Monday, 15 July 2019

ENGLAND WINNERS, AGAIN.

Royal Mail promise miniature sheets for England Cricket Teams.

Royal Mail will mark the World Cup success of the England Cricket team by issuing a miniature sheet of four stamps.

The sheet will feature images from the team’s campaign which ended in a gripping finish yesterday.

In a more surprising move a second sheet will be issued - somewhat belatedly we might think - to mark the Women’s team’s similar success in 2017.

The designs will of course be subject to royal approval and will be made available as soon as possible.

UPDATE.
The sheets will be issued on the 22nd of August.
Further to this, the Royal Mail has also announced the rollout of 15 special edition postboxes located close to each of the grounds used during the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
These special edition postboxes will be easy to spot – as they will be painted white and will feature stylized images of a gold cricket bat, ball and stumps, along with being adorned with a permanent gold plaque.
The selected postboxes will be decorated in this fashion during the next three months, with the plaque inscription detailing England’s now historic position as the joint holder of both ICC Cricket World Cup titles.


As usual we will not be stocking these, collectors can register their interest on the Royal Mail website.


Thursday, 11 July 2019

Next stamp issue: Forests, 13 August 2019

The next stamp issue depicts six of Britain's forests.  We have received the first supplies of the stamps today, so we might expect the FDCs to be shown on the usual websites quiet soon.

However, although the issue date is less than a month away, the embargo date has yet to be advised.  I expect now that the Curious Customs are out of the way the media office are trying to work out when to take their summer holidays and still be available for the publicity for the launch of these stamps.

Meanwhile here's the website for the Forestry Commission the government department responsible for many of the United Kingdom's forests.

More details about the stamps and other products when we are permitted to provide them.

According to the Commonwealth Stamps Opinion blog, which also has the pictures,

The issue commemorates the Centenary of the Forestry Commission and is an attractive and colourful issue with various regions of The United Kingdom being pleasingly represented on the stamps. The featured forests are:- The National Arboretum at Westonbirt in the Cotswolds, Sherwood Forest in the East Midlands, Kielder Forest in the north of England, Glen Affric in Scotland, Coed y Brenin in Wales and Glenariff Forest in Northern Ireland.

Out of office

We will be away all next week, 14 - 23 July, including a trip to the York Stamp and Coin Fair on Saturday 20th.

As usual the webshop will be open while we are away, and orders will be processed as soon as possible on our return.

Emails may be answered, and blog comments moderated, depending on the level of internet access we have.


Tuesday, 9 July 2019

July Postmark Slogans

This post will record all postmark slogans used during July 2019, and some other news about postmarks.   As has been the custom for some years, July kicks off with Royal Mail's campaign to raise awareness of the problems that dogs might cause for their postmen and women.



Thanks to JG for sending this example from South East Wales mail centre on 06/07/2019I'll have the other layout later this week.  Alternative three-line layout from Peterborough on 08-07-2019 is now shown below, along with an Australian slogan on the same subject from the South Western Letter Facility on 21.06.19


Dog
Awareness
Week
8 - 14 July 2019

 

Secure your dog for safe delivery



Previous campaigns were reported here: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014.

As usual, other slogans used in July will be added here as reported.



Universal machines
I've also received another example of a non-ink-jet postmark, the Universal from Lerwick used on 6 July 2019.  The date and time are clear, but are raised above the outer ring, so the place cannot be read!


Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Machin news - still dribbling out.

Another new Machin retail booklet has been found in a retail outlet.

This is the 1st class Large book of 4, with cylinders W3/W2 on SBP2u backing paper. The pack date is 23/04/19.


 


In our Checklist this will be listed as RB6.9 with the stamps being listed as 2937a.9. 

UPDATE 13 JULY
As noted in the comments below, the 2nd and 1st class stamps from books of 12 have now appeared on eBay.  I had heard of these but there are no supplies locally yet.  One source suggested that they may be at a well-known supermarket. 
The numbers for these will be 2931.9 and 2936a.9 respectively.


Padstow 'Obby 'Oss comes out to play early in Sheffield

My thanks to RS for sending this picture of an early release of one of the Curious Customs 2nd class stamps.

The Padstow Obby Oss made it's appearance in Sheffield at least as early as 24 June on ordinary non-philatelic mail.


This is the first we've had reported since the Raspberry Pi.


Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Just print some stamps, we don't care what they look like!

It's beginning to look that way, with Royal Mail seemingly not exercising any quality control over what their print contractors are doing. When I worked for a security print organisation we had our own people in contractors' premises, at least when printing started and finished, to check that what they were producing matched what we asked for and what we thought they should be printing.

