Monday 29 July 2013

New Faststamps from Post and Go machines at York Stamp Fair have MA13 year code

As we mentioned earlier, the Post and Go machines made the trip from Midpex to the York Stamp Fair, with the same contents - Machins, Union Flags and Freshwater Lakes - but nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and there were more surprises than had even been hinted at.

In the previous post we copied over information supplied, viz:

A4: Lakes + Machin (Note: This will be the first appearance of Year 2013 Machin on a Royal Mail Series 1 unit)

"Royal Mail Series 1 unit" is (we're told) the official name for the newest Hytech machines - now not even referred to as Hytech!  But the real meat in the information supplied was 'Year 2013' as the Machin Faststamps were not the same as at Midpex, they have a year code of MA13.   Not revealed, however, was the fact that the Union Flag stamps also have the MA13 year code!

As I mentioned before, we weren't able to go to York, and asked others to get stock for us - and customers.   We have stock from Saturday (day 2) and hope to have stock from Friday early next week.  We will not be sending orders to customers until we are certain what stock we have.  Some FDCs will be produced for these two stamps, with York postmarks.

UPDATE 30 July:
We understand that stocks of both MA13 stamps are now at the PO Supplies Depot in Swindon and will be sent to Post and Go branches as needed to replenish stocks.  This means that there will be no specific announcement of the first day of use in Wincor-Nixdorf machines.  The same applies to stock for the machines at the BPMA.

As usual, Smilers sheets were also available at York, with the show logo.  As with Melbourne, the designs added to labels were not always properly aligned with the preprinted design on label 1.  We understand that sales, especially of personalised sheets, were better than is normal at these events.

First of the low-value Machin sheet stamps appears with MA13 year code

It's interesting to see how new printings appear as they imply that the forecast usage (original print quantity) was wrong or under-supplied, necessitating a new printing. My thanks to a couple of correspondents for alerting me to the arrival of the 20p MA13 printing in my absence, and to Richard P for providing the images.

These should be in stock by next week.   These are from the early De La Rue 2013 printings with no printing date nor sheet number.

As with the original printings the colour cylinder is D2. The iridescent cylinder is again D1 - a different D1 to that used before, of course.   So when comparing cylinder blocks, collectors (and dealers!) need to look carefully at the stamp as there will be several different D1 D1 D2 blocks.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Royal Mail serves an ace with stamp miniature sheet for Andy Murray's Wimbledon Win

You asked the question*, and now we know the answer.  Royal Mail will mark Andy Murray Wimbledon Men's Singles Championship with an Olympic-style miniature sheet on 8 August 2013.  This is the first in a new series of Special Stamp issues to honour our most successful sportsmen and women.

Warning Update!
This comment is worth highlighting in the main blog:
"I'm still a bit old fashioned with soaking stamps off. The purple (value and line on sheet) runs very badly if you soak. When I asked the Philatelic Counter people in Edinburgh about this they had the cheek to say to me that "stamps are for postage and we don't check if they soak". Are they really saying this sheet is for Postage!??! Astounding!"

On Sunday, 7th July Andy Murray beat the World Number One, Novak Djokovic, 6-4 7-5 6-4 in the Gentlemen’s Singles Lawn Tennis Final at Wimbledon to become the first British male to win the tournament since Fred Perry in 1936.

To celebrate this tremendous achievement, which Andy himself described as the “pinnacle of tennis”, Royal Mail is issuing a Miniature Sheet on 8th August.  The Miniature Sheet will contain four stamps each featuring a photo of the champion from the final itself including two in which he is triumphantly holding the coveted trophy.

Also available with this special Miniature Sheet is a First Day Cover and Presentation Pack. The First Day Cover features photographs of Andy from the final while the Presentation Pack explores the progress of his tennis career from his first matches at Dunblane Sports Club, and includes a summary of his Wimbledon 2013 success.

Official First Day Postmarks FD1324TH and FD1324PL - there will be others for sure.

Update later on 18 July
The printer for this issue is announced by Royal Mail as International Security Printers, and they have clarified this terminology:

Following an internal reorganisation within the WSP group of companies, the group is now known as ISP. All future print references will reflect this and we have no plans to go down to the level of specifying the particular printing plant. 

