Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Snow Joke - it's Game of Thrones Boxed Set 1 for Royal Mail

The Stark truth is that many did not Cersei this coming.  However, there's no point in putting the Bolton the stable after the dragon has flown.....

Royal Mail have now announced in their Philatelic Bulletin details of the badly-embargoed stamp issue for 23 January 2018.   This will 'celebrate' the HBO cable-television series, Game of Thrones (GoT).

Those who are interested in this series probably know all there is to know, and I know very little.  Those who don't know anything about it may already have cancelled their standing order with Royal Mail because they regard this as one step too far, and 2017 is as good a cut-off point as any to stop buying new Great Britain stamps, or at least some of them.

So for the record, these are the philatelic collectables on offer.  Anybody who wants to see the products designed specifically for GoT fans will find them on Royal Mail's website soon.  Click on any of these images to see larger versions.

A set of 10 stamps depicting characters from the series (10 x 65p, £6.50 - product code AS3257)



A miniature sheet depicting some non-human characters from the series and the Iron Throne (5 x 65p, £3.25 - product code MZ129)


A retail booklet of 6 x 1st class Iron Throne stamps (£3.90, product code UB412)



Collector Sheet - 10 x 1st class stamps with "labels that highlight key quotes from the series".   (Price £7.50, product code AT102).
UPDATE 9 January: this sheet is self-adhesive, the only way the stamps appear on this paper.  With a premium of £1 it is possible that this sheet will be included in SG Concise catalogue.


Prestige Stamp Book (Price £13.95 - product code YB074).  Contains all the 10 'Human' stamps in the set, and a page of definitives - thankfully all Machin definitives rather than all Iron Throne stamps, so at least something for Machin collectors to be interested in.


The definitive pane contains two 1st class Iron Throne stamps (gummed rather than self-adhesive), two Northern Ireland 2nd class country definitives, and Machin definitives of 20p, £1.17 and 2 x 5p which will presumably be coded M17L MPIL, although they may have M18L codes.

UPDATE 9 January: we have seen the stamps and can confirm that the Machin definitives are coded M17L MPIL. The iridescent printing is difficult to see especially on the £1.17 but this will be the only instance of this value on ordinary gum. The 5p, as often before, reacts under ultra-violet light and shows quite orange.

The Northern Ireland 2nd class is a very good match to the last sheet printing we have although the phosphor is less evident to the naked eye. 




For the first time Royal Mail have combined a normal stamp issue with Post and Go stamps.  This is something that I suggested almost two years ago.  Now that many Post Office branch customers are directed to Self-Service Kiosks they rarely get the chance to see any of Royal Mail's special issues.  This may encourage them to ask questions and see the point of sale material in branches.  The basic pack has one 1st class and one 2nd class stamp, price £1.21 - product code ZS050.




There is a single first day cover for all the products, and a presentation pack containing both set and miniature sheet.  There are also Medal covers for the set and the miniature sheet, and framed products.

We shall be stocking the Machin definitives, and Post and Go, including a limited number of first day covers.  More details later.

UPDATE 5 January
Thanks to an alert reader who spotted these in his Post Office I can confirm that PO Branches do indeed have instructions about when (not) to use the Post and Go stamps. The 2nd class is coded 2nd CL18S and the 1st class is R18YAL .


UPDATE 8 January
A number of special postmarks have been announced for this issue, a few are shown below.  Those not sponsored by Royal Mail for FDCs and medal covers can be seen here.  More may be added.




UPDATE 20 January 2018:
I understand that Royal Mail's 'first' bulletin, which is not sent to us, does not have all the details that collectors want for first day postmarks in use for the Game of Thrones issue.  Shown below is the information that we were provided with.  FS1801-PL is the Belfast FD postmark applied to Royal Mail Post and Go fdcs.  The design incorporates the Iron Throne as shown on the Tallents House postmark, but with the legend "First Day of Issue Belfast".
 
(Incidentally for those who like consistency in their P&G FDC collection, the official ones this time use the Game of Thrones cover and not the usual P&G cover.)




62 comments:

  1. As I've written elsewhere I really have no objections to this issue which should get a lot of public attention and will not only boost Royal Mail's income but will doubtlessly raise the profile of stamp collecting. I also like the fact that a philatelically much neglected area of the UK will get some prominence from this issue

    If collectors don't want to buy some of the stuff being released then don't buy it. It's hard if one's used to 'completion' but with a bit of will power it is possible. When you've done it once it's much easier to say 'no' a second time. In fact it's a bit of a relief.

