Wednesday 29 December 2021

Chris Whitty didn't make the cut: Heroes of the pandemic, 8 x 1st class - Spring 2022

Back in April, Royal Mail announced a competition to design a set of special stamps entitled Heroes of the Pandemic, and in September I provided a link to the 120 artworks in the long-list and showed the ones that I particularly liked.  I then added three at the end which I thought were particularly good concepts but which I didn't think would make the short-list.

The short-list of 24 has now been published and I am pleased to say that these from my shortlist have been included.  I didn't filter designs by area and age group but the short-list includes two from each of Royal Mail's 12 regions, which must have exluded a lot of good designs in favour of those by younger artists. 

The final selection of eight designs will be made by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and should be announced at the end of February. Of course with 24 to choose from, it is possible that none of these will be chosen, but I think these are some of the better designs.

Monday 20 December 2021

Seasons Greetings: The Review of the Year 2021, déjà vu on so many fronts.

As easily predicted this time last year, things did get worse before they got better in 2021. But there was success in the form of vaccines.  We three - and most of our wider family - have been fortunate in having had our vaccinations and not having been infected by Covid-19.  The exceptions are some of those with children of school age, who were occasionally required to isolate.

On the political front it's turmoil again: as I quoted from a wise US dealer last year:

'The currently available vaccines seem to be effective against the current version of the virus.  However, the "enemy has a say in all this".  We DO know that the virus WILL mutate, but we don't know HOW the virus will mutate, nor if the current vaccines will be effective as the mutations occur.'  And so it has turned out.  

And it has turned out that way again, the difference this year being that we now have Delta and Omricon alongside each other.  This year the government is dithering again, primarily giving advice rather than laying down strict lockdown rules which would cost them money in business support and furlough payments.  Meanwhile other European countries are back in full precautionary lockdown.

I suppose it's a bit difficult to lay down more rules if you can't be seen to be complying in our own backyard.

Posted in advance
for delivery on Christmas Day,
Norwich 1907 - the closest
I could get to Dereham!


2021 & 2022 Special Stamp Programmes

The 2021 stamp programme was announced on 5 January, but there were some gaps to be filled in later.
Even once we knew the titles or even the subjects we were left to wonder "Why?".  What possible reason was there to include the Legend of King Arthur?  It's not even as if it was likely to be a big money-spinner for Royal Mail like Music Giants or DC Comics.  The Philatelic Bulletin's annual poll for the most liked stamp of 2021 records 147 stamps.  And that huge number includes only one definitive as all the January tariff stamps were issued on 23 December 2020.

Some issues mark anniversaries, although few members of the general public who were sold the stamps, from the diminishing number of post offices that sell them, would know in most cases what those anniversaries were.  Collectors of the future will have problems working this out from catalogues as well.  As an example, for the 1981 Fishing Industry set, Stanley Gibbons Concise catalogue records that this was issued on the occasion of the centenary of the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen.

Some bogus 'stamps'
purporting to be
from Tajikistan
But the same catalogue does not mention that the January 2021 National Parks issue marked the anniversary of the first National Parks being established.  It looks like just another pictorial landscapes set.  Even Royal Mail couldn't tell us why the abomination of the United Kingdom: A Celebration MS was issued.  And then there was King Arthur: I think we are likely to get mystery issues more and more.

Royal Mail produced three issues this year to appeal outside the hobby: television's Only Fools & Horses, Music Giants V, and DC Comics' Batman etc.  All in stamp collectors were able to buy 101 new stamps, 10 miniature sheets, 10 booklets, 4 prestige stamp books and 9 collector/smiler/generic sheets.

Having seen the outline programme for 2022, I can tell you that things won't be much better, if at all!  We already know that Music Giants VI (The Rolling Stones) will be issued on 20 January.  You can expect all the usual paraphernalia associated with such issues. And despite the January embargo date, the 2022 programme has already been listed - from the Philatelic Calendar available from Post Offices - on another blog site.

Machin & Country Definitives

While collectors who avoid 'special' stamps were spared more than the single new stamp, almost the full range of 2021 reprints of normal stamps occurred spread through the year.  Note, though, that this is the first year since the white-bordered versions were issued in 2003, that no Country Definitives have been issued!  

With stamp fairs thin on the ground for much of the year, collectors who didn't manage to find new stamps in their local shops or post offices were forced into contacting dealers or ordering online.