Of course one could argue that it doesn't really matter as long as the stamps are fit for purpose, ie they will do the job that is required.  We've had prestige book make-up errors with duplicated or otherwise wrong pages (see blog posts - as they write in Private Eye - passim, ad nauseum).

We've had the long elliptical perforation hole at the top instead of nearer the foot of the pane.

We've had an entirely wrong colour, again in a PSB, where - arguably - it matters far less than elsewhere because those stamps rarely get used for postage. And the change to the colour of the 1st class 'red' wasn't consistent in PSBs either.  The 2p & 50p stamps in the Marvel PSB are so different from earlier ones that they may have full catalogue listing!

We've had phantom or missing cylinder numbers on counter sheets.

So what do you make of this?  

Since the printing of country definitives was moved from De La Rue to Cartor in 2012, there have been several reprints.

The original printing of the Wales 1st class was on 10 & 11/07/12  (released January 2013) using Cylinders C1.   What we believe to be the second printing was on 07/04/15 and these cylinders were also C1, but this was during the period when cylinders were not always renumbered as they should be.  The black was clearly a new cylinder as the printing date was part of the cylinder.

Cylinders C2 were used on 17/01/16.   And the next printing, on 26/12/17 was from a new set of C1 cylinders with the font revised to that used for the airmail values and the Machin definitives. 

A recent list from Royal Mail showed a printing from Cylinders C3.  This wasn't regarded as odd: it would be quite possible for Cylinders C2 to be produced but not used because they were - for some reason - not of the right quality.

It was only when a customer asked if he had had a C2 block, that I found the C2 that he had had, and realised that C3 is the same font.  So what gives?  Royal Mail asked Cartor to print some more 1st class stamps for Wales - and they used the previous master images and made a new cylinder.

Maybe Royal Mail didn't feel the need to specify "use the latest design" - I'm not sure that I would have.  Why would you?  Why would a printer NOT use the latest design?



 

Many people don't collect cylinder blocks and date blocks, and to be fair there isn't much to choose between the stamps printed by C1, C2 & C3 in the old font - minor shade differences excepted.

But if anybody wants date blocks or cylinder blocks - or even singles - of the latest printing I will make them available on our webshop shortly, although there will be a delay in supplying while I obtain more stocks from Royal Mail.  They will be listed here.


Friday, 21 June 2019

Pair charged with forging 3.6 million 1st class stamps: trial ongoing

According to London's Metro,
An Italian father and son have denied forging 3.6 million first class stamps worth more than £2.2m.
The penalty for each of their 13 combined fraud accusations carries the potential for an unlimited fine or six months in prison.  The father is also accused of laundering more than £1.3m in criminal property, according to court documents.
See the story and look out for more on the Metro website..

UPDATE 24 June: Also now reported in the Daily Mail, where the magistrate is reported to have said:

'Because you are pleading not guilty the matter is going to trial.
'You are both released on unconditional bail, but if you do not arrive you a warrant will be issued.'

Definitely a case where surrender of passports wouldn't be amiss, irrespective of nationality, I would have thought, but I'm not a legal expert.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

New version of our Checklist reflects Gibbons' Concise 2019 changes

 Stanley Gibbons' venture into producing a hardback version of their Great Britain Concise catalogue was short-lived, with the 2019 version just received reverting to soft-back.  Gibbons cites customer feedback as "too heavy and unwieldy" - this change to what must be a cheaper format (certainly to ship) is accompanied by an £8 increase in cover price after 2018's steep reduction, which we never did understand at the time!

For collectors of pre-Elizabethan stamps all the colour images have been replaced by new improved scans, and better illustrations have also been added to illustrate some QE2 varieties.  A major improvement, and one which have called for for a number of years, is the showing of pictures of re-used designs for the listings where they have been reused.  This is particularly useful with the listings of Smilers greetings booklet stamps, especially the 2008 booklet.

Until now, the listing has referred to the design types - Gibbons' illustration numbers - which meant that catalogue users had to keep flipping back and forth.   Last year the designs descriptions were shown on each line, rather than the colour description.  Prior to that (I believe) each line showed 'multicoloured'.  The first three (1842, 1842a and 1842c) referred back 14 pages to 2005; the other three (1932-4) referred back 9 pages to 2006.  The importance of this is that the 2008 stamps have elliptical perforations whilst the others do not, which explains why they get separate listings.  The listing for the three booklets (QA2 - QA4) does not indicate the elliptical perforations, only referring to the 'pane' numbers, which refers you back to the main stamp listings 250+ pages earlier!  This is another omission which could be rectified.

