Friday 31 December 2010

50th Anniversary of WWF - and a nudge to Europa

Royal Mail is issuing a set of stamps, miniature sheet and prestige stamp book to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of WWF – the Worldwide Fund for Nature.  

Forests are the Post Europ theme for 2011 so the WWF Miniature Sheet depicts the Amazon Rainforest where the WWF are involved in a number of projects to protect and conserve the forest and its plants and animals. The 1st Class stamp will bear the Post Europ logo in addition to the WWF logo.

Other products include a Prestige Stamp Book, presentation pack, first day covers, stamp cards, and a coin cover.

Full details, eventually including special postmarks, will appear on our website.

Friday 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas to all our followers and readers

This time last year I was wary of blogging!  Now I'm glad I took the advice and started this way of distributing news.   With 49 registered followers and many more readers I think we can say it has been a success.

That success has been in no small part to the people who have continued to supply us with information and images, and in particular I'd like to thank Alec Withell for supplying news and early images of the MA10 security Machins, and Richard Parsons for scanning others that I could not!  Thanks also to Larry and Roy on Machin Mania the cross-exchange of information is vital, and everybody who has contributed by leaving comments on these posts.

The picture shows Dereham Market Place in 1906.  The buildings have changed - one of those shown was the Post Office - but just lately the weather has been very similar, as it has been for many of us in the UK.

We wish all our readers the very best Christmas, and a peaceful, happy, and an interesting but not too challenging M11L Year.  Looking for a Christmas image, I settled on what I think was the best of our own first day covers:

Ian, Val & John Billings

Thursday 23 December 2010

Special edition of PUC £1 sold by BPMA.

Back on 8th December the British Postal Museum and Archive announced the sale of an extra souvenir from the London 2010 Festival of Stamps.

Copies of the PUC £1 were printed at London's Guildhall by Enschede representatives on an antique printing press. The whole process was very interesting, and we wondered what would happen to the many examples printed in blue by this special hand-printing process.   Well, now we know.  Just 50 blocks of 4, printed in blue, were made available at a price of £50 each.  The website originally indicated that advance reservations could be made and that there was a limit of 2 per customer. But the 'rules' were changed more than once, and I was told that anybody wanting to buy must ring on Monday 13th December at 9am, and the limit was one per customer.

But some people who phoned in the week before that Monday were able to order and pay for 2 copies in one transaction - and they have received them!

I think that the BPMA needs to think carefully about how they market any future limited editions to ensure fairness to collectors around the world.

Thursday 16 December 2010

Security Machins with no overprint - source unknown.

Recently found in kiloware are some strange 1st class stamps with security slits but no overprint.  This might be classed as a missing colour, certainly it would seem to indicate that one cylinder was either absent or uninked.  We know from previous experiments that it is impossible to remove one ink layer without removing them all.

These have not been found unused, the one shown above (thanks again, Richard), is from kiloware where so many uncancelled stamps are found.  (Some cancelled examples were also found!)  Richard suggests from the perforations and security slits that this is from a Walsall booklet - but whether a booklet of 12, or 6, or a mixed booklet, and whether one with or without the printer's imprint is impossible to tell until somebody finds one in situ in a post office or other retail outlet.

So if you do find one like this in original mint condition, please let us know, because we are keen to not only see it and report it, but we have a number of contacts who would like to own one of these.

Mike Holt - Machin dealer

The Machin Mania blog recently reported the sad news of the death of well-known Machin dealer Mike Holt.

Mike's wife, Sue, has now written to say that the Mike Holt business will continue. 

We join with collectors and dealers in passing on our condolences to Sue and Mike's friends and family.

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Machin M11L Security Machin - 1st class mixed content booklet

As promised, and thanks to Richard's skills with his scanner, we can now show the first 2011 Machin security code. 

The Thunderbirds mixed booklet has M11L at top left, and MCIL at top right.  Like all booklets of 6 these should see early and widespread use and should be found on mail and in kiloware by the end of January.

Friday 10 December 2010

It's a kind of magic - several kinds of magic !

Royal Mail have released details of the Magical Realms stamps to be issued in March 2011.  Originally with a working title of "Magical Heroes and Villains' the set is now 'Magical Realms', possibly because of some confusion over whether some characters were actually villains.

The set of 8 includes characters from Harry Potter, Arthurian Legend, Narnia and Discworld.  This is sure to be a popular set!

See the whole set on our webpage.

Thursday 9 December 2010

2011 Security Machins have M11L year code

You'll have to take my word for it until Richard sends me an image from his scanner, which is cleverer than mine (mine will only focus on the glass).

The Thunderbirds/Gerry Anderson mixed content retail booklet has the Year Code M11L - and not where the MA10 was this year.   The top left corner has

OYAL on the first line, and
ALM11LR on the second line

Where MA10 was this year, in front of the Queen's forehead, has reverted to MAIL, and MCIL remains in the top right corner.  The packing date is 04/11/10 and the barcode 5 014721 127798.

SO the hunt is on - start looking out for retail booklets, business sheets and others for M11L

Monday 6 December 2010

Odd flaw on 97p Christmas Wallace & Gromit

I've been sent this picture of an odd flaw - which appears to be properly screened - at the foot of a 97p Christmas stamp:

The flaw is not composed of any single colour from the CMYK group, and seems to be partly a mix of yellow and black, and partly of cyan and black.  It could be a 'foreign body' in the print - it isn't a 'foreign body' on the stamp itself.

Has anybody seen anything similar on this set or others, or any explanation of this flaw.  Let us know by using the Comment faclity!

Saturday 4 December 2010

Machin MA10 - 1st class Large counter sheet image

The promised image of the 1st class Large Letter MA10 stamp from counter sheets (thanks, Richard!)

Friday 3 December 2010

More Horizon Gold from Wales - Surface Mail

It's a slow boat from Wales to the US, and back - even if the return was by airmail - so here at last are the Surface mail labels from Wales.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Security Machins - re-arrangement in our shop

When the first tranche of security stamps was issued in 2009 it was quite easy to make them available in our online shop - though even then some Gibbons catalogue numbers have since been changed.

With the 2010 versions stuttering out in groups or singly, allocating numbers in our stock was erratic.  And some people found some of their own, so needing 'sets' to be broken.

By mid-2011 with the publication of Stanley Gibbons Concise catalogue, which had new numbers for most of the security stamps, our number allocation was changed once again - our new permanent numbering system is shown in this blogpost.