The only totally new Machin, issued in March showed a new development, likely to be extended, that is the inclusion of a datamatrix code on a new, larger, 2nd class business sheet stamp which was sold through limited outlets to businesses. 

After nearly 9 months, only one person has reported receiving one of these on non-philatelic mail, used by local a branch of the NHS (National Health Service).  The sheet printed Christmas stamps included a similar code, and these have been widely used although nobody - perhaps not even most Royal Mail employees - know what the purpose is.

There was one other strange new Machin stamp which Royal Mail used to mark the 95th birthday of Her Majesty the Queen.  Deciding not to burden ordinary stamp collectors with yet another stamp issue, which might have included 6 or 8 stamps and a prestige stamp book, Royal Mail and The Royal Mint produced a commemorative £5 coin coverInitially the block of stamps - which looked like a cut-down PSB definitive pane - was available only on the official cover, but was then made available mint to registered dealers.  The idea was that these dealers would produce their own covers.  

Several dealers sold used copies of the pane, or the Machin stamp, cancelled with a pictorial or CDS handstamp, but inevitably some were sold against the wishes of Royal Mail, as mint singles or whole panes, often reaching ridiculous prices on that well-known auction site. A little research would have found them on sale at UK stamp fairs - although those dealers who were selling them were wise enough not to advertise their offerings widely.  Another black mark for Royal Mail; however good their intentions, they were wrong on so many levels.

After a summer announcement about their demise, we didn't expect to get any reprints of the Special Delivery or Signed For stamps this year, but it took until 15 November for Royal Mail to provide the philatelic trade with an official statement about their withdrawal from Post Offices and Royal Mail online channels, which had already happened at the end of October.

Post and Go

We did not stock any new Post and Go stamps, so the blog is simply a record illustrated by reader- contributors for the benefit of all collectors.  My thanks to those contributors for their continued sharing their news with the world.  Don't forget Stuart Leigh's Post and Go Checklist can be downloaded here.

Steam GWR 'Zones' error.
As in 2020 there were no new Post and Go designs and, after 1 January, no rate changes to expand the number of basic stamps that collectors might want.  However, material at the new rates was available from museums which re-opened at different times through the year.  Some of the announced dates proved to be inaccurate because the museums did not open on Mondays!  New printings of Machin, Poppy, and Winter Greenery stamps have been available.

Errors a-plenty occurred, starting with the insertion of the wrong (2nd class) Winter Greenery stock in the 1st class position in January, SteamGWR having the old software and therefore producing the old Zone stamps in April, and missing text.  Some collectors were frustrated in travelling to museums only to find that software/SIM-card issues meant that the machines could not function.


Postmark slogans and others

I believe we have recorded 48 slogan postmarks this year - it may be one or two more or less as some run over a month end, and others have been used months late.  But a loyal band of reporters continues to make this the only place on the internet outside Stampboards - as far as I know - that records all new British machine postmarks.  

A significant number related to the pandemic but there was nothing new in August when we thought things were improving.  The busiest month was March with 10 new slogans.  My thanks to the people who regularly vie to be first to send the latest.  We get so little stamped post that if you depended on my receipts, the reporting would be very thin indeed!  As usual a number of machines have been brought out of retirement, including one using the census diamond!

The Post Office Horizon IT Scandal

There have been many developments in this story during 2021. The Criminal Cases Review Commission referred more cases to the Court of Appeal and many of these were uncontested by The Post Office and this continued through the year.  A system for the Post Office to make interim awards of up to £100,000 started; although payments have been slow they have been made.  

The Post Office declared that it didn't have the money to settle everything and the government eventually said that it would cover the amounts that were settled.  Nobody knows how much this will be in total.  More particularly we don't know how much of it will be recovered from Post Office Ltd's future profits - it will be a balancing act between the government taking their dividend and leaving enough in the business to keep it sustainable.

The government's enquiry into the scandal was eventually put on a statutory footing and the remit seems to be as wide as it possibly could be including looking at redress, restitution and blame.  Perhaps 2022 will see the Metropolitan Police actually charge some previous case witnesses with perjury, and perhaps the enquiry - which has already secured access to POL's internal papers - might question former directors and senior managers.  We can but hope.

Finally the definitive story so far, 'The Great Post Office Scandal' written by Nick Wallis was published by Bath Publishing to wide acclaim.  Buy it here!

I haven't had time to report everything here, but if you're really interested you should follow Nick Wallis on his blogs, firstly The Post Office Trial, and subsequently The Post Office Horizon Scandal.


