Thursday 27 September 2012

Onward and upward - 500,000 page views!!

As recently as 26 July we reported that our Page View total had just passed 400,000.

Now, in the early hours of 25 September your visits pushed the total past a half-million page views!!  Obviously the Gold Medals had a lot to do with that, and so thanks to Royal Mail for providing all the extra news in such a timely fashion which enabled us to keep our readers updated.

And thanks to all our readers for their contributions.  There will be a prize for the 1,000,000 reader!

We're having another break next week, so no blogposts from the sub unless something really important happens. 

Space Science stamps still due on 16 October - Royal Mail.

We had an enquiry from a customer yesterday regarding the Space Science stamps.  Apparently somebody at Tallents House had told him that the issue was being delayed - but the date was not specified.

Each stamp has the year microprinted at the top right, outside the design:

Royal Mail have confirmed to us that the stamps will be issued at Post Office branches on 16 October.  Given that we received the Railway booklet only this week, and have not yet received our advance delivery of Cattle Faststamps I suspect that it's actually the despatch from Tallents House which may be delayed, possibly to have them sent out with the Christmas issue.

Clearly the order preparation and despatch area at Tallents House is still suffering from Gold Medal stress which will continue for a while.  One of our contacts received his standing order July 27 Olympic Prestige Stamp Book on 21 September.

UPDATE 9 October:
I had a telephone report today that one office in Middlesex is selling these stamps already, and put them on sale last Friday (5th October)

Postmarks now added to our webpage for this issue, but expect more to come this weekend. 

Friday 21 September 2012

Country definitives by Cartor...... and Wales 1st

Clearly the opportunity for first day covers for the remaining Cartor-printed country stamps is going to be very limited.  Following on from the England 2nd class (see previous post), we have now been told about the Wales 1st class (and a date new to us for the 87p).

Thanks to Stuart for these pictures:

The grid position for the England 2nd class is upper left ONLY, and that for the Wales 1st class is lower right only.  Logic says that the England 1st and Wales 2nd will occupy the other two positions.

UPDATE 15/11/12: A printing date of 10/07/12 is also reported for the England and Wales stamps.

This 87p was printed 02/07/12 which is new to me, although it may have been reported elsewhere.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Cartor printings of Country Definitives - England 2nd leaks out!

Regular readers will recall the announcement in May that production of 1st & 2nd class Country Definitives was transferring to Cartor this year.   The Scotland stamps were duly issued on 27 June, and supplied by Tallents House enabling first day covers to be produced.

The England 2nd class has now been found in Post Office branches, without any prior announcement from Royal Mail Stamps.  The 1st class is not yet available.

So whilst we may be able to get the England 1st class on FDC if Royal Mail Tallents House make it available on a specific date before or as it is in Post Office branches, there is no known date of issue for the 2nd class.  Copies were first found in late August 2012.

We don't yet have stocks of these.  (Thanks to RP for the pictures of these.)

UPDATE: See also the next post above, which shows the Wales 1st, probably from the same printing run - see grid positions.

UPDATE 15/11/12: A printing date of 10/07/12 is also reported for the England and Wales stamps.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

A new printing of the 76p Machin stamp has been found.

When new stamps were issued for the rate changes in April 2011, the 76p, £1.10 and £1.65 were printed together across the web, the position indicated in the grid-block at the lower left of the sheets:

These were, of course, the M11L versions.  Originally printed on 10/01/11 and 11/01/11, further printings were made on 12/05 and 31/08/11, and on 10/01/12 still with the M11L year code.  All values exist with these dates.

With the 2012 postal tariffs not yet fixed a further printing, with year code M12L, was printed on 25/01/12.  The 76p was soon found and the appearance of the higher values (£1.10 and £1.65) with the new year code was eagerly awaited - but they have not been found.  But the increase in rates was delayed from the normal end of March to the end of April 2012, and a further printing seems to have been necessary (there being no country definitives at this rate).  [BUT SEE 2 APRIL 2013 BLOGPOST]

The final printing was on 30/03/12 from a new D2 cylinder and was a single-value printing! This was not announced by Royal Mail - indeed their list of printing dates shows this as being from cylinder D1 - and supplies are likely to be in very limited supply.