As mentioned at the end of April,  some of the U- numbers for security Machins have been altered: the variants are now all numbered with a,b,c, etc codes to keep them all near the start of the listing.  The panes are now all listed separately from l,m,n etc as they are in pre-security listings.  Some other numbers have changed to accommodate new stamps, but there is a very small gap between U2971, the top (£3.60) value in the counter sheet stamps and the first of the NVIs, U2975 original 2nd class counter sheet.  Airmail rate increases may not produce four higher-valued stamps next year, nor even the following year, but...  And there will be more 'a numbers' with the eight spaces in the U29-- range not necessarily falling in the right place for the new values.   The Preface acknowledges that the editors "woefully underestimated the issuing prowess of Royal Mail" - well it wasn't difficult to forecast that more stamps would be needed when postage rates were increased!

I've noticed one change in the retail booklet numbering where MB8e has changed to MB8d which hadn't been - and wasn't likely to be - used.  I don't see the need for this tidying up which will have collectors asking dealers for a stamp which one or other of them will see as the 'wrong' number.  It could have been covered by a footnote saying that MB8d was not used: there may be others.  The inconsistency of assigning sub-numbers to booklets without the Printer's Imprint, and with the FSC logo, but not for the change in telephone number from 0845 to 0345 has still not been rectified nor explained.

The preface includes a list of additions (aside from new stamps) and a list of Wilding booklet pane number changes, but not a list of changes to the U-number series.  Our new checklist will show original, 2018, and 2019 numbers for the time being.  For space reasons, there may be a time when we have to show only the latest two numbers in the tables!

New stamps

Since I last wrote about new Machins the 1st class business sheet has been found in branches and the £1 counter sheet made available from Tallents House together with the 20p.  But the 1p, 10p and 1st Large Signed For are still not available from Royal Mail and we have no proof that the 1p and 1L SF exist.  If anybody would like to send pictures of those two stamps, we will properly include them in our Checklist.  Details of the new stamps are shown on the June Machin post here.

Another new stamp available from Tallents House is the Wales 1st class from cylinder C3 printed on 30/01/19.  The stamp appears to be bluer than the C2 printing, but is not significant enough for catalogue listing.  If any readers require singles, cylinder blocks of date blocks, please contact me by email - see at top right.

New Checklist
All the latest changes, new stamps and Concise number changes, have been incorporated into the latest - and I know, long-awaited, version of our Machin Checklist.  Download it from the usual Dropbox here or at the link on the right.

Because of some confusion over terminology, especially of colour names, I am thinking of using the Stanley Gibbons colour names in future versions of the Checklist, only modifying them where I think it necessary to distinguish different printings.  I welcome users' views on this.  One thing I won't be doing is using Royal Mail colour names, although these may be added in a separate table.

As always I can't guarantee that there are no mistakes in the new version and I welcome all contributions to make it more accurate.



Monday, 17 June 2019

When the ink runs out, you get a different type of impression.

Long-term readers will recall the introduction in 2015 of this new wavy line self-inking handstamp which was supposed to eliminate or reduce pen-cancels.


As with counter date stamps the unit contains an ink-pad which, over time, requires re-inking, or replacing.  If you can't get any ink, what then... ?  You give up and reach for the pen!

Or, as with this example, you bang it onto an ordinary ink pad, as used for the packet handstamps, which produces a new variant of the wavy lines:

I have seen one other like this, which I can't now find.  Either somebody asked on a forum over the weekend, or it was an email which I have lost.  Either way, my apologies and I hope you are reading here, as this explains your question.

Update:  I've now found the other example, which is peculiar!  It looks as if the user initially used it without pushing down the centre to get the wavy lines, and so just got the frame.  Then used it again with the device pushed down.






Saturday, 15 June 2019

Postbox, Postmark, mark Centenary of First Transatlantic Flight,

Royal Mail press release:

Royal Mail is launching a commemorative postbox, special postmark and online gallery to mark the centenary of the first transatlantic airmail flight.

The commemorative postbox is being unveiled on Harlington High Street, close to Heathrow Airport, the home of Royal Mail’s Worldwide Distribution Centre. The postmark is appearing on stamped mail from June 14 to June 15, while the online gallery marking the event can be found here.



Pictures from ITV news website (which may be from Royal Mail):

Picture from Royal Mail:


On 14 June 1919, pioneering aviators Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten-Brown completed the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic, carrying with them hundreds of letters in a mail bag, the first transatlantic mail. The mailbag also contained a letter written by Alcock to his sister Elsie prior to the flight.