Post Office, Royal Mail, Revenue Protection and Invalid Stamps that aren't

Although the number of new forgeries being reported this year seems to be fewer than previous years, that did not mean that problems with forgeries was any less.  This year the principal problem seems to be that Royal Mail's Revenue Protection (RP) teams have been flagging more and more genuine stamps as invalid, and charging the recipients as if the items are unpaid.

What makes this worse is that some have been accepted at post office counters, such as the special delivery item shown alongside.  It seems to me that if Royal Mail's retail partner (Post Office Ltd counters) accepts stamps proven to be invalid, then the money should be recovered from POL.  And if the stamps are only suspected of being invalid, it is incumbent on Revenue Protection to investigate further and not just rely on a gut feel or the information published on its own website

Strangely they seem to have no problem with a multitude of special stamps that are used, the problems seem to occur only with pre-2006 gummed Machin definitives.

Of course in cases like this the complaint is made, the claim is registered, and the money refunded, but at what cost in time and inconvenience, to say nothing of the fact that the 'next day' service is never achieved because of an error on behalf of Royal Mail.

It seems to me that it might be time for the regulator to be involved, and maybe issue a stern warning (for a start) to Royal Mail to get the RP house in order.  The next step would be a fine, or standard compensation for every case - much as power companies are obliged to pay if the power is off for more than 12 hours.

The business

In last year's review I said that we would open our online shop ( from Christmas and we were grateful for the people who came back, and to new customers.  Unfortunately other pressing matters with the premises and domestically prevented me from adding as much new material as I would have liked, but I have been able to sort through some foreign postal history and postcards to at least find that which has potential as single items, and that which is best sold in bulk.  I also drastically reduced some GB prices; there are some bargains available, look for the flashes on the thumbnail images, or click the Special Offers tab - nearly 250 items reduced.  Hopefully while I am keeping out of the way of the builders I can start making that available.

I'll put news about developments here on he blog - and on Twitter as well.  

Saudi Arabia 1960s airmail stamp.
For collectors with wider interests I'll be continuing the modern GB postal history blog, and starting other blogs, including one on Saudi Arabia and one on the Former Soviet Union countries: Armenia to Uzbekistan.  And whatever I sell, it will be yours to keep, I won;t be selling fractions of a stamp or cover!

Remember, if you are tired of Royal Mail's modern productions, there is 180-years' worth of alternative stamps and postal history from 200+ stamp-issuing entities that you could turn your attention to and build extensive collections as complex or as simple as you wish, by region, country or even by theme; and you can do that for a much lower outlay than you would pay for new British stamps, mint or used.


Whilst many people share what they have with other collectors, either through forums or blogs like this, or at their local or specialist societies, I'm sure many of you have material which ought to be shared more widely.

Missent to Gibraltar metal handstamp
A few years ago I was looking at a cheap GB cover that I had picked up at a fair, which had been sent to the wrong BFPO number.  Consquently it was redirected.  The thing that made this interesting was that instead of being sent to Germany it went to Gibraltar.  Now in Gibraltar much use is made of the civil postal service; indeed FPO postmarks can often be found on Gibraltar definitives.  Anyway this cover received a MISSENT mark which turned out to be metal rather than rubber, indicating that it was much older than it's 1960s date would have suggested.  

The editor of journal for the specialist society which covers the area was interested, but none of the members contacted me about this very late usage - it extended the known usage of a Victorian postal marking by about 30 years - and I sold it on eBay for less than £10, which was probably very cheap indeed.

And the more I look at what I have, away from bog-standard stamps, the more I think that other collectors might be interested, and there must be a specialist society which should record this in their journal.  It has never been easier to find out about organised philately so there is no excuse for not sharing with others.  This year I shared Official Paid postal stationery with the Postal Stationery Society and had an illustrated article published; that led to somebody acquiring my small accumulation, which is useful as it creates more space here/

Be proactive - share what you have.  If it is already known, they can probably tell you more about it.  If it isn't, then you can bask in the knowledge that you have contributed to the world body of philatelic knowledge!


The future

It seems likely that we will get used to Covid variants and to having regular vaccinations.  Those club and society meetings that have not already done so should resume - we cannot put our lives on hold forever.  Some societies have been able to continue with online meetings, but those which were already struggling for officers - including some of the oldest in the country - have been in stasis for nearly two years.

