywhere:

See the special postmarks for the day of issue here