Monday 31 January 2011

Something different - Queensland Flood Appeal FDC

Readers will be aware of the devastating floods which hit Queensland in Australia earlier in the month, and others which have now extended into Victoria.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and Australia Post Managing Director and CEO Ahmed Fahour announced the issue on 27 January of Australia’s first Charity Stamps to raise funds for those affected by the Queensland floods.   The self-adhesive sheet consists of 10 x 60c stamps, sold at $8 with $2 going to help the people and communities in Queensland.

Because this was a rush issue there are no official FDCs from Australia Post however there was a special FDI postmarker available at the Brisbane GPO and a number of people processed a limited number of covers on the day of issue (last Thursday). The cover size is 175 x 250mm.  Amazingly mine have already arrived in the UK, and I have just two ONE of these available, offers invited.  These are making over A$100 (over £60) - email - all sold - one back to Australia.

Remember these have actually gone through the post (the Royal Mail barcode is peelable.) The person who did these produced a few sent direct internationally either with 5 stamps or the sheet and inland 32 Registered FDCs, 21 Full Sheet and 11 Set of 5 Singles.  A few others were produced on the day, and some people did their own at Toowoomba. 

* Profits will be remitted to the Premier's Flood Relief Appeal.

Sunday 30 January 2011

Did you get the London Festival of Stamps Retail Packs?

Only sold at the main show in London, many of these packs were sold out on day 1 and few collectors were aware of them.  Similar packs were produced for StampShow 2000 and are scarce.

We have the Accession Stamp packs with Cylinder block, dot block, or traffic light: click here.
Remember this stamp was designated as a definitive by Royal Mail's bureau so those with standing orders for Commemorative stamps didn't receive it - but it wasn't widely recognised as a definitive by post offices either, and those which choose to ignore special stamps left this in the safe!

A few days later similar packs were produced for the Britain Alone set.  Each of these packs contains a number of full sets of the stamps, although generally only the 1st class Churchill stamp is visible:

We have just a few packs on sale at bargain prices in our online shop - same link as above.

Friday 28 January 2011

Machin gummed coil leaders - MA10

These aren't often seen, so I'm sharing the 1st & 2nd class coil leaders from last May's gummed coils:

(Click on the image to see a larger image)

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Machin M11L Security Machin - Business Sheets appear, and Counter Sheets

The first unannounced 2011 Machin NVI security stamps have appeared.  

The 2nd class and 1st class (both small) stamps in Business Sheets are now in circulation with printing dates of 11/11/2010 (2nd class) and 16/11/2010 (1st class).


(Thanks again to Richard P for providing pictures.)

Note that the MBIL is in the same place as before, and the M11L is - as with the booklet reported earlier - moved to row 2.  The security slits are undivided (ie original type) on both the 2nd and 1st class. 

These have now been added to our online store as items 2911B.1 and 2912B.1.

Following our trip to the York Stamp & Coin Fair on Saturday we can confirm that the following have been reported.  Confirmation, pictures and stocks awaited!
1st class Counter Sheet (2912.1) - not yet confirmed
2nd class Counter Sheet (2911.1) - confirmed

Please let us know when you find these used in your mail or kiloware.  We are looking for Earliest Known Date of usage.  Use the comment button below, thanks.

Monday 17 January 2011

Machin and Country definitive changes and new issues in 2011 - update

We can now provide more detailed information on the changes to lower value Machin definitives, first mentioned here.

The self-adhesive 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p and 20p values will be printed in sheets of 25 and will incorporate the security slits but not the irridescent overprint.  These will replace the current PVA gummed Machin Definitive sheet stamps of 200 for operational purposes as supplies are needed.

Despite the obvious differences, we understand that Royal Mail Philatelic are not counting this as a visible change for standing order purposes*.  There will be no official first day of issue, but the first day of philatelic availability will be 8 March 2011. (We will service a limited number of first day covers.)

* Peter S has contacted the Tallents House Bureau, and writes: "I have just spoken to the Philatelic Bureau and am reliably informed that the self adhesives will be will be supplied in accordance with the indivduals standing order requirements."   But unless they change their normal procedures, there will be no FDCs; none are listed on the pre-order form.

Reflecting the usage and demand:

• Dot and No Dot cylinders will no longer exist for these values;
• The 2p, 5p and 20p will be printed from one cylinder which will limit the cylinder grid positions to four each;
• The 1p and 10p will be printed on individual cylinders so each will be available in 12 cylinder grid positions.


Although Post Office branches will be supplied with sheets of 25, it has been normal practice for philatelic counters and the bureau to be supplied with, and to supply, guttered sheets of 50. 

New issues for Tariff Change - date of issue not advised (probably 29 March)
Machins all printed by DLR in gravure (expected to be self-adhesive sheets of 25/50 with security features):
68p Sea Green
76p Pink
£1.10 Lime Green
£1.65 Sage

Country definitives all printed by Cartor in litho (conventionally gummed):
68p & £1.10 for each country.