Stamp fairs in the middle and latter part of the year have been successful so we must hope that they continue, with suitable spacing, masking and sanitising.  The London 2022 international committee are determined that the event in February will go ahead at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London.

I will not go to London, but I do hope to visit more fairs this year, even though I am no longer buying much, and I hope to meet friends and readers at those events. Please come up and say hello if you see me with my head down, oblivious to all around me! 

By moving from being a fullish-time dealer back to being a collector-dealer, I hope to have as much time for my collections as you have for yours!  

We hope all our readers have a happy Christmas whatever religion you follow (if any). 
Once again we hope that you and your friends and loved ones stay safe now and in the future. 
Remember those who are less fortunate than you and if you can help one person - try to make it two!

Norfolk, January 2021

Friday 17 December 2021

Souvenirs of organised philately: Norfolk & Norwich PS Centenary 2011.

Ten years ago the Norfolk and Norwich Philatelic Society celebrated its centenary with a public exhibition and a host of souvenirs.

The Centenary coincided with the issue of the United Kingdom A-Z stamp issue and first day covers sold well to FDC collectors around the country.  Other souvenirs included a Smilers Sheet (see above), (covers were produced with single Smilers stamps on) and several others which, as predicted, did not sell as well.  See them here.

Ten years on the Society activities are on hold due to the pandemic while arrangements are made for the resumption of acitivities next year.  

As custodian of the souvenirs I have held these in my office but as I am now trying to make more space the society is disposing of them through various channels.

Revised special offer prices for covers.

3. NNPS Smiler cover - £2.50

4. 350th Anniv of the Postmark Smiler - £1.25

5. Norfolk Broads Millennium stamp on cover - £1.25

6. Prince of Wales Paintings set on cover - £1.25

7. PoW Painting, Dersingham + definitive on cover - £1.50
The Post and Go birds singles, signed by artist Robert Gillmor are available at a discounted price through the Norvic Philatelics shop, where you can also find the 64 page Centenary publication, Norfolk Posts & Personalities also available.  
Please let me know by email if you would like any of these (including the signed P&G covers); postage will be extra but cheap.  Payment by bank transfer, UK cheque, or PayPal Friends and Family. If you cannot pay by these means please include this in your email.

Thursday 9 December 2021

Modern postal history; what's wrong with this cover?

No prizes, but I would be interested in the observations of readers on this one.  I can think of two things wrong.

I'll add my opinion after reading some of yours!  (A larger image may be visible if you click on this.)

UPDATE 13 December.  Thank you for all your comments and suggestions.

The stamp was supplied by a stamp dealer as discount postage.  It's a perfectly valid pre-Pricing in Proportion 2nd class definitive probably from a booklet, accounting for it's short perforations.

The envelope is c5 size (ie within the size for a normal letter), and if the sender is correct the weight was under 100gr, so the single 2nd class stamp is absolutely correct.

So the problem is that somehow the mail centre Stamp Image Database did not detect it as 'good'.  The letter was posted in the Norwich Mail Centre area, though being 2nd class it may have gone straight to Peterborough Mail Centre.  That is probably where it was flagged as being suspect.

Royal Mail Revenue Protection Officers then decided - probably due to the absence of any post-2008 security features - that it was not 'good' and applied the yellow sticker.  This is the wrong one as it is for a parcel, rather than a letter, but that doesn't matter much because the amount due was not pre-printed.

I don't know whether the policy is not to cancel suspect stamps; certainly the lack of an obliteration makes it easier to prove that it is not invalid.

As to the fee, of course most people outside the hobby/trade would accept it and grumble, but I hope that most collectors would, if they went to the enquiry office to pay and collect, protest that the charge was invalid.  Complaining after you have paid online and had the item delivered is likely to be tortuous but entertaining, judging by reported attempts to convince Royal Mail Customer Service of the validity of older stamps.

It's frustrating, thought, when they happily let through packets with four of these on:

Forged 1st class stamp with ROYAL MAIL printing reversed.

Revenue Protection probably think they are good, and are just another example of security printing that the bosses haven't told them about!

New version of the Norvic Security Machin Checklist published - v 259

After I published the last, delayed, edition a number of people contacted me with adjustments or additions, for which I am very grateful.  As we are now definitely at the end of the year, I decided that it was time to publish a new version as I am sure that there will be new stamps quite early in 2022 to add to the list.

