Saturday 30 August 2014

Post & Go arrives in Jersey Broad Street St Helier Post Office

From Post and Parcel  (I couldn't find a Jersey Post press release on this)

A new Post and Go machine will be installed at Jersey’s main Broad Street post office in St Helier next week.  Jersey’s first static Post and Go machine, the JE02 series machine, powered by Royal Mail, will go live on Thursday 4 September 2014.

The machine will vend stamps featuring Jersey’s first Post and Go design, the Jersey flag, as well as Royal Mail stamps depicting the Union flag. Both stamp designs will carry the unique location identifier ‘Broad Street’.

To celebrate Jersey’s annual International Air Display which takes place on 11th September this year, the Jersey flag Post and Go stamps will be printed with special air display overprints from 11th September until 11th October. The Union flag stamps will not carry the overprints but will continue to feature the ‘Broad Street’ identifier.

Jersey Post’s Senior Philatelic Manager, Melanie Gouzinis, is sure Jersey’s new Post and Go products will prove popular with collectors: “We have seen a lot of interest in our Post and Go stamps to date following our launch at Spring Stampex earlier in the year and our overprinted stamps at PhilaKorea World Stamp Exhibition this month. The next step was to bring a Post and Go machine to Jersey’s Broad Street post office and we’re really looking forward to seeing it go live next week.”

Mrs Gouzinis continued: “We have exciting plans to widen our Post and Go product range as we move into 2015 with some beautiful new stamp designs, enabling our collectors to further enhance their collections of this next generation of stamps.”

Just like Royal Mail's, Jersey's Post and Go stamps carry unique identification numbers depending on the machine and session number of where and when they were issued. All Jersey Post and Go stamps will be supplied with a dedicated receipt.

This creates a situation where a 'valid-for-posting' Royal Mail stamp is being issued by a foreign postal administration in a format in which it is not available either from Royal Mail's bureau or from any branch of the UK Post Office!

UPDATE 4 September

Thanks to Mike for pointing out that both the Broad Street and Air Display stamps (and a Stampex Overprint(!)) are listed on the Jersey Stamps webshop.  Well, that saves you all a trip to Jersey!

Wednesday 27 August 2014

FORE!! Advance notice of Ryder Cup slogan postmark.

From 23 September Royal Mail will be selling "a stunning limited edition Medal Cover" which they hope will appeal to golfers worldwide.  The cover commemorates the 40th Ryder Cup being held this year at Gleneagles in Scotland. 

UPDATE 28 August: Although it seems that the logo is on a label affixed to the stamp (Smilers-style) no Smilers sheets or Commemorative sheets have been produced for sale.

Of additional interest to postmark collectors, especially those who have sport or golfing as one of their collecting areas, is the advance news that a special slogan postmark will be in use nationwide "from 15 to 29 September".  (NB, this usually means"mail delivered on.." these dates, so it is lilely that the slogan will be in use on Friday 12/Saturday 13 September.)

The image in the Press Release shows the Ryder Cup logo (and the 'Delivered by Royal Mail' slogan) with a postmark from Edinburgh Mail Centre, but sthe cancelling machines at Edinburgh don't have the capability of printing logos.  They did print the 'Homecoming Scotland' slogan in April, but not the Commonwealth Games Logo slogan in July.  (Thanks to Adrian for pointing this out.) 

So it seems likely that there will be two versions of this slogan, one with an one without a logo - let us know what you find. 

In the United Kingdom there are two types of ink-jet cancelling machines in use.  The 'Delivered by Royal Mail' add-on, and slogans with logos, are generally applied by Integrated Mail Processors (IMP).

Intelligent Letter Sorting Machines (iLSM) generally do not include logos and don't add the 'Delivered by ..' slogan, although they do produce Prostate Cancer slogans with the figure of a man, and did produce the boxed script 'Homecoming Scotland' slogan, with the remainder being just text.

