Thursday 30 May 2013

After 10 months, how many Machin stamps so far this year?

Write your guess down before you read further!  It isn't a competition, only with yourself.  

So....  in January the 1st class stamp turned red, but had 2012 codes because they were contracted last year.  Some 2013 reprints have appeared.  Then there were new postage rates, with 3 of the 5 stamps printed by two printers, and some rates were unchanged and the relevant stamps have also been reprinted.  And we've had three prestige stamp books with Machin definitives in.

I've been a bit slack in keeping this updated, so additions in blue are since the last update.

Ok here's the list, with links to either our website or where they were reported on this blog:

3 January 2013 **
1. 1st class red - counter sheets - M12L MAIL
2. 1st class red - business sheets - M12L MBIL
3. 1st class red - boooklet of 12 - M12L MTIL
4. 1st class red - booklet of 6 - M12L MSIL
5. 1st class Large red - counter sheet - MA12 MAIL
6. 1st class Large red - business sheet - MA12 MBIL
7. 1st class Large red - booklet of 4 - MA12 MFIL
8. 1p maroon - counter sheets - M12L MAIL
9. 2p dark green - counter sheets - M12L MAIL
10. 5p ash pink - counter sheets - M12L MAIL
11. 10p orange-brown - counter sheets - M12L MAIL
12. 20p emerald green  - counter sheets - M12L MAIL
13. 50p slate-grey - counter sheets - M12L MAIL
14. £1 wood brown - counter sheets - M12L MAIL

9 Janaury 2013  London Underground
15. 1st class red - mixed retail booklet of 6 - M12L MCIL

12 February 2013 blog
16. 1st class red - booklet of 6 - M13L MSIL

2 March 2013 blog
17. 2nd class blue  - booklet of 12 - M13L MTIL

26 March 2013 - Dr Who PSB
18.  5p ash pink - M12L MPIL
19. 10p orange-brown - M12L MPIL
20. 20p emerald green - M12L MPIL
21. 87p orange - M12L MPIL

27 March 2013 - new postage rates (see also blog entry at 9 April below)
22. 78p Walsall SP printing M13L
23. 88p Walsall SP printing M13L
24. £1.88 Walsall SP printing M13L
25. 1st Royal Mail Signed For De La Rue printing MA13
26. 1st Large Royal Mail Signed For De La Rue printing MA13

9 April 2013 blog
27. 78p new postage rates De La Rue printing MA13 (* only in presentation packs and FDCs) - now available in sheets.
28. 88p new postage rates De La Rue printing MA13
29. £1.88 new postage rates De La Rue printing MA13

15 April 2013 blog
30. 2nd class blue business sheet M13L MBIL; (now available)
31. £1.28 green (2012 postage rate continued) De La Rue sheet MA13 MAIL

30 April 2013 blog
32. £2.00 blue-green De La Rue MA13 MAIL (first reprint since 2009)

9 May 2013 - Football Heroes
33. 1p maroon - PSB - M13L MPIL
34. 2p dark green - PSB - M13L MPIL
35. 5p ash pink - PSB - M13L MPIL
36. 10p orange-brown - PSB - M13L MPIL
37. 1st class red - PSB - M13L MPIL
38. 1st class red - mixed retail booklet - M13L MCIL

Also available
39. 1st class red - retail booklet of 12 - M13L MTIL
40. 1st class red - business sheet - M13L MBIL

Thanks Ken G for reminding me that on 3 January Royal Mail also made available the
41. 1st class red - self-adhesive coil - MA12 MRIL

Update 21 June
42.  2nd class Large counter sheet by De La Rue MA13 MAIL reported on eBay

17 July
88p and £1.88p available by De La Rue with printing date and sheet numbers.

Update 29 July
43.  20p counter sheets MA13 MAIL by De La Rue - now in stock

Update 12 August
44.  1st class Large retail booklet MA13 MFIL

Update 24 August
45.  1st class GOLD coil MA12/MRIL
46.  2nd class Large retail booklet MA13 MFIL

47.  2nd Large MA13 business sheet

13 September
48.  10p counter sheet MA13

Available at Stampex 18/19 September
49.  1st class MA13 counter sheet
50.  1st class Large MA13 counter sheet
51.  5p MPIL gummed with inverted perfs from Merchant Navy PSB
52.  50p MPIL gummed with inverted perfs from Merchant Navy PSB

53.   2nd class MA13 counter sheet

54.   1st Large MA13 business sheet

Now 54 Machin definitives this year!  How close was your guess?

