Tuesday 30 September 2014

Stroke Association is Royal Mail's new fund-raising partner

Press release 8 September 2014

Royal Mail Group is delighted to announce the Stroke Association as its new charity partner for the next two years.

The Stroke Association was chosen to be Royal Mail Group’s new Charity of the Year after around 40,000 employees selected it in a staff vote.

The company aims to raise at least £2 million for the charity over the course of the partnership.Royal Mail will match every penny raised by colleagues, up to £1 million.  Money raised will help the charity provide Life After Stroke grants of up to £300 to help 10,000 stroke survivors. The partnership will also aim to raise awareness of the condition as well as steps people can take to reduce their stroke risk.

There are around 152,000 strokes in the UK every year and it is the leading cause of severe adult disability. There are over 1.2 million people in the UK living with the effects of stroke.

- See more at: http://www.royalmailgroup.com/royal-mail-announces-stroke-association-its-new-charity-partner#sthash.hQW7XXDc.dpuf

Press release 29 September 2014

Letters delivered across the UK from today (Monday 29th September2014) will be helping to raise awareness of Royal Mail Group’s charity partner, the Stroke Association.

The postmark will be used frequently over the next two years.   It will feature on millions of items of mail delivered nationwide by Royal Mail’s postmen and women.

The earliest examples we have seen are dated 29 September but the wording of the press release suggests that postmarking started on Friday/Saturday 26/27 for delivery on Monday 29th. As usual the postmark is in two styles depending on the type of machine being used at the Mail Centres.

Thanks to Bob for these images.  Please send us examples from other locations, especially if they are with earlier dates.

Friday 26 September 2014

2nd class Post and Go MA14

Readers will be reassured to know that dealers can get as confused as collectors, so forgive me if this is not news! and John (ATM Informer) McCallum has now confirmed that this is the first sighting of this stamp.

The Post and Go machines at St Vincent Street Glasgow have recently been replaced by NCR Self-Service machines - indeed this may have been posted on the first day.  In which case it may be a first day cover of the stamps as well, as the 2nd class Machin Faststamps have the MA14 year code.  Thanks to the sender for getting the self-inking counter datestamp on these as the slogan doesn't really show the date of 22 September.

Post and Go Royal Navy Museum news - Trafalgar Day!

According to the unofficial IAR website:

The A002 kiosk at the NMRN in Portsmouth will have a ‘Trafalgar Day’ inscription  on the Union Flag Faststamps on the 21st October until the end of 10th November. 

Although the regular issues are on the Museum shop website, the short-term specials will only be available in person or by telephone 02392 727596 or possibly email: shop@nmrn.org.uk They are taking advance orders, but take particular note of the following:

The price shown on the Museum website is £15 for a Collectors Strip.  For some reason this includes 20% VAT which does not seem appropriate, and even without that the premium price is far in excess of what it should be. 

Because of this we will not be getting these local issues. 

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Post and Go at the BPMA

News release, Postal Heritage, 18 September

On 21 October the Poppy Post and Go issue, unveiled at Autumn Stampex, will be available from The British Postal Museum and Archive (BPMA), commemorating Armistice Day and Remembrance events. The Poppy issue will be on sale from a new Post and Go+ machine, which will be installed in the BPMA foyer at Freeling House, London on 17 October.

The Post and Go+ is the standard A001 machine but with an additional “pod” allowing up to four reels of stamps to be vended, and is the first of its kind in the UK. This will allow the BPMA to expand its offer to the philatelic community by creating a greater range of designs available for each underprint.
The Poppy design will be issued alongside the standard Machin, second class Machin and the Union Flag stamps. The text on the 'underprint' will read “The B.P.M.A.” as on previous issues.
Philatelic products featuring the poppy issue will be available from the BPMA online shop. Please check the website, postalheritage.org.uk for updates.
The stamp will be available from the BPMA foyer during standard opening hours until 5pm 12 November, being replaced with this year’s Winter Greenery Christmas designs on 13 November.

We are not planning to stock these BPMA stamps.

UPDATE 9 October.

Thanks to one of our alert readers I can now add this from the IAR site:

A001 + Pod Signed Off
The new A001 kiosk and Side pod have been tested and signed off.

It will be installed on the afternoon of the 16th September – The BPMA kiosk will not be available from 15:30 of the 16th. The session number is automatically carried over from the previous kiosk,
The kiosk is the same design as A005 at Stampex, in that it has options for multiple side pods, it has speakers – so finally you can hear what Ellie is saying in her instructional video! Press the i button and press the video
The original A001 will be given a MOT check and new designation, ready to be installed in its new home – watch this space.

So this suggests that the new machine will print A001 on labels despite being a replacement, a bit like definitive stamps being printed from a new cylinder but the cylinder number remaining the same. Doubtless there will be some subtle difference in the printing - aside from the new base labels that will be available.  

Examples of the BPMA Airmail Post and Go stamps recently appeared on eBay with 1st class and 1st Large printed on the blue Machin stamps.

