Wednesday 18 May 2011

Early birds all over the country!

We are getting several reports of the Birds 3 Faststamps being put into Post & Go machines early.   
Apparently some offices have loaded them immediately on receipt, others as the reel needed changing, and we don't know whether any of the mistakes was rectified.  Of course if a supply of Birds 2 was exhausted and there were no Machin head Faststamps in reserve, it make sense to use what is available rather than leave the machines 'out of service'.

So far we've been told about - 

Old Street, London EC1 on 28 April - earliest yet
Leeds on 7 May
Chichester some time last week
Walsall at least 17 May, exact date unknown.
Windsor - 18 May in machine 2 with machine 1 continuing with Machins (as Norwich did for Birds 1)
Aldwych continued with Machins on 19th when they should have switched to Birds 3.
(Thanks to John McCallum for these last two.)

Machine 2 in St James Centre Edinburgh (003824) had reverted to Birds 2, by 30 June.

An eBay seller reports also that Bath and Exmouth also had early release. (Bath now confirmed as 6 May.)

Here's one from Walsall with yesterday's date, 17 May 2011:
Addendum - odd goings on at Walsall, where they don't know what day of the week it is!

My correspondent who sent the cover image above also sent me two sets of 6 x 1st, in an envelope postmarked 18.05.11 at 08.51pm.  However the receipts accompanying the Faststamps show that they were purchased on 19/05/2010 - 13.38.  Walsall's machine is obviously set to the wrong date.  So anybody who bought these on the official first day (19th) probably has receipts dated 20th.  [And my correspondent has pointed out MY error, that the receipt is actually dated 364 days before the date of issue!!]

At Harrogate, stamps bought from machine 2 on 28 May had a receipt dated 16th May 2023.

Have you found any other machines which already have the Birds 3 set?  On the other hand, when you visit after 18th, have you found any machines without the Birds 3?  Let us know - leave a comment!


  1. In the Pinfold Street Post Office in Birmingham they were still using Birds 1 today when I went to get some!

  2. The stamp paper doesn't seem to take the cancellation ink very well.

  3. You're right, Robert. I had the same problem with FDCs for Birds 1, for which I got a cds cancel at the counter: no absorbency at all, and I blotted it dry - fortunately an understanding counter clerk as these went special delivery!

  4. Anu

    I wonder how many other places still have Birds 1 - Norwich sold out before Christmas. The new Stanley Gibbons catalogue has Birds 1 at £3 each for 1st class, up to £4.00 for the top value. Time to put some on eBay?

  5. Further early and late releases in the edited body of the blog.

  6. Dan Heaney reports buying Birds 3 from the Bath machine on Friday 6th May, a day earlier than Leeds.

  7. Ian
    Enjoy reading your blog.
    Asked my father to mail a set of P&G II stamps obtained from Old Street, London EC1 prior to release of Birds III to discover, on arrival, the latter had been introduced to machines there on 28 April - with receipt to verify. Is this the earliest recorded release?
    regards Tony Cakebread
    Wellington, N.Z.

  8. Earliest we've been told about Tony, so I have added it into the body of the blog.


  9. I take it that the Old Street, London EC1 is now the first MINT issued as 28th April (it would be interesting to know which values), but that Bath remains the first POSTALLY USED, being 6th May?

  10. The fact that the stamps were in the Old Street machine on 28th April means that they were used then. That is a busy office and I suspect the Birds3 were added as soon as they were needed after the previous roll was exhausted.

    We have no evidence but it is in conceivable that no stamps were used from Old Street between 28 April and 6 May, even allowing for bank holidays on 29 April and 2 May.

  11. It will be interesting to see if any used examples surface.....Faststamps are really turning out to be a separate field of their own now. With so many different machines/offices and occasional errors, whether constant or 'one off', I can see this being a very fruitful area of collecting that reminds me (ironically) of the old studies of plating, etc. It has that same fascination. Maybe, Faststamps are the future? Certainly a great antedote for collector interest, as opposed to the rolls of 'new issue' wallpaper that are drowning/killing the hobby!


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