    I've never seen 'Game of Thrones' and have little idea of what the designs are depicting but the stamps look rather good to me so they'll be finding their way into my collection.

    Thanks for all the hard work you've put into keeping us informed about what's going on.

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    1. The stamps have certainly grabbed the public attention, now even The Sun and MPs are getting overheated about them.

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  2. OMG I did not cersi this coming, its my favourite all time TV series depicted on stamps, I so want this set and everything that goes with it, only joking, just the first day and the miniature covers will do along with the Presentation Pack.

    Can someone tell Royal Mail to plan The Walking Dead stamp series for 2019, I be in heaven than.

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  3. OK, so the obvious question to ask is why on earth it was necessary to have the news embargo anyway? Would that have been down to the GoT licensers rather than Royal Mail?

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  4. I think I've cracked the October issue Mary Poppins which has been filmed around London and the film gets a general release this Christmas. It seems RM like to celebrate Movies and TV series that are made in Britain / Ireland

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  5. Ian

    Wasn't Royal Mail embargo date 3rd January? So they have broken it themselves!
    Unbelievable!

    John Embrey

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  6. I agree with White Knight that once you have decided to stop completeness then the rest is easy. I stopped collecting specials in 2015 and cancelled my standing order with Royal Mail completely last year. Only thing is there is 50p credit showing so they keep sending me statements LOL. I went to collecting Machins but I have to say my hunger for this is waning too and it may be that I chuck the whole thing in.... Stamps have a completely different purpose to when I started in 1970 and IMHO they are redundant as a means of posting a letter.

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    1. I started collecting in 1957, aged 7. Then there were only 3 - 4 issues a year, which I could just about afford with my pocket money, now there is at least one issue a month. Game of thrones has 10 first class tamps plus the miniature sheet, Prestige booklet and if you do want that 'completeness' it feels like half your pension goes on stamps. It's all about profit, not celebrating anything meaningful. No wonder stamp collecting is on the decline, especially amongst the young, there are too many other things for them to spend their money on.

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  7. I too do not understand why this subject has been chosen. The whole story is fictitious, it is not the anniversary of anything and the books are written by a Canadian in American. At least Harry Potter or Frankenstein were written by our fellow countrymen! Shall we have an issue to commemorate Jo Nesbø, many people's favourite author, by the same token? However the main stamps are attractive and I may buy some to send letters to White Knight, if I can find a post office which will sell them.

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    1. While it's an HBO production, all the studio sets are in Belfast, and a fair chunk of the exterior shots are across the Northern Irish countryside. It's about as British as Star Wars, if not more.

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  8. Yet another issue where Royal Mail will make substantial profits - due to the fact that relatively few will be used for their primary purpose of payment for postage.

    Having such an 'exploitative' issue at the beginning of a calendar year (and hard on the heels of the equally undeserving Star Wars issue) makes it very tempting to draw a line under my collection as at the end of 2017.

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    Replies
    1. Have you thought about collecting the lovely stamps issued by Grenada Grenadines?

      Delete
    2. IMO the Royal Mint coins issued recently are putting Royal Mail stamps to shame. Great designs for sensible topics and guaranteed to hold their face value at the very least. I began collecting GB stamps seriously in the early 80s and I was initially excited by Posy & Go but my buying of anything philatelic is almost non existent now.

      Delete
  9. After the wait for the details of this issue the mail by sea details are in the January Philatelic Bulleten

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  10. I hope to get my hands on some, and I will use them (eventually). Never seen the series myself, but some of my penpals have.

    Please please, if you do send mail, be it payment for bills or sending greetings cards..., please do use the special stamps. Whether or not you like them, it may be irrelevant but someone will. The UK has a tradition of donating stamps to charity, and I do think commemoratives rather than Machins would bring in more cash for worthy causes.

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  11. most special stamps I receive on envelopes seem to be crossed out with ink.

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  12. I will probably try and get a few - not as collectables but specifically to send on birthday cards etc.. to those who do like the show. Which means I would like to have had a high-value option.

    OK - I can do that with a Post and Go but that means finding the right machine with them loaded and it seems that this can be pretty hit and miss. Actually, the best solution would be to find a machine that has been loaded early, buy loads and sell on eBay (after sending one to Ian of course!)

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    1. Thanks Neil: all PO branches with SSKs should have these loaded from 23 January - maybe earlier of course. Royal Mail Enquiry Offices will also have them, and the Postal Museum in London, but probably no others.

