Wednesday 29 April 2020

Special Handstamping Fee - please help fill the gaps!

Many people producing first day covers or collecting special postmarks are familiar with the special handstamps available from Royal Mail and publicised in the British Postmark Bulletin and on Royal Mail's website.

These special one-day or more handstamps are paid for by organisations and businesses (and hence cover producers), but are not exclusive to them and may be obtained on cards and covers by anyone. The Royal Mail ones which include the words 'First Day of Issue' may only be used on new stamps, but all others can be used now on any combination of stamp paying the first class rate* - indeed if there is a 2nd class stamp issue on the day in question, that stamp may also be used. (*or the rate to the destination if intended to be posted to an address outside the UK.)

Nowadays there is no charge for this service, but before the Special Handstamp Centres were set up in 1990, an extra fee was payable to ensure philatelic treatment and (usually) special handling to ensure no further postmarks were applied.

From 1971 a special handstanp fee, initially ½p, was payable in addition to normal postage. Since the Post Office offered enhanced quality in exchange for possible delay in forwarding the items, collectors would normally have affixed stamps to the value of second class postage plus the handstamp fee.

From 16 September 1991, when first and second class postage rates were increased from 22p/17p to 24p/18p, the handstamp fee, then standing at 4p, was abolished, and it became necessary to pay the 1st class rate (again, through any combination of stamps).

Although collectors often use a combination of appropriately themed stamps for a special handstamp, and not infrequently pay more than is necessary to create an attractive cover, this fee does explain why covers were overstamped by odd amounts with often irrelevant stamps, when a special postmark was obtained in the period from 1971 - 1991.

All I have to do now is find out what all the interim fees were.  If any collector of special postmark covers has the opportunity to analyse the postage rates and amounts paid on their covers for this period, I will be very interested in the conclusions.  Remember the basic letter rates from 1988 are included in Stanley Gibbons Concise catalogue, and all periods are available here on the Great Britain Philatelic Society website.

My thanks in advance for your assistance!

More Language Variants on PO/RM material

When I wrote about the different languages and logos used on Recorded Delivery labels I had overlooked other more obvious material seen in Post Offices for which there are language variants.

So my thanks to BM for sending these examples of Post Office A4 posters advertising new stamp issues - remember them?

The first is for the new pictorial Wales Country Definitives (or regionals as we used to call them).  These were an innovation in the UK when launched in 1989, and word was that it took a long time to determine which national symbols should be used - something which delayed the issue of the Northern Ireland stamps until 2001.

This, of course, is bilingual in line with the Welsh Language Act of 1967.  The posters advertising the Scotland stamps were in English only, although the Scottish crown replaced the one used elsewhere.

For some reason this poster advertising the 1997 Flowers Greetings stamps was also issued with the Scottish crown.  Although this doesn't show the date of issue, it must have been prepared in advance for the sale as it was printed in 1996.


You can see more posters, including Welsh language ones here.

My thanks to Paul Jones for this image of a press-sheet of new issue posters.  This poster advertises the 2003 British Pub Signs issue.  The fourth poster on the top row is in Welsh.   I don't think any of the others has the Scottish crown, although it is difficult to be sure from the image.  It would be easy to produce all three versions on the 8-up sheet, leaving six for England.

Monday 27 April 2020

Slogan Postmark: Captain Tom Moore; Covid 19 stamps

Several people have written about this because it made the national news on BBC and in some newspapers.

(artist's impression)

Royal Mail will stamp all letters with the message to celebrate Captain Tom Moore's 100th birthday on Thursday.
All stamped post up until Friday will be marked with: "Happy 100th Birthday Captain Thomas Moore NHS fundraising hero 30th April 2020."
Royal Mail said it was "honoured" to issue the postmark.
World War Two veteran Capt Tom, from Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire, has extended his challenge to 200 laps after he completed the first 100 laps 14 days ahead of schedule.
His initial £1,000 fundraising target was broken in about 24 hours and he has now raised more than £29m for the NHS.  
Royal Mail said it had adapted its sorting machines in the South Midlands Mail Centre to re-route all post to Capt Tom into a dedicated collection box.
A spokesman said staff had already processed more than 100,000 cards using this new process and were expecting thousands more in the run-up to his birthday.
Volunteers have also been brought in to open and display the thousands of cards, which are being put on show at Bedford School where Capt Tom's grandson attends.

We first mentioned this last Tuesday on the April Slogan Postmarks post, and that's where we will post examples.

