Wednesday 30 June 2021

Norvic Checklist of Security Machin Definitives - v 2.5.3 - 30 June 2021

A new version of our Checklist is now available for download.  It incorporates all the new stamps for 2021 as of yesterday, but there are more making an appearance all the time, although more
gradually this year.

You can download the new version here.

One major change this year is how we show Stanley Gibbons numbers.  One of the original reasons for the list was that Gibbons changed some numbers at least twice in the 2009-10 period and some stability was needed.  Gibbons still have a system which requires periodic number changes, though. 

In the 2018 edition of their Great Britain Concise catalogue, Gibbons renumbered most of the U-series stamps.   In the 2019 edition further changes were made by SG including at least one booklet. Until now we have included columns for earlier Gibbons numbers but this is becoming increasingly difficult to accommodate.  Therefore only one column is now provided for SG numbers which is intended to show the latest number.

Similarly in the reverse-look-up table, this Checklist no longer shows all the individual stamps with different year codes, as the Gibbons numbers remain the same for each year, unless there is another difference. Thus U2920 is for all the 1p counter sheet stamps irrespective of year.

As always there may be errors, and we know data is missing especially for printing dates or booklet pack dates.  

Please let us know of anything we've got wrong, and continue to tell us what is new.

Events news - Midpex on, York off

Three days to go to Midpex and the first chance for many people to get together for a couple of years - especially if you missed the show at Stafford Showground which was probably the first successful major event in the UK this year.

But bad news for those dealers and collectors planning to go to York Racecourse on July 16-17, as this event has now been cancelled - see organiser's site

Details of dealers attending Midpex, and specialist societies' booths and meetings can be found on the dedicated Midpex pages here.   I shall be there in the usual Norvic red, with a badge, although I shall not be selling.  If you are a customer or fellow society member, or a reader, and you look up from your stamp browsing and notice me wandering do please say hello.

I'll be away from tomorrow (Thursday) and back in the office next Wednesday. 

Sunday 27 June 2021

At last - Machin sheet printings 2021.

Thank you to the very many people who have pointed out far too many errors made in yesterday evening's blog post.  Had I not been continuing working in the garden this morning I would have caught the first email/comment and saved most of you the trouble!  (But the garden is looking good!)

I really did make a lot of unforgivable mistakes which are corrected below, in blue.  My thanks to Machinmaniac (twice!), John H, Trelantis, Rob L.

We understand that the 1p, 5p, 10p and 20p counter sheets were printed in March 2021 with year code M21L. These will shortly be available from the usual dealers and may well appear in Post Office branches before long.

The 1p was printed on 15/03/21 and the 5p, 10p and 20p were printed on 16/03/21.  These will be added to the Norvic Checklist and a new version will be published this week.

The 2nd Large and 1st Large counter sheets were printed on 19/02/21.

UPDATE 29 JUNE: After yesterday's uncertainties and corrections, I have confirmation this afternoon of the 2nd class business sheet without datamatrix code.  This is perhaps the most surprising addition to the range and my thanks to MB for sending this image of a used example which was on a letter from the NHS posted 28/06/2021 at South East Anglia mail centre.

2nd class business sheet with no datamatrix code M21L MBIL.

M21L stamps issued so far:

Business Sheet
2nd class with datamatrix code (MBIL)
2nd class without datamatrix code (MBIL)
1st class without DMX code (MBIL)
2nd Large (MBIL) - I have checked my emails for the report of this and can't find it; I can only think I misread something.
1st Large (MBIL)

2nd class from book of 12 (MTIL)
1st class from mixed booklet (MCIL)
1st class from book of 12 (MTIL)

Counter sheets (MAIL)
£1.70 (23 December 2020)
2nd Large
1st Large

Prestige Stamp Books (MPIL)
2p              Music Giants V
10p            Music Giants V
50p            Music Giants V
1st class    Music Giants V

1st class MAIL gummed - Queen's 9th Birthday Souvenir cover. Royal Mail intend that this should only be available used, but copies have been sold mint on eBay - best price so far £64.