An explanation of the software error which caused these is on the postagelabels.co.uk blog.

Autumn stamp programme from Royal Mail - Generic Smilers and Commemorative Sheets

Several collectors have remarked that so far 2014 has had no Generic Smilers Sheets and very few Commemorative Sheets.  We can now complete the programme for the rest of the year - special postmarks (if any) for all sheets except Christmas will be shown here as they are announced.

16 October 2014 Commemorative Sheet - Donald Campbell.

It is 50 years since Donald Campbell became the first person to set both water and land speed records in the same year.

Containing 10 x First Class Union Flag stamps, the Commemorative Sheet is packed with key information, images and photos including;
- a timeline of Donald Campbell’s achievements up to and including the Water Speed Record at Lake Dumbleyung, Australia in 1964;
- a summary of his early life and business career prior to becoming a speed record breaker plus a short feature on his father, Sir Malcolm Campbell;
- Technical details of the Bluebird CN7 car and Bluebird K7 boat he developed with Leo Villa for his attempts on the Water Speed Record (WSR) and Land Speed Record (LSR).
- A log of the speeds recorded for both the Bluebird CN7 and Bluebird K7 and where and when they were achieved.

UPDATE  6 October
Two special postmarks have been produced in connection with this anniversary Commemorative Sheet.

13234 can be obtained from the London Special Handstamp Centre, and 13243 from the North of England SHC in South Shields.  (Images from the Royal Mail Postmark Bulletin with permission)
Postmarks are actually dated 16th October.

4 November 2014 Christmas Generic Sheet - postmarks for this issue will be on the website.

The self-adhesive sheet contains 8 x 2nd class, 8 x 1st class, 2 x £1.28 and 2 x £1.47 making two complete sets (unlike last year's sheet which had a £2.15 as well, and only one complete set: Royal Mail do listen to comments!)

11 November 2014 World War I Christmas Truce Commemorative Sheet

The Christmas Truce is seen as a symbolic moment of peace and humanity amidst one of the most violent events in modern history. This Commemorative Sheet explores the events that led to the truce, the activities - decorating the trenches with candles, carol singing, exchanging of gifts and the games of football - supported by eyewitness accounts, from both sides, newspaper articles and artefacts.

The 1914 Christmas Truce began on Christmas Eve along the British and German lines around Ypres, Belgium.  The impulse to celebrate the holiday season has been traced to several theories. Among these was the fact that the war was only four months old and the level of animosity between the ranks was not as high as it would be later. This was complimented by sense of shared discomfort as the early trenches lacked amenities and were prone to flooding. Also, the landscape, aside from the newly dug trenches, still appeared relatively normal, with fields and intact villages all of which contributed to a degree of civilization to the proceedings.

UPDATE; 4 November
Special postmarks will be available on the day this anniversary Commemorative Sheet is issued.

Ref 13241 will be available from the Midland SHC in Birmingham.  13265-7 will be in use at London SHC at Mount Pleasant.  Please note these images are not to scale.

19 November 2014 Lunar New Year - Year of the Sheep Generic Sheet

The fourth in the series, following on from the 2014 Year of the Horse sheet in 2013, Year of the Snake sheet in 2013 and Year of the Dragon sheet in 2012. The sheet features 20 Firework stamps from the Smilers range alongside the five elemental Sheep types Water, Wood, Fire, Earth & Metal, celebrations of Chinese communities from around the UK and imagery associated with the celebrations

UPDATE 4 November
The postmark shown will be in use on 19 November at the London SHC, Mount Pleasant.

1 December 2014 Kuala Lumpur 2014 FIP Exhibition Sheet

This will be the first time Malaysia will have hosted an FIP exhibition and to commemorate the show Royal Mail will issue an Exhibition Sheet on the opening day of show which runs from 1st to 6th December 2014 at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. The Exhibition Stamp Sheet will feature 20 iconic images relating to the country, including the Convention Centre in which the exhibition is being held, alongside 20 ‘Hello’ 1st Class stamps.

Saturday 20 September 2014

Invictus Games and Kenneth More slogan postmarks.

Royal Mail marked the Invictus Games with what seems to be a nationwide slogan campaign, as shown here, produced in two types  

Celebrating the / Invictus Games / September / 10th - 14th 2014
Chester Mail Centre

Medway Mail Centre 12-09-2014

From what I can make out this would have been applied from 9 September so as to appear on mail arriving from 10th, the day the games started.  I've seen the first type also from Sheffield and SE Wales mail centres, and the second type also from Peterborough MC.

Today we received another postmark in the Remarkable Lives series for stage and screen actor Kenneth More who died in 1982.

The postmark is intended to appear on mail delivered nationwide on Saturday 20th September, the date of Kenneth’s 100th birthday: the one we have is from Peterborough MC on 18th September.

However, the nationwide application of this may be patchy as the same post brought this Postcode slogan from Gatwick MC also on 18th September.

On the other hand, Swindon were using the slogan on Saturday 20th.