Meanwhile if anybody gets spare copies of these I have a number of people already asking about it - some are building up thematic Covid19 collections.  A number of countries around the world have issued stamps, as shown below.

Please continue to send images, and if you have spare examples on whole envelopes, please let me know by email, and I will put you in touch with the people who would like these for their collections.

Thank you.

Iran stamp March 2020
Viet-Nam pair of stamps 31 March 2020
China Post - the second design publicised but both pairs may not have been issued
Switzerland, sold in sheets of 10 for 50Fr. 1fr postage value each, Swisspost is reported to have raised 1 million for charity so far
Slogan postmarks used in Singapore

Single stamp from Bosnia-Herzegovina
Postmark slogan used in Malaysia before any stamps anywhere
The Isle of Man has produced not only 8 stamps but is using the same designs on it's machine-vended self-adhesive variable-rate stamps (= Post and Go).

Postmark Honouring Captain Thomas Moore's 100th birthday and fundraising effort for NHS charities.

Thanks to Commonwealth Stamps Opinion blog and members of Stampboards for these images.

Friday 24 April 2020

Least useful and least necessary of the year?

The US weekly stamp publication Linn's conducts an annual popularity poll of readers asking them to vote on the stamp issues of the United States Postal Service.

Unlike Royal Mail's Philatelic Bulletin this poll seeks not only the best stamp, but for three specific categories: commemorative stamps, definitive and special stamps (combined), and postal stationery.  And not only the best - within each of the three categories, voters "can select the stamps or issues they felt had the best design and worst design, and those that they considered the most important and least necessary".  [2017 results here.]

I wonder how that would go here in the UK.  I think I might do a poll somehow, somewhere - probably on twitter because I know how to do that, or at Stampboards.  (If anybody knows how to add a poll into a blogger blog, please let me know.)

This comes to mind because I have now received the 1d black Anniversary Sheet, which is now also available to order from Royal Mail's website.


This comes just two days before what is arguably the most important stamp issue this year, which marks the 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II.  Leave aside whether it should be May or August - two chances for special covers and handstamps - this is 'an important event'.

But the 180th Anniversary of the issue of the world's first stamp.... ?

Anyway, here are scans of the actual thing, for you to compare with the pre-issue pictures (the one on the RM website is accurate).  Note that the grid shows all 8 positions, although our sheets came from the same position.  The printing date is 25/02/20 and the short-code is STA013 - not the 13th stamp of the year, we've had far more than that.

With the replica 1840 inscription in the left hand selvedge the cylinder number, FSC code, and all other technical stuff is in the right hand selvedge.

Note that the sheet has a 'cream' wash, but the stamps, and the FSC certificate have no such 'antiquing'.

Thursday 23 April 2020

60th anniversary of Coronation Street (TV programme) - 18 May 2020

As predicted here (ex The Mirror) over a year ago and because subscribers to Royal Mail's new issue service are now getting their notices telling them how much they will be charged for this issue, it is time to reveal a little more.

Coronation Street wasn't included in the ITV50 issue in 2005

The issue consists of a set of 8 stamps, a miniature sheet, and a retail booklet, which contains the two stamps from the set but self-adhesive.

The face values are 2nd class, 1st class, £1.42 and £1.63 with the miniature sheet containing two each 1st class and £1.42.

Update: As noted in the comments, there is also a Collectors Sheet - no pretence at calling them Smilers or Generic sheets now.  This is like the Dad's Army sheet, 10 x 1st class stamps and labels in a gummed A4 portrait format. The two stamp designs in the sheet, the same as the retail booklet, with 10 labels featuring only the characters on those two stamps.  The labels are slightly larger than the stamps, and have no denomination or head, but the captions on both stamps and labels are similar.

The issue date is 28 May and the PR date - for covers and stamps - is 12 May, so if past experiences is anything to go by we can expect Royal Mail to push the designs out on their website about a week before as the techies otherwise sit twiddling their thumbs, thus taking the focus off the World War II anniversary issue.

Predictably - because there is little else they could do with a television programme, the  stamp 'designs' consist entirely of stills from the programme, starting in black & white days and (presumably) coming reasonably up to date.  Thus some of those depicted will still be alive - but of course the characters are being depicted, not the actors and actresses.

More in due course - I'm sure it will be bought by some of the show's millions of fans.  Equally I'm sure thousands of collectors would avoid it if only they could get over the problem of having a gap in their albums.  [The answer, as I have espoused before, is not to buy pre-printed albums for modern material.]