      Delete
    2. Whilst I agree all PO branches with SSKs should have these loaded from the 23rd January there is a hard core of offices around the country who do not bother.
      This is most common with some of the franchised WH Smith locations although I have educated my local WH Smith branch to use them it does not seem all do, the comment I got from the staff was "they are nice" referring to the poppy stamps.
      I accept enquiry offices should have them but is there any relevance why the postal museum should.

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    3. “I accept enquiry offices should have them but is there any relevance why the postal museum should“

      Yes, I think you’re probably right: I was probably thinking of the Mail by Sea issue.

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    4. I've not been back recently, but a year or so ago, the staff in the Walthamstow (crown) office insisted that the Post & Go machines never did special stamps.

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    5. These are the 1st real commemorative Post & Go stamps although these has been poppy & Christmas

      John Embrey

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    6. Ian

      Has it been announced that the postal Museum in London will have the GofT P&G?

      John Embrey

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    7. "These are the 1st real commemorative Post & Go stamps although these has been poppy & Christmas"

      Specifically they are the first ones linked to a special stamp issue. The 'Christmas' ones were not on the subject of Christmas, but winter. The P&G Poppy had already been issued before it was linked to Remembrance Day.

      Delete
  13. What, if any, is the financial deal between Royal Mail and HBO? Does RM pay HBO to use the images or does HBO pay RM to get its products advertised?

    I've often wondered what the RM's escape plan is if any living person whose image appears on a stamp should find themselves the subject of some accusation.

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  14. After wishing Ian and all contributors a healthy and wealthy new year of philately, my comment will be on another topic: the printing quality of the actual stamps. I know the series and recognise the scenes and locations in the backgrounds. On these pictures they are pretty detailed. Ian, please, if you've already received them, is the final result as detailed? And do you know the printing company that may gain publicity with this issue too?

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    1. Thank you for your good wishes, and sorry for missing your comment earlier. I didn't get the email from blogspot.
      The stamps are printed by ISP - International Security Printers. I'll be putting better images on the website just as soon as I can make the time.

      Delete
  15. Yawn. Scraping the barrel,

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  16. I am told the Definitive pane will be 2017 rather than 2018. That being the case it would seem the £1.17 is a new stamp but the 5p and 20p are repeats of the Machin Anniversary PSB defins, is that correct?

    John Embrey

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    1. No, the 5p and 20p in the Machin PSB didn't have iridescent printing, only the £1 magenta and the 1st red, both in the lower-right-corner of their respective panes.

      We haven't had a MPIL 5p since 2016, and the last 20p was 2014.

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    2. The 5p and 20p from the Machin PSB were printed in gravure and those from the Game of Thrones PSB are printed in lithography.

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    3. AND.....the ones from the Machin PSB do not have any security coding on so they are totally different stamps !

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    4. Thanks Ian, just shows how out of my depth I am!
      Look forward to your comments once you have seen them

      John Embrey

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  17. Why do the post and go label embargo notices call the GoT labels "Camelot"? I thought that was a rival series.

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    Replies
    1. It's a code-word used within Royal Mail to limit the number of people who know the actual subject.

      The hi-res images they sent us mostly had 'Camelot' included in the file name.

      Delete
  18. On Jan 4th The Sun ran a story demanding Independence stamps for march 2019, even including four possible designs for them; and quoted Ray Finch MEP, Nigel Evans MP & Michael Gove as critical of the GoT issue and striving for an independence issue. Looks like we might get one now.

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    1. That doesn’t affect this year’s stamp programme.
      There should not be a stamp to mark the cessation of the UK from the EU. End of story.

      I’m not going to endorse any more comments referring to the stupidly inane term Brexit, nor to the whole subject, at least until RM make any further announcement later in the year.

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  19. I find this P&G issue rather perplexing by only issuing 2 stamps, surely the machines will still issue 'Collectors Sets' and also you should be able to buy a 2nd class large. The SG numbering will be very hard to ascertain before the stamps are actually listed.

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    1. RM have done the same as they do for the winter stamps, one of each design - winter have two designs for each value. that keeps the cost down if you only buy the pack.
      As for cataloguing, the usual sets of 6 x 1st class and 2 x 2nd class, so a set of 8 values overall, instead of 16 for the winter designs.

      Delete
  20. The miniature sheet is gummed or self-adhesive?