As we have had Christmas (definitive-sized) stamps with datamatrix codes it can't be long before the Machin counter sheets appear the same way, and if counter sheets are changing then booklets probably will also.  

For booklets this will undoubtedly mean a change in size or content - either the booklets will be larger, which seems unlikely, or the contents will be reduced.  Instead of 6 and 12, booklets of 4 and 8 seem likely based on the size of the Christmas counter sheets.

No news about 2022 can be published yet, but if anybody has a list of likely subjects with dates of issue and reasons, I'll be pleased to publish it for everybody's entertainment!

You can download the new Checklist at the usual link on the right hand column (desk-top view), or here

Security warning!

Some browsers will warn you that this download might be a security risk.  That's because our old website and server does not have a security certificate, that is it is still accessed as http://---- rather than https:// .  Because of time constraints we have kept all new information on the blog, and not updated the website.  Consequently not only does it sometimes have that warning, but it has also not been adapted for phones and other portable devices.  It renders correctly on laptops and tablets, but may be small on those.  I'm sorry, but there is nothing planned to change this situation, we are far too busy on other matters.

Checklist - if you do not want to visit the site to download, please email me and I will send a pdf copy. Be aware though that this is a 750k file and some people have mail software setting rejected attachments of this size.

Monday 6 December 2021

Charity mailings use 2021 Christmas stamps.

As we reported in previous years, the Christmas stamps* are generally made available for bulk mailers to use on their fundraising efforts, whether they be charities or mail-order companies.

* It's been pointed out that this is open to misinterpretation!  What I should have written was the 'Christmas stamp designs are made available, as shown below.  My apologies - and thanks to JE.

My thanks to JF for supplying this scan from a mailing from the PDSA (People's Dispensary for Sick Animals) latest appeal, which uses the 2nd class stamp.

Direct mail from the PDSA using the 2021 Christmas 'digital stamp', license C9 10017.

If anybody has any others used this winter, or variants on the Machin definitive, please send them in for publication.  Thanks.

UPDATE 10 December: My thanks to a different MM who sent this picture of two more examples.

Small cover from Hidden Hearing;  Larger cover from Careco

Update 12 December: JE has sent these three examples showing how printers are having trouble colour matching the stamp design.

Digital 2021 Christmas stamps in three different colour shades, from the Salvation Army (C9 10018, Brightpost), Bonusprint (C9 10031, Onepost) and Museum Selection (also C9 10031).

JE also provides this picture illustrating the earlier pre-digital situation when stamps were provided at a discount.  It seems as if this was for an international appear, as the total face value of the 1st, 2nd & 2p stamps totals £1.17, the rate for letters up to 20g to Europe.

Direct Mailshot from PETA in 2014 with postage of £1.17 - the 20g rate for Europe.




Friday 3 December 2021

December Slogan Postmarks and other postal news.

December's slogan postmarks already started in November with the early appearance of the Shop Early slogan.  We didn't expect more but see below for a surprise late use.

All slogan postmarks will be shown here for December; please check for latest updates before spending your time scanning, but if you have something new or another format, then please do send it in for publication.  And look out for anything from machines brought out of reserve instead of from an ink-jet machine!

UPDATE 9 November: This comment from 'Mudgie' is worth repeating here, because it covers both 'Universal' and ink-jet working.

If I’m correct in thinking that the Universal machines are what Royal Mail refers to as Stamp Cancelling Machines, SCMs, then there shouldn’t be any in use now.

I’ve just found Royal Mail’s instructions to their Mail Centres about a ‘Stamp Cancellation Process Change’ and it includes “Tests have shown that if the barcode is over printed with a cancellation mark it may renders (sic) it unreadable, which will have an impact on future initiatives”
“From Mid-October, the cancellation zone, quality mark & slogan will be moved to the left on IMPs and iLSMs, the wavy lines will be reduced to 3 and the ‘delivered by RM’ messaging will be removed”. 
“Barcoded Stamps must not be put through a Stamp Cancelling Machine (SCM) as this will place a cancellation mark over the barcode. A decision has been made to cease all use of SCMs and instead items are to be manually hand stamped until a long tem solution can be found”.

We still don’t know what “future initiatives” means but surely “tests” should have been carried out before not after the barcoded stamps were introduced and seeking “a long term solution now” at this stage is incredible.

“Items are to be manually hand stamped” will only occur very rarely, especially during the Christmas Pressure, and it’ll probably be about half and half pencancelled and uncancelled.