More about postmarking later.  Meanwhile thanks again to Royal Mail's media department for giving us 3 weeks' notice of this slogan!

The special handstamp being used on the commemorative cover has now appeared in the Postmark Bulletin.  Collectors can obtain this from the Scotland & Northern Ireland Handstamp Centre at Royal Mail, Tallents House Edinburgh, reference number 13226

UPDATE 22 September
Several examples of the Ryder Cup slogan have been found, and they show that the logo is now produced by both types of machine.  Unfortunately postmarks don't show on Post and Go stamps and labels, so the North & West Yorkshire MC slogan (17 September) is illegible. 

Saturday 23 August 2014

Classic Locomotives of Wales retail book will be issued 18 September.

The final miniature sheet in the Classic Locomotives series (Wales) was issued on 20 February 2014, along with a prestige stamp book, Classic Locomotives of the United Kingdom, but no retail booklet was issued at that time.

Royal Mail have announced that this booklet will be issued at Stampex alongside the Seaside Architecture set and miniature sheet (and the day after the Symbolic Flowers Faststamps!).  The Sustainable Fish retail booklet issued 18 August will be distributed by Tallents House on the same date.

Two sponsored postmarks have been announced so far for this booklet and are shown below.  The booklet contains 2 x 1st Locos of Wales stamps (LMS No. 7720 leaves the Britannia Bridge with a Bangor-to-Holyhead local train c.1930) and 4 x 1st class Machin definitives.  These will have source code MCIL but we cannot be sure which year code they will have. The Football Heroes 2 booklet issued 2 days after the Locos miniature sheet had M13L but that was printed last year with Football Heroes 1.

13186 Smethwick is available from the Midland Special Handstamp Centre, and
13222 Cardiff is available from the Wales and West Special Handstamp Centre.

UPDATE 29 AUGUST: Cylinder booklets show fewer numbers than I would have expected:

Starting from left, above 'GE', they are iridescent, phosphor, red, black and gold.  But whereas the stamp is clearly monochrome black and white, the selvedge is rather more olive-grey in colour, suggesting printing by four-colour process as usual. (It has been pointed out to me that this applies to all the Locomotives booklets - it's taken me until number 4 to notice!)

The old 0845 telephone numbers are on the booklet cover, confirming that these were printed at the beginning of the year, as confirmed by the packing date on the wrapper:

Monday 18 August 2014

Interruption to our normal service

Due to the recent hospitalisation and now convalescence of a close family member there will be fewer updates here, and service from the web-shop may be slower than normal.

I will use this space to add details of what we have that you may be waiting for, with the assurance that I will send orders and reserved items out to customers as soon as possible.

1. As noted in the relevant blog posts (but not yet on the website) the Great War stamps in the prestige stamp book are not the same as those printed in counter sheets. 

The pictorial stamps issued in sheets have two phosphor bands except for the 'Starburst' painting and 'We Will Remember Them' poetry stamps, which are all-over phosphor.  We now know that all 6 pictorial stamps in the PSB have all-over phosphor which means that at least 4 will have a separate listing in some catalogues.  They are certainly different stamps and we now have them in stock.

2. First day covers of the Machin stamps from the Great War PSB, the three new booklet/business sheet stamps issued on 31 July, and the Commonwealth Games booklets will be added to the web-shop soon.

3. More Poppy Maximum cards will also be added to the web-shop in the near future.  Part of the proceeds of these will go to the Royal British Legion National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.  If you haven't been, it is a very impressive and moving place to be.

We have supplies of the 'GB' codes stamps from Edinburgh, and the KR stamps have now arrived. Customers who pre-ordered have been contacted: if you have not received an email please look in your spam folder, and email me if you haven't had one.  (The image, right, shows the machine with the Philakorea screen.)

Korean stock includes Undated and MA13 Machins from two machines, Undated Union Flags from three machines including JE01, and the Jersey Flag stamps.  We also received three different covers, for these variations.  Smilers stamps are arriving soon.

