Wednesday 29 June 2011

Aerial Post, House of Hanover, and the last of the Birds

In a final post for today, we summarise today's changes to our website.

New pages have been added today for the House of Hanover and Faststamps Birds 4 sets. More detail and better images have been added to the Olympics 3, First Aerial Post and Classic Locomotives retail booklet.  Some sample images:

Another Exhibition, Another Exhibition Smiler Sheet

Royal Mail have provided an image of the Exhibition sheet they are releasing to mark Japan's PHILA'NIPPON 11 philatelic exhibition to be held from 28 July to 2 August in Yokohama.

The self-adhesive sheet consists of 20 x 1st class Hello stamps, with two sets of 10 labels attached.  The labels appear to depict origami sculptures, and the background shows the Yokohama skyline at night.

The theme of the exhibition is "Stamps Link the World"

More retail booklet news: Olympics and railways

We now have information about two more retail booklets to be issued this year.

The 5th Olympic/Paralympic book (issue date 27 July) has 1st class Machins with no apparent change to the security codes, they being M11L and MCIL as before.  This is a scan of the actual booklet:

Although these are normally printed using normal 4-colour process, there may be an additional grey colour.  Certainly the poor appearance of the caption "Wheelchair Rugby" is due to a colour shift which does not affect the Sailing stamp, but does create a slight doubling of the London 2012 edge caption.  Booklet 6 will be issued on 15 September.

On 23rd August 2011 the first railway booklet will be issued, featuring the 1st class stamp from the Classic Locomotives of England miniature sheet issued on 1 February this year.  This booklet has been in the plans for a long time: the publicity mock-up from Royal Mail has a filedate of 11 January 2011!

See other railway products on our shop here.

New Machin source code this year?

Royal Mail have announced an issue to mark the centenary of the birth of Arnold Machin, sculptor who produced the iconic design of our current definitives (based on a photograph by John Hedgecoe). 

As announced:
Marking the centenary of the birth of Arnold Machin  .... a souvenir sheet of 10 definitive stamps... will be issued on the opening day of Stampex, 14 September 2011. The stamps are not new issues, they will have full security features except the security slits and will have conventional gum.

So these will not be self-adhesive, but coventionally gummed, so they are a new stamp for collectors because the year code should be M11L or MA11.  We doubt that Royal Mail will pass up the opportunity to introduce a new source code, however we can only guess at what that might be! We do not know which values will be included in the sheet - a face value of £4.60 suggests 10 x 1st class, but that is by no means certain!

More information will be published here as it is made available.

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Problems - and price rises - caused by pre-printed albums.

I can understand the appeal of pre-printed one-country albums with pictures of all the stamps, and mounts to hold the unmounted mint stamps.  But I've never really liked the idea since I won a Sweden album in a Swedish Post Office competition, and found that there were pages for all the complete booklets as well as all the single stamps and pairs from those booklets.

That meant I had two buy two booklets to be 'complete'.  But I only collected used, so there was little chance of getting a complete booklet unless I bought it cancelled-to-order from their philatelic bureau.

A complete run of stamps in a pre-printed album looks really good, and the pre-installed mounts do save a great deal of time - but at quite a cost.  For some countries the pages for extra years cost more than the stamps they will hold.  And the range of the collection is dictated by the album publisher, sometimes also a catalogue publisher.

If the album has spaces for booklet panes as well as the single stamps, then you need two copies.  To avoid being caught out you have to develop the skill to guess what the publisher will and will not include, because the new year pages are often published in late spring, which will be after some of its contents have gone off-sale at the philatelic bureau.

I was reminded of this by two recent tips in the US Linn's Stamp News, in a column which alerts readers to fast-moving stamps.  More often highlighting moves in US stamps the last two issues have mentioned the UK's 2009 Charles Darwin and 2010 Classic Album Covers issues, specifically the stamps with conventional gum from, the prestige stamp books.  Because the 'over-the-counter' stamps were self-adhesive in both cases, the ones with 'water-activated' gum warrant separate catalogue listings, not just as complete booklets but as individual stamps and panes.

In Stanley Gibbons' Concise catalogue for 2011 (published after the Album Covers had been taken off sale) these 10 are priced at a massive £24 - just 15 months after they were issued with an original face value of £3.90.  Similarly the 2009 Darwin set (face value £3.43) is listed at £26 mint and used.

With increasing face values and number of issues, dealers are not holding large stocks of recent issues, and this - coupled with increased demand from owners of the latest album supplement - leads to increased prices.  So be alert: anticipate what will be in the supplement while the stamps are still available.  There are some that you just won't be able to get cheaper than original face value!  You won't find them in discount postage boxes.