UPDATE 27 September:  We understand that the new printing was ahead of the new tariff for surface mail, which was to have been 76p; but that was increased to 77p so these were not needed. The surprise is, therefore, that ANY have been found at post office branches. 

Just to clarify, we have no stock of these cylinder blocks or grid positions.  We are keen to acquire them for customers so if you have a PO branch that delays returning withdrawn obsolete stock, do check them out.  The only reason to print these was because there was a need at POs so many have probably been used on packets or overseas letters.

Monday 17 September 2012

Lest We Forget - Poppy stamps due 23 October

The issue of new Lest We Forget Poppy stamps on 23 October, was first reported in the Royal Mail Philatelic Bulletin for September but had not at that time been mentioned by any other source, to collectors or dealers.

This was the subject of an earlier blog post which I unfortunately mis-edited wiping out all the content but keeping the comments!  Apologies for that, here is the image, and the original comments are in their usual place.


Wednesday 12 September 2012

Memories of London 2012 stamp issue

The Memories of London 2012 Miniature Sheet will contain four stamps, and be issued on the 27th September.

It honours the volunteer Games Makers who did so much to make the games run smoothly, and also features the Paralympic GB procession.

Paralympic Games
Opening ceremony
1st Class
Paralympic Games 
 Paralympics GB procession
1st Class
Olympic Games 
Games makers
 Olympic Games
 Closing ceremony and handover to Rio

New! Click on the image for a larger version; larger images of individual stamps are shown at the end of this entry.

This will be the final issue relating to the London 2012 games - until the anniversaries!

Update 28 September: Some special handstamps for this sheet are shown on our webpage.

Update: RM Tallents house will have the following commemorative cover available from the 27th September.  It bears the closing ceremony/handover £1.28 stamp from the miniature sheet above, and will be cancelled with the special postmark shown.

Update: delivery of the cover has been delayed possibly until November - see here.

Update: For those interested in special printings, consider the likelihood of Royal Mail staff tearing maybe 100,000 stamps of these stamps from the miniature sheets?  I think the £1.28 stamp for these covers will come from a special printing of just this stamp.

Stamp images:

CANCELLED: Andy Murray Commemorative Postmark

Following Andy Murray's US Open win, Royal Mail are making a special commemorative postmark available dated 11th September 2012, which will be available for 28 days.

The postmark will be for the post town of Dunblane, FK15.

We will post the image and code as soon as we have it.

Royal Mail have now announced that following some debate on policy for handstamps, the special postmark will no longer be happening.

Sunday 9 September 2012

Final Paralympics 2012 Gold Medal Winners Stamps

We can now bring you the final Gold Medal Winner stamps to be issued for Paralympics 2012.

These are all issued 10th of September 2012.

Our hearty congratulations to all the medalists across the games!

We would be interested to hear in the comments your thoughts on the issues to date - bearing in mind that Royal Mail had just 10 days to prepare for these PGMW stamps, in contrast to several years for the OGMW stamps delivered for the Olympic Games.

Also, do you think Royal Mail should do it all again for the Rio games in four years time, as Australia Post did this year (though they weren't busy), or do you think this should be a one-off for the hosted Games?

David Weir wins his third gold medal with victory in the T54 800m final (stamp PGMW-J1):

Jonnie Peacock wins gold in the men's T44 100m final with a time of 10.90 seconds a new Paralympic Record. (stamp PGMW-J2):

Josie Pearson throws a new world record of 6.58 metres in the Women's F51/52/53 discus and she finishes a country mile ahead of the rest of the field to claim GB's 10th stadium gold medal, and 32nd gold medal overall.  (stamp PGMW-J3):

Cyclist David Stone added to the tally in the morning session, successfully defending his Paralympic mixed T1-2 road race title at Brands Hatch.  (stamp PGMW-J4):

Issue J A4 Sheet layout:

And finally, David Weir won his fourth gold medal at the 2012 Paralympics, winning the T54 wheelchair marathon gets an A4 printer's sheet to himself. (stamp PGMW-K1):

Issue K A4 sheet layout image:

Collectors and dealers can now relax a little until StampEx, when we can look forward to the "Memories of the London 2012 Olympiad XXX and XIV Paralympic Games" miniature sheet:

The Memories of London 2012 Miniature Sheet will contain four stamps – 2 x First Class and 2 x £1.28 – featuring images from both the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This will include an image of the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games and reference made to the handover to Rio for the next games in 2016.

