Saturday 26 February 2011

Another barely credible 1st class forgery

The last 1st class Machin forgeries found locally are easily indentifiable by their odd die-cut 'perforations'.   Now Dave Allwright has shown us another which is notable for its abbreviated form of face value:

Incidentally Dave also points out that the die-cut on these and the earlier ones looks very similar to some Isle of Man stamps, although not the same size and format.

Let us know if you find any unusual stamps - leave a comment!

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Machin definitive changes and new issues in 2011 - update

As we now have the low value stamps we can show pictures of the sheets and sheet margins.

It's been suggested that rather than collecting cylinder blocks and date blocks some collectors will just collect whole sheets.  Fine for these few, total cost £9.50, but 25 @ £1.65?  I don't think so!

The 1p & 10p values are printed in 12 positions on the cylinder as shown on the grid at the lower left.

The other cylinder has 2p in column 1, 5p in column 2 and 20p in column 3.  It would, therefore, be feasible to have a press sheet three columns (counter-sheets) wide containing all three values, although these are only likely to be in the archive.

Thursday 17 February 2011

BPMA - We're not going to Swindon after all.

We've waited for a comprehensive National Postal Museum since London's King Edward Building was sold in 1998.  The British Postal Museum & Archive, currently based in Freeling House, Mount Pleasant, with stores at Debden in Essex and a Community Museum at Blist's Hill in Ironbridge, had big plans for a new centre in converted railway premises in Swindon.  They even secured some Heritage Lottery Funding. 

But the main part of the funding was still down to Royal Mail - and it is now reported that as Royal Mail have decided they cannot afford this funding, the BPMA trustees "have decided not to continue with plans to develop a new base in Swindon, Wiltshire."

See their blog statement here.

The country which invented the postage stamp hasn't had a postal museum for 13 years.  So, let's pass the hat round and see if we can raise £20 million between us.  Given the number of collectors and businesses which make money from the hobby, it ought to be possible, surely?

Wednesday 16 February 2011

More unannounced Security Machins for 2011

The list of 2011-coded Machin Security Stamps is growing, with two now from business sheets and three from counter sheets.  As yet our stocks of these have not been delivered, but as soon as we have them we will add them to the shop.  Regular customers will have the new stamps put aside for them as arranged.  The 2011 code on the Large stamp takes some finding, especially if you are looking for M11L, because this has MA11 on - as we wrongly predicted last year! - above the ge of Large.

(This is a new image of the 2nd class previously reported). 

WWF International Agent slams Royal Mail stamp issue!

This blogpost has been modified for reasons which will become obvious.

Most stamp issues related to the WWF require approval from the international organisation, and from the Swiss company Groth AG who have exclusive rights to approve the designs etc.

In an earlier version of this blogpost we quoted from the 15 February 2011 Newsletter of Groth AG, official philatelic agents for WWF International. The Royal Mail stamps for the 50th anniversary of WWF were not arranged with WWF International in Switzerland, but with WWF's UK branch. Apparently deprived of their commission on this stamp issue, Groth's criticism in their Newsletter was evidently an embarrassment to both WWF International and WWF UK – and also, now, to Groth AG.
Groth's Newsletter (downloaded as a pdf) has now been edited to remove all reference to the Royal Mail issue and the criticism, and we have been asked by WWF International via Hans Groth if we would also remove the reference from our blog.
I have no wish to prolong the embarrassment by continuing its publication so I have removed the Newsletter quote from this blog as well.
This is what Groth say about their organisation:

Today, Hans is proud to say that the collection - the largest thematic collection in the world - is still selling well and that his company will soon be celebrating a quarter of a century of collaboration with WWF. It is projected that the Collection will continue to be produced at least until 2011 when WWF will celebrate its 50th Anniversary.
To date over one billion stamps and almost 400 issues have been printed and sold, generating more than 20 million Swiss francs in royalties - an important source of funding for WWF's conservation activities.
I am sure that there was a financial arrangement between Royal Mail and WWF UK for the use of the WWF logo: these things do not need the intervention of a philatelic agent. As I wrote in the original version of this post:

