Friday, 3 May 2019

Royal Mail secrecy - it wasn't always so!

While it's raining I've been able to spend some time looking at the draft of SG's 2019 Concise catalogue and going back through old blog posts to check issue/discovery dates.  I was surprised to find two consecutive entries in February 2010 about the future stamp programme.

The second updated the 2010 stamp issues programme.  The first updated the 2011 programme - shown below.

I had forgotten how comprehensive the advance information used to be - not just special stamp issues but Post and Go, mixed booklets, smilers sheet setc.  So two of those categories have virtually disappeared from the modern stamp programmes, but this was 10 months before the year started.  Now we are lucky to get the outline programme before 31 December and even then there will be at least two 'to be confirmed' subjects about which even we dealers know nothing.  There are several reasons for secrecy, usually concerning copyright issues.

Royal Mail explain that they are reducing the basic cost to collectors by involving third party rights holders - Warner Bros, Disney, the music industry, etc - and that the additional income they get from people who don't normally collect stamps more than offsets the reduction in income from regular collectors.  As a way of increasing overall revenues this is a good thing, but the new policy is causing many regular collectors to either stop, or to limit what they collect to 'those that I like', only one of each stamp and not blocks', 'only definitives', or 'only up to last year", etc.

At the same time, they restrict more and more the availability of news from those of us who have it.  Restrictions over copyright and tie-ins with the royal family have, in the past few years, meant that ordinary collectors are left in the dark about what subjects are being covered, which makes innovation and personalisation of collections very difficult. Maximum card collectors have very little time to source the cards they need, and collectors who produce individual one-off or very low volume first day covers have far too little time to source their designs and produce the covers.

Little of the above is news to most readers so, rant over - just browse and remember the better days.

Friday, 26 February 2010


Great Britain 2011 Programme (updated)

Royal Mail have provided their outline programme for 2011 as follows:

11 January - Classic Children's Television: Gerry Anderson set, MS + retail booklet

24 January - Pictorial Faststamps - Birds 2

1 February - Classic Railway Locomotives miniature sheet

24 February - West End Stage Musicals - set & MS expected (postponed from autumn 2010)
24 February - Retail Booklet: Medical Breakthroughs Beta-Blockers, British Heart Foundation

8 March - Magical Heroes of Fiction
8 March - Low value self-adhesive definitives: 1,2,5,10,20p

22 March - World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly World Wildlife Fund)
22 March - New retail booklets, 1st Large, 2nd Large

29 March - new Machins and Country Stamps on tariff change

12 April - Royal Shakespeare Company 50th Anniversary set & MS

21 April - Royal Wedding MS

5 May - William Morris & Co 150th Anniversary, incl PSB

19 May - Pictorial Faststamps - Birds 3

14 June - Rev Wm Awdry Birth Centenary (Thomas the Tank Engine author), set MS & booklet
14 June - Prince Philip 90th Birthday Commemorative Sheet

27 July - Olympics/Paralympics III, booklet 5, commemorative sheet and composite sheet

28 July - Philanippon, Japan, Exhibition Generic Smilers Sheet.

23 August - Crown Jewels
23 August - Classic Locomotives of England retail booklet

9 September - World's First Scheduled Airmail, Windsor

14 September - Arnold Machin Birth Centenary miniature sheet

15 September - Kings + Queens, House of Hannover (Stampex issue)
15 September - Olympics/Paralympics retail booklet 6
15 September - 350th Anniv of the Postmark - Generic Smilers Sheet

16 September - Pictorial Faststamps - Birds4

13 October - A-Z of the United Kingdom (A-L 12 stamps)

25 October - retail booklets with FSC Logo - 6 x 1st, 12 x 1st, 12 x 2nd, 4 x 1st Large, 4 x 2nd Large

8 November - Christmas (religious) [400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible]

This programme list will be added to and amended from time to time: there will be Smilers sheets, retail booklets and commemorative sheets.

1 comment:

  1. Ian

    I fear Royal Mail are being economical with the truth. They have cut the cost for collectors by cutting out fringe products which many collectors did not bother with (e.g. Post & Go). They have not reduced the number of basic stamp issues. They could have cut out a basic issue such as Curious Customs (I suspect this will be the least popular 2019 issue!) and continued with Post & Go where there is an element of specialised collection.

    John Embrey

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