Wednesday 23 December 2009

Happy New Font! 2010 PSB brings major change to Machins

In the middle of November I had an email from Chris in Australia about the Classic Album Covers PSB. He pointed out that the publicity photo in the Philatelic Bulletin showed the 54p value with rather different figures of value to those we are used to. The way he put it:

"It appears to be Garamond (or similar) and not Jeffrey Matthews font - the gap at the top of the 4 is very noticeable. I agree this is probably another Royal Mail concoction, just like the panes on your website which have no elliptical perfs, but it is odd that the others seem to use the correct font."

It is not uncommon for Royal Mail to produce pre-issue publicity pictures which vary from the actual stamps - see the publicity image here. The 54p seems quite normal in that picture.

However, today I received the first batch of PSBs (yes, only 2 weeks before the stamps are issued and far fewer working days!) And they are so surprising that I had to take time out from preparing for Christmas to reveal the true position:

Not only is the 54p with a new font, but the 5p is totally different to the regular sheet stamp. In fact, all the stamps are different, with the 62p being the closest to the De La Rue sheet stamp:

From Album Covers Pane 1

Normal De La Rue Machins from counter sheets:

From Album Covers Pane 4

So, Chris, you were right after all! And another thing I can confirm, the Album Covers special stamps on panes 2 & 3 are NOT self-adhesive but ordinarily gummed. The phosphor block, as on the Souvenir Sheet extends to the perforations, whereas on the self-adhesive sheet stamps the phosphor is only on the album cover.

This is the last blog post before we break for Christmas.

We would like to wish all our customers and other readers

Season's Greetings and all the best for 2010 !!

Friday 11 December 2009

Now, the 2nd class Machin with 4 security slits.

Following our report of the 1st class Machin stamp appearing in kiloware with four security slits we have now been sent an image of the 2nd and 1st with four slits.

These are soaked off and have machine wavy-line postmarks so
(a) we don't know where they were posted, and
(b) they have been through mechanised sorting unlike most of the other odd-ball security Machins which have packet handstamps.
Both these and the previous 1st class (shown again below) have very flat 'tops' to the perforations, similar to, but possibly flatter than, the Walsall stamps in mixed booklets, and are probably from business sheets. But their real origin remains a matter of speculation.

We still await any reports of these found unused.

Monday 7 December 2009

Holiday time brings charity appeals - check them for coils!

Although charities send appeal letters and newsletters to their supporters throughout the year, Christmas is an especially productive time as we are all feeling generous and more likely to respond positively - at least that's the idea.

I had an appeal letter from MND Association, Box 45 Diss. It's one of those that uses imitation handwriting for the address and the return address. More crucially for me - and for you - is that the mailing house that sent this out used a 2nd class coil stamp with security features. Yes, an MRIL!

This is the first time I have seen one used, and it comes with the usual laser-print four wavy lines and no date stamp. Check your mail more carefully over the next few weeks - there may be some surprises! Let me know what you find!

Friday 4 December 2009

Security Machins with 4 security slits - trial, error, or forgery?

Kiloware can be fascinating if you have time for it.
The MRIL coil stamps were found on business correspondence, though it could just as easily have been in kiloware if the recipient hadn't been alert. The 1st class gold reported earlier with no security overlay were found in kiloware, with a Devon and Exeter postmark, and now we've been shown this picture of the 1st class gold with four security slits. - the right-hand stamp on the top row. (Click on the image to see a bigger version.)

This, like the earlier 1st class with no overlay, came from a packet which was manually sorted. But we've also been shown both 1st and 2nd class with four slits, with wavy line postmarks indicating that they had been processed by the normal sorting machinery.

All these have been found by a dealer in Asia. The no-overlay was postmarked Devon and Exeter and the 4-slits is postmarked Plymouth, which is in Devon. Machin specialists are rightly sceptical and suspicious and mint examples bought over the PO counter or from Royal Mail Direct are eagerly awaited!