Royal Mail wanted to mark the 50th anniversary and should be able to do what they want for that both in numbers and animals.  Thinking about it, if the only way that people in the UK and US (for example) can be aware of endangered animals in Yemen and Siberia is by buying stamps from Yemen and Russia then that is unproducitve.  Far better I think for the big countries to highlight the work of the WWF by showing endangered animals worldwide? 
But the United States will not mark the 50th Anniversary and have never issued a WWF stamp, and I'm told that Canada Post has not either. In fact, looking at the Groth AG site, it would seem that Spain, Norway, and even Switzerland have also managed to resist the impulse to deal with Groth.

What do you think? - let us know by leaving a comment (also see comments section)

Monday 14 February 2011

Late arrival for the MA10 dance - 2nd class Large counter

It was always likely that the 'missing' MA10 varieties would appear eventually and now, 6 weeks into the new year, the 2nd class Large Letter stamp from Counter Sheets has appeared.  Thanks to Richard for the image.  We don't yet have stocks, but will edit this message and add them to the shop when we do.

Sunday 13 February 2011

Horizon Online label new date type

It's spot the difference time again!

When PO Counters' Horizon software was upgraded to that known as 'Horizon Online' some changes were obvious, as you can see in the left and centre labels below.  The service indicator was in a new thinner typeface, and at last was centered on the label.  The branch code at lower-right lost it's final digit, and both Royal Mail and POSTAGE PAID UK were in a slightly squatter typeface.

Lastly the date changed: the shape of some digits changed, see the 2 and 0, and the format was changed from 00/00/00 to 00-00-00.

Now labels have appeared from the Horizon Online system, with all attributes the same except that the date has reverted to the original format - see the third image above.  I don't know whether this has affected all machines, the example above is from Taunton.  PostagelabelsUK reports an example from Wales where the final 'l' of Post Brenhinol has also disappeared.

Please let us know of examples that you see - we need to establish when the system changed, believed to be around the end of December.

Edit: 31.12.10 posted from DD2 with new format reported from Australia:

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Machin Forgery update.

The previously reported forgery of the 1st class gold has been found with a slightly different - but equally unbelievable - die-cut 'perforation' - picture with the original.

Monday 7 February 2011

150th Anniversary of Wm Morris company - 6 stamps 5 May 2011

Founded by the Pre-Raphaelite artist and designer William Morris in 1861 Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. manufactured and sold decorative arts products. The firm’s medieval-inspired aesthetic and respect for hand-craftsmanship and traditional textile arts had a profound influence on the decoration of churches and houses into the early 20th century.

Royal Mail is issuing 6 stamps (and there are rumours of a prestige stamp book) to mark this 150th anniversary. The face values will change before issue on 5 May 2011 due to increases in postage rates.


Friday 4 February 2011

E-type Jaguar Commemorative Sheet 30 March 2011

Following on from last year's Design Classic stamp and Smilers sheet of the Issigonis Mini, Royal Mail is wooing owners of another classic car with this premium-priced commemorative sheet marking 50 years of the E-type Jaguar, to be issued on 30 March, price £13.70

We won't be carrying stock of this item.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

Retail Booklet - British Heart Foundation 24 February 2011

The 50th Anniversary of the BHF will be marked by the issue of a retail book containing 4 x 1st class Machin stamps and 2 x last year's 1st class Medical Breakthroughs.  The Machins have security codes MCIL and M11L for 2011 even though the packing date on the outer wrapper is 02/12/10; the barcode is 5014721 112305.

Cylinder booklet

Close-up of Cylinder Numbers, almost hidden in the background printing.  Just visible above the 'Oth' is the number for the gold base cylinder, followed by the gold overlay.  The phosphor cylinder may be next, or it may be a space - certainly the gap between the two golds and the yellow is larger than one would expect for a single cylinder number.  To the right of the yellow are magenta, cyan, black and grey.

This is not regarded as a new stamp issue by Royal Mail so there are no First Day Covers.  Special postmarks are shown on our retail booklets webpage.