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  21. Presumably the PSB is printed by ISP (Cartor) in lithography, therefore the 2nd class Northern Ireland stamp will be a brand new stamp as the sheet stamps are printed by De La Rue in gravure.
    A previous PSB included the 1st class NI stamp by Cartor in lithography. As far as I know Cartor have yet to print the 1st and 2nd class NI stamps in sheet form. Am I mistaken ?

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  22. Out of curiosity do the stamps have ‘a hidden’ image which is revealed when viewed under an ultraviolet lamp like the Star Wars stamps have?

    A trend which a number or Postal administrations are using, for example Latvia applying their logo on the face of the stamp or Ukraine adding a hidden part of the design their flower stamps showing bees pollinating the plants.

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    1. Not as far as I can see on the stamps I have to examine.

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  23. It would appear that everything comes out in both self-adhesive and lick-and-stick variants. So, not really a set of 15 stamps, but a set of 30! And that's before adding in any post and go variants ...

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  24. Blanks on ebay already, how do they get away with it?

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/GB-Stamps-BLANK-Post-and-Go-2018-Game-of-Thrones-Pair-of-Strips-1st-2nd/372191455002?hash=item56a856e71a:g:UWkAAOSwm~daV5IP

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    1. Once they are announced by Royal mail you can list on Ebay but only despatch on the issue date.

      John Embrey

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    2. Except, John, they are Post and Go stamp blanks which must have come from a post office branch.

      Delete
  25. Selling blanks so early on Ebay risk the seller or a friend being dismissed by The Post Office if found out and they work for them. So it is very uncaring of the sellers. People should report it as a complaint on the Post Offices website. I have, and i hope more do as well.

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    1. Agree: and surprisingly this is an established and well-known dealer!

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    2. Surely selling "blanks" in itself must be a "no-no", without even getting into the minefield of selling pre-issue.

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  26. Test strips available already as well so they've been put into machines somewhere.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Post-Go-Game-of-Thrones-1st-2nd-Class-Custom-Test-Strips/352253615147?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649

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  27. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/GAME-OF-THRONES-2018-SET-OF-TWO-BLANK-STRIPS-of-SIX-Post-Go/142651686476?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649

    was showing as 7 available 8 Sold!!!!

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  28. From The Postal Museum (on IAR Website)

    Game of Thrones comes to The Postal Museum Post & Go

    LONDON, 16 January 2017 – The Postal Museum has announced today that the new Game of Thrones Post & Go stamps will be available from its machine from 23 January. This is the first time there has been a Post & Go issue coordinated with a Royal Mail special issue.

    A must have for all fans of philately and the hit television series, the issue comprises of two designs. Both depicting the Iron Throne, the two stamps show different backgrounds, one with a dragon and the other with the Night King. The issue is available in all denominations.

    The stamps will replace the Machin Commemorative and the Machin 2nd Class and will be available for one month.

    The Post & Go machine is available at The Postal Museum during normal opening hours. Please see www.postalmuseum.org for more information.

    The Postal Museum regrets to inform that there will not be any commemorative products released for this issue.

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  29. If The Game of Thrones is available for one month from 23-Jan-18, when will the Mail by Sea be available - issue date 14-Feb-18?? Stuart

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    1. Good point, I've asked the PM.

      Delete
    2. The machine at the Postal Museum can take five different rolls so if the Machin 2nd class and Machin 50th Anniversary rolls are replaced by the two new Game of Thrones issue this still leaves three possible spaces for the Mail by Sea issue on the 14th February.

      Delete
  30. An interesting document
    http://www.upu.int/uploads/tx_sbdownloader/recommendationPhilately2008C26En.pdf

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  31. Bought the 1st Class Book and some P&G stamps in Exeter today and the lady running the P&G machines told me the stamps had been very popular and they had sold out of first class stamps and presentation packs yesterday. Whether this was a supply issue or the public have taken to them is hard to say. They still had plenty of 1st Class books and P&G Presentation Packs

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  32. Bit annoyed with the presentation pack for these stamps, they sent a set of 10 stamps, on a separate mount instead as attached inside the presentation pack as usual. Question is was this intentional or a mistake, it its a mistake I'd rather send it back and get what I ordered as shown on the RM website.

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  33. This is the way forward for British stamps. My suggestion is if you don't like them, don't buy them. I'm sure these Film/TV tie ins will become the new norm. Star Trek/Coronation Street/ updated Doctor Who set......the list is endless!

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