1st class business sheet MBIL M21L

1st Large business sheet MBIL M21L
1st class from booklet of 12 - MTIL M21L


More images to follow shortly.

Tuesday 22 June 2021

Dennis is early, at least in Surrey. Another pre-release.

Another post office has managed to release some special stamps not only early, but before Royal Mail has even sent their publicity leaflet First to collectors, and before anybody but the cover producers has been able to show the stamps (see here).  

DP is a keen Dennis fan, and has sent this picture with the picture as shown in the original comic strip! The cover was received last Saturday (19 June) with the stamps not due for issue until 1 July.

1 July 2021 Dennis & Gnasher stamp used 18 June in Gatwick Mail Centre catchment area.

As you can see, the stamp - although reproducing the original accurately - is only showing a detail of the original frame in the strip.  Maybe they learned from the clutter of Fools & Horses that you can only miniaturise so far before it becomes ridiculous?

UPDATE 24 June:  Two more examples from DP, again with the original comics.  These are postmarked 22 June at Medway Mail Centre.

Two more examples of the 1 July 2021 Dennis & Gnasher stamps, used 22 June in Medway Mail Centre catchment area.


Friday 18 June 2021

Post and Go update, Explosions Museum Gosport.

The Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower in Gosport has reopened and the Post and Go machine was operational from 16 June.  MB reports that the P&G delay was caused by a problem with the SIM card within the kiosk not allowing a network connection.

Machin is MA15 stock with the Flag undated, my thanks to MB for sending these images.

Thursday 17 June 2021

Comments: relevance and anonymity.

We really do appreciate the comments that our readers make: if it wasn't for the comments we wouldn't know half what we know, and Post & Go collectors especially wouldn't know how many changes there have been to Post Office SSKs.

So a couple of requests.  

1.  Please make comments on the relevant post.  If you want to tell us that a new Machin printing has appeared, make the comment on the latest Machin post, not on the latest commemorative or postmarks post.  This means that people who are interested in Machins but not commemoratives will find it.  OR you can email it to me for an update to the last post or for a new one entirely.

2. A repeat of a request made at least twice before.  Anonymity is welcome, but please use a unique ID.

"Many people choose to remain anonymous when posting their comments on blogs, and of course that is fine - absolutely.  Some may be dealers who want to just sow some seeds of thought, some may work for Royal Mail or Post Office Ltd, or others with inside information, others may work for companies that it might be better not to associate with online activity.

But sometimes with long threads with a lot of comments there are many comments from 'Anonymous' - and they are not all the same person!!  That may lead to confusion among other readers and those who are referring to the posts by 'Anonymous'.

So it would be really useful if readers could use a name - as White Knight does, for example.  You can choose any nom-de-keyboard, initials, etc, that you wish, but it would help to use the same 'name' for all comments."
Even if you use a pseudonym you are still Anonymous unless it is one that you use widely elsewhere! And if you use one that I can identify with your email address because you have sent emails or bought from us, then I may answer you directly by email rather than here - especially useful if I don't allow your comment to go through.

At some time in the future the use of the name 'Anonymous' will be stopped, and all readers must make a decision to use a pseudonym.

Tuesday 15 June 2021

Retail Booklets: thin paper, thick paper, cream pape, white paper.

Twelve months ago I wrote about the thickness of retail booklet covers:

I don't want to start another collecting trend, but....

As readers of the Philatelic Bulletin will know, the Music Giants IV: Queen issue includes a prestige book and a retail booklet.  My retail booklets arrived today.

Some people say you should never touch mint stamps with your hands - well sometimes it's worth it as a hunch sometimes proves right.  I opened the booklet and immediately felt that the backing paper was 'different'.  It felt smoother, and thinner.  