We do not now expect their to be the previously intended 6-stamp miniature sheet issue for the Paralympics, since these have been superceded by the PGMW series.

In the mean time, thank you to all our followers, old and new, for their contributions to this fast and furious issue schedule, and we look forward to your continuing contributions!

Friday 7 September 2012

Paralympics First Day Postmarks - dates and codes

First Day Covers - Unless handed in over the PO counter, covers for postmarking should be sent to your nearest Special Handstamp Centre - which you can find by calling Royal Mail Customer Services - 08457 740 740.

We understand that they will be accepted until 10 October.

First day postmarks will be the same 'flag' style as for the Olympic Games Winners stamps:

These are the references you'll require:

31 August - 12692
1 September - 12693
3 September - 12966 12696
4 September - 12697
5 September - 12698
7 September - 12699
8 September - 12701
10 September - 12703

We understand that these Flag postmarks will be applied ONLY to gold medal winner stamps.

Paralympic Gold Medal Winner Stamps - 8th Sept issues

A rundown of the medal stamps we know will be issued on Saturday - RM may issue more if, as seems likely, there are more winners today in addition to Josie Pearson.

Helena Lucas took gold and Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell bronze as Britain won its first ever Paralympic sailing medals in Weymouth, in the 2.4mR class in a single-handed small keelboat. (stamp PGMW-I1)

Sarah Storey equalled the British record for modern Paralympic victories as she routed the C4-5 road race to win her 4th gold medal of the London 2012 games. (stamp PGMW-I2)

Fifteen-year-old Josef Craig claimed gold in the S7 400 metres freestyle, breaking his own world record in the process. (stamp PGMW-I3)

Hannah Cockroft sets a new Paralympic record of 31.90 seconds in winning the T34 women's 200m (stamp PMGW-I4).

And finally, the A4 sheet layout image: for the I issue:

Thursday 6 September 2012

None today but four more gold medal stamps on Friday.

There is no stamp issue on Thursday 6 September.  
These four will be issued Friday 7th September.

As we announced on Monday, the Team Dressage stamp will use a picture from the medal ceremony which will take place on the evening of Tuesday 4 September. The stamp is shown as the fourth one on sheet H.

September 4 medals continued:

David Weir successfully defended the T54 1500m Paralympic title he won in Beijing with another stunning display.  Following his gold in the 5,000m on Sunday, he edged out Prawat Wahoram in a record time of three minutes 12.09 seconds to claim the fourth Paralympic gold medal of his career. (Stamp PGWM-H1)

September 5 medals:

Sarah Storey made it three victories from three events at London 2012, winning the C5 women's road cycling time trial at Brands Hatch. (Stamp PGWM-H2)

Ollie Hynd won Great Britain's sixth swimming gold of 2012 with a brilliant performance in the SM8 200m individual medley. (Stamp PGWM-H1 PGWM-H3)

September 2 medals concluded:
Sophie Christiansen won the individual Dressage Grade 1a, and with Deb Criddle, Sophie Wells, and Lee Pearson won the Team Dressage gold. 
(Stamp PGWM-H4)

And this is what the whole sheet looks like if you can find one:

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Warning to exporters: changes to Royal Mail International Signed For service

This is important news for dealers and collectors who use Royal Mail's International Signed For service to send mail.

Royal Mail have changed the conditions attached to the International Signed For service.  Mail addressed to Post Office Boxes is no longer accepted.  Royal Mail say that:

Restrictions will apply due to the differing conditions for PO Boxes in various countries. Normal Air Mail can still be sent.  

What they describe as 'restrictions' seem to be a blanket ban!!  As many of our readers will know - because it applies to them - some people do not have a street delivery, only a PO Box.  Some countries only have a P O Box system because there are NO street deliveries anywhere.

To further add to the problems, the same ruling applies to Airsure.