Other possibilities before the end of the year, or early next year depending on demand and original print-runs:
1p, 2p, 5p, 50p, £1 counter sheet with MA13 code
£1.50, £3, £5 counter sheet with MA13 code

And maybe the first 2014 PSB (at Spring Stampex) will have 2013 year codes?

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Flag Faststamp re-used from 21 or 27 May for Coronation anniversary.

The latest issue of Royal Mail's Philatelic Bulletin shows this entry in the 'diary' page:

27th May: Post & Go Union Flag re-issue for the 60th anniversary of the Coronation of HRH Elizabeth II

However, this is not a re-issue with an overprint, it is simply a re-use of the Union Flag stamp to coincide with the Coronation anniversary.  But - and there always seems to be a 'but' - there is some confusion over the dates.

Post Office branches with Post and Go machines have been told:

On Tuesday 21 May you will need to change the stamps in your Post and Go machine to the “Union Flag” Post and Go stamps. These are being re-released as part of the Queen’s Coronation Celebrations in June.

They should be used in your Post and Go machines until June 25th when the next set of Pond life (Lakes) series will be issued.

You should have stock remaining from Queens Diamond Jubilee in 2012 however if you do need more, you can order more via Horizon

  • As this is not a new stamp, no First Day Cover envelopes, First Day Postmarking facilities or Stamp Packs have been issued.
So, if you visit Post and Go offices you ought to find the Flag already in use - indeed some offices with many machines may have had the Flag in continuous use alongside the Machin head and Freshwater Life stamps.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

More Prestige Stamp Book Errors - from 1986/89

There were no starting new discoveries of modern stamps at Sunday's meeting of the Modern British Philatelic Circle, but a couple of members had some interesting Prestige Stamp Book errors to show.  My thanks to Vince P for using his iPad to produce much better images than I could have done with my phone!

From 1986, the Steel Wheel British Rail booklet.
I'm sure this has been reported before, but it's nice to see, and thanks to Les G for bringing it along.  Unfortunately not affecting the stamps, but a striking absence of the yellow on the captions and, less obviously, on the picture of mail sorting:

The Scots Connection 1989
This is a significant error which I don't recall seeing reported before, and Richard M is a lucky man to have found it.  At first sight one might think that the pages have been inverted:

Here's the back cover, with the normal for comparison.

So in fact, only the front cover was differently aligned.  This provides us with an explanation of how this could happen.  Remembering that each page was printed in a sheet of something like 12 or 16, assembly would require all the original sheets, from back cover to front cover, to be stacked prior to stitching.

Stitching down the left edges of the front cover would probably then take place in the sheet, before the sheets were guillotined into individual books, and the binding material stuck over the stitching.

The obvious explanation for the error is that when the stack was knocked up and prepared for stitching, the front cover was damaged - or pre-existing damage or misprinting was noticed.  A new front cover sheet was drawn from the reserve pile, and placed on the stack in the wrong orientation!

The stack then entered the stitching process, and the stitching duly applied down the left edges of the front cover.  The stack was then guillotined and bound, and the individual books packed in 10s.  That would have dispersed the errors through several different shrink-wrapped packs.  From the top, and to the casual observer, the unopened books would have appeared to be correct.

So where are the remainder of the errors ?

New Post and Go machines in Sheffield's latest post office.

Vince P. reports the opening of another new post office branch with Post and Go machines, this time in Sheffield.  

Replacing the branch at Co-op premises Castle House, Angel St., Sheffield, S3 8LN, the new branch is located on the rear of the upper floor of Wilkinsons store at 34-36 Haymarket, Sheffield S1 2AX. 