Now, we're going on holiday, so won't be able to moderate any comments on this, so a few answers:

- the four stamps are 2 x 1st class and 2 x £1.28 which pays the 40g airmail rate to Europe and the 20g rate to the rest of the world.

- Royal Mail almost never issues special stamps at the surface mail rate, which is why there is no 78p stamp.

- Royal Mail have said in the past that to be economically viable (ie worth the effort of processing stocking and processing it) the face value has to be at least £3.50 - which is why this mix of stamps is included and not 4 x 1st class.

- Many people will be pleased with this stamp issue and Royal Mail clearly expect that it will be widely bought by tennis fans.  They know that some collectors will be upset by yet another sporting miniature sheet showing a living person but they believe the business arguments in favour outweigh the arguments against.  They no longer build the stamp issue programme around the collectors who buy one of everything.

Finally.... don't shoot the messenger!

Update 13 August
Several people have reported that their Post Office branch received no FDCs for this issue.  I have personally checked one sub-PO that still hasn't received any.  I did find that Dereham crown office received them and sold most of their sheets early on the day of issue.

* Paul Yarden comment on Dinosaur stamp issue!

Wednesday 17 July 2013

De La Rue MA13 printings now available - and with printing dates!

The story so far....  Postage rates increased as usual in the spring, but De La Rue (DLR) were unable to print all the stamps required and some were printed by Walsall Security Print (WSP).

On 27 March the 78p, 88p and £1.88 stamps sold at Post Offices were printed by WSP, the new Royal Mail Signed For stamps sold at Post Offices were printed by DLR.  The stamps on Royal Mail standing order FDCs were all printed by DLR in sideways-fed coils.  The stamps in RM presentation packs were all printed by DLR, but are supposed to have come from counter sheet printings - but they were guillotined, rather than rouletted.  (See images of both types and more details here.)

During May examples of the 88p and £1.88p printed by De La Rue appeared in some Post Offices - without the ink-jet printing of the sheet number and printing date in the right-hand margin.  The 78p pays the surface letter rate and no DLR examples were found in PO branches at this time.

We now have the DLR 78p with a printing date of 24/04/13, and the 88p with a printing date of 30/04/13.  

Cylinder blocks and date blocks are available for both these, and cylinder blocks and date blocks are once again available for the £1.88 value which has not - as far as we know - appeared with a printing date.    Buy the 78p here, or click on the images.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

York Stamp Fair - Post and Go machines again

Once again York Racecourse opens its doors to the York Stamp and Coin Fair, on Friday 19th/Saturday 20th July - yes, that's this week!

The Post and Go machines (A3 and A4) which were at Midpex will be relocated to York.  The contents will be:

York Racecourse
Day 1

A3: Lakes + Union Flag

A4: Lakes + Machin (Note: This will be the first appearance of Year 2013 Machin on a Royal Mail Series 1 unit)

Day 2

A3: Lakes + Machin (as above)

A4: Lakes + Union Flag

In addition Post and Go Smilers will be available with a York Stamp and Coin Fair logo.

We will not be at York but will take orders for the above for supply late in August after we get back from a holiday.  

Orders must be received by 10 am Thursday and must include name and address and proposed payment method (cheque, bank transfer, PayPal).  
Email ian(at) - do not leave orders as comments to this blog!

Monday 15 July 2013

Royal Mail's British Philatelic Bulletin - clarifications

You would think that the official British Philatelic Bulletin would be the absolute authority for all things happening with Royal Mail's new issues, wouldn't you?  This blog entry is prompted by my receiving telephone calls and emails about a couple of items that are in this latest issue.  I would have written 'the July issue' but as the publishers seem to make no pretence of a regular schedule they no longer put the date or month (*see below) of publication on the cover!  This one arrived last week, but the previous one arrived in the 3rd week of June.

The principle cause of concern for my customers and correspondents is the 2 August entry in the diary on page 322 (the inside front cover):

From the latest email:  "We have already had Walsall and De La Rue – Is there a new printer?"