Sunday 19 June 2011

Machin definitives with security features - SG catalogues

As has been reported elsewhere the Stanley Gibbons catalogue editors have adopted a totally new numbering system for the Security definitives in the GB Concise 2011 edition. Unfortunately there is no table of numbers changed, and the separation of those issued without a year indicator (ie in 2009) from those with a year indicator (ie 2010 or later) into two separate series has, in my opinion, only served to confuse. Not only that, but the whole section is headed with the caveat that the numbering is only temporary!

I appreciate that catalogue editors can only react, once or twice a year, to a rapidly changing situation. Dealers, in their own price lists, can adapt and allocate a number to each new variant as it appears. The amended Norvic system (we published a revised list in December last year), using a decimal for the year indicator, is infinitely useful - well at least until 2019, allowing for each individual variation of a stamp to be identified.

I've now prepared a table showing Gibbons' 2010 and 2011 Concise numbers, and those in Collect British Stamps, with the equivalent Norvic numbers which should enable collectors to find their requirements from our online shop.

Just a few Norvic numbers have changed. The Recorded Signed For and Special Delivery stamps fall into line with Gibbons. For the stamps with face values, rather than start, like Gibbons, at 2901 and inevitably rely on 'a' and 'b', and even 'aa' numbers, and a continuous process of change as new values are added for new tariff stamps every year, I have started at 3001 for the 1p, and used Royal Mail's system with the £1 value being 3100, and the £1.65 value being 3165. Thus if April 2012 brings 87p & £1.25 stamps they will logically get numbers 3087 and 3125.

This is the full table (Click here for downloadable pdf version)

Description Year Source code Year Code Issue date or EKD(±) SG No Concise 2010 SG No CBS ¶ SG No Concise 2011
Norvic number Norvic New Number


2nd class

Counter sheet 2009 MAIL MAIL* 17/2/09 U2911 U2911 U2941
2911 2911 ¶ Collect British Stamps does not show year codes

2010 MAIL MA10 30/6/10± § U2957
2911.0 2911.0 ∆ Stamp not available when published

2011 MAIL M11L Jan 2011 U2957
2911.1 2911.1 § Stamp available but not separately listed
Business sheet 2009 MBIL MAIL* 31/3/09 U2911 U2911 U2945
2911B 2911B

2010 MBIL MA10 12/08/10 § U2961
2911B.0 2911B.0

2011 MBIL M11L Jan 2011 §
2911B.1 2911B.1

Booklet of 12 2009 MTIL MAIL* 31/3/09 U2931 U2931 U2947
2931 2931

2010 MTIL MA10 24/2/10 § U2963
2931.0 2931.0

2011 MTIL M11L Mar 2011 §
2931.1 2931.1

Coil 2009 MRIL MAIL* 6/2009 U2911 U2911 U2946
2931x 2931R

Coil 2010 MRIL MAI0 7/2010
- 2931R.0 2010 Only known used from the Sunday Times Wine Club mailshot

Prestige book 2010 MPIL MA10 08/05/10 U2931 U2962
2931P 2931P.0

1st class

Counter sheet 2009 MAIL MAIL* 17/2/09 U2912 U2912 U2942
2912 2912

2010 MAIL MA10 24/5/10± § U2958
2912.0 2912.0

2011 MAIL M11L Feb 2011 U2958
2912.1 2912.1

Business sheet 2009 MBIL MAIL* 31/3/09 U2912 U2912 U2948
2912B 2912B

2010 MBIL MA10 24/06/10± § U2964
2912B.0 2912B.0 ± We have this on cover

MBIL M11L Jan 2011 §
2912B.1 2912B.1

Booklet of 12 2009 MTIL MAIL* 31/3/09 U2932 U2932 U2952
2932 2932

2010 MTIL MA10 24/2/10 § U2968
2932.0 2932.0

2011 MTIL M11L Apr 2011±
2932.1 2932.1 ±On cover 26 April

Booklet of 6 2009 MSIL MAIL* 31/3/09 U2932 U2932 U2951
2932S 2932S

2010 MSIL MA10 26/1/10 § U2967
2932S.0 2932S.0

2011 MSIL MA11 Mar 2011 §
2932S.1 2932S.1

Book of 6 mixed 2009 MCIL MAIL* 10/03/09 U2932 U2932 U2949
2932C 2932C

2009 MCIL MAIL* 21/5/09 U2932 U2932 U2949
2932CA 2932CA

2010 MCIL MA10 25/2/10 § U2965
2932C.0 2932C.0

2011 MCIL M11L 11/01/11 §
2932C.1 2932C.1

Coil 2009 MRIL MAIL* 6/2009 U2912 U2912 U2950
(2932x) 2932R

Coil 2010 MRIL MA10 8/2011
- 2932R.1

Prestige book 2010 MPIL MA10 08/05/10 U2932 U2966
(2932P) 2932P.0

2nd class Large

Counter sheet 2009 MAIL MAIL* 17/2/09 U2913 U2913 U2943
2913 2913 ¶ Collect British Stamps does not show year codes

