Sunday 7 October 2012

Stamp news: A summary of reports from our readers in my absence.

This being Sunday, I have not been able to verify any of these reports with my contacts at Royal Mail and Post Office Ltd. - I'll be trying to get the official story this week.

Cattle Post and Go
Brian P reported that he "visited Durham PO on the issue date, 28 September, only to find that they still didn't have them and had not been given a release date. The two machines are offering the Pigs issue from one and the Machin Head from the other and they didn't even have the packs in yet."

Well, as I was in Kent last week I decided to get the Cattle I needed there rather than making a special trip into Norwich.  Surprised that Canterbury (located in WHSmith) had no PoGo machine, but I was told there that Whitstable and Faversham did have.  A tortuous journey to the Whitstable (not signposted from Canterbury) revealed that that Crown office wasn't a Post and Go location.  And so to Faversham on Saturday 6th October (ie a week after the Cattle were 'issued'), where I duly selected 10 Collector's Sets, only to find that they were dispensing Union Flags.  My thanks to Faversham PO for the refund on the unwanted flags!

Various delays from Tallents House and at POs

Trevor J reports that "there was a problem with the printing of the PHQ cards (Stamp Cards) for the Olympic/Paralympic memories issue. They are currently at Tallents House awaiting packaging and probably won’t be available until mid/late October.  Same applied to the Cattle blank FDCs. 
Also, they weren’t surprised that the 6 x 1st booklet (Diamond Jubilee Machin definitive) has not appeared at philatelic outlets yet. They suggested that might well be linked to the Space Science issue date on 16th!"

A delay in production of the PHQ cards for the Memories issue is regretable though maybe not so surprising given the fast-track nature of the product.

On the other hand the Cattle designs and date was well-known and the FDC design is the same as all other Post and Go covers, only the insert card being different, so they should have been printed when the sheep were printed.  I can only assume that the delay is either with the printers in north Wales who were printing Gold Medal and Memories FDCs, or with Tallents House not having the manpower to provide new issue materials while still working on the London 2012 issues.  Not having collected our mail from the PO yet, I don't know whether any are waiting for me.  But RM must have lost FDC sales at Stampex if the blank FDCs were not available there either?  Reports anyone?

The 6 x 1st retail booklet was due for issue on 1 October, but we would expect them to appear at most POs on replenishment from Swindon, as and when needed.  They should have been at Philatelic POs unless the actual philatelic availability date has changed.  I suspect the 'link to the Space Science' issue refers to when they will be distributed by Tallents House to their standing order customers - but we have already reported that the despatch of the Space issue from Tallents House might be delayed as they are still catching up.

Meanwhile, on the blogpost linked in the previous paragraph, Ian N has commented:

"The guy I just spoke to at Tallents House (when phoning to find out where my Memories of London2012 standing order was) told me that the Memories issue will be despatched later in October and Space Science will be similarly delayed. 

Handstamp deadlines appropriately extended. Be nice if they published this information somewhere! "

Paralympics MS shortage from Tallents House.

On this blogpost regular reader Erikbloodaxe reports: "I received four sets of Paralympic sets today. Unfortunately, one mini sheet missing from all four sets. It is stamp #6, TX006, PGMWC4 - Richard Whitehead - Track Athletics Men's 200m 42. I suggest you all check your sets, sooner than later."

Mistakes happen, but if you are missing any stamps you should contact Tallents House without delay.

Poppy Stamp 23 October

Finally, for now, Chris reports:
"Having spoken to the Philatelic Bureau today (05/10/2012), they confirm the issue of this stamp on 23/10/2012.

However, they will not be sending it out automatically on standing orders. So a separate order will have to be placed."

So apparently a stamp issued in counter sheets doesn't constitute a 'visible' change for Royal Mail's standing order customers.  And they probably can't decide whether this is a special issue or definitive either.  To my mind instances of stamps not being automatically supplied is happening far too often!


  1. In relation to 6 x 1st Retail Booklet (01/10/2012). I attended Trafalgar Square Philatelic Counter, and they had no knowledge of this Booklet's issue. They rely on the Philatelic Bulletin for issue dates, but it's not listed.
    Having just received my RM Statement, it's been attached to the Science Issue distribution, so as to actual issue date, it's anybody's guess at this stage.