From 12 November. Royal Mail started the 'Post Early' campaign two weeks earlier than last year, but repeating the same slogan. 

Shop Early,
Send Early this

Used at Croydon Mail Centre 1-12-2021, thanks to for RW for this one.

Shop Early, Send Early slogan Croydon Mail Centre 01-12-2021

Update: PC has sent an example of the other layout from Tyneside NE/SR Mail Centre also on 01/12/2021

Shop Early, Send Early slogan Tyneside Mail Centre 01-12-2021

UPDATE 9 December:  Square envelopes often receive a variation on the usual slogans, especially if processed sideways through the machines.  This year's offering from Sheffield Mail Centre on 08/12/2021 is reversed as expected, and without the 'Delivered by' segment.  However the three wavy lines are not spaced as they should be and would be in the regular format*.  (Delivered on 9 December.)

'Shop Early' slogan in reverse format on square envelope processed sideways, showing the three wavy lines close-spaced rather than wide as should be the case*.  Sheffield Mail Centre 08/12/2021

*UPDATE 10 December: I've been told that the spacing of the wavy lines on square envelopes processed sideways is deliberate to keep the lines away from the barcode.

North & West Yorkshire's impression is similarly laid out but this image shows two impressions, one each on 7 & 8 December.  The only hint of a second slogan is a doubled 'S' at the start of the second line, but I may be mistaken.  Thanks to AJ for this one.

'Shop Early' slogan in reverse format on square envelope processed sideways, showing the three wavy lines close-spaced rather than wide as should be the case. Two impressions, one possibly with no slogan  North & West Yorkshire Mail Centre 07 & 08/12/2021

At a time when the Mail Centres are busier than ever it seems that there are a lot of envelopes being cancelled twice in different locations.  RW sent this picture showing both of the Shop Early layouts, from Exeter and Manchester Mail Centres.

UPDATE 17 December: My thanks to JN for this three-line version from Norwich Mail Centre on 13-12-2021 on a c5 envelope.

Shop Early, Send Early slogan, 3 line version from Norwich 13-12-2021

UPDATE 13 December: These should be in the 'other postmarks' section because they show what happens when you don't get a slogan. I believe this format of cancellation is supposed to be used when the machinery cannot determine whether the stamp is 'good', ie on the Stamp Image Database (clearly not the case here).  When the shallow ink-jet cancellation is used, only two wavy lines now appear, as a result of the changes to accommodate datamatrix stamps.  If I am right these two show both IMP and ILSM output.

Two wavy lines, North & West Yorkshire 07/12/2021

Two wavy lines, Norwich 09-12-2021

UPDATE 16 December: KD has sent this picture of a double-cancelled Christmas stamp. The Shop Early slogan used at Peterborough on 14 December is straightforward, but there is a new one GET BOOSTED NOW at Nottingham Mail Centre on 16/12/2021.


New GET BOOSTED NOW slogan at Nottingham 16/12/2021 overprinting a Shop Early slogan at Peterborough on 14-12-2021.

UPDATE 17 December: JonE on has posted this earlier one from Peterborough Mail centre on 15-12-2021

Get Boosted slogan from Peterborough 15-12-2021

UPDATE 4 January: At last a chance to go through our own incoming mail and find some more examples.   Firstly a clean example of the Nottingham layout shown above, from Manchester Mail Centre on 18/12/2021.

Get Boosted Now slogan from Manchester Mail Centre 18/12/2021

Next, two examples of the reverse layout on square envelopes processed on the wrong side.  As explained earlier these have the three wavy lines close-spaced on the left so as to hit the stamp but not the barcode.  Of course if the positioning of either the stamp or the postmark is wrong, the effect is lost.

1. Almost correct from Gatwick Mail Centre 17/12/2021; 2. postmark placed too far left from Nottingham Mail Centre 18/12/2021, and whilst the Boosted slogan's size meant that the barcode is clear, that wouldn't apply to most slogans, including the Action for Health default.

Get Boosted Now slogan from Gatwick Mail Centre 17/12/2021, reversed and tightly positioned.

Get Boosted Now slogan from Nottingham Mail Centre 18/12/2021, reversed and misplaced.

UPDATE 31 December:  Thank you for a number of contributions immediately before and over Christmas.  As we have, I think, realised, sometimes the slogan is added in a second pass through the machines - or not, as this one from KC shows.  Plymouth and Cornwall 22/12/2021 inkjet with no slogan and no wavy lines: a minimalist approach? 