The aviators took off from Newfoundland, the nearest point — in transatlantic terms — to the British Isles, at around 1.45pm. They flew a modified First World War Vickers Vimy bomber.  The flight to Ireland was beset with challenges including mechanical failures, heavy snow and blinding fog. The flyers wore electrically heated clothing, overalls, fur gloves and fur-lined helmets, but the battery failed soon into the journey.

The team crash landed near Clifden in County Galway at 8:40 a.m. on 15 June 1919, after around sixteen hours' flying time. The average speed during the Atlantic crossing was around 120 miles per hour.  When incredulous locals were unable to believe that the pair had flown across the Atlantic in less than a day, Alcock handed them the sealed bag of mail as proof, all of it stamped in St John’s, Newfoundland the day before. News of their success quickly spread.

Back in 1913, the Daily Mail, offered a prize for £10,000 - £1 million in today’s money - to “the aviator who shall first cross the Atlantic in an aeroplane in flight from any point in the United States of America, Canada or Newfoundland to any point in Great Britain or Ireland in 72 continuous hours”. The prize was put up by Lord Northcliffe, the aviation-loving owner of the Daily Mail.

Alcock and Brown were feted as heroes on completion of their flight receiving the £10,000 reward from the Daily Mail, 2,000 guineas (£2,100) from the Ardath Tobacco Company and £1,000 from Lawrence Phillips for being the first British subjects to fly the Atlantic Ocean.  The then Secretary of State for Air, Winston Churchill, presented the men with the Daily Mail prize for the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by aeroplane. In his speech, Churchill hailed these exemplars of ‘the audacity, the courage, the physical qualities of the old heroic bygone times’.

The two aviators were a week later awarded the honour of Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE)  by King George V at Windsor Castle.

Sadly John Alcock was killed during December 1919, whilst performing at the Paris Air show. Scottish born Brown was later employed by Metropolitan-Vickers, and by 1923 he was appointed as chief representative in the Swansea area.



Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Next stamp issue, Curious Customs - 9 July 2019

Royal Mail's next special stamp issue is the Curious Customs set of eight, on 9 July 2019.  My understanding is that no details of these should be made available until later this month but they are already showing on at least one first day cover producer's website.

You can see the cover here.

Now, the embargo date we have is 23 June for products and 2 July for stamps but as several people have told me (thank you all) the stamps are now available for pre-order on Royal Mail's website.

So here they are, as shown in the presentation pack on that page.  The set consists of se-tenant pairs of 2nd class, 1st class and two airmail rate (£1.55 and £1.65) which many people had already worked out from the charge to their bureau new issue accounts.
In the presentation pack Folklorist Steve Roud shares the tales behind the customs, and there is a poem written for Royal Mail by Matt Harvey, Customs and Exercise, celebrates our nation’s curious traditions and eccentric endeavours.
  • 2nd class Burning the Clocks 21 December - A highly popular community midwinter folk festival in which participants carry paper clock lanterns made of willow wands and figures. The procession culminates on the beach where the lanterns are set alight and a firework display takes place. Established in 1994 this is an example of a successful modern tradition.
  • 2nd class Padstow ’Obby ’Oss 1 May - Two strange black beasts called Osses (but barely resembling horses) swirl and sway through the streets of Padstow accompanied by a host of drummers, musicians and dancers. before finally ‘dying’ at midnight. The first documentary record of this custom dates from 1803.
  • 1st class World Gurning Championships Third Saturday in September - The World Gurning Championship is held at Egremont Crab Fair. Men and women compete to produce the most grotesque face while framed in a horse collar.
  • 1st class Up Helly Aa - Last Tuesday in January.  An impressive and famous fire festival which is more than 100 years old. People in dress parade through town, carrying blazing torches including the Guizer Squad in full Viking attire. A full size wooden Viking longship (built over the preceding year) is pulled through the town and is later ceremonially burned as part of the festivities.
  • £1.55  Cheese Rolling - Cooper’s Hill, Brockworth, Gloucestershire, Spring Bank Holiday Monday (in 2019, 27th May). Hundreds of contestant’s chase and attempt to catch a double Gloucester cheese rolling down a hill. The event has been taking place since at least the early 19th century.
  • £1.55  Halloween - Derry/Londonderry, runs for 5-8 days in the run up to and just after 31st October.   A tradition of dressing up and calling at houses for gifts has been common for many centuries. The world’s biggest Halloween Party is in Derry/Londonderry which now welcomes around 80,000 people. It involves parades, fancy dress, ghost walks, fireworks and was named as the world’s best Halloween celebration by USA Today
  • £1.60  Horn Dance - Abbots Bromley, Staffs, early September (in 2019 it will take place on Monday, 9th September). This is a famous and ancient custom which is unique in Europe. Six men carrying huge Reindeer antlers plus characters dressed as Maid Marian, Fool, Hobby Horse and Bowman celebrate ancient hunting rites. They perambulate the parish and at set places perform a dance. The design of the costumes and the dance have been preserved for hundreds of years, with the earliest reference to the horns dating from the 1630s.
  • £1.60  Bog Snorkelling - Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, last Monday in August.  First held in 1976 the event involves contestants going across and back through a water-filled trench in a peat bog, with the fastest being the winner. Competitors from all over the world take part, with snorkels being essential as participants must remain submerged and only use flippers to propel themselves.
Technical details: Designed by NB Studio with illustrations by Jonny Hannah.  All images are copyright Royal Mail Group.  The stamps are litho-printed by ISP Walsall in sheets of 60.  Phosphor "as appropriate to service", which means a single central band on the 2nd class stamps and barely visible bands across the perforations creating two bands on the others.

