Friday 27 November 2009

Royal Mail marks 350th Anniversary of The Royal Society - 25 February 2010

Founded in 1660, The Royal Society celebrates its 350th Anniversary in 2010 and as the National Academy of Science of the UK and the Commonwealth. It maintains its position at the forefront of enquiry and discovery, and at the cutting edge of scientific progress.

The Royal Society still supports many top young scientists, engineers and technologists, and continues to influencing science policy and stimulating debate on scientific issues with the public.

Royal Mail is issuing 10 stamps showing significant scientific figures from its 350-year history:

Yes, they look odd, don't they? Shades of Monty Python? Not too bad when you have them individually, I suppose:

And there's also a Prestige Stamp Book:

Thursday 19 November 2009

Classic Album Covers stamps etc now available to order

London Calling! we have now set up a page on our website for ordering all the stamps, first day covers, presentation pack, etc for this stamp issue. (now removed)

The stamps are not issued until 7 January. Orders which exclude first day covers will be posted as soon as possible after the issue date. Orders which include first day covers will not be despatched until we have them returned by Royal Mail after servicing, which will probably be the end of January.

We are hoping to have the first batch of pictorial postmarks on the main website around 13 December.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Mary Quant's going grey ! Black colour fade on Design Classic book 4 - update

A while back I reported faded black on the Mary Quant booklet.

Now I'm able to show used (but not soaked) copies side-by-side which clearly show the extent of the fading on the stamps:

That these are quite widespread suggests either a lack of care or a problem at the printers.

Another error on the Quant booklet concerns an upward shift of the silver, putting the value and Queen's head into the perforations and the lowest (silver) caption line up to the black caption line above it.

Again, there are more than a few of these about, I'm told.

Monday 16 November 2009

Pre-security Machins going off sale in Feburary

According to the Bureau Stock List received today, the following items will be going off sale on 16.02.10 - unless sold out earlier.

50p (27.03.07), £1 (05.06.07)
£1.50, £2, £3, £5 'higher values' issued 01.07.03

2nd class blue (ordinary gum) DLR print issued 05.06.07
1st class gold (ordinary gum) DLR print issued 01.07.03
1st & 2nd Large PIP DLR (ordinary gum) issued 01.08.06

Presentation packs for 01.07.03 High Values and the PIP pack will also be withdrawn.

Friday 13 November 2009

Girlguiding UK Celebrates its centenary in 2010 ...

... and Royal Mail will mark the anniversary not with a set of six stamps as it did for the Boy Scouts Centenary, but with a miniature sheet of 4 stamps which will see very little social use. Shame.

The sheet will be issued on 2 February 2010. Printed by Cartor Security Print in lithography, the sheet is 190x67mm and the stamps 37x35mm.

This is what they did for the boys - oh, and special postal stationery as well! Comments, girls?

Thursday 12 November 2009

Recorded NVIs not printed until mid-October

Supplies of the new Machin Recorded Signed For stamps have now arrived and the printing date blocks show why at Stampex Royal Mail officers could not confirm for sure, the colour of the stamps. At that stage - despite our cynicism! - they had not been printed (assuming the ones we have now were from the first printing batch. We have now seen printing dates of 16 and 19 October for the small stamp and 21 October for the Large stamp.

The Security Overprint is the same style as on ordinary sheet stamps, ie with no code, and the security slits are bisected by the smallest of 'nicks' which has been described as Type 2a.

Cylinder blocks and first day of issue special postmarks are shown on our webpage here.

Friday 6 November 2009

Postcode Anniversary postmark update

Update on the Postcode Anniversary slogans which Royal Mail said would be applied at mail centres from 6-12 October and at Norwich from 5-18 October.

I spent the last week on the Welsh borders and postcards posted in the Shrewsbury area received the ink-jet postmark as late as Friday 23 October and the old-style machine slogan at least as late as Tuesday 20 October (no images available).

Late usage from the Norwich area:
CFC 1 using Pass On with inverted date die on 12 October.
CFC 1 still using Pass On on 26 October.
CFC 2 still using Get the most on 23 October.
CFC 3 still using Code it Keep it (pigeon) on 30 October (zero not visible on any copies).
CFC 4 still using Sealed & Postcoded on 23 October.
CFC 6 still using Help us push on 19 October.

CFC5 not seen after due date. Non-CFC usage shown in the previous gallery has been seen only once, on a department store Mailshot. It might have been used only for that mailing.

Gatwick Mail Centre IMP using the ink-jet slogan on 24 October (with Croydon w/l 'overprint').
South East Anglia IMP using the ink-jet slogan on 24 October.

And Preston IMP using the ink-jet on 23 October - thanks Dave!

We've seen no postcode slogans with November dates from Norwich, and other slogans have been used in at least some IMP machines, but of course we will publish any other reports here.

Perforation Shift Produces Major 'Worldwid' Error

No, it's not my error, the stamps actually are Worldwid Postcard stamps!

Thanks to our correspondent, another Ian, who reports:
There is a very short band on the bottom stamps but a full band on the top stamps. I understand that two books were found -- which is not to say that there may not be 10,000 more out there waiting to found! As this is a plain (non-cylinder) book, I'm not sure if these are from the recent reprint from grey cylinder W3, but I think that they are.

Unlike more recent sheet-printed stamps, the phosphor on these and the 40gr booklets was printed on the central matrix as well as the stamps, meaning that only the bottom row could have short bands at the foot, and only the top row could have short bands at the top. Even if this is a new printing, it would make sense for the phosphor cylinder on books of 4 to continue if possible.

Here's a picture of all 4 stamps:

Undated 2009 Strike Mail - so that we don't know how long it took to arrive?

Well the postal strikes are over for the present to enable negotiations to continue and for Christmas post to be dealt with normally, much to everybody's relief.

Here's an interesting item we received this week from the the mid-Wales coastal area, which has been processed with no date in the ink-jet postmark!

Big Ben Medal Cover uses Unavailable Smilers

150th Anniversary of Big Ben Commemorative Sheet: 18 September 2009

The Big Ben Commemorative sheet is self-adhesive with 20 definitive-sized Union Flag stamps, as shown.

On the same day, Royal Mail sold a Philatelic Medal Cover, which included a commemorative medal (not coin) from the Royal Mint, with a special Smilers stamp, and special postmark. The Smilers label is in the same design as the final label on the sheet, but smaller - because the stamp is the large-size Union Flag on conventionally gummed paper. Whatever form it was printed in, this stamp was not available to collectors of dealers. The perforation is the same as the Rule Britannia Smiler of 2004, but the shade is quite different.

(Oh, and the postmark is pretty rubbish - looks like it was done with a dot-matrix printer!)