Friday 11 July 2014

Commonwealth Games booklet variants

The full set of Commonwealth Games stamps is now shown on our website, following Royal Mail's decision to put them and all products on their website shop before the embargo date.

Accompanying the set of 6 is a retail booklet containing 4 x 1st class Machin definitives and 2 x 1st class Swimming stamps.  As usual the Machins are coded MCIL M14L and the booklet is printed by Walsall Security Printers.  We are used to minor colour-registration problems on Walsall's booklets and from the examples of this booklet we have seen, they seem to have escaped this fate, although without seeing a booklet with cylinder numbers we don't know whether the almost mono-chrome special stamps are printed in 4-colour process or a reduced range of colours.

Here is the booklet itself:

However, in this booklet we have found misplaced phosphor and iridescent ink printing to make up for the often ugly mis-registered special stamps.

Booklets have been found with significant shifts of the phosphor both upwards and downwards, and with a significant shift of the iridescent layer downwards.  As these images show:

Downward shift of phosphor.  The top of the phosphor is in the Queen's head.  In more extreme examples the phosphor on the upper definitives is shifted down onto the lower ones.

Upward shift of phosphor.  The phosphor on the lower definitives is lapping onto the upper ones

In some examples the iridescent security printing is well down from the top of the design:

While stocks last these are available at our webshop, but will not be shipped until 22 July because of the issue date coinciding with holidays.


  1. I think everyone knew the 1st class was swimming from the special handstamp available

  2. Whilst I appreciate It must be difficult to keep coming up with different designs for Sports themed issues, this set seems to be an opportunity missed. Something more innovative in shape like triangular/circular or something colourful like posters from the past etc might have attracted more attention. Overall I think the designs are very disappointing. Very similar to some Hungarian sets of the 1950's & 60's that appeared regularly in cheap "Cancelled To Order" mixtures. Perhaps, since so few Post Offices now have supplies of commemorative sets, Royal Mail have simply given upon innovation and design to attract sales. I appreciate beauty is in the eye of the beholder so some of your contributors will no doubt disagree.
    Finally I see another missed opportunity given the plethora of Faststamps/Post & Go issued of late. Amazed they haven't issued overprints on one or more designs to celebrate an event in the UK in addition to the proposed obscure PhilaKorea overprints, which will mean very little to most of the UK population - even if they ever see one on a letter. I wonder what the chances are of that? Sorry to sound a grumpy old so & so!

    1. "Royal Mail have simply given upon innovation and design to attract sales. I appreciate beauty is in the eye of the beholder so some of your contributors will no doubt disagree. "

      Why would giving up on innovation and design *attract* sales?

      These are *good* designs: instead of just being photographs, like so many recent issues, they are simplistic in their colouring, and innovative in the way the movement is demonstrated.

    2. Incidentally, Royal Mail have been using these sets of 10 x 1st on their mail (see

      All these sets of 10 x 1st are widely used by the general public - the ones who enter mail-in competitions etc. I'll be posting some more on that other blog in due course.

  3. Its always going to be subjective but I think these are very good designs. Its rather a shame that the face value of the set is so high though.
    I wonder if the nice little Scottish Saltire emblem is a "dry run" of things to come if independence happens?
    As for embargo, surely meaningless given that images of the designs + product range were published in the Philatelic Bulletin back in early June. I'm sure I've seen them elsewhere as well, although my memory defeats me as to exactly where.

  4. I received the stamps this morning from Tallents House. The envelope in which they were contained was in a sealed Royal Mail plastic bag with the heading 'Item Damaged Before Arrival In UK'. Presumably RM know the result of the Independence Vote.

    PS There was minimal damage to the envelope and the contents were undamaged.


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