Products: first day cover, presentation pack, stamp cards.

Postmark news
According to the Postmark Bulletin (the latest now available here) the Tallents House FD postmark will be applied in blue and the alternative (Maypole, Monmouth) FD postmark will be applied in red. The only sponsored postmarks so far are from Whitstable, Woodstock Way Mitcham (why not Woodstock, Oxford?), Lerwick, and Derry*.  Cover producers have not gone mad this time!

Update 9 July
* The original design of this handstamp, as posted on Royal Mail's postmark webpage, showed this as "Derry, Londonderry" as on the stamp.  Royal Mail vet sponsored handstamps to make sure that they fit in with their 'Address Management Guide'.

They found that the only 'Derry' was a location which has Enniskillen as it's post-town and advised the sponsor, and so the handstamp was changed.  This is despite the fact that the stamp itself is captioned 'Derry Londonderry'.

Derry, Enniskillen, is an area southeast of Enniskillen.  The area covered by the Derry, Enniskillen, postcode is largely wet and uninhabited!


Postmark errors can happen.  For the Cattle Post and Go stamps a sponsored handstamp for "Bull's Green Norwich Norfolk" was used.  Bull's Green is in Norfolk, but not Norwich, and it's correct postal address uses the post-town Beccles, Suffolk.  We don't know how this error occurred but it suggests a lack of consistency.

UPDATE 10 JULY Media reporting on this issue.

The BBC has reported on Derry Halloween postage stamp released by Royal Mail with the next line reading "Royal Mail has revealed a new stamp celebrating Londonderry's annual Halloween festival."  See, Derry = Londonderry, their interchangeable, or more to the point if you are writing for a wide audience it makes sense to use both terms.

The Brighton & Hove Independent wrote "Brighton's winter solstice event Burning the Clocks has been recognised as part of a stamp series issued by Royal Mail."

Gloucestershire Live headlined the story "Pride for Cheese Rolling Committee as Coopers Hill stamp gets commissioned by Royal Mail".

Lichfield Live has an article about the Abbots Bromley Horn Dancers.

Enlarged pictures of the relevant stamps feature in the stories.   Other regional media outlets will probably follow suit.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Blog images missing - we're bringing them back, slowly

A few years ago we alerted readers to a problem with the photo-hosting website Photobucket (PB), which had suddenly decided to start charging over £300 pa for a service which had previously been free.  

What I overlooked in moving away from PB and hosting elsewhere, was that some images on this blog were hosted there.  Not just mine, but on the slogan postmark posts especially, I have used some other people's images as shown on Stampboards.  Gradually people are deleting their images on PB and/or closing their accounts, so those images are no longer available, leaving us with a placeholder image of a fluffy kitten.  I've started replacing some of these, so bear with us while we complete the process.


That webpage is missing - the dreaded Error 404

Ever clicked on a bookmark and found that the webpage is no longer there?  We all have.  And it can be most frustrating to know that information that we once regarded as crucial, or at least important, is no longer available to us.  There is a way round this.

So if one of our images is missing and you really want to see what it was, or if a whole webpage is missing from one of your favourite sites, you can use the Wayback Machine Web Archive -
Explore more than 362 billion web pages saved over time.

Go to this website https://web.archive.org/ and in the search box, enter the URL of the page you want to see.  In the case of our blog, enter the URL of the specific blogpost.  If the Wayback Machine has archived the page*, there will be at least one instance of an earlier example of the page.  You may find that there are many instances and one of them should show the detail you want.