Thanks to Vince for these images:

Thursday 16 May 2013

Modern British Philatelic Circle Meeting Sunday 19th May

The next meeting of the
Modern British Philatelic Circle
will be held on: Sunday 19 May 2013

It will be at a new venue – the Function Room at The Crosswells Inn at Langley

It is very close to the old venue at Rhodia. 
The address and contact details are: Whyley Walk Oldbury West Midlands B69 4SB
0121 552 2629 email

You may also view their web site

I'm sure some readers and contributors to these pages are members and I hope some will be there on Sunday.
I will be there and I look forward to putting some faces to names.

Non-members will also be welcome, and there will be several dealers present.

If you aren't a member
 you ought to visit the Circle website -

There are many pages only available to members, but a few sample pages are there in the non-members' section to show you what you are missing. 

Wednesday 15 May 2013

New Post Office for Derby, with 4 Post and Go machines

Derby has a new post office branch at Babington Lane, replacing two crown offices at Midland Road and Victoria Street.  The new office, which opened recently has longer opening hours, 8.30 am to 6pm, and includes four self-service Post and Go machines.

Thanks to Vince Patel for these pictures.  There is a report and video at This is Derbyshire.

Tuesday 14 May 2013

British Classic Auto Legends includes 2013 Post Europ (Europa) issue

On the anniversary of the birth of Henry Royce (of Rolls Royce fame) and the centenary of the foundation of car-makers Aston Martin, Royal Mail are issuing a set of six stamps featuring classic cars.  The theme of the Europa stamps 2013 is postal vehicles, so Royal Mail have added a miniature sheet to this issue, with one stamp showing a Morris Minor postvan.  The stamps will be issued 13 August 2013.

The three 1st class stamps show a Jaguar E-type, Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and Aston Martin DB5.  The three £1.28 stamps show the MG MGB, Morgan Plus 8, and Lotus Esprit.

The 4 x 1st class stamps in the miniature sheet show workhorses of the British car industry. It features a Royal Mail Morris Minor van, a distinctive feature on British roads from the 1950s right up to the 1980s. Next the world famous London Black Cab with this version featuring the Austin FX4, and the original blue and white Police Panda cars, this a Ford Anglia 105E.  More up to date, the Land Rover Defender 110 is a Coastguard Vehicle, first produced in 1990.  As this is the PostEurop Issue the logo is shown in the bottom right of the Post Van stamp.

The stamps are designed by Why Not Associates, the Miniature Sheet by Robert Maude and Sarah Davies, and all are litho-printed by Cartor.

UPDATE: The issue date on the stamp sheets is incorrect - see here.

Monday 13 May 2013

Not just George Best slogan - in fact the whole team

Following on from the special slogans for the Doctor Who stamp issue, we have been told that there is a George Best slogan being used on all UK mail posted to BT addresses in Northern Ireland from 9 to 15 May. 

As far as I know it is triggered at certain (not sure if all) the intelligent mail processor centres in the UK when a BT postcode is recognised.

A picture will be added if anybody in Northern Ireland sends us one! 

Update 15 May:
Thanks to John & Patrick we now have confirmation that there were indeed 11 different postmarks in use for all the team members.  However, until examples are found, nobody will know whether any of them was actually used and from which sorting offices.

This is the list:

S (Sheffield)                               Banks

WD (Watford)                             Barnes

BT  (Belfast)                               Best

SA  (Swansea)                           Charles

NE63 (Ashington)                      Charlton

E12  (Manor Park/Redbridge)    Greaves

DN3  (Doncaster area)               Keegan

AB10-13, 15, 16, 21-25  (Aberdeen area) Law

EH (Edinburgh)                         Mackay

IG11  (Barking)                          Moore

DH2,3 (Chester-le-Street)         Robson

As before - please send your images of these if you find any!