No, dear reader, nothing to get into a flap about as far as we know: this is the Tallents House distribution of the 78p, 88p and £1.88 Machin definitives of 27 March but printed by De La Rue.  As regular readers will know, the existence of two different printings was reported back in early April when the DLR versions were in the Presentation Packs and on Bureau First Day Covers.  So, they had them for distribution on 5 April but only now are these stamps being distributed to collectors who don't collect packs.

In fact even that might not be strictly true as we were told by several Bureau subscribers that those whose order was for blocks received Walsall printings whilst many who subscribed to only singles received DLR stamps.  The new distribution now is on the basis of 'visible change' - NOT, we understand, the fact that the year code is MA13 and not Walsall's M13L, but because the sheet margin shows a different printer by the cylinder number.

So if you have a standing order with the Bureau you may get some more stamps on or shortly after 2 August.  If you already had some in April, what you get this time may or may not be different.  And of course you may already have found the two higher values in your local Post Office branch where they have been on sale for some weeks - we've been selling them since 17 May!

The other item that caused concern was the announcement on page 343 from Australia World Stamp Expo.

Several points here: the Philatelic press reported in their July editions (published of course in mid-June) that these machines were in Australia, and also that the versions of the Faststamps printed and sold by Tallents House were not the same.   Stamp Magazine correctly reported that the inscription on the Australian version dropped the 'World' AND that the Australian ones had the AU georgaphic code and the Edinburgh ones had GB.

- the ones available at the Expo did NOT feature the print string A5GB13B1
- the ones as shown in the picture were NOT available from Tallents House

and by the time this appeared, they were not available on the Royal Mail website or from the Tallents House address as they sold out last week!!  (To be fair, that could not have been included in this edition of the Bulletin as it was already in the process of being posted, but had this been published in a timely manner, then more collectors would have been able to take advantage of the announcement.)

* I've just noticed that the month is, in fact, at the head of each page, against the spine, and the latest is July.  So the cover reads VOLUME 50 / ISSUE NUMBER n, and the page is headed VOLUME 50 (month) 2013.  However....
Ben has pointed out that May (George Best) was Issue Number 9, June (Coronation) was Issue Number 10, and July (Butterfly) is also Issue Number 10!

Sunday 14 July 2013

Missing from many Post and Go Faststamp collections - artist signed covers now available.

Pictorial Faststamps were introduced on 17 September 2010 with the first Birds series, followed on 24 January, 19 May and 16 September 2011.  The stamps were designed by Kate Stephens using illustrations by Robert Gillmor (Wikipedia entry)

In October 2011 the Norfolk and Norwich Philatelic Society (NNPS) marked its Centenary with a week-long exhibition.  Robert Gillmor lives and works on the north Norfolk Coast and the Society was pleased to be able to display some of his original artwork for the Birds stamps.  He visited the exhibition and signed copies of his book, "Birds Blocks and Stamps" and some of souvenir covers.

The latest additions to our shop stock are 18 different birds stamps on NNPS Centenary souvenir covers signed by Robert Gillmor at £5 each (5 are shown below).


For some birds we have only 1 (for some we have none at all).  All we have is now listed so if you want to add one to your collection, don't delay!  Take a look now.

Thursday 11 July 2013

Dinosaurs to make their delayed appearance on 10 October 2013

Royal Mail are issuing a set of ten 1st Class stamps featuring dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles whose remains have been found in the UK.   Royal Mail worked closely with the Natural History Museum experts on the selection of the creatures and their appearance in the artwork.

This issue was originally scheduled to be issued in 2012, the centenary of the publication Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s dinosaur thriller, The Lost World.  Happily for Royal Mail there is another tie-in this year, as the BBC's 3D movie, Walking with Dinosaurs, will launch at cinemas on 20 December, just in time for the Christmas audiences. (See the trailer here.)

The stamps feature details of the creatures that break out of the standard stamp frame. They are printed over two sheets allowing for vertical strips of five.

