Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Spain postpones all new issues: should Royal Mail follow suit?

The Spanish Post Office has postponed all new stamp issues from and including that due for issue on 30 March until the pandemic affecting that country has been dealt with.

Whilst UK post offices remain open, and the 'philatelic bureau' of RM Stamps & Collectables remains functional, attending the post office branch solely for the purpose of obtaining a new stamp issue is hardly 'essential travel', and with a majority of collectors in the vulnerable groups, they are unlikely to bother.

Royal Mail have indicated that all special handstamp facilities will be open indefinitely, in other words, collectors will be able to send FDCs and cards to be postmarked for some weeks after the issue date.



This is the (modified Google translation of the) statement from Correos in Spain:

COMMERCIAL DIRECTORATE

PHILATELIA SUB-DIRECTORATE


Madrid March 20, 2020

Due to the current state of alarm in which we find ourselves as a consequence of the crisis caused by COVID-19, we regret to inform you that this situation will affect the 2020 stamp emissions schedule.

We can confirm that we have ensured postage stamps throughout the postal network. However, we are obliged to inform you that we can not ensure the circulation and sale of stamps scheduled to be issued from March 30 to the entire postal network. That is why the issues from March 30 included will be postponed and will be put into circulation later to ensure their sale the same day throughout the postal network, which we will advise in due course.

These measures have been agreed with FESOFI (Spanish Federation of Philatelic Societies), ANFIL (National Association of Philately and Numismatic Entrepreneurs), as well as with CFE (State Philatelic Commission), to guarantee fair marketing throughout the postal network, to avoid possible speculations and distortions in the philatelic collecting market.

Finally, we inform you that both the issue schedule planned for 2020, as well as the release of stamps, will be modified and must be adapted when the national situation returns to normal. These decisions have been taken to guarantee, as it was being done, the correct sale and commercialization of stamps.

Likewise, the sale of specific philatelic products may be attended, but we inform you that we do not guarantee delivery times for them, due to the delay that the service is suffering.

We apologize for the inconvenience caused and ask for your understanding regarding the decisions that this anomalous situation has forced us to make. We trust that we will be able to reestablish the service as soon as possible with the usual normality.

Although we will keep you informed, you can continue to contact our Customer Service through 902 197 197 or by e-mail to: atcliente.filatelia@correos.com

Sincerely

PHILATELY DIRECTORATE
(via Google Translate)


Pair of stamps issues by People's Republic of China "United against Corona Virus"



Will Royal Mail be able to maintain their usual service of supplying new issues and responding to ad hoc orders if their staffing levels are affected by Covid19?

If Post Offices - many of them small businesses - have to close how will this affect the availability of new stamps.

If Royal Mail deliveries are affected by shortage of staff, deliveries to collectors will be delayed.

Will cover producers - all small businesses - be able to continue their production of specially deisgned covers for each of the many new issues for the next 12 months?

Maybe not yet, and - if the Prime Minister is correct and we will 'send this virus packing' - maybe never, but I hope that Royal Mail are thinking seriously about the situation and will make a decision soon.  There have already been errors (James Bond PP) and dubious decisions (Penny Black sheet) and if key people are not there to make consistent decisions then chaos will ensue.

Update 16 April
I have been advised by Royal Mail that at present they have no plans to curtail the stamp programme, other than dropping the London 2020 sheets.  Special Handstamp Centres will continue to provide postmarks on covers and cards for an indefinite period until further notice.

Meanwhile AnPost in Ireland has suspended it's stamp issue programme with no new stamps issued after 5 March.

5 comments:

  1. If we are to 'send this virus packing', will RM be able to handle the packages? ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Both Declaration of Arbroath and Romantic Poets are now available for pre-order with issue dates of 6th and 7th April respectively. My order for both has been accepted so far.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I see that the 12x2nd class booklet is "Out of Stock" on the RM website, so maybe this is an indication that they will have to postpone one or more future issues because they can't get them printed?

    John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I added it to my basket just now > https://shop.royalmail.com/postage-and-packaging/stamp-books/12-x-2nd-class-stamp-book-change-of-font

      Delete
    2. The 12x2nd class book is on the Royal Mail web site that I am looking at. However, it does only show a single stamp where as the 12x1st class does show a booklet. As the price is £7.80 it must be the booklet.

      Delete

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