As you can see above, the newer booklet has whiter paper than the previous one. The stamp appears darker, the reflection of the iridescent printing is quite different between the two


CH reminded me of this last month when he wrote that the Music Giants V booklets had reverted to cream paper.  Apparently so far we have had:

White paper  PM78 (Fools 'n' Horses) , PM77 (National Parks)
Cream Paper PM79 (Paul McCartney)
As with the thinner paper mentioned last year, this isn't something that I will list in the Checklist, nor will it be mentioned in Gibbons' Concise Catalogue but it is a difference that ought to be included in their GB Specialised, if they ever produce a volume covering the latest security Machins.  

As these booklets are coded MCIL M21L it produces, for those who want to go to that level of detail, two different stamps - and if they appear with both upright and inverted printing on the backing paper.... well maybe four.

As always it is the choice of the collector whether to go to this level; personally I would rather try to find M21L stamps used on cover, especially some of those which have been announced but are not yet available from Tallents House!

Monday 14 June 2021

Early use of McCartney stamp.

The Music Giants V: Paul McCartney stamps were issued on 28 May, as detailed here.

As mentioned in a comment on the original post, at least one 1st class stamp is recorded as being used two days before the official release date.  NB says that it was "Sent from Colne, Lancs BB8 so presumably bought at Skipton Road PO BB8 0NQ". 

1st class McCartney II stamp posted two days before issue.

Monday 7 June 2021

June Postmark Slogans - and other postmarks of interest

June hasn't started particularly well, with very mixed results for the first slogan.  But we can only hope that things will get better and that there are other notable events that Royal Mail decides to commemorate with a slogan postmark.  I wonder if the Trooping of the Colour (The Queen's Official Birthday) will be included.

Thanks to MM, KD & JE for these examples of the World Environment Day slogan - between them we can work out the message!

World Environment
5 June 2021

World Environment Day slogan Dorset & S.W.Hants 02-06-2021

World Environment Day slogan Peterborough Mail Centre 02?-06-2021

World Environment Day slogan Lancashire and South Lakes 02/06/2021

UPDATE 14 June: Thanks to KD for the latest slogan which publicises LONELINESS AWARENESS WEEK.  This is the same slogan as used in 2020, here used on 11 June at Edinburgh Mail Centre.

    WEEK  2021  


Loneliness Awareness Week 2021 - Edinburgh Mail Centre 11-06-2021

UPDATE 16 June.  There's another new slogan in use reminding those who need to be reminded that it is Father's Day on Sunday.  At least, that's what we assume from a very poor example from Home Counties North Mail Centre forwarded by MM.  It's so poor that it won't grace this page until we get a better example.

UPDATE 22 June: thank you to everybody who has sent in examples of the Father's Day slogan.  We had our 'event' on Monday because the weather was so bad on Sunday, so I'm a bit late with these. Father's day has been marked sporadically by Royal Mail - with a search on this blog for Father (using the box at top left) the last one I can see is 2017.

Don't forget
Father's Day
Sunday 20 June

Examples from Southampton Portsmouth & IOW (16/06/2021), Swindon (16-06-2021), an unnecessary Edinburgh (15-06-2021), Lancashire and South Lakes (16/06/2021) [Preston MC].  Thanks to KD, RW, JE and others, for these.

Don't Forget Father's Day Sunday 20 June postmark slogan - Lancashire & S Lakes 16/06/2021

Don't Forget Father's Day Sunday 20 June postmark slogan - Southampton, Portsmouth & IOW 16/06/2021

Don't Forget Father's Day Sunday 20 June postmark slogan - Swindon 16/06/2021

Don't Forget Father's Day Sunday 20 June postmark slogan - Edinburgh 15/06/2021

UPDATE 9 July. Thanks to JG for this example of the Father's Day slogan reversed from SE Wales 18/06/2021

Don't Forget Father's Day Sunday 20 June postmark slogan reversed on square envelope - De Dd Cymru SE Wales 18/06/2021

Father's Day is followed by a slogan for Pride Month.  Thanks again to regular contributors mentioned above for Medway, Edinburgh, Preston (all 21/06/2021), Chester (19/06/2021), and to RL for North West Midlands (21/06/2021)