Thanks to Kevin McShane, Hon Secretary North of Ireland Philatelic Society, Belfast, I can now show some examples of the George Best slogan.  Kevin writes:  "About one third of my mail was cancelled with the George Best Slogan with most of the mail arriving with the usual orange coding across the stamp and no slogan.  Northern Ireland really only has one main mail centre at Mallusk, Belfast.  The Prostrate Cancer slogan was also in use on the 13th.  I got a few covers sent from Liverpool to BT1 however these arrived with a standard Warrington Mail Centre cancel and no reference to the football slogan."

[Details of the stamps, booklets etc including retail cylinder book are in the main post.]

Friday 10 May 2013

Report from Australia 2013 Stampshow Melbourne

The first overseas venture for the Post and Go machines to Melbourne has not been without its problems.  Sadly Murphy seems to have made an appearance and anything that could go wrong.....

From our correspondent at the show:

The machines were supposed to arrive on Monday, but got delayed by Customs. 

They finally arrived today at 10am (2 hours before the opening). The poor bloke looking after them had only one machine that worked (at least initially) and the other crashed after each transaction (due to internet problems, they chose an unreliable provider here).

Anyway, for your edification, attached is a scan of the collector strips from the second machine (A4 - the one that kept crashing). A3 was finally got working and I got a few from it as well. The queue was building and, with a limit of 99 stamps in one transaction, I felt a little bad trying to monopolise slow and troublesome machines. 

These are the images Peter sent us:

It is because of the uncertainty that I have been unable to say whether we will have any supplies for other than regular customers.   It does seem likely that we will have supplies from both machines but at this stage we don't know what the price will be because the costs are not finalised.

Chris has sent a picture of the Machin strip received from Tallents House together with the receipt.  I imagine that this is an accurate facsimile of the ones issued in Australia, but it is quite misleading suggesting that the receipt was produced at the Exhibition Building in Carlton, Vic.  And the overprint from the show doesn't include the word World that the Edinburgh overprint does (thanks for the report 'Anonymous').  What a blunder!

The cheapest way to have an obviously local product is to have a joined pair of 1st class stamps - disappointingly Edinburgh only produced collectors strips of 6.  Collectors could be forgiven for giving this all a wide berth!

UPDATE 13 May 2013
We're now able to show you the Personalised Smilers sheets available from Australia 2013. These are available customised with a photo or with the show logo, which appears in position 1 on all sheets of 10:

Some misalignment occurred in printing some sheets, resulting in the partial omission of the 'f' in the word 'of' on the labels. The grey vertical band at the centre of the images is where the clear plastic of the carrier overlaps.

Thanks to Alec W and his contact for providing pictures of Australia 2013 covers with the Faststamps affixed, and a pseudo-postmark or cachet.

Another correspondent sent us these images showing the pair from each machine

Thursday 9 May 2013

Stamp News update 8 May 2013

As we have been away for a few days, here is another brief post to provide news of various matters.

Faststamps overprinted with 'Australia 2013 World Stamp Expo'

The UK-printed versions of the Australia 2013 Faststamps (with location-code GB) may now be ordered from Royal Mail Tallents House, in collectors sets of 6 at £6.42 ONLY:

Stock code ZS022 - Union Flag with Australia 2013 overprint 
Stock code ZS023 - Machin head with Australia 2013 overprint

New Tariff Machin definitives 27 March

Official first day covers distributed by Royal Mail were all believed to have stamps printed by De La Rue all coded MA13.  However, we understand that some have the De La Rue Signed For stamps, but 78p, 88p and £1.88 stamps by Walsall coded M13L.  These may have been covers made up manually to be used as replacements for any which had been damaged in transit to standing order customers.

88p Amber De La Rue sheet printing seen

The 88p DLR sheet-printed stamps have now appeared on eBay.  We hope to have these in stock soon.

New Exhibition Sheet 2 August 2013

The Fédération Internationale de Philatélie (FIP) nominated Thailand as the country to host the World Stamp Exhibition in 2013, which will be held in Bangkok from 2nd to 14th August 2013, and will commemorate the 130th anniversary of Thai postage stamps and the establishment of the Thai postal service.  Royal Mail will issue the usual style of exhibition sheet, printed by Cartor Security Print and containing 20 x 1st class Hello stamps and 10 different pictorial labels.