5. Update 20 August.  BPMA Airmail exhibition opened today with new Post and Go stamps.  And guess what? The brown Machins exist undated and with MA13, probably not surprising, and the blue are MA12.
What is surprising is that BPMA produced a Presentation Pack as well as FDCs.  But they only had 100 Packs for sale on their website !!  Do they think that there are only 100 Post and Go collectors worldwide?  OK, so not all of them would buy it, but at £12 it wasn't expensive and I am certain they would have sold nearer to 1,000 than 100 and thus added to the funds available for the new museum.

Anyway, they are already on eBay, as are the strips of stamps.  I'll not be doing any FDCs for these and don't have any stock.

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Only 8 Prime Ministers in October stamp issue

Royal Mail has released details of the Prime Ministers stamps to be issued on 14 October 2014.  

Originally shown to the trade as a set of 8 x 1st class stamps (with Clement Attlee the only one not in colour) the set is now revealed as 4 x 1st and 4 x 97p, with the same portrait of Attlee now coloured.

The 1st class stamps show Margaret Thatcher, Harold Wilson, Clement Attlee, and Winston Churchill.
The 97p stamps show William Gladstone, Robert Peel, Charles Grey and William Pitt the Younger.

The stamps will be printed in litho by International Security Printers, in two sheets of 24/48, ie 6 se-tenant strips of 4.

Although the Churchill portrait by Yousuf Karsh is probably the best known it is also probably the most reproduced and it seems a pity that Royal Mail couldn't find a different portrait to the one that they (and Australia and New Zealand) used in 1965.

More details and first day postmarks on our website.

Royal Mail have told me that "We're not planning to do a(n operational slogan) postmark for our Prime Ministers stamps issue."

Monday 11 August 2014

Slogan postmarks mark World War 1 and Joe Mercer

In my absence two new slogan postmarks have been applied.  I've no precise details about these, but have several examples.

The first slogan marks the Centenary of World War 1, also known as The Great War (as in the stamp issue) or the First World War (as shown on these postmarks).   First, the image as shown in Royal Mail's library:


Now some examples, from Edinburgh Mail Centre 4 August 2014 (thanks Adrian),


Glasgow 6 August and Norwich 7 August


Today's post also had one of the above from Royal Mail Tallents House, with the Joe Mercer stamp.

Unfortunate, really, as the other new postmark marks the centenary of the birth (9 August) of Joe Mercer who featured on the Remarkable Lives stamp earlier this year. Again, Royal Mail's publicity picture first:

Peterborough and possibly Plymouth/Cornwall MCs, showing the two different styles, used on 7 and 8 August 2014 respectively.

Friday 1 August 2014

Surprise new 1st class coil stamp now distributed by Royal Mail.

The 2013 printing of the 1st class red self-adhesive coil first seen on mailings from Royal Mail's share registrar and reported here has now been made available mint, along with a new version of the 2012 2nd class coil.  Both are printed by Walsall Security Print, and both are numbered on the reverse.  

The original 2nd class coil was printed by Enschede, coded MA12, and numbered.  Then a Walsall printing coded M12L was discovered, which had no numbering on the reverse. On our initial supplies of the 1st class, the iridescent printing is inset at the left.

The 2nd class coil, showing unnumbered and numbered strips of 10.  We have two unnumbered strips remaining in stock.   The 1st class coil and strips are also listed in our shop.

Royal Mail have distributed these because of the new printer, as 'non-visible changes'.  This seems to be a new policy as previously stamps distributed as a result of a printer change have been 'visible changes' in counter sheets (where the cylinder number indicates the printer but the individual stamps are no different).  When Business Sheet printing moved to a new printer, the sheets were not identified by Royal Mail as different and were not available as a separate stock item.

Thanks to all the readers who emailed, phoned, and left blog comments about this surprise distribution.  I wanted to see them for myself before writing anything which might then have to be edited.