Incidentally, on Machin Mania, Larry reports that in 1997 Royal Mail said that "self-adhesive stamps are designed for small businesses and would in no way replace traditional stamps".  Times change!

New 1st class Machin forgery - with 'security features' found

One of the joys of having time to look through kiloware these days is that you are almost certain to find something interesting, and possibly something new. I don't have that time, but I am pleased to pass this on from somebody who does!

It's the latest forgery of the 1st class gold Machin. When I looked at it yesterday as an actual stamp on the piece of envelope it was clearly 'wrong' - wrong die cut, wrong screening to the head. It is also on very glossy paper, the sort of thing that might be used for labels on some retail packaging, and whilst it has the security slits, they are not right - for example the two parts to not properly line up.

However, the scan shows something we could not see with the naked eye or magnifier, the presence of the letters that make up ROYAL MAIL - or most of them! As shown, it is really quite a crude mimic of the genuine, with incomplete words in the middle of the design, not just at the edges. There seems to be nothing on the head, and very little effort has been made to match the 'overprint' to the genuine - so little effort indeed that one wonders why the producers went to the trouble of doing it at all!

If anybody can match the die-cut 'perforations' to any other label we would be interested to know; likewise if you find anything that appears to be 'wrong' we would also be interested. Many people collect postal forgeries of all periods and countries and would be interested to add one of these to their collections. So far no more than 3 of these have been found.
Update - additional copies have been found with a different - but very similar - die cut.  These were scanned on two different scanners, which may account for the difference in appearance of the printing.

Friday 14 January 2011

Development of the Postcode - BPMA Blog

An interesting series of blog posts from Postal Heritage, the British Postal Museum and Archive here -

"The significance of the postcode and its origins in the post-1945 era are considered followed by some archival examples tracing different aspects of its design along its journey from a specialised engineering concept to a universally recognised geographical referencing tool."

Remember, blog entries (currently 3 on that thread) are read from the lowest, with the most recent at the top.

Thursday 13 January 2011

April 2011 - Royal Shakespeare Company 50 years

2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the granting of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s charter

Royal Mail have now released the designs of the set and miniature sheet.  Note that the face values have changed (details below).

Set of 6 


1st Class – Hamlet
The stamp shows former Dr Who David Tennant as Hamlet from 2008.
66p (58p) – The Tempest
Antony Sher plays Prospero in the 2009 production.
68p (60p) – Henry VI
Chuk Iwuji plays Henry VI in the 2006 production.
76p (67p) – King Lear
A classic shot of Paul Schofield as Lear from 1962.
£1.00 (88p) – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Sara Kestleman plays the fairy queen Titania from 1970.
£1.10 (97p) – Romeo and Juliet
Ian McKellan and Francesca Annis play the doomed lovers from 1976.

Miniature Sheet
The Miniature Sheet comprises of four stamps showing a collage of the four theatres from the
Royal Shakespeare Company’s Stratford-upon-Avon campus against a background based upon
the concept of the stage, with actors and theatrical scenery.

New values: 1st class, 67p, 76p, £1.00

Date of Issue: 12 April 2011

Sunday 9 January 2011

First 2011 Smilers sheet is for Indipex Exhibition in Delhi.

Royal Mail have announced the issue of an Exhibition/Generic Smilers sheet for Indipex which will be held in New Delhi from 12-18 February.  The sheet consists of two identical halves (maybe sold in sheets of 10 at the event?) each having images of old and new Delhi, and the British 1969 Gandhi Centenary stamp, on labels alongside the self-adhesive Union Flag stamp.

The sheet will be on sale from the Royal Mail Philatelic Bureau and philatelic outlets from 12 February.

Tuesday 4 January 2011

Machin and Country definitive changes in 2011

Royal Mail have announced major changes to the production of definitive stamps during 2011.

The low value Machin stamps - 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p & 20p - will change from sheets of 200 with water-activated gum to sheets of 25* self-adhesive.  (*I suspect this means counter sheets of 25 but philatelic sheets of 50 with a gutter.).  These will have security slits but no iridescent security overprint.   The smaller sheets, which are more convenient for post office use, will be introduced operationally as needed, and there will be no official first day of issue, but the first day of philatelic availability will be 8 March 2011.  Normally gummed sheets will continue to be on sale from the Philatelic Bureau at Tallents House until further notice.

The new Country Definitives for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to be issued at the end of March, will also be printed in sheets of 25 but will have conventional water-activated gum.  Values are expected to be 76p & £1.10.  Apparently the low usage of these does not make security features an economic proposition.  The new printings will be in litho by Cartor, changing from De La Rue gravure printings.

The Machin definitives required for the April tariff change will be self-adhesive with iridescent overprint in sheets of 25.  These should have the M11L year code and source code MAIL.  Values are expected to be 68p, 76p, £1.10 & £1.65.  All Machin printings are expected to be by De La Rue in gravure.

No date of issue for tariff change stamps has yet been announced.