* Not all sites are archived.  Some websites block robots which would otherwise archive the detail there.




Saturday, 8 June 2019

VAT refunds on imports

If your interest extends beyond modern stamps bought direct from Royal Mail or the Post
Office, and if you are in the UK and buy from outside the EU, you may have your package intercepted by Royal Mail and subjected to VAT on import, and Royal Mail's handling charge which is currently £8.

This doesn't only apply to stamps and other philatelic products of course, if you think you will save money by buying your iPhone from China or the USA you might be in for a shock!  But sticking to philatelic items, you may not have to pay as much as you think.

What follows is not tax advice and I cannot be liable for things not turning out as you might hope, but this relates what happened with a recent purchase of QE2 postal history from a dealer in the USA.


I was a little upset that this package was caught for Value Added Tax on import.  Not that it wasn't payable just that it had been caught, because not everything is, even if it's larger than a letter.

I wasn't sure that the VAT had been correctly calculated.  Unusually the US dealer had used a USPS postage form produced at the counter which incorporated a customs declaration - they don't usually use them at all.

The description of the contents was put simply as 'COVER' - I suspect that this was entered by the postal clerk who had asked the sender about the contents.

This of course tells UK Customs nothing; but the declared value of US$50 and postage of $24 was enough for the charge to be raised without examining the contents. I don't know whether they would have charged the same rate if the package had been opened.

VAT was charged at 20%. I looked at the HMRC website and decided that it ought to have been 5%, especially after phoning the VAT help-line. Rather than the usual call-centre type of operative, I had a chat with a chap who appeared to be of mature age, with plenty of experience and happy to chat the options and system through.

Short story long: I applied for a part refund and have received a letter to say that I shall be getting a refund of £9.61 - no, it's not that much, but it was worth the time and effort to establish a principle.

So this is the information at HMRC (my highlighting):

Goods from non-EU countries
If you import goods that you’ve bought from non-EU countries they’re normally charged at the same rate as if they had been supplied in the UK. But if you import works of art, antiques and collectors’ items they’re entitled to a reduced rate of VAT.


Valuation of imported goods
The value for VAT of imported goods is their customs value, determined by the rules in Notice 252, as well as incidental expenses - such as commission, packing, transport and insurance costs incurred up to the goods’ first destination in the UK ....... any Customs Duty or levy payable on importation into the UK any Excise Duty or other charges payable on importation into the UK - except the VAT itself.

Postage stamps and philatelic supplies (VAT Notice 701/8)

5. Philatelic collectors’ items
5.1 VAT liability
Philatelic collector’s items are liable to VAT at the standard rate, but the tax may not always be due on the full value.

5.2 Value for VAT of philatelic supplies treated as collector’s items
[This applies to VAT-registered dealers accounting for sales, so I have omitted it]

5.3 Imported collector’s items
Some items of philatelic interest are eligible for a reduced valuation at importation which gives an effective VAT rate of 5%. This figure is reached by calculating a value for duty using the appropriate duty method, adding any additional costs (see paragraph 3.1 of Imports (VAT Notice 702)) and multiplying the total by 25%. Applying the 20% rate to this value gives an effective VAT rate of 5%.

So the VAT rate itself is not lower, but the value of the goods for the purposes of calculating the VAT is reduced, producing the same result.

CLAIMING THE REFUND
Form BOR286 is dowloaded from the Border Force website. This is a pdf which can be completed manually or on the computer. As you also need to send (original) evidence then you will need to print it anyway.

Supporting evidence is:
- Customs charge label stuck to the package
- Customs declaration form completed by the sender
- invoice/receipt - and, it says 'such as eBay page or PayPal receipt'.

To support the claim I also enclosed photocopies of some of the covers, which were shown on the invoice with thumbnail images.

NOTE: the VAT notice says only that SOME items of philatelic interest are eligible for a reduced valuation. I don't think there is a list or guidance as to what is included and what is excluded.

For instance, GB mint decimal stamps may not be due for any tax being valid for postage, but they MAY be treated differently.  So your experience may be different depending on what you are importing.

UPDATE: Another thought. IF - and only if - the sending is of sufficient value to require a customs form and therefore to attract the attention of Royal Mail's interceptors....

Contact the sender before your order is posted, ask them to endorse the Customs form
"Reduced rate per VAT Notice 701/8, Para 5.3".

That should ensure that you don't have to go through hoops to get the refund that I have today received.




Friday, 7 June 2019

D-Day also commemorated with decorated postbox

My thanks to Anonymous for drawing my attention to this report on myroyalmail.com.

