Monday 14 December 2020

Another novelty which we hope that Royal Mail does not copy!

I've written before about other postal administrations novel ideas for getting money from stamp collectors, or other buyers.  Over the years Royal Mail has steered clear of many of these, although Press Sheets - large sheets with multiple examples of miniature sheets - have often been issued by Royal Mail after being first issued by the United States Postal Service.

I've also mentioned the range of commercial products that Australia Post produces far too frequently using sports teams and popular American culture.  But Australia's latest novelty is a step to far, in the view of many collectors.

The Year Book has become a popular product among collectors the world over.  Royal Mail's basic version is not expensive and contains a wealth of interesting information about the stamps issued during the year.  And if you remember when stamp issues commemorated something important or were otherwise interesting, then they would be worth having on your bookshelf.   The stamps are included in separate card wallets so that they can be slotted into place.

Australia Post has done likewise for many years, and often included something special, maybe a miniature sheet in a different format.  This is to encourage 'completist' collectors to buy the year book - which includes many stamps they have already bought.

But this year Australia Post has done something quite remarkable.  To save collectors the trouble of slotted into place all the many stamps and miniature sheets issued during the year each stamp issue is now presented as a full gummed page.  Yes, the stamps may be in a different format, now in a block rather than singly in ordinary sheets, and the whole A4 page is gummed!

From AP's promotional email.

Whereas before a collector who had already bought most of the year's stamp issues, and then decided to buy the book would be able to use, sell or exchange with others, all the duplicated stamps, they now find that the new format makes totally different stamps for which they don't even know all the printing details, ie whether it is a new printer/perforation/paper/gum etc.

Oh, and one page with a block of 4 'Art of the Desert' stamp set has one stamp with the country name omitted.  AP noticed this (!) and included an extra message on their website: "Purchasers of the publication, who wish to have a copy of the original stamp design without the irregularity, may request an Art of the Desert stamp set by contacting Australia Post."


Read what Australian and other collectors think on Stampboards.


  1. I find Australian collectors’ comments on Stampboards to be very interesting - so many of them seem to continue to collect EVERYTHING that Australia Post puts out at great expense and with little pleasure. There seems to be an obsession that everything is going to shoot up in value and everyone who buys them will make a great financial profit. I assume that that is why Australia Post finds it worthwhile deluging the new issue market with vast numbers of products. This expectation of vast financial gain is fuelled by the ‘advice’ and predictions of at least one stamp dealer on the site. I may be wrong but I think attitudes to collecting are different here and while everyone would like to think that they are not going to lose money on the modern items they buy (though experience tends to suggest they will) I get the feeling that collectors here still collect out of the love of and satisfaction derived from having a collection rather than in the expectation of turning themselves into millionaires. If only Royal Mail could return to the days when their wholly reasonable numbers of stamps and products issued gave real pleasure to loyal and genuine and informed collectors.

  2. I totally agree with White Knight. I remember when I was a boy Royal Mail would issue about 6 or 7 sets of commemorative stamps a year, and I thought if only they would issue more in a year. Be careful what you wish for!!


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