From the top (better pictures have now been added to the webpage for this issue, together with the special postmark.)
Sheet 1: Polacanthus, Icthyosaurus, Iguanadon, Ornithocheirus, Baryonyx 
Sheet 2: Dimorophodon, Hypsilophodon, Cetiosaurus, Megalosaurus, Plesiosaurus 

Polacanthus, deriving its name from the Ancient Greek polys-/πολύς- "many" and akantha/ἄκανθα "thorn" or "prickle", is an early armored, spiked, plant-eating ankylosaurian dinosaur from the early Cretaceous period of England. Wikipedia

Ichthyosaurus is a genus of ichthyosaurs from the early Jurassic of Europe. It is among the best known ichthyosaur genera, with the Order Ichthyosauria being named after it. Wikipedia

Iguanodon is a genus of ornithopod dinosaur that existed roughly halfway between the first of the swift bipedal hypsilophodontids of the mid-Jurassic and the ornithopods' culmination in the duck-billed dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous. Wikipedia

Ornithocheirus is a pterosaur genus known from fragmentary fossil remains uncovered from sediments in the UK. Wikipedia

Baryonyx is a genus of carnivorous saurischian dinosaur first discovered in clay pits just south of Dorking, England, and later reported from fossils found in northern Spain and Portugal. It is known to contain only one species, Baryonyx walkeri. Wikipedia

Dimorphodon was a genus of medium-sized pterosaur from the early Jurassic Period. It was named by paleontologist Richard Owen in 1859. Wikipedia

Hypsilophodon is an ornithopod dinosaur genus from the Early Cretaceous period of England. The first remains of Hypsilophodon were found in 1849 and in 1869 the type species Hypsilophodon foxii was named. Wikipedia

Cetiosaurus meaning 'whale lizard', from the Greek keteios/κήτειος meaning 'sea monster' and sauros/σαυρος meaning 'lizard', is a herbivorous sauropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic Period, living about 167 million years ago in what is now Europe. Wikipedia

Megalosaurus is a genus of large meat-eating theropod dinosaurs of the Middle Jurassic period of Europe. It is significant as the first genus of ancient dinosaur to be described and named. Wikipedia

Plesiosaurus was a genus of large marine sauropterygian reptile that lived during the early part of the Jurassic Period, and is known by nearly complete skeletons from the Lias of England. Wikipedia

Designed by Why Not Associates, illustrator John Sibbick, printed by Walsall Security Print in gravure. 

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Another Exhibition Smilers Sheet- Bangkok World Stamp Exhibition - 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.

As usual the self-adhesive sheet containing 20 x Hello stamps is printed by Cartor Security Printing in lithography.

Monday 8 July 2013

De La Rue 78p sheet stamps now available - to some.

The 78p stamp printed by De La Rue has now appeared in counter sheets.  The stamp was issued on 26 March, available at Post Office branches printed by Walsall Security Printers, and in presentation packs and on Royal Mail fdcs printed by De La Rue.

Now, thanks to Ian R, we can report that a cylinder block from a DLR counter sheet has appeared on eBay, either from a Post Office counter, or from Royal Mail Edinburgh.

(Update: at my post office branch this morning the new delivery of 78p were all Walsall printings - and the DLR printings of other values are still without date and sheet number.)

Freshwater Lakes Faststamps from Midpex Hytech machines.

As previously announced Royal Mail took Post and Go along the Fosse Way to Midpex - but there were two machines, not just one.  

Machines A3 and A4 which were taken to Melbourne for the Australia 2013 show were available with, for the first time from the Hytech machines, the Freshwater Lakes designs issued in Post Offices on 25 June 2013.

Freshwater Lakes collectors set, receipt, and Union Flag collectors set.  The Flag set from Hytech machines were first issued 26 September 2012.

As can be seen the receipt records the First Day of Availability of the Freshwater Life II stamps at Midpex, on 06/07/2013.  There is an error on the receipt as the postcode of the venue is CV31 1XN not CV11 and, as pointed out in the comments, Leamington is spelled incorrectly!

