Monday 12 January 2015

This week's stamp news

Alice booklets slip-up

When ISP moved to new premises at Wolverhampton they were able to use their new Cerutti press for the Alice in Wonderland retail booklet.  Hopefully this will improve quality and reduce the registration errors that have been a feature of booklets over the last few years.

However, the early signs are not too good.   These two booklets were received in Holland from Royal Mail's Edinburgh Bureau, and as well as illustrating a nice miscut, they also pose some questions.

As you can see (click on the image to enlarge), the lower (miscut) booklet is missing part of the caption on the leading edge, and the magenta cylinder number is tight up to the edge.

As our correspondent wrote:
Note on top the trimline between books and also the outer ellipse at the right edge which has the same height as normal books. So this must be done after the books are trimmed from the large printing rolls.

However, even that situation is not as straightforward as it seems as these pictures show.

Firstly, the two booklets lined up so that the Alice stamps are in the same place.

Then, the booklets lined up as cut - in which the two cut-outs are close to being in the same place.  Lastly lined up so that the trim-line is level with the top of the correctly cut booklet.  Neither of these shows the cut-out in the same place, which suggests that some of the height is removed in the cutting process. 

Good luck to ISP, it will be interesting to see how they get on with other similar booklets.

UPDATE from somebody who has been to the new factory:
I don't think this type of error can be laid at the foot of the Cerutti printing press.

The press prints both side of the web in one operation and then rereels it back into a jumbo roll. This is a high speed process.  The operational web width is 800mm; with booklets being about 170mm one can get four columns (the Chesnut was two columns). The web isprobably slit into two working rolls on press. These jumbo rolls will thenbe put into store.

Subsequently, a working reel will be mounted onto the next machine (a slower speed process) that will do the die cutting; draw off the stamp matrix and then sheet the web into gangs of six or eight. Its only at this point in the production cycle cutting of the web occurs or further on. This part of the operation probably hasn't changed from the old site. 

The final phase will be to take the gangs and guillotine them into booklet form; fold them and pack them.

Old Birds Hang Out in Grimsby

When the Post and Go machines were affected by the March 2014 tariff change we published (and added to) details of the various sets which had been found around the country.  This included Birds 2 at Grimsby, stamps which were bought in early April.

At the time, and even last week when our round-up of the year was published, Birds 1 hadn't been found with the 60g values.  Issued in September 2010, to only a small number of offices, surely they must all have been used?  Well apparently not, as this set was also bought in early April 2014 and is currently available on eBay from seller 12pea.  Available for (up to) 30 days - yours for only £1,250.

Thanks to the people who told me about this.

UPDATE: At the York Stamp Fair I was shown 60g values from Harrogate. The date of production was not available.

Short-term error 'missing BPMA'

Sadly not on the stamps themselves but on the receipt.  This error occurred on 29 December and we think it was probably corrected quite quickly (I haven't seen any on eBay!).  The difference to the receipts results from the software change (machine reset) after the Winter Greenery issue was taken off sale.
But I notice also poor (or non-)wrapping of the details, on the earlier receipts with the description overrunning the quantity.

Thanks to Malcolm for what is probably quite a scarce error - and he didn't notice it until he got home!


  1. Is ISP printing the forthcoming Smilers retail book too ????
    And (ignoring the label attachment) does that make the stamps from the generic Smilers sheet the same as the ones in the retail book?
    I know it's a generality, but what happened to the Cartor for Smiler sheets,and Walsall for booklets distinction, or are they all part of ISP now?
    No wonder pre-printed albums are having problems keeping up with variations.

    1. Walsall and Cartor (and the other companies that are owned by the group) have been known as International Security Printers from some time last year.

      However, the Smilers booklet stamps are gravure (printed in the UK) and the generic sheet is printed by litho in France.

      Our website continues to have consolidated information (although details of the booklet are not yet there), all in one place

  2. Within the ISP stable, Walsall = Gravure and Cartor = Litho, and vice versa.


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