Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Royal Mail WHSmith Special packs of commemorative stamps

There have been many occasions over the last fifty years where stamps have been packaged differently by Royal Mail for retail sale.  One that springs to mind is the Fun Fruit & Veg self-adhesive pack which was sold by Sainsbury's supermarkets in special retail hanging packs.  

The rather uninspiring National Trust Centenary 1st and 2nd class stamps of 1995 were available in 'bubble packs' from (selected?) National Trust shops.  Not widely available but not widely collected these are catalogued at around £10 in the Presentation Packs catalogue produced by Packs and Cards before they ceased trading.

While we were away I noticed a post on Twitter from Suzanne Rae, Chairman of the PTS, which drew attention to new packs on sale at high street chain WHSmith:
Great to see new initiatives by the - getting stamp collecting back out there for the public to discover. Here, exclusive souvenir packs at
 

All very well, but as I pointed out, not much chance for collectors to get them in WHS-desert areas like Norfolk, Wales, and Scotland above the divide.

I then received an email from ChrisN who wrote with disturbing news for collectors, for WHSmith and for Royal Mail:
It would appear that these packs have been provided to WH Smith over a wider time period. Having visited a larger WH Smith’s I could find no ‘Stamp Packs’ on display at all. This was the same in all the stores I visited, so publicity is virtually non-existent.

When I made enquires with the management I was informed they did have them, but due to theft the items were no longer on display. They were hidden in the stockroom. Without publicity these items would stay that way, hidden.

I was then shown the Packs that they had. What appeared was quite surprising . I attach pictures of what I found. I was told that they had had other packs.

  1. First World War 1916
  2. Agatha Christie
  3. Mr Men Little Miss
  4. RAF
  5. Game of Thrones
  6. MARVEL
  7. Harry Potter
  8. Star Wars
These are not apparently available from WHSmith online and arguably they are not essential to a collection of modern GB stamps.  But if you have particular collecting interests, they may well be something you would want.  Some pictures of the packs are shown below.  Of particular interest is the wording of the contents, which leaves me confused!  The Harry Potter one is easiest to read, blown up from the pictures Chris provided:


As you can see below, the pack shows the set of 10 and the miniature sheet.  Even if we assume that the 'A4-character card' (or in some cases a poster) only shows pictures of the stamps, the 'strikingly designed postcards' have the stamps attached.  So at the time of first sale, the face value of the 16 x 1st class stamps was £10.72 - and they were being sold at £9.99.   So if you wanted the pack for your Harry Potter collection, you could get it for less than the face value of the stamps!



   


  


At £9.99 some of these packs cost more than the original stamps, but in some cases there were other bonuses, and the Marvel Comics pack seems like a particularly good bargain if you are a Marvel fan and can find one, given the original cost of the stamps only a month ago. 


6 comments:

  1. These have been around for a couple of years, the first one I can remember seeing (in the main WHS branch in Plymouth) was for the 2016 Beatrix Potter issue.

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    1. Yes, it's advertised on two of the others shown. But has anybody kept a complete list. Sure as eggs Royal Mail won't be able to tell us, but I'll ask.

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  2. Local WH Smith in Devon today had

    1 x First World War 1916
    3 x Agatha Christie
    1 x Mr Men Little Miss
    3 x RAF
    1 x Game of Thrones
    4 x MARVEL
    6 x Harry Potter
    1 x Star Wars
    2 x HM Queen 90th

    On display in the shop (in a quiet market town!)

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  3. Just for info - the stamps in these packs are stuck down (uncancelled) on cards inside the pack, not mint like in a regular presentation pack.

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  4. That's interesting as I found 4 different packs in WHSmiths in Newbury today. Although the RAF and Harry Potter packs did say special stamps affixed to postcards, they both show presentation packs on the front covers. Very misleading as it makes you think they are included. Are the postcards PHQ cards or something different?

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  5. I've seen these in WHSmith in Central London and wasn't sure if it actually included a Presentation Pack or not - which as said above would be a bargain in some cases. Thank you Richard for clarifying. If it was one card per stamp i.e. a set of maxicards then that might also be a bargain but otherwise - I think I'll pass.

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