  2. I brought some Post & Go Cattle First Day Cover envelopes and correct filler cards at Stampex on the day of issue, Friday 28th so no problem there.

  3. Margaret reports

    "No problems with Post and Go Cattle in Maidstone. They were being dispensed from the Bank Street PO form both machines by 10am on the 28th. I was surprised as they have been a little slow with some issues in the past, and I am not sure Birds 4 ever appeared. The second machine was being loaded up as I was using the other one."

  4. Ian

    I phoned Tallents House because of non-receipt of cattle stamps. There was a message on the answer system saying there were delays because of production problems. However by today that message had disappeared. Still not received nor the Goons sheet

    I enquired about some missing covers from the end of August. Got a very shirty response - still postmarking Olympic Gold Medal FDC!

    John Embrey

  5. Re..."Also, they weren’t surprised that the 6 x 1st booklet (Diamond Jubilee Machin definitive) has not appeared at philatelic outlets yet. They suggested that might well be linked to the Space Science issue date on 16th!". Am I missing something? Is the reference to 6 x 1st booklet (Diamond Jubilee Machin definitive) a different (new) issue from the booklet issued earlier this year?

    1. It's the last one in the series, Eric, as mentioned on our webpage

      This is a 6 x 1st Machin, which would have the MSND code rather than MCND from the mixed booklet issued in July.

  6. It is worth reminding readers that RM have been totally overwhelmed by demand for Olympic & paralympic medal winner covers. This is especially affecting Tallents House & London SHC. Tallents House told me (nicely) that requests for the supplementary Torch Relay cancels for Edinburgh & Belfast (12689 & 90 - 6 & 13 June) have had to go to the bottom of the pile. I saw again last week how well organised London SHC are, but they have for example 10,000 Westminster Collection Olympic Medal Winner sheets of 29 stamps to cancel - a horrendously time-consuming job. Pritpal and his team are extremely helpful and flexible but they cannot pull out any particular request & give it priority. They are well aware stamps are being received late by collectors and are accepting late requests without question. When the Olympic Memories PHQ cards are finally released there will be no problem getting them cancelled within up to 28 days in my understanding. It's just a pity that RM haven't made any announcement about it themselves.

    1. Thanks Marathon. Having visited London SHC myself during London 2010 I am aware of the fantastic job they do in what can almost be described as Victorian surroundings.

      Interesting comment about the Edinburgh & Belfast Torch Relay postmarks becuase I got mine back on 15 September having sent them on 29 August.

      Royal Mail have a communications problem. Several divisions are active on twitter and facebook but they seem to be run by the PR agency or Press Office, rather than as a communications vehicle for the Bureau. Whilst a 'status update' page on their website, or similar on social media would be useful and deflect phone calls and emails from customers, it would also need at least one person full time to run it and answer the inevitable questions!

  7. Check any Paralympic covers you have sent yourself for cancellation. I have a large number to return for replacements, I sent groups of each days gold medal winners in separate envelopes, four have come back with two different dates on the covers, some correct, some not. For one of these groups not only are there two dates but neither is correct. A further single cover is incorrectly dated. I await those still outstanding with interest(!)


  8. As to checking your paralympics set order, proving that RM doesn't discriminate, my order was received in the USA 23 October without PGMH2. Never had this problem before in 15 years of orders sent from the RM to the states, so my take is the unusual demands made by the quantity of stamps this year has overwhelmed RM's quality control of orders regardless of where in the world they are sent.

  9. I had problems with the Cattle Stamps on the day of issue I first went into my local Post Office in Paignton, no trouble they had them in the machine; Next I went down to the Plymouth PO that was when things did not work out.

    First I found out that a new Kiosk has been added now(3) I put 60p in to see which one I had, only to find that a Union Flag came out. I asked the person who was looking after the P&G if the cattle are going to be put in, the answer was "no idea" and he told me he did not know how the machines work (which for someone who is looking after them is a bit strange).

    So without the cattle a ride back on the train and a wasted trip. I did find out that Plymouth now have the Recorded Signed For & Special Delivery part of the service working.


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