Eternally grateful

Special-edition postbox honours those who planned and fought in the D-Day landings

A special-edition postbox has been unveiled to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.



The unveiling of the postbox in St James's Square, London, was attended by US Ambassador to the UK, Robert Wood Johnson.

The location is sited close to Norfolk House, where Operation Overlord –  the mission to gain a foothold in France and commence the liberation of Europe – was planned under the leadership of Dwight D Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander Allied Expeditionary Force.

‘On this 75th anniversary, I think it's fantastic that Royal Mail is paying a special tribute to the tremendous courage and devotion of our D-Day heroes,’ said Mr Johnson.

‘We should always remember what so many millions of men and women sacrificed for the free world we have the privilege of living in today.’

The images on the postbox, courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, London, represent the success of Operation Overlord – depicting amongst others the inland advance and the preparation and planning behind the operation.

David Gold, our director of public affairs and policy, said: ‘The D-Day landings played a pivotal role during World War Two and Norfolk House was where a major part of the planning took place.

‘It is only fitting that their efforts are honoured on one of our iconic postboxes. Royal Mail is also issuing a set of special stamps to mark the anniversary.’

In addition to unveiling the special edition postbox, there is also issuing a special postmark, which will be applied to all stamped mail from 5-9 June and will read: ‘75th anniversary of the D-Day landings 6 June 1944 #dday75.’ Royal Mail will also be sponsoring a children’s essay competition organised by the Spirit of Normandy Trust.
 

Thursday, 6 June 2019

June slogan postmarks start with D-Day commemoration

Predictably the first slogan postmark used by Royal Mail this month marks the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings - D-Day.

Thanks to MB for sending this copy from North West Midlands mail centre 05/06/2019

75th anniversary
of the
D-Day landings
6 June 1944
#dday75


UPDATE 11 June.
This week's slogan is back on the health stream, for National Blood Week.  I have an example from Sheffield Mail Centre 10/06/2019, but it isn't good enough to show here.  Hopefully others will have one or two to show.
Royal Mail supports
NHS National
Blood Week
10 - 16 June 2019
#giveblood

Thanks to MB for supplying both versions of this.  Edinburgh Mail Centre 08/06/2019 on 2nd class, and North West Midlands on 10/06/2019.


UPDATE 14 June:
Thanks again to MB for another new slogan from North West Midlands mail centre. This commemorates the centenary of the first transatlantic flight in 1919.  As recorded in Wikipedia British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Brown made the first non-stop transatlantic flight in June 1919 an event of which the 50th anniversary was marked by a 5d stamp issued in 1969.


Centenary of
the first
transatlantic flight
14 June 1919


UPDATE 18 June:
Thanks to BM for the latest slogan for Children's Hospice Week from North & West Midlands on 15/06/2019


Royal Mail supports
Children's Hospice
Week
17 - 23 June 2019





UPDATE 24 June
MB has sent another new one, for Reserves Day, used at North West Midlands on 22/06/2019

Royal Mail supports
Reserves Day
26 June 2019
#SaluteOurForces


UPDATE 26 June:
BM has sent these two examples of the other Reserves Day slogan both apparently from Exeter, one on 24th June one on 25th but with apparently different sizes for the last line of the slogan. The spacing between the lines is different as well.  And the narrow one has 9 wavy lines, the wider one 11 lines.


UPDATE 28 June:
We should have realised that we hadn't finished yet, if we had looked back to previous years. Here's what should be the last slogan for June - assuming Newcastle/Tyneside is in real-time and not going to dredge up something a couple of months old.  Thanks to MB for another from NWMidlands on 26.06.2019.

Royal Mail supports
Armed Forces Day
29 June 2019
#SaluteOurForces


UPDATE 10 July.
I've been given an example of the alternative layout from Norwich on 27-06-2019.



As usual, we'll start another post for next month's slogans.  Please save time and check to make sure we haven't already been sent one that you are thinking of sending.


Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Philanglia 2019 - East Anglia's premier stamp fair

If you are at a loose end on 22 June and are within easy travelling distance to St Ives in Cambridgeshire I recommend a trip to Philanglia, where 30 dealers will have all-world stamps, postal history, accessories and mixed lots from around the world.

Parking is free at Burgess Hall, and light refreshments and drinks are available.

For the benefit of search engines...

Philanglia 2019, Saturday 22nd June 2019, 
Burgess Hall, Westwood Road, St Ives PE27 6WU

 
30 dealers - postal history, postcards, accessories, catalogues, first day covers, packs, collections, Commonwealth, Foreign and British stamps.