Readers of May's Royal Mail Philatelic Bulletin will read on the back page details of this new issue. For Corrie fans there are 'framed enlarged prints' versions of five of the stamps, so I can tell you that they depict: Ken and Deirdre, Jack and Vera, Hilda and Stan, Ena and Elsie, and Rita and Norris. You can have fun - if you so wish- working out what the other three depict.  The miniature sheet is described as 'The Rovers Return Miniature Sheet', so you might be able to guess what the four stamps included depict.

Tuesday 21 April 2020

Where to find the unusual

We don't normally advertise offerings from specific other dealers, but some readers, especially those outside the UK, may be interested in buying some of the odd-ball items that we have mentioned in the recent and more distant past.

Many UK readers will be aware of the varied offerings from Rushstamps, and the sales list prepared for the London 2020 exhibition is full of them!  You can download it here.

Going right back to the 2012 Olympics, readers may well remember this non-stamp, of which examples are known postally used:

These are offered as singles, miniature sheets of 6, and full sheets of 24, and a few used examples.

Even further back, something I wasn't aware of at the time, a strip of three imperforate 97p stamps from the Gerry Anderson set.

Tucked away on a page of Machin phosphor omitted errors, and imperf pairs, they also have this gem (central stamp):

This is the 2017 Accession commemoration self-adhesive forgery.

I'm sure you will find it interesting; for ordinary sets and definitives however, we can match the prices if we have the item in our stock, and more will be added by the time our shop reopens.

Monday 20 April 2020

Norvic Security Checklist v 2.2.3 - now available.

As promised in the World War II post, the new updated version of our Checklist is now available at the link in the right column, and here.

This version takes us up to the 8 May issue.  I did have a problem with an OpenOffice crash whilst editing this, and it reverted to an earlier amendment.  I think I restored everything I wanted to add, but if you find any errors or cross-reference errors, please do let me know.

UPDATE: A number of errors are reported and a corrected version will be out soon.
Most importantly PM71 is not a World War II retail booklet, which does not exist.

Saturday 18 April 2020

Security Backing Paper - let's end the confusion

Whenever something new occurs, finders, dealers, and catalogue editors inevitably find their own initial ways to describe the change, or to number new stamps leading to some confusion among collectors.  This can lead to errors in orders, something we all want to avoid, if customers are using terms that we do not use everyday and in our own lists.

When I first alerted collectors to the second type of Security Backing Paper, containing some inverted text, I had initially suggested that
...with new printing the paper could be re-rolled as it 'would always be the right way up'. 
But of course I was wrong, as I explained in February 2017. With text both large (L) and small (S) and upright (U) and inverted (I), the field was wide open for ways to describe it, and of course he who goes first doesn't always have the final say.

I suggested that one type would be
SU - LU - SI - LI
and what I described as the inverted type would be
SI - LU - SU - LI

And that stuck until others decided that there could be other ways.

Stanley Gibbons
In his Gibbons Stamp Monthly Machin Watch column John Deering uses an abbreviated form

sL or Ls

So sL equates to our Upright, and Ls is the equivalent of our Inverted.  The chart in the Concise catalogue also shows the upright and inverted versions of SBP1 (PB-up and PB-inv).

Modern British Philatelic Circle
The MBPC has adopted a different approach, with this description:
When, anywhere within the design, the line ROYAL MAIL etc. (in large upright letters) is followed by the line ROYAL MAIL (in small upright letters), the design is upright (designated SBP2u).When, anywhere within the design, the line ROYAL MAIL (in large upright letters) is followed by ROYAL MAIL (in small inverted letters), the design isinverted (designated SBP2i).
Or to put it another way: on SBP2, they've put the Large before the small, and decided that is Upright (SBP2u), the total opposite of my original suggestion and that used by Stanley Gibbons' catalogues.

So there you have the designations most commonly used.  This is why collectors using one or other of these designations when writing to dealers present them with a problem.  Undoubtedly the SG Concise version ought to be most widely used.  However for that degree of specialisation, the members of the MBPC are most likely to want both, and they will use the Circle's system, which is unfortunate as the membership numbers far less than the huge number of Machin collectors worldwide.

Hopefully the information provided will help collectors and dealers to interact with each other without less confusion.

What's happening online? Look and Learn.

A number of clubs, societies and others are making some content available online free to all, at least for a limited period.

I haven't found much from UK organisations yet, but I'll be quite happy to share anything that is reported to me.  I hope you find this useful, and will add any others that you find.  It's a potentially cheaper option then browsing eBay!