2010 MAIL MA10 Feb 2011 U2959
2913.0 2913.0 ∆ Stamp not available when published

2011 MAIL MA11 Apr 2011 U2959
2913.1 2913.1 § Stamp available but not separately listed
Business sheet 2009 ROYBL MAIL* 31/3/09 U2913 U2913 U2953
2913B 2913B

2010 MBIL MA10 Mar 2011 U2969
2913B.0 2913B.0

2011 MBIL MA11 Apr 2011
2931B.1 2931B.1

Booklet of 4 2009 FOYAL MAIL* 31/3/09 U2933 U2933 U2954
2933 2933

2010 MFIL MA10 08/05/10 § U2970
2933.0 2933.0

2011 MFIL MA11 22/3/11 §
2933.1 2933.1

1st class Large

Counter sheet 2009 MAIL MAIL* 17/2/09 U2915 U2915 U2944
2915 2915

2010 MAIL MA10 Nov 2010 § U2960
2915.0 2915.0

2011 MAIL M11L Feb 2011 U2960
2915.1 2915.1

Business sheet 2009 ROYBL MAIL* 31/3/09 U2915 U2915 U2955
2915B 2915B

2010 MBIL MA10 10/6/10± § U2971
2915B.0 2915B.0

2011 MBIL MA11 Apr 2011
2915B.1 2915B.1

Booklet of 4 2009 FOYAL MAIL* 31/3/09 U2934 U2935 U2956
2935 2935

2010 MFIL MA10 08/05/10 § U2972
2935.0 2935.0

2011 MFIL MA11 22/3/11 §
2935.1 2935.1

Recorded 1st

Counter sheet 2009 MAIL MAIL* 17/11/09 U2916a U2940 U2981
2916a 2981

2010 MAIL MA10 Mar 2011 §
2916a.0 2981.0

Recorded 1st Lge

Counter sheet 2009 MAIL MAIL* 17/11/09 U2916b U2941 U2982
2916b 2982

2010 MAIL MA10 Mar 2011 §
2916b.0 2982.0

Spec Del 100g

Counter sheet 2010 MAIL MA10 26/10/10 U2942 U2983
§ 2983

Spec Del 500g

Counter sheet 2010 MAIL MA10 26/10/10 U2943 U2984
§ 2984

Valued stamps

1p counter 2011 none none 08/03/11 U2991
2901 ≠ 3001 ¶ Collect British Stamps does not show year codes
2p counter 2011 none none 08/03/11 U2992
2902 ≠ 3002 ∆ Stamp not available when published
5p counter 2011 none none 08/03/11 U2993
2905 ≠ 3005 § Stamp available but not separately listed
5p booklet 2011 none none 05/05/11
§ 3005a

10p counter 2011 none none 08/03/11 U2994
2910 ≠ 3010

10p booklet 2011 none none 05/05/11
§ 3010a

20p counter 2011 none none 08/03/11 U2995
2920 ≠ 3020

50p grey

Counter sheet 2009 MAIL MAIL* 17/2/09 U2914 U2914 U2911
2914 3050

Prestige Book 2010 MPIL MA10 08/05/10 U2934 U2917
(2914P) 3050P.0

2011 MPIL M11L 05/05/11
§ 3050P.1

Counter sheets

68p turq-green 2011 MAIL MIIL 29/3/11 U2918
2915a 3068

76p brt rose 2011 MAIL MIIL 29/3/11 U2919
2915b 3076

£1 magenta 2009 MAIL MAIL* 17/2/09 U2916 U2916 U2912
2916 3100

£1 magenta 2011 MAIL M11L Oct 2011
- 3100.1

£1.10 yell-olive 2011 MAIL MIIL 29/3/11 U2920
2916a 3110

£1.50 brown-red 2009 MAIL MAIL* 17/2/09 U2917 U2917 U2913
2917≠ 3150

£1.65 grey-olive 2011 MAIL MIIL 29/3/11 U2921
2917a 3165

£2.00 blue-green 2009 MAIL MAIL* 17/2/09 U2918 U2918 U2914
2918≠ 3200

£3 deep mauve 2009 MAIL MAIL* 17/2/09 U2919 U2919 U2915
2919≠ 3300

£5 azure 2009 MAIL MAIL* 17/2/09 U2920 U2920 U2916
2920≠ 3500

≠ Listed as a set of 4

Ordinary Gum


2nd class 2010 MRIL MA10 13/5/10 U3001
1668x 1664.0

1st class 2010 MRIL MA10 13/5/10 U3002


sold as a pair