Monday 5 December 2016

Royal Mail 2017 stamp programme - first Europa stamp for years!

I'm sorry to disappoint all of you who expect that this post will show the programme, but it doesn't!

In years gone by (not so long ago) Royal Mail distributed the stamp calendar at Autumn Stampex but no more.  Although they announce the programme to the stamp trade at that event, with details of the first six months, all information is now on strict embargo.  And even if it wasn't, the last list I saw showed at least two 'To Be Announced' entries with not even the month known!

I've been told that the programme will not be announced until January.  All I can do is repeat what was printed in the October edition of the Philatelic Bulletin (and reprinted in some magazines):
- Ancient Britain
- Royal Mail Heritage - Mail by Rail
- Racehorse Legends
- Windsor Castle
- Post and Go
I expect Mail by Rail to be a Post and Go issue, and Windsor Castle to be similar to Buckingham Palace - so 6 sheet stamps, 4 in a miniature sheet and an expensive prestige stamp book.  I also expect there to be a 10 x 1st class set in March or April just before the postage rates increase.

To find out more about new issues readers should look at the websites of first day cover producers.  Restrictions by Royal Mail Stamps and Collectables mean that cover producers and others can often promote their own products 10 weeks before the issue date.

However I can't now publish pictures of any of the Royal Mail products (stamps, FDCs, etc - even if I was using a special postmark on my Royal Mail FDCs) "until the stamp images are released by us via our website or in mailings to regular order customers".

Typically Royal Mail will undertake PR on the day of issue with a “buy them now” notice.

So I'm sorry, I'm not going back to first day cover production just so that I can provide the pictures and other details at the earliest possible time.  And you can't rely on the philatelic press either because they have never had the '10 week' rule even though they have long printing lead times.

The Royal Mail Philatelic Bulletin costs £18.95 (UK and Europe) or £24.95 (rest of world): you can ask for a sample copy but I leave it to you to decide whether it is value for money, given that some of the details of new issues have, in the past, been omitted or inaccurate.

I've been told that there will be a PR announcement for 1 January about (all or one of) next year's new issues, but I have no details.  This may mean that - as last year - the first you read about some of the new stamps will be in the national press on that day, if you can be bothered to go and get a newspaper!   Again, look at the websites of majors, like The Telegraph.

2nd update: if you follow my twitter account you can see the Windsor Castle stamps which will be issued on 15 February 
Thanks also to Mia who pointed out that one of the 1st class stamps carries the PostEurop Europa logo (top right on the FDC).


  1. Yes. It's a brilliant idea. New Year's Day - the nation shakes off its collective hangover and gathers around its televisions, trawls the internet and rushes out to buy the newspapers to discover the news they've all been waiting for - details of Royal Mail's new issue programme for 2017.

  2. Even contacts at Special Handstamp Centres don't know what's in next year's programme. It's no way to run a business!

  3. Good day to bury bad news (for collectors!)

  4. What is Royal Mail playing at? I remember as a child picking up a stamp calendar (not a credit card-sized one) from the post office and sticking it up on the wall - it would show when the stamp issues were coming out. I haven't seen the small credit card-sized calendar in a post office in ages either now. There used to be big posters up in the post office announcing the next issue of stamps, something to look forward to.

    I have already been reading about the US stamp programme for 2017, and am excited about receiving some of them on letters from my US penpals.

  5. Perhaps "New Years Day" has significance - maybe this year's issue featuring aging pop music groups will feature u2 even if they're Irish rather than British.

  6. Buckingham Covers sent an email today showing the new Windsor Castle stamps to be issued in February.On Their Covers.

  7. Anyone would think they don't actually want people to know about, or buy, their stamps. And as someone who does actually sponsor handstamps and produce FDCs - albeit in very small numbers - I find it infuriating that I can't get this information at the same time as other FDC producers because I don't spend enough with Royal Mail. It's all completely stacked against the independent producers and small businesses.

  8. I expect that the 'Castles' theme for Europa stamps 2017 will be a spectaculous one. I'm glad that UK will join again this community. Regards! Catalin

  9. Thanks for the link to your twitter page. I see that one of your earlier tweets says that next year the Machin design will be 60 years old. Hey, I'm getting old but I'm not that old yet!

  10. Just received my latest Bulletin from Royal Mail Windsor Castles has got the date on the back page for the 15th February, pretty much confirms it

  11. Also I should imagine 15 June Royal Mail will release a Wind In The Willows stamp set, to mark hundred years of the book plus The Wind in the Willows the Musical by Julian Fellowes, George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. London Palladium from June 2017. That's worthy of a stamp set, unless they miss a golden opportunity.

    The book was originally released on 15 June, surely the stamp set would be released on the actual date.

  12. I'm back again, going to hate me, I read somewhere a stamp set on Dog Breeds could be added for 2017, ASPCA is 150 years old next year and also marks the introduction of the Dog's licence introduced in 1867 which was abolished in 1987.

    Some notable links'misguided'

    A dog stamp set could be on the programme

  13. As a result of the way Royal Mail has continued to treat collectors and smaller producers I decided that 2016 was the end of my collection of First Day Covers. Why RM think that putting an embargo on information about issues will help demand is beyond me. My guess is that they are still adding to it.

  14. When I was posting my Christmas cards to Australia this year, the woman on the Post Office counter produced one of those large printed labels - when I said I wanted stamps she gave this extraordinary reply "we can't sell stamps"

    1. Rob, I'm assuming these were only cards and not packets containing cards. Can you say which branch, or at least which area, and what type of PO - Crown, Main, or Local?

  15. When I went to the counter to buy the Christmas stamps in the presentation pack on the day of issue, I was told to sit to one side for twenty minutes until someone was free to go to the safe. 30 minutes later the stamps appeared. This counter, the only counter in Bangor Gwynedd city centre( university town etc) had been sent one single presentation pack!
    It's no wonder the numbers of collectors in Britain has crashed!

  16. Just for information I have gleaned from another site that deals with FDC's in the Prestige book for the Windsor issue there will be 4 new definitives in the usual pane. These being 1st Scarlet, 2p Green, 10p Orange & £1.05 olive. I assume with M17L MPIL overprint.

  17. Melvyn Philpott (MCC)1 January 2017 at 06:33

    As a publisher, I too needed this information for my Newsletters. I chased Royal Mail and was told that they were going to release this information the week after Christmas. They decided against it as it was a 'bad news' time because of the death of George Michael. They would not, therefore, get enough publicity! I have also spoken at length to one of the philatelic press editors and he informs me that he spends more time trying to get information out of Royal Mail THAN ON ANY OTHER DUTY!

  18. I've just fired off a complaint to Royal Mail about he lack of information on the £5 Sapphire blue, due to be issued on the 6th February, just 3 weeks away now. The stamp is clearly aimed at collectors, it's not going to be available at my local, rural, Post Offices, seemingly I can't, yet order it on-line. Every year I spend my hard earned money, now pension, to keep my collection up-to-date, we, the collectors must keep Royal Mail afloat, buying all the special issue, miniature sheets, prestige booklets, which are of no interest to the general letter writer, or businesses, who are, or would be quite happy with the general Machin stamps or counter labels. I can't believe keeping us waiting increases business for Royal Mail, so, Why does Royal Mail treat us like mugs?


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