Epson & Ewell PS have a couple of presentations and are adding more, I believe.

London's Postal Museum has a few videos inclding a virtual tour of MaiLRail, and there is a selection of short and long reads. You can also watch the Night Mail film here

UK Exhibits - Graham Winters, PTS Chairman, has started putting some short videos on YouTube.  There is no pretence that this are slick, they are produced (I think) with a mobile phone and Graham is doing a commentary of what is on his exhibition pages, usually 12-sets.  But there are some tips for exhibitors, and the subjects include Aerophilately, Canadian Pacific Railway Stationery Cards, and Maximaphily.

On Maximum Cards you can browse a British selection from 2019 here including the Birds of Prey. 

H.T. Harmer are digitizing their auction catalogues.  The catalogues cover the sales of famous collections from well-known philatelists, like Liechtenstein, Dale and even Present Franklin Roosevelt.  The oldest currently on line dates from 1946 and is, of course, in black & white. More recent catalogues are in full colour and show some cracking covers and stamps.

The Collectors Club of New York has a long run of videos of past presentations (the one I watched ran to 45 minutes).  Not all about US: a trio of subjects taken at random (which I haven't yet watched) Tibet Stamps and Postal History, British Empire Night and The Machin Series: 1971-1996, the initial decimal series

The American Philatelic Society has a YouTube channel which includes a daily StampChat feature.

The April edition of the French monthly magazine L’Écho de la Timbrologie on the Yvert and Tellier site, i.e. for a limited period, it is freely available to all.  You can download the pdf, and paste it piece by piece into Google Translate.

That's all for now, but I'll update this from time to time.

Thursday 16 April 2020

End of the Second World War details - 8 May 2020

The next stamp issue marks the End of the Second World War, timed to coincide with the end of the War in Europe and Royal Mail have started distributing the stamps to registered dealers.  Several people alerted me to its arrival on the Royal Mail website although that was only a place-holder and has since disappeared. 

This seems to be a regular thing, that the techies test the page on the live site, and either then realise their error or are told, and off it goes again until the proper embargo date. However, although they don't have a lead-in page, all the items are now available to view via the Special Stamps page.

This stamp issue reflects on the end of the war both in Europe and in the Far East, with three concepts: Celebrating, Returning and Remembering.

In the eight sheet stamps are depictions of the sense of relief and celebration by service personnel and civilians when news of the conflict’s end was announced. Also featured in these stamps are images of personnel returning from overseas, as well as the return of children evacuated from major cities.

Of an entirely different tone, four stamps in a miniature sheet will mark the concept of Remembrance, with images depicting official monuments and cemeteries to the fallen as well as a major memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

The stamp set of 8
A collection of eight Special Stamps featuring evocative photographs capturing the relief and jubilation that followed the formal end of the Second World War in 1945.

The original black and white photographs have been expertly reproduced in colour for the first time.
2nd Class A serviceman returns home to South Devon from his airbase in Lincolnshire.
2nd Class Jubilant nurses celebrate VE Day in Liverpool.
1st Class Ecstatic crowds gather in London’s Piccadilly on VE Day.
1st Class Evacuees return home to London after a wartime stay in Leicester.
£1.42 Troops march through London’s Oxford Street during a parade for the Victory Over Japan exhibition.
£1.42 Soldiers and sailors leave a demobilisation centre carrying their civilian clothes in boxes.
£1.63 Allied prisoners of war at Aomori Camp near Yokohama, Japan cheer their rescuers.
£1.63 A member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRENS) proposes a toast during VE Day celebrations in Glasgow.

The Miniature Sheet
... focuses on memorials honouring servicemen and women who gave their lives to serve their country, as well as victims of the Holocaust.


Four stamps feature memorials in Jerusalem and Rangoon, as well as Runnymede and Plymouth in the UK, on a Miniature Sheet carrier bearing the title in stone carved lettering.  A common feature is that the memorials mark the loss of men and women who have no known grave.

1st Class Yad Vashem, Jerusalem Israel’s official memorial to victims of Second World War Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews.
1st Class Runnymede Memorial, UK commemorates over 20,000 airmen and women who were lost during operations from bases in the UK and Europe during World War II and who have no known grave.
£1.63 Plymouth Naval Memorial, UK, originally erected to mark the more than 7,000 sailors who died in World War I with no known grave, and extended in the 1950s to include nearly 16,000 sailors who perished in World War II.
£1.63 Rangoon Memorial, Myanmar within the Taukkyan War Cemetary commemorates almost 27,000 dead British and Commonwealth Land Forces who fell during campaigns against the Japanese in Burma (Myanmar) and who have no known grave.