Unfortunately the machines were also operating while dealers were setting up on Friday afternoon/evening, so some receipts are available with the 5 July date.  (or not! - see below)

On the Saturday morning (6th July) I was told by a dealer "I got some Post and Go for xxxx, and they all have yesterday's date!"  From that I concluded that some were dated 5th.  It seems that is not the case, as Vince has now sent this:

"On Friday afternoon (5th July) the two machines were set up. Due to location of the venue (i.e. country side) there was a week WiFi signal. It was taking longer than usual to process each transaction.  Fortunately there was a telephone connection in the office next to the machine, the Engineer managed to use the cable and get the connectivity. Receipts for the stamps purchased that afternoon were dated 6th July. I don’t think that there were any receipts dated 5th July.

"As the machines were left on during the night of Friday 5th July, early users (mainly dealers) of the machine on Saturday 6th July found that the receipts were dated 7th July (i.e receipts were dated 6th on 5th so it would change to 7th on 6th). This was noticed and date corrected before the show opened at 10 am. "

Thanks Vince!!

IMPORTANT NOTE for Collectors:
When I go to events like this, I will often buy some of what is available, especially for long-time customers who have asked beforehand.  Inevitably after I have posted images here, more people contact us to ask if we have any for sale.  Usually the answer is no, or not in the form required.

In future I will make more effort to solicit your orders within the blog, before I go.  But if I don't and you would like me to try to get what you want, then please ask before the event, or by email/phone early on the day (see website for phone and email details).  

There is nothing easier, and cheaper, than selling something to somebody who has asked for it.  There is much more effort in buying for stock, judging what to buy, adding it to the shop, and waiting for people to pay for it. So take advantage of the opportunity, and ask before the event.

I won't be attending the York Fair.

Friday 5 July 2013

Our e-commerce site, Machin security definitive & Horizon FDCs added

In the latest update to our new shop, we've added Machin definitive FDCs, starting from 2009 when the first stamps with security features were added.  And there are also a couple of Horizon label FDCs.

So while we're off to Midpex tomorrow why not browse our latest offerings, and see if you can find something for your collection.  There are many covers for the hard-to-get security stamps, and covers for single stamps (like the Aerial Post above), rather than whole PSB panes.

We'll be back on Monday, and there will be some news from the show, and pictures of the latest Faststamps.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

150th Anniversary of the Birth of Bertram Mackennal commemorative sheet and Seahorses facsimile pack

This year marks the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Sir Edgar Bertram Mackennal, KCVO, the Australian sculptor famous for designing the stamps and coinage bearing the likeness of King George V.  A Commemorative Sheet to be issued on 19 September 2013 explores his life and work.
Royal Mail product codes are shown below but these are not yet available to order on Royal Mail's website and probably not by telephone either.  I suppose there should be some available at Stampex as that is when they are being issued. 

Priced at £14.95 the sheet contains 10 x self-adhesive 1st class 'Royal Mail Seal' stamps and the labels include the ½d and 1d profile stamps, and the 5 shillings Seahorse, as well as some coins or medals.   Royal Mail Philatelic Product Code - AV025

Also on sale (not at most Post Offices) will be a Seahorses Facsimile Pack (at £8.95) and a press sheet of the facsimile sheet at £59.95.  Neither of these products is postally valid.

Front page (click on to see larger) Royal Mail Philatelic Product Code - ZP004

The Seahorses Facsimile Press Sheet consists of 12 blocks of four of the facsimiles with a specially designed border. True to the design and production values of the time, this limited edition product of 150 has also been numbered by hand.  (click on to see larger)
Royal Mail Philatelic Product Code - PV001

Enlargement of the Commemorative Sheet (click on to see larger):

Monday 1 July 2013

Enschede 2nd class coil MA12 MRIL commercial use

We reported in July last year that the 2nd class coil, printed by Enschede, was available in rolls of 10,000 with a 2012 year code MA12.  We've had mint examples available for some time (shop).  Now we can show the first on-cover example from a direct mailing source (rather than from a dealer or collector).

The two variations on the 4-line ink-jet wavy lines came from different mailings, the 'upper' one from March this year, and the 'lower' one from a recent mailing.

So if you support charities, take a good look at their mailings if they use stamps.  You might be the first to find the MA13 version, if it exists!

UDPATE: As you can see in the comments, it is not the MA13 version which has been found, but a new M12L version.  Thanks to the contributor we can show the picture.   This post is now closed for comments and comments may be made on a new current post.