Thursday 1 April 2021

Postmark Bulletin Delayed by Stamp Embargo?

To forestall people asking me about the Royal Mail Postmark Bulletin covering April, which would  normally be with you by now, or at least very soon, I will share the latest news from Edinburgh, passed on to me by a customer, who asked Tallents House when he would get his copy.

Apparently instructions have been issued that the Bulletin is not to be sent to subscribers before April 9th.  This is under a week before the Classic Science Fiction stamp issue and is suprising, given that there are several related postmarks already on shown on Royal Mail's website.  These for instance:

We can only surmise that there are more special handstamps as yet unpublished which name some of the authors or titles of some of the books/films that are featured on the stamps, and that Royal Mail don't want you to know what they are until that date.  

As the period for sending covers/cards for handstamping is extended at present, there is no real problem for collectors, however.  

But I suspect that the people at Doxford will be handling more than the usual number of calls unless a message is added into the opening phone menu.

On the other hand, the Bulletin is online here, so I really don't know what the fuss is about!

London SHC -> Edinburgh

No, the whole shebang isn't moving to Tallents House but I am reminded by an Anonymous comment that because of staff shortages in the SHC unit at Mount Pleasant, brought about by Covid-19 much of their work is being sent to Northern SHC in Tallents House.  This accounts for material being sent to London but being returned from Edinburgh.

There may be something about this in the next Bulletin but I don't know.  Collectors will appreciate that you can't just draft anybody into the SHC to handle philatelic material, it has to be done by experienced and knowledgeable people.  

ALL the postmarking for the 2nd class Datamatrix stamp was done in Edinburgh - after all, they had the set-up for the standing order handstamps so it made sense to do everything else there.  That's why the sponsored handstamp (designated for Swindon) was to be sent to Northern rather than London.

I was told by OS&HS Liaison (who anybody can phone - the number is in the Bulletin) that when the Swindon handstamp was unexpectedly announced many people phoned to ask if they could switch covers already sent, to the new handstamp, from one of the FDoIs.  Every effort was made to achieve this.

As for this comment "They treat us woefully quick to take high face then deliver poor service that is totally inappropriate for £5 Billion company set to return to footsie"  do you really think that philatelic trade and collectors should take priority over ordinary mail?  Ireland and Spain halted their programme of new issues last year for a while.  Some small countries have not had any mail for months.  Nepal can't fly anything out because the have a contract with just one airline (Thai) so can't send anything on (for example) China.  In Bermuda the entire foreign mail exchange office has just been put on isolation and so no mail - commercial or social - is leaving the country or arriving.

Remember, there's a war on; we must all be patient.  I sent some cards in January for an experiment, but Northern are too busy to assist in this trial, so I must wait until things are easier. 


  1. Look on the Buckingham Covers web page to see the stamps, so glad I gave up buying commemorative stamps.

  2. What is wrong with Royal Mail! I have waited up to 6 weeks for the return of my covers and many sent to London come back from Edinburgh . They treat us woefully quick to take high face then deliver poor service that is totally inappropriate for £5 Billion company set to return to footsie.

  3. I'm sure this has been asked many times before, but why is it in the interests of Royal Mail to set firm release dates and embargo the publicity until that date?

    1. According to them that’s to ensure maximum general media coverage - assuming no major news stories drown it out.


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