Royal Mail
Delivering with
Pride Month 2021

Pride Month 2021 postmark slogan - Edinburgh 21-06-2021

Pride Month 2021 postmark slogan - Preston 21/06/2021

Pride Month 2021 postmark slogan - Chester & N Wales - Caer a Gog Cymru 19-06-2021

Pride Month 2021 postmark slogan - Medway Mail Centre 21/06/2021

Pride Month 2021 postmark slogan - North West Midlands 21/06/2021

Pride Month 2021 postmark slogan - Southampton 19/06/2021

UPDATE 26 June.  Thanks to JE and KD for providing examples of this year's Armed Forces Day slogan.  Examples here from Lancashire and South Lakes (Preston) on 24/06/2021 and Chester on 23/06/2021.

Armed Forces
Saturday 26 June 2021
Armed Forces Day slogan postmark Chester & N Wales 23/0602021

Armed Forces Day slogan postmark Lancashire and South Lakes 24/0602021

A second slogan this week is in support of the charity providing bereavement support to families in which a baby has died -  A good example from Southampton Portsmouth & IOW on 25/06/2021 from CH, and some less successful ones from Preston and Leeds Mail Centres (thank you JE).
                     For anyone affected 
       by baby loss
Sands bereavement charity slogan, Southampton Mail Centre 25/06/2021

Sands bereavement charity slogan, North & West Yorkshire (Leeds Mail Centre) and Lancashire and South Lakes (Preston Mail Centre) 25/06/2021

Other postmarks which may be unusual, or interesting.

Such as this one.  We are used to seeing slogan elements reversed, on square envelopes where the stamp is detected in the top left corner because the envelope has been rotated 90º.  This appears to be a case of the machine detecting the Machin definitive at the centre-left on a DL envelope, and treating it in the same way.  This is Tyneside Mail Centre on 01/06/2021.

Tyneside default slogan reversed on DL envelope.

The CDS at Blackwell, Darlington, is dated 29 May, which was the Saturday of the holiday weekend. Maybe it was posted after the last collection for the week.

Blackwell, Darlington CDS 29 MY 21

Remember, all postmarks in June 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.

Wednesday 2 June 2021

Time for another break

I'm sorry I omitted to record here that we were away from 17-24 May.  I don't think anything really important cropped up that wasn't recorded in the notes/comments by our regular contributors.

We're away for another week from 7 to 14 June.  Emails will be read, and some replies sent; blog comments will be processed, but not always on the same day.  I don't know how the wifi is where we are going and mobile signals may also be limited.

I hope to have news of June slogan postmarks and a summary of new discoveries.  I'll also produce a new version of the checklist now that we have the new 2021 Gibbons Great Britain Concise catalogue.  One thing I do know, I still won't be able to show the Dennis & Gnasher stamps!

Dennis and Gnasher, Wild Coasts stamp issues coming in July.

After the Prince Philip Memorial MS on 24 June the next issue of stamps, on 1st July, is for 'Dennis and Gnasher' another comic cartoon and another 70th anniversary - it seems that they have to act before the centenary so that there are still some people alive who remember.

I can't write much about them until much later this month but the Philatelic Bulletin this month reveals that it is a set of six stamps (3 x 1st class and 3 x £1.70) accompanied (as always it seems) by a miniature sheet of 4 (two of each value).

There will be the usual assortment of philatelic material - FDC, presentation pack, stamp cards, A4 collectors sheet, and a retail stamp book.

And there will be framed products of course for those who are fans.

Three weeks later the Wild Coasts issue on 22 July has a set of 10 x 1st class and a miniature sheet of four (2 x 1st class, 2 x £1.70). 

Again there will be the usual assortment of philatelic material - FDC, presentation pack, stamp cards, A4 collectors sheet, and a retail stamp book.

And there will be framed products.

All in all another expensive month. 

UPDATE 17 June: Pictures of the Dennis & Gnasher stamps are now on cover producers' websites and on the other blog that you follow for just this eventuality!