Technical specifications
The 41mm x 30mm stamps are designed by Hat-trick Design, with Photo colourisation Royston Leonard, printed in sheets of 60.   The 192 x 74 mm miniature sheet contains four 60 x 30 mm stamps.  All are printed by International Security Printers in Lithography, perforated 14½ x 14 with phosphor bands (single central band on 2nd class).

Serviceman welcomed home © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images; Evacuees return home © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images;
Navy personnel celebrate © Mirrorpix/Bridgeman Images;
Allied POWs liberated © Everett Collection/Bridgeman Images;
Nurses celebrate © Mirrorpix/Bridgeman Images;
Jubilant public © Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images;
Demobilised servicemen © photo by Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images;
Troops parade at end of war © Mirrorpix/Bridgeman Images
MS Background image – stone carved lettering by Gary Breeze and photography by Joe Howat;
Hall of names, Holocaust History Museum, Yad Veshem, Jerusalem © Israel images/Alamy stock photo;
Plymouth Naval Memorial and Runnymede Memorial – photographs by Mike Sheil © Royal Mail Group Limited 2020;
Rangoon Memorial, Myanmar © Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Prestige Stamp Book

Yes, there's an error in the caption on this one, but this is preliminary artwork. 
The actual pane is correctly captioned.

Compared with the £19.80 selling price, the Machin pane is relatively low priced compared with some others, with one airmail (20g Worldwide letter) and two make-up values the pane provides two sets of new stamps, 5p, 50p & £1.63 which have, at last, the M20L year code and a full MPIL source code. There are two spare 5p stamps so look out for those sometime being used for postage.

The Cartor litho-printed stamps are a good colour match for the Walsall gravure stamps, which means that Cartor are getting things right.  The style of the irridescent lettering is very thin - we've had this before - but the letters are much thinner than on the gravure stamps

These aren't very good photographs but they do show (especially if you click to enlarge them) the codes at top left and top right of the stamps.


The stamps are numbered 3005P.20, 3050P.20 and 3163 in the Norvic Checklist, a new version of which will be issued very shortly, now that the latest numbers have arrived from Gibbons.  A new post will appear here in due course.

Other products
First Day Covers x 2, Stamp Cards, Presentation Pack, Limited Edition Coin Covers, Press Sheet of 14 miniature sheets, Framed Stamp Set.

Reader GI-man reports:

I received 4 x Presentation Packs yesterday. All of the stamps were fixed the the backing card. The miniature sheet was also fixed to the card.
I was expecting to use the stamps - and now I can't! Has anyone else had similar experiences? Thanks.
It would appear that Royal Mail have not learned from their mistake earlier in the year with the James Bond presentation packs and that there are two versions, one of which is should have been for sale only on Amazon.   But once again they have mixed up the two stocks.  Anybody receiving the wrong one should follow the instructions on their Despatch Note or Invoice to get a replacement.

News About Other Machins
There is still no news of reprinted booklets or business sheets.  These are typically sold at supermarkets, card shops and other small retailers as well as Post Office branches and Royal Mail online.  With so many people finding ways to communicate electronically, and small businesses such as repair garages (who send invoices & statements by post) having far less business, it may be some time before we see any evidence of new printings.  

And of course people who consistently provide me with news, as they use their free public transport passes to trawl around those outlets looking for new stamps, are wisely not now doing so.  So please look out for what appears on your letters.  You may be pleasantly surprised to receive a bill with a new printing of a 2nd class booklet stamp on!

Let us know what you find, please!

Monday 13 April 2020

Spot the difference - 2

I'm indebted to RB in France for reminding me that there is a third version of the Recorded Delivery form that I showed in the first post with this title.

In compliance with the Welsh Language Act, most Royal Mail forms and leaflets exist in a Welsh or bilingual version in addition to the one most seen.

So as well as the Scottish crown and English crown versions of the Royal Mail Cruciform logo, there is the Welsh version (which shows the same crown as the English) with 'Royal Mail' replaced by 'Post Brenhinol'.

All these have the DY prefix so would date from the same time.   Again, finding examples on cover used in Wales, would be a nice addition to any modern postal history collection.

Sunday 12 April 2020

Two sides to every - page

I hope readers in the UK have been able to take advantage of a good holiday weekend - in their gardens of course.  It's certainly been good here in Norfolk, although there was brief but heavy rain this afternoon, and the forecast is for temperatures about 16º lower tomorrow!

