Friday 18 March 2016

Post and Go Update: Scottish Congress, New York 2016 Exhibition - and MORE navy museums

From Royal Mail's Post and Go News website

87th Scottish Congress
Post and Go machines A011 and A012 will be attending the 87th Scottish Congress at the Dewar’s Centre in Perth on 15/16 April 2016. Machines will vend the Heraldic Lion, Machin and Union Flag designs with an ‘87th Scottish Congress 2016’ overprint. Jersey machine JE01 will have the same overprint on the Crest of Jersey and Jersey Flag designs. [see note 1]

World Stamp Show NY 2016
The Royal Mail stand will have A011 and A012 machines accompanied by Jersey’s JE01 machine. Also at the show will be Gibraltar’s GI01 and Guernsey’s GG01 machines. The New York skyline design from the Sea Travel set, issued in September 2015, and the Union Flag design will be vended with a ‘World Stamp Show NY2016’ overprint. Royal Mail will be offering GB printed versions of the show overprint from Tallents House. Unlike recent single design reels, the New York skyline stamp was produced in gravure alongside the original set and pre-dated the digital production capability.

Static Sites
Royal Mail is pleased to announce that two museums will be added to the line-up of Royal Navy Museums. Locations and installation timings will be advised in due course. Both sites will carry the same ‘Royal Navy’ static identifier and logo as A002.

1. Scottish Congress Perth stamps may be ordered from the ASPS website as usual: see 24 February entry and use the interactive pdf form.

2. The New York 2016 International Stamp Exhibition has been on the calendar for many years, so it was natural that Royal Mail would plan to take the Post and Go machines there.  It was a surprise to many collectors that the 'Sea Travel' set did not show ocean liners or other shipping but the views from the liners.  This, of course, paved the way for Royal Mail to then use a single design at the NY2016 show, and these were printed by the traditional method in gravure.  Maybe the cost of that short run highlighted for Royal Mail that there might be a cheaper way - the stamps for use in Qatar's Post and Go machines, and Gibraltar's Christmas stamps were printed by a digital process, so it made sense for the Hong Kong solo reels (which seem to have been a late addition to the programme) to be similarly printed.

3. In his Machin Watch column in the March edition of Gibbons Stamp Monthly John Deering outlined his Post and Go ponderings, with thoughts on 'inscriptions and the future'.  In this well-considered article John draws a distinction between Philatelically relevant inscriptions (such as at major exhibitions and the Postal Museum), but he also writes:
"With the Armed Forces having a direct link to our monarch I feel comfortable enough with their museum machines and their inscriptions."
But he doesn't like the latest Swindon installation:
"Things took an unwelcome turn in August 2015 when a machine... was put into the Museum of the Great Western Railway in Swindon.  'Unwelcome' because most advocates of Post and Go and enthusiasts of inscriptions seem to think that this is a step too far. Unlike the other locations, the GWR has no direct association to our hobby, seems less relevant, and... is entering into truly unwarranted territory."
And now we are getting two more Naval Museum machines!  According to wikipedia, the only parts of the museum which don't yet have a machine are:
  • HMS Victory, Portsmouth Dockyard, Hampshire
  • Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower, Gosport, Hampshire
  • HMS Trincomalee, Hartlepool
Surely they won't put a machine on HMS Victory, which is within Portsmouth dockyard, so it probably means Gosport and Hartlepool.

I totally disagree with John Deering that the Swindon GWR Museum machine is unnecessary. To my mind NONE of the machines are in any way justified.  A connection with the monarch, as head of Britain's armed forces, means nothing. 

I doubt very much whether the tourist visitors are buying more than a very small fraction of these stamps. The bulk of the sales will be to you, the collectors and dealers.  Tourists - especially overseas visitors - are more likely to buy the stamps produced by Universal Mail UK which are already produced for HMS Victory!

There can be very little money to be made by the museums from the sale of Post and Go stamps.  Even when selling by mail order at a price higher than face value, the labour costs involved in getting the stamps and processing the orders cannot be worthwhile unless they get a very high proportion of the face value of the stamps, something which is most unlikely (and which Royal Mail is not likely to reveal). 

If Royal Mail want to develop Post and Go as a product then there are several avenues they could take.  It is too late now, but the annual remembrance Poppy stamp could have been created from the ones issues in the World War 1 commemoration stamp issues.

For commemorations, a design used for a commemorative stamp
could also be used on short-term Post and Go stamps, as has been done in Spain and France.  La Poste also produces pre-stamped envelopes with commemorative designs matching adhesive stamps, and apparently these are widely used.

Similarly the Post Office self-service kiosks could sell stamps with designs appropriate to their location, as Universal Mail UK has been doing for years.


  1. I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. At the time I read the comment in Stanley Gibbons Stamp Monthly that situating Post and Go kiosks at military museums was appropriate because they were connected with the monarchy whereas other museums were unsuited because they had no royal connections I could not help but think that it was a very silly comment.

    I don't fully agree with you that all museum kiosks are inappropriate since they do provide nice souvenirs which could be used on postcards for visitors to the museum. The key thing is that they don't keep producing multiple variations every couple of months or so.

    I agree very much with your proposal that kiosks situated at post offices around the country could dispense local Post and Go variants with locally relevant illustrations. Again these would be very useful to visitors to the various cities, towns and tourist sites and have a real local relevance and so be of interest to local residents. In this time of devolution of government such local Post and Gos would be reflect our greater sense of localism. I like your mock ups and your idea of commemorative Post and Gos.

    I hope other comments here support your suggestions and that someone in Royal Mail takes notice. Collecting Post and Go stamps could be a real pleasure instead of an excruciatingly expensive bore.

  2. The press release I received today from Royal Mail indicates that the New York was printed by the digital process. Here's the information in full:

    The New York Collector’s Strip - GB Version. Featuring the New York image from the Sea Travel issue. Consisting of 6 rates - 1st up to 100g, 1st Large up to 100g, Euro 20g/World 10g, Europe up to 100g, Worldwide up to 20g & Worldwide up to 100g. This product will feature the ‘World Stamp Show NY2016’ overprint and will only be available from Tallents House by mail order. Price: £7.75 per strip Code: ZS043
    Please Note: This stamp was produced using a four colour digital press instead of the original gravure printing. Royal Mail is trialling this production method to assess its viability from a quality viewpoint and the potential for shorter production runs of specific designs.


    1. I don't believe it.
      I think the press release is wrong, probably a cut and paste from Hong Kong, and that the information on Royal Mail's website, provided by the production team, is correct:

      "Unlike recent single design reels, the New York skyline stamp was produced in gravure alongside the original set and pre-dated the digital production capability."

  3. Ian

    Has any one reported to you that Scottish Congress B1 m/c reads Euro World 10g rather than Euro 20g Workd 10g

    John Embrey


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