Wednesday 1 March 2017

More new stamp printings - look out for short-term changes

When Royal Mail announced the introduction of security printing on the backing paper for self-adhesive stamps many people saw it as a simple one-off event.  Then came the news that the printing was to be changed so that alternative pairs of lines of text were inverted, though with no indication when this would happen - we're still waiting for the first counter sheets despite a picture appearing in Stamp Magazine last month.

Already this year we have reported the 2nd class business sheet with the new version - which we refer to as SBP2, and that was a change within 2016.  Printing dates so far reported are 14 and 15/12/16, so it seems more than likely that the next printing will be this year with year code M17L. However many were printed, M16L with SBP2 may be quite difficult to find.  Specific year-printings of Business Sheets are not available to purchase from Royal Mail Edinburgh, so it is really pot-luck, unless you can find a friendly postmaster who will tell you what printing dates he has, and let you choose whether or not to buy - and even then, you have to buy 100 stamps.

Now we can report that the 12 x 2nd class and 1st class booklets have also appeared with SB2, and also with M16L year codes.  Again, the next printing must surely be M17L.  The original 1st class (in the new colour) was issued in October and was readily available because Royal Mail regard it as a new product.  But the reprint on SBP2 will not be so easy to find, and will soon be overtaken.  From what I have seen of the 1st class books, the iridescent ink is very faint: it is to be hoped that the M17L reprint will be easier to see as the only way to identify the first printing may be because we can't read the year!  I haven't manage to get a reasonable picture of this yet.  More later.

We will have both these new booklets for sale on our webshop very soon.

A new edition of our Security Stamp Checklist with all these new stamps will be available in the next two weeks.

Another new printing, found at Stampex, is of the 1st class Wales stamp, now appearing on plate C2, printed 17/11/16.  Once again there is no silver ink on this stamp, the silver dragon being produced with the four process colours.  I don't keep track of all the printing dates on Country Definitives but it is interesting to note that this stamp is printed in all four positions on the plate, as was the 07/04/15 C1 printing, whereas an early printing had the Wales 1st in only 1 of four positions.   Thanks to a couple of people who provided the pictures of this which we also expect to have on sale soon, although at first sight it doesn't appear much different to the earlier one.  But these things can only really be checked with the actual stamps to hand.

Please continue to send your news and pictures of new finds!


  1. I hadn't thought recently to look for the dragons! Happy St. David's Day (great timing!), however did ask round the corner at a little post office in a small newsagent if they get the commemoratives (no) and only as an afterthought, asked about the Welsh stamps (again, no). I'll try to keep my eye out.

    I discovered on the way past my plot that the post office on route had closed down (will be reopening in a few months under different management). The allotment site looked a bit muddy (saw from other side of fence) otherwise I'd have checked on the leeks. The mud would have been the same colour as the leek stamps!

  2. Would it be possible to be advised of the dates printed on the cellophane wrap for the 12 x 2nd and 12 x 1st books as it will assist in searching for SBP and SB2 varieties? Some PO counters are helpful and will let you look at the unopened packs.
    Doug (Enfield)

  3. I have found both the 12x2nd class and the 12x1st class with SPB2 on pack dates of the 13/12/16. I have also been told that the 14/12/16 also exist with these books.


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