Also the Mid-Anglia Philatelic Federation competitions and displays. (www.mapf.co.uk)


Sunday, 2 June 2019

Machin news - June 2019

Due to confusion over what has and has not been seen or found recently I have decided that I will only put details of new stamps on the blog if I have been sent a picture or a link to an online listing which shows a picture.  All eBay sightings must be reported with an item number.  As with the reports of slogan postmarks, there will be one Machin posting per month, and this will be updated during the month.  So please check around the beginning of each month for that month's news.

The latest new stamp to be reported is the 100g Special Delivery printed on 26/03/19:




UPDATE 9 June
The latest addition to this year's Machin discoveries is the 2nd Large retail book of  4 which was on eBay but not now available.



What's really interesting is the different 2nd Large stamps that have been reprinted, whilst at Post Office branches 2nd Large stock is often three or four years old.

UPDATE 19 June
Two more new stamps are now in circulation.  The 1st class business sheet has been found in post office branches and the £1 brown counter sheet has been made available from Tallents House, so most registered dealers should have this soon.  (They should also have the 20p and Special Delivery 100gr which have been found locally but which are also now available from RM TH.)  My thanks to those who have pointed me to where the pictures are, which saved me using the microscope on my own!



 

UPDATE 20 June: I've also had a report that the £1 has been found in a Royal Mail delivery office which still sells stamps.  No news of any at Post Offices yet.

UPDATE 23 June:  I am pleased to say that the 1p sheet is now confirmed, as JV has sent me this picture of the only sheet he has so far seen.  

 


New Machin checklist

The Gibbons Concise catalogue has now arrived and our list has been updated, a new version is available for download at the usual dropbox link.

Meanwhile, we stand ready to receive your reports on more new finds, thank you!


Friday, 24 May 2019

Three new M19L Machin definitives reported.

My thanks to readers who have pointed out listings of three new Machin definitives on a well-known online auction site.

The 1p and 10p counter sheets, and 2nd class business sheet with M19L code have been reported.

Both counter sheets were printed on 19/02/2019.
This suggests that there were several stamps printed in mid-February so we should look out for the other make-up values.   The 10p and 2nd class have been found in Yorkshire.

Update 27 May: Andy P's comment - 
"Last week (22/5/19) I received an order of various definitives from the Philatelic Bureau and the 1st SF/Large they supplied was M19L."    Which is interesting as we dealers haven't heard about that one!

Update 2 June: Although I don't doubt that Andy has reported what he has seen, as we have not any any other evidence of this, nor photographic confirmation from Andy, I've scratched it for the time being.  Others who have ordered reported receiving M17L from Tallents House, and I got M18L.

On the other hand Richard P has sent copies of the 100g Special Delivery with M19L printed on 26 March.  (Pictures below the listing.)

In future I will only put details of new stamps on the blog if I have been sent a picture or a link to an online listing which shows a picture.  All eBay sightings must be reported with an item number.


Full list of M19L stamps so far:


Counter Sheets

2911.9   2nd class  - 25/02/19
2914a.9 1st class  -  25/02/19
2913.9   2nd Large - 25/02/19
2916a.9 1st Large  - 25/02/19

2985.9   100g Special Delivery - 26/03/19

2992.9 - 1st class Large Signed For, date not known.

3001.9 - 1p deep crimson, 19/02/19
3010.9 - 10p dull orange, 19/02/19- reported on both SBP2i and SBP2u
3020.9 - 20p green reprint, first on 19/02/19

3135 - £1.35 orchid mauve
3155.9 -  £1.55 tuquoise-blue, reprint 14/02/9
3160 - £1.60 amber yellow
3230 - £2.30 gooseberry green
3280 - £2.80 spruce green  
3345 - £3.45 dark pine green 
3360 - £3.60 bright orange



Booklets

2936aC.9 - 1st class MCIL from mixed booklets, Marvel Comics 14.3.1, Birds of Prey 4.4.19 with a further one due for D-Day on 5.6.19

Prestige Stamp Books

4002P.9 - 2p green from Queen Victoria Bicentenary book
4050P.9 - 50p dark slate from Queen Victoria Bicentenary book - although this is a new shade I have not given it an 'a' number, although I expect when it is listed by SG it will not have the same base number as in previous PSBs.

Business Sheets

2911B.9 - 2nd class blue, printed 05/02/19 on SBP2u
2913B.9 - 2nd Large blue, printed 06/02/19, reported to be on both SBP2u and SBP2i but not necessarily with that date.


UPDATE: Images of both 2nd class and 2nd class large business sheets.



100g Special Delivery

 

There will be no more comments or additions to this post, 
any new sightings/reports will be on a new post.