I'm seeking some clarification from Royal Mail on this, but if anybody has experienced this already, or can see the problems that this will cause because they are a UK business, or because they are a non-UK customer with a PO Box, please tell us more in a comment.


UPDATED 25 February 2013, via Stampboards.

From the Royal Mail website accessed 25 February 2013

Can I send International Signed For™ items to a PO Box?
International Signed For™ items require a signature to be taken on delivery therefore they cannot be sent to PO Boxes, unless the destination country is in Africa or the Middle East.

See ... signed-for

UPDATE 3 November 2014
In 2014 the International Signed For service was replaced by International Tracked, International Signed, and International Tracked and Signed.

Because no signature is required, International Tracked can be used for sendings to PO Boxes.

More Paralympic Gold Medal stamps to be issued today

Royal Mail will issue more gold medal stamps today following these successes by Great Britain's athletes.

September 3rd medals continued:

Shropshire's Mickey Bushell made a brilliant start and powered away to finish in 14.75 seconds, to win the T53 100m final. (Stamp PGMW-G1)

Britain's Dani Brown made it back-to-back Paralympic archery titles after beating compatriot Mel Clarke in the compound open final. (Stamp PGMW-G2)

September 4th medals:

Swimmer Heather Frederiksen takes gold in the S8 100m backstroke - beating her main rival, the USA's Jessica Long and retaining her title. (Stamp PGMW-G3)

Dressage star Sophie Christiansen became the first Briton to win three golds at the London Paralympics. The 24-year-old, riding Janeiro 6, posted a huge score of 84.750% to take victory in the freestyle dressage Grade 1a test.  (Stamp PGMW-G4)

Monday 3 September 2012

More Gold Medal stamps from Royal Mail for GB's Paralympians

Sunday 2nd September

Sophie Christiansen won the individual Dressage Grade 1a, and with Deb Criddle, Sophie Wells, and Lee Pearson won the Team Dressage gold. 

The Team Dressage stamp will use a picture from the medal ceremony which will take place on the evening of Tuesday 4 September. The stamp will probably be issued on Thursday.

Here's Sophie's own stamp, which we can now confirm will be issued as PGMW-F1. 

Britain's David Weir sprinted to a sensational victory in the T54 5,000m to win his third Paralympic gold medal.  This will be issued as PGMW-F2.

Monday 3rd September

Natasha Baker wins her second Paralympic gold with a new personal best in the Grade II freestyle dressage.  This will be stamp PGMW-F3.

Ellie Simmonds powers to her second gold medal of London 2012 in world record beating time after victory in the women's individual medley 200M SM6.  This will be stamp PGMW-F4.

Paralympic Gold Medal Stamp A4 Sheet formats - sheets B, C and D

We are now able to show you the formats for sheets B C and D of the Paralympic Gold Medal stamps.  Royal Mail's plan is to have 4 stamp designs per sheet where possible, but rather than delay the issue, some stamps maybe doubled-up, as on sheet D.

Click on the images to see larger versions.  The detail of the first two rows on sheet C show the individual numbering, which is in the margin:

Sheet D shows the repetition of Ellie Simmonds' stamps on rows 3 & 4, both stamps being numbered PGMWD3

This image show the untrimmed A4 sheet, showing the cropping marks in the corners.

Sunday 2 September 2012

Sunday's gold medals - stamps will be issued 4 September in sheet E..

The issue of these four stamps is now fixed for 4 September.

In Rowing, Great Britain's world champions Pam Relph, Naomi Riches, David Smith and James Roe and cox Lily van den Broecke win gold in the mixed coxed four.  This will be stamp PWGM-E1.

In the Olympic Stadium, Welsh powerhouse Aled Davies had a brilliant performance in the F42 discus final. The 21-year-old had a final-round throw of 46.14m to add gold to the bronze he won in the shot put on Friday.  He  will be stamp PWGM-E2.

In the Velodrome Anthony Kappes, piloted by Craig MacLean, won the all-British final in the men's Individual B Sprint.  They will be on stamp PWGM-E3.

Jessica-Jane Applegate swam a perfectly controlled race to claim GB's third gold medal in the pool with victory in the S14 200 metres freestyle.   This we can now confirm will be issued on 4 September as PGMW-E4.

Here is sheet E: