Friday 29 May 2020

New Issues update - the beginning of the end for FDCs?

Details of the next new stamp issue, Roman Britain (18 June), will doubtless soon appear on the websites of cover producers as today is the product embargo date.  Details of the stamps cannot be released until 9 June or whatever date Royal Mail's webteam decided to drop them into their shop for pre-ordering.

Buckingham Covers already have their cover on their website here.  From this you can see that the subjects are
2nd Class Dover Lighthouse; & Bignor Mosiac
1st Class Amphitheatre at Isca Fortress, Caerleon; & Ribchester Helmet
£1.63 Bridgeness Distance Slab; & Warrior God Statuette, Cambridgeshire
£1.68 Gorgon's Head, Bath; & Hadrian's Wall.
Their special postmark is shown below, from the latest Royal Mail Postmark Bulletin together with the one sponsored by the Association of Great Britain First Day Cover Collectors.

These two are the only sponsored handstamps for this issue.  So aside from the two pictorial First Day of Issue postmarks used by Royal Mail (one for Tallents House and one for Colchester which doesn't feature on a stamp) there are just these two.  Maybe Benham and others will come along later, or maybe not.  All the producers have regular standing order customers.  If they are only using the Royal Mail handstamps, then this marks a seismic change.

'Official' FDCs, as defined and used in the UK, refers not to those produced by Royal Mail, but by organisations which design their own cover and sponsor (= pay Royal Mail for the non-exclusive use of) a special pictorial postmark which compliments both the cover and the stamps.  Anything else is considered by serious collectors to be less desirable.  The covers are always priced at about twice the face value of the stamps (includes VAT), but if a producer thinks charging that just for a pictorial envelope and a Royal Mail FDoI postmark is justified then customers may indicate otherwise.

The rest of the year
We now have details of the stamp issues for the rest of the year, and although we cannot tell you anything I can say that there are no surprises.  The issues we suspected would be 'entertainment' related are just that.   These are the issue dates and the embargo dates for the next four issues.  We'll publish details when we can.

Roman Britain
The Palace of Westminster


  1. I must be missing something obvious, but why is there a later embargo date for the stamps then the covers when the latter clearly show the stamps? I cannot fathom any logic, business or otherwise, behind that decision.

    1. Yes it seems to defy logic, but there is an explanation, of sorts.

      The covers show the stamps cancelled, and relatively low resolution - witness the pictures already on the Commonweatlh Stamps Opinion blog, which are from the covers. Hi-red images are available now, for cover producers to work on not only their covers but their publicity material. (We already have the next three issues images in hi-res.)

      But RM don't want the hi-res images to be available before their PR push, when the general media (newspapers, etc) will have them.

  2. The Roman Britain stamps are pictured in all their glory in the presentation pack on pages 304/305 of June's Philatelic Bulletin which I received this morning!

  3. June's back cover of Philatelic Bulletin also reveals the make up of the Queen issue on 09/07/2020. Stamp Set (4x 1st Class & 4x £1.63). MS (3x 1st & 2x £1.63). Another PSB (Definitive pane made up of 4x 1p & 4x 1st Class). Looks like another £4.56 Booklet (PM74) and a number of 'Fan' Sheets.

    1. As always, collectors get their copy before I get mine, so I rely on you to tell me when the news is out!

  4. It's so annoying for us Machin collectors when they put multiple copies of the same value in the PSB panes. Why not have 1p, 2p, 5p & 10p instead - it would hardly increase the cost by much?

    1. And if you buy the 1p stamp from a dealer it is likely to cost ? - not much under £1 because the dealer is left with 4 x 1st class stamps.

      Whilst dealers CAN use them as postage as we all know there is plenty of 'postage' out there in old stamps coming in from estate collections, mounted mint especially. At least the 1st class Queen is a stamp that ordinary people can use easily, even if they wait until Christmas!

  5. What a boring Machin pane. Not much thought gone into this one. As Trelantis said they could have easily had a 1p, 2p, 5p and 10p which would have only increased the face value of the book by 14p. Not much when you consider the price of a complete book. It might have also increased the sales of this book.

  6. Time to cancel my PSB orders. There are far too many of them for little reward as a Machin collector.

    1. If you only want Machins then there will be dealers (or even eBay) where you can buy them.


Thank you for reading the blog and commenting: please use an identity (name or pseudonym) rather than being Anonymous; it helps us to know which 'anonymous' comments are from the same person to avoid confusion. Comments are moderated to avoid spam, but will be published as soon as possible.