Plymouth and Cornwall Mail Centre 22/12/2021 with no slogan or wavy lines!

UPDATE 5 January: I suggested that the Booster campaign might be replaced by the Action for Children default slogan for the start of 2022 and indeed it started on 31 December for delivery early in the new year.  So this picture qualifies here as well as on a new January Slogans post - because it shows usage from South Midlands Mail Centre on 31-12-2021 and Bristol (BA BS GL TA) Mail Centre 02/01/2012. Thanks to PC for this.

Default 'Action for Children' slogan used at South Midlands Mail Centre on 31-12-2021 and Bristol (BA BS GL TA) Mail Centre 02/01/2012

GBCC on the Stampboards forum reports this late use of October's Breast Cancer Awareness slogan used in SE Wales on 01/12/2021,

Late use of Breast Cancer Awareness slogan at SE Wales on 01/12/2021


MG points out that this reversion includes the 7 lines instead of 3, and the Royal Mail logo at the left. I expect that it will soon be corrected so if you have another date, please let us know.

Although I don't normally show anything other than Royal Mail slogans, I thought this one from Jersey that RW sent recently was worthwhile - for the postmark and the cover.   Happy Christmas Bouan Noué from Jersey Post.

Jersey Post Happy Christmas slogan 01.12.21 with Norimont Tower Post & Go stamp.

'UNIVERSALS' usage. 4 December 2021. My thanks to JN for sending this example of Peterborough SCM10 dated 2021 on this year's 2nd class stamp, thus qualifying as the first example of a 'Universal' postmark pressed into service this year.

Peterborough SCM10 'Universal' type postmark used 2021, reported 4 December.

UPDATE 9 December: My thanks to MM for sending this image of a Darlington MLO4[?] usage used recently.   

[JE writes:  This die has been used in recent years at Tyneside Mail Centre (Gateshead), which took on the Darlington and Teesside (Middlesbrough) Mail Centre areas in 2013. Tyneside has also used a Teesside die year-round.]

Darlington MLO4[?] used during December 2021.

UPDATE 13 December: This one arrived here today; the sender of the card may be in the Newcastle area, but without the date die, and the central wavy lines (others are upright) we can't be sure where it comes from.  All we know is that it is 2021 using an old stamp.

UPDATE 11 December: JE has sent this example from North & West Yorkshire (Leeds) die 4, used on 9 DEC 2021, with a clear snowman slogan, 'Happy Christmas' Please Post Early. (See below for a different ident 5 usage.)

North & West Yorkshire die 4 (Leeds) 'Happy Christmas' snowman slogan 9 DEC 2021.

UPDATE 19 December: I'm assured this one from MM is from Tyneside, but who would know. I can;t remember when I last saw a new use of the October census diamond - though doubtless one of you will remind me!

2021 usage, apparently in Tyneside of the wavy lines and a mail census diamond!

UPDATE 31 December:  GF has sent this one which is presumed to be used at Belfast (as the addressee is in Northern Ireland) on 23 DEC 2021, 11 days after the stamps were missed by the machine in Zwolle, Netherlands.

Probably Belfast use of a Universal machine on 23 December 2021.

UPDATE 5 January: Thanks to JG for these Peterborough -A- (undated) and Lerwick ( 8 XII 2021) examples.  This is a different Peterborough die to that shown earlier.  It does make you wonder why they need so many extra machines when the volume of social mail is said to be falling so much. 

Confirmed from Lerwick, Universal machine used 8 XII 2021

Peterborough -A- die in Universal machine December 2021.

UPDATE 13 May 2024:  A clear example has just surfaced from North & West Yorkshire -5- dated 7 DEC 2021

North & West Yorkshire -5- Postcode slogan, 7 DEC 2021

UPDATE 4 January:  Our postbag also included some non-standard sizes/shapes which were cancelled with packet handstamps.  One from Norwich Mail Centre NR1 1AA postmarked 14 DEC 2021 but apparently that date is an overstamp of the date only, as there is an another one which seems to be 12th.  The other is from Sheffield Mail Centre S9 2XX postmarked 20 DEC 202.


Remember, all postmarks appearing in December will be added to this post, so check here before you spend time scanning and emailing.  I'll try to add new ones as quickly as possible.

And get ready for the back-up use of Universals during the Christmas posting season!


Thanks for your contributions - more from Christmas etc will be welcome.  And let's start collecting for January 2022!