Wednesday 9 November 2016

The wanderers return - with a lot of catching up to do!

Greetings readers!  We're back, and floundering under a pile of mail and stamp news.

First, a big thank you for keeping our (e-)mailbox relatively free over the last 11 weeks.  Although I had access to the internet for much of the time, dealing with emails was made easy by the much lower volume than usual. 

From what I knew before our break, and from what I have discovered since, I should soon be in possession of, and able to offer for sale, a number of new Machin definitives.  I've spotted mentions of these on other blogs and news reports:

5p, 2nd class and 1st class sheet with MAIL M16L
Royal Mail Signed For and Special Delivery 100g also with MAIL M16L
A possible new shade of the 2p sheet.

Booklets of 12 and 4, and Business Sheets issued on 20 October have new cover/top-panel designs at least as far as the text is concerned (Royal Mail refer to it as a change of font, but some prefer 'typeface').  The 1st class stamps are also, intentionally, a darker red.  We have noticed over the last year or so that both the booklet covers and stamps have been creeping towards a more orange colour, so this will restore them to proper Royal Mail Red.  So for 1st class and 1st Large there are new stamps, and new booklets; for 2nd class I don't think the stamps are different, so probably only whole booklets will warrant a new listing in catalogues.

Also on the same day the 1st class red MCIL M16L made an appearance in the Mr Men booklet.  Even without a darker colour this is new, because previous mixed booklet Machins this year have been purple.

Most of the Post and Go events were programmed (Stampex) or predictable (Poppy, Trafalgar Day),
but there were also some surprises.  Again, gleaned from other sources I have seen:

Ladybirds - issued at Stampex and available nationwide
Poppy with Battle of Somme (and tank) inscription - available at Stampex

Trafalgar Day inscription in use 23 September - 23 October at Royal Navy (but not Submarine or Marines) locations.

Poppy in use from most PO & Enquiry Office locations, and Museums 24 October - 13 November.  Examples have been seen with the text and museum logo superimposed on the Poppy image.

Machine A009 was installed at the Shakespeare Centre in Stratford-upon-Avon.  Originally supposed to have the Symbolic Flowers stamps it seems Royal Mail discovered that the stocks were too low, and so this machine dispenses Machins and Flags.  Apparently brisk first day sales resulted in reel replenishment and both undated and MA15 Machins were sold.

Machine A011 has been installed at the Royal Corps of Signals Blandford Forum, with the Mercury logo on the Machin stamps.

The BFPO HQ machine M001 includes the additional inscription Lest We Forget on the Poppy stamps. The Headquarters BFPO text overlaps the picture of the Poppy.

Lastly, and not for the first time, a Post and Go machine (M007) was taken to the Party Conferences in September.  In what I think is a change of practice the location was added to the text this year, Birmingham for the Conservatives, Liverpool for Labour, Glasgow for the Scottish Nationalists. I didn't spot any examples from the Liberal Party Conference yet.

UPDATE 14 November.
"Royal Mail is pleased to announce that machine M010 will go live at Norwich Enquiry Office from 17 November. The machine will carry the Hibernating Animals pictorial stamps.
"Machine A003, located at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Somerset, will carry commemorative inscriptions from 3 December to commemorate the first jet carrier landing. The Vampire jet, which made the landing, is on display at the museum. The Machin stamp will carry ‘LZ551/G 1st Jet Carrier Landing’ and the Union Flag will carry ‘ LZ551/G 03Dec45’. The additional inscription will be available until 3 January 2017."

That's a quick summary of what I think I need to catch up on - you have doubtless read all this news elsewhere.  I've not made commenting available on this post: if you have any news or images that you would like me to add for the benefit of readers please send them by email to

Meanwhile, the next post will be a little picture quiz to keep you occupied!