Examples of Ryder Cup Gleneagles slogans have been added to the original post.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Autumn Stampex update - an ongoing story

This brief message (in black) is a prelude to what will be a more complete story on Friday after I have been to Stampex.
Further news added below in blue.

Today is the first day of issue of the Symbolic Flowers Post and Go Faststamps at Stampex and at Post Office Ltd branches nationwide.

News on this today:
1. Some Post Office branches with Post and Go machines assert that they have not received the Symbolic Flowers stamps.
2. Some offices (with or without machines) have received the 'packs' of bureau-printed stamps.  Apparently in all of West Sussex no branches have blank FDCs.  In Leeds one branch had no stamps, the other had the stamps and the FDC, but with no inserts.
[This was mentioned to the Royal Mail team who promised to follow up as it really is not good enough!]
3.  Gloucester PO was selling Symbolic Flowers from the NCR Post and Go machine on 13 September (see right, from eBay).
4. Leeds and Harrogate have the new stamps for their Wincor-Nixdorf machines.

At Stampex the Royal Mail machines are also dispensing stamps from a solo-Poppy reel with an additional inscription (or overprint) First World War Centenary

According to the Jersey Post Philatelic Website yesterday (16th) they were selling stamps from their bureau (produced by the back-office machine) with a Stampex Autumn 2014 inscription/overprint.  Today the website has changed and no longer indicates what the overprint is.  This is because when they received the stamps to sell the inscription read First World War Centenary.

Thanks to Chris we have this picture from Stampex:

I asked the Jersey bureau if the Union Flag stamp from the JE01 machine would have the same inscription and the answer was an uncertain positive.  When I pointed out that the Royal Mail machines selling the Union Flag would not have this inscription, that was changed to an uncertain negative.

Update 19 September:
1. The Union Flag stamps sold from JE01 did not have the World War 1 inscription (as we suspected, really).
2. The Union Flag stamps that I have are all undated.
3. The Machin stamps from A3 and MA13 and those from B001 are undated.

It was good to meet up with friends old and new yesterday: Thomas - ATM specialist from Germany, Chris, Tony, Vince, Bob, Graham (Smilers) Howard, Brian, Torsten Weller and Michael Eastick from Australia, and the Royal Mail team (sorry for anybody I've missed from that list).

Royal Mail Stamp Programme for 2015. in brief:

6 January - Alice in Wonderland
20 January - new Smilers designs in MS and retail booklet
18 February - Post and Go: Working Sail
19 February - Inventive Britons
5 March - Bridges
1 April - Comedy Greats
6 May - 175th Anniversary of Penny Black MS
13 May - Post and Go: Heraldic Beasts
14 May - First World War Centenary
2 June - Magna Carta
18 June - Battle of Waterloo
16 July - Battle of Britain
18 August - Bees
16 September - Post and Go: Sea Travel
18 September - Rugby World Cup
6 October - details awaited
3 November - Christmas
16 November - Post and Go: Winter Fur and Feathers

Plus Generic Smilers and Commemorative Sheets. Further details will be announced in due course.

And lastly, Julia Lee leaves Stamp Magazine today for a new job outside philately.  We've been blessed to have had her hand on the GB tiller at the mag for several years now, and on twitter and the SM forum.  Good luck, Julia, and thanks !

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Post and Go Stamps at Autumn Stampex 2014

Royal Mail have at last formaly told us what will be available from Post and Go machines at Stampex.

Kiosk A003:                    Reel A - flag, Reel B - Machin
Kiosk A004 and A005:   Symbolic Flowers / Solo Poppy*

Kiosk JE01:                     A Jersey Flag, B Union Flag

Pre-orders§ from B001   Flag, Machin, Symbolic Flowers, Solo Poppy*
(The Bureau Pack of Symbolic Flowers is printed on machine C001 and all are 1st class.)

*We know from the Philatelic Bulletin that the solo Poppy Post and Go stamp will be available from Post and Go Kiosks from 21 October.

But we now know that it will first be available on 17 September, but only with a  

First World War 

additional caption from machines A004 and A005.

§ Pre-orders: from past experience it is likely that stamps from the B machine will not be available on demand at Royal Mail's Stampex counter.   There is a minimum order level of £150 for pre-orders; ask for details.

UPDATE 4 September

Looking at the Jersey Stamps website today I find that they have listed:

Jersey Post & Go Jersey Flag Stampex Autumn 2014 Overprint - Mint Set 

As far as I know, nobody has mentioned an Overprint on the Jersey Flag and the site doesn't indicate what it reads.  This will be sold for 12 months subject to availability.

(Other new output is also listed on the site.)

Post and Go in central London - any Wincor-Nixdorf left?

A correspondent has been looking at various blog posts about the change from Wincor-Nixdorf Post and Go machines to NCR Self Service in London, and can't find the answer to this question.

Can anybody tell me whether there are any Wincors left - starting from Islington (Stampex) and working through the central London area? 

Many thanks