Friday 8 July 2016

Stamp Collecting Isn't Dull, But Phosphor Has Become Duller

During the last year the phosphor used for British stamps has been changed, and I have been asked to write about which stamps exist.

I understand that although the basic composition remains the same, the phosphor ink from the new supplier is not as bright as that used previously.  (I've been told that on some examples of stamps or Post and Go Faststamps the brighter phosphor had taken on a yellow tinge over time, which may be the reason for the change of supplier !)

First things first, this change was made in the autumn of 2015, so all printings with 2016 year codes have dull phosphor.  The following stamps with 2015 year codes exist with both bright and dull phosphor.   In the case of counter sheets all printings after the date shown are dull. 

Counter Sheets
1p             05/11/15
2p             28/09/15
5p             06/11/15
10p           30/09/15
20p           01/10/15
£1             12/11/15

1st purple     18/09/15
1st Large      01/10/15
2nd class      29/09/15
2nd Large     03/09/15

1st Signed    13/11/15

Business Sheets  - these exist with and without SBP

2nd class    
2nd Large
1st class
1st Large

Booklets:  information awaited.

Because I have concentrated on year codes as and when the arrive or are discovered, I have not kept track of whether our supplies have bright or dull phosphor.   A later version of the Norvic Security Machin Checklist will have this information when it is finalised.

At this stage I cannot supply specific types for any of the 2015 issues.


  1. There is a lot of talk about the bright and dull phosphor bands at the moment on stamps issued from about autumn last year. But what about all the booklets from earlier years. 2012 and 2013 are good examples with many of the 6x1st class (code S) and 12x2nd class (code T) being found with both bright and dull phosphor bands. Some of these examples are in my opinion better than some of the current examples.

    1. I agree with Brian M, there have been lots of examples of these dull and bright phosphor types over the years especially on overseas rate books, where in some cases bright, dull and also very dull fluor phosphor types exist!
      For those who want to collect these varieties then that is fine, but often the description of dull and bright phosphor can be very subjective and sometimes intermediate stages of the phosphor fluor occurs too!


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