Looking back through my cuttings from Stamp Collecting (Weekly) I found these pages from 1981. At first I thought that I had saved this for the page by John B Irving, "Collecting Machin Definitives" - and that may well be why I tore it out of the mag.

Here, in October 1981, John writes,
"Now is a good time for the breathless and perhaps bewildered collectors to take stock of the small format Machin decimal definitive stamps.  After a couple of years during which man new values were issued, new papers were introduced, and occasionally printing by companies other than Harrison & Sons, there has been a period of comparative calm.  So those who have been collecting these stamps and fallen behind have the opportunity to catch up."
There follows a table described as 'a tabulated checklist, fairly basic, intended to be used to the enthusiast, whether a novice or a semi-specialist'.   As the image below shows (click on it to see a larger version) the table has each value, with the colour and numbers of phosphor bands), and an indication of the paper, phosphor, and gum types.


All very laudable, and of great interest to the very large number of Machin collectors around the world to build on by adding other types, even though they didn't have personal computers to help them - all this would have been done with pen and paper!

I must admit that I have perpetuated the exploration of the minutiae of Machins especially in the last two years with all the different fluorescences and phosphors that were introduced when Walsall took over, but...

... then there is the other side of the page, continued to a third side, by Ian McQueen - a prolific philatelic writer on a wide range of subjects.  McQueen looks at Decimal Rates, and writes:
"Rather than going tot he vast expense of buying pristine examples from the counter clerk, why not devote the time and money (much more time, but far less money) to collecting each stamp correctly used by itself on cover to pay the charge for which it was intended?"

And on this page and the following, McQueen starts with the 1p, which paid the Certificate of Posting fee from decimalisation day, through to the 25p which paid:
Surface mail to abroad, up to 50g 1980-81
Airmail to Europe, up to 50g, 1980-81
Printed papers by air to Zone C, up to 20g, 1981
Airmail to Zone C, basic letter up to 10g, 1981
In this case 1980-81 referred to 11 February 1980 to 25 January 1981, and 1981 referred the following, then unfinished rate period.

Now the task would be much harder, although some other work has been done and published in a  similar form.  But this is still an area much under appreciated.  A (small) number of collectors have been collecting such material, and a smaller number of dealers has such material available.  Notable among these are Bill Barrell and Paul Jones who both take their wares to the York and other fairs.

But it makes me think that some of the overseas rates might be easier to find than inland rates, such as the humble 20p:
Inland 2nd class up to 300g, 1975-77
Inland 1st class up to 200g, 1977-79 and up to 100g 1981
Airmail to Zone A, up to 10g, 1981
Airmail postcard outside Europe, 1981
I would suggest that the last two would be easier to find than either of the first three.  

What have you got?  Now, in the relative calm as Irving wrote, is a perfect time to find out what you put away in those boxes years ago.  Let me know of any interesting finds, and I'll put them on the accompanying Postal History blog - they don't have to be decimal Machins, we can look back further than that, or come closer!

Wednesday 8 April 2020

75th Anniversary End of the Second World War - 8 May 2020

60th Anniversary miniature sheet
As announced in the annual stamp programme, a set of stamps and other products will be issued on 8 May 2020 which is the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day - VE-Day.

Even though the present circumstances mean that nationwide celebrations will be on hold, probably until August and the anniversary of Victory over Japan, Royal Mail is at present going ahead with this issue which was originally timed to coincide with the week of the London 2020 International Exhibition.  Even though the day of issue is a public holiday when most businesses and post offices would have been closed anyway, that remains the plan.

Although we cannot yet show you any pictures - they will be on cover producers' websites and other blogs from Friday 24 April - details of the products in this issue have been published in Royal Mail's April Philatelic Bulletin.  I can say that the stamps are a lot better than the 60th anniversary issue shown above which contained no new stamps.


A set of 8 stamps, 2 each second class, 1st class, £1.42 and £1.63.

A miniature sheet - 2 x 1st class, 2 x £1.63

A prestige stamp book containing the same stamps in different se-tenant combinations (except the MS stamps which will be in the same format but with a different background), and a pane of Machin definitives: 4 @ 5p, 2 @ 50p, and 2 @ £1.63.  These must surely be coded M20L and so will provide three new stamps.  For dealers it will be two sets with only 10p-worth of stamps left over to use as postage.

There will be the usual presentation pack, stamp cards (13), first day covers x3, and a press sheet containing 14 miniature sheets (must be 2 columns of 7), and several coin covers.