Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Christmas - 2 November 2021

In response to a number of enquiries I can only say that the publicity for this year’s Christmas stamps will be on the issue date, 2 November.

Please see also this September post.

If I am back early enough on Monday our news blog will replace this and launch at midnight.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

DC Comics bundle review by a superfan

It is unsurprising that Royal Mail send 'review' copies of their products to a variety of people, especially those who might be seen as 'influencers' on social media who may lead to increase sales.

They sent a box of Batman goodies to Neil A Cole of the Superman Super Site

Here's his review, or 'unboxing' (runs just over 17 minutes, no ads).

It's interesting to see the perspective of the person who apparently knows nothing about special stamp issues, save that they could be used to post letters.

It's good publicity from Royal Mail, although they might have done better had they provided information about what their products actually are - the FDC insert shows that you can also get presentation packs, but clearly the reviewer didn't know that they mint stamps are IN a presentation pack, almost overlooking the Justice League miniature sheet as 'another nice piece of artwork'.  

And the Gold-plated medal folder has a first day cover inside, not that the reviewer found that - which is, I suppose, the problem of doing an unboxing review; the video will be edited, but how long do you want to spend between takes actually investigating what is included?

Would Royal Mail have done better to include First*, or a glossy brochure of all the products? Maybe, though I suppose they have already had similar give-aways for other similar stamp issues so you would think that they might know what works best.

*  I don't receive First so I don't know how comprehensive it is.

As at the time of writing, that YouTube video has a whole 10 views - but then the channel only has 90 subscribers.  

Meanwhile on this site the Royal Mail announcement has had 884 views (our post on the stamps has over 1500, but then our readers are looking at the stamps, more than anything else).

Monday, 18 October 2021

October updates

I'll use this post for news snippets and to highlight updates made to earlier posts.



The unofficial news site operated by Royal Mail contractor IAR reports that 

machine A002 at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth Dockyard, where HMS Victory is located, will have a ‘Pop Up’ overprint to mark the Battle of Trafalgar.

Overprint on current Union Flag and Machin = Trafalgar Day

The overprint will run from the 21st to 31st October.

UPDATE 21 October: My thanks to cfn for providing these pictures of the Machin and Union Flag stamps, and MB for information that the Machin is MA14 and the flag undated.

 The Commonwealth Stamps Opinion blog (see links below right) reports that:

Guernsey Post’s Post and Go kiosk GG02 located at Envoy House in St Peter Port will dispense strips of the Guernsey Flag stamps with an additional inscription to commemorate the Centenary of the Royal British Legion from 11 to 13 November 2021. 

The inscription will read, “RBL 100/1921-2021’ along with a Poppy icon.

The day of issue coincides with Armistice Day.

Special Stamps

The Rugby Union post has been updated with news of pre-release.

Postal Systems

News about trials of a new layout for ink-jet postmarks has been added to the month's slogan postmarks post.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

150th anniversary of Rugby Union - set of 8 - 19 October 2021

Royal Mail will issue a set of 8 stamps depicting action from ruby union international games to mark the 150th anniversary of the Rugby Football Union, and the first international match when an England team responded to a challenge from five of Scotland's club captains.

According to Royal Mail's publicity for the set:

The popularity of the ‘rugby’ style of football, and the corresponding need for universal laws, saw 21 English clubs meet in London on 26 January 1871 to form the Rugby Football Union. The first set of laws was approved later that year, and not long after England met Scotland’s challenge in the first rugby international.

Rugby continues to evolve today and is becoming an ever more inclusive sport. At the last count, rugby union is being played in 124 countries by some 10 million players, approaching three million of whom are female, and broadcasts of domestic and international fixtures are watched by millions.

The stamps

Set of 8 mint stamps featuring iconic moments in key rugby union matches over the past 60 years for
all four home nations and covering both the men’s and women’s game. The striking stamp designs
feature selective colourisation set against a monochrome background.

Set of 8 stamps issued 19 October 2021 to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Rugby Football Union. (C) Royal Mail.

The details:

2nd Class Women’s Rugby World Cup Final, 2014.  After defeat in three successive finals, England win the World Cup. Tries from Emily Scarratt (pictured, with ball) and Danielle Waterman secure victory.

2nd Class Five Nations Championship, 1970.  A victory marking the start of a glorious era in Welsh rugby for a side featuring greats like JPR Williams (pictured), Gareth Edwards and Mervyn Davies.

1st Class Women’s Six Nations Championship, 2015.  Needing to win to secure the title, a rampant Ireland – with lock Sophie Spence (pictured) to the fore – ran in 11 tries to become champions.

1st Class Five Nations Championship, 1984.  Scrum-half Roy Laidlaw (pictured, with ball) scored two tries as Scotland became outright winners of the Five Nations Championship for the first time since 1938.

£1.70 Women’s Home Nations Championship, 1998.  Led by Kim Littlejohn (pictwured, far left), Scotland complete a five-year journey from novices to best team in Europe with a win that boosted the sport’s status in the country.

£1.70 Five Nations Championship, 1994.   Ireland upset the odds to win at Twickenham for the first time in 12 years – a brilliant try by Simon Geoghegan (pictured) inspiring a generation of great players.

£2.55 Women’s Six Nations Championship, 2009.  Non Evans kicks the winning penalty in the final minute as Wales, captained by Melissa Berry (pictured), beat England for the first time and win the Triple Crown.

£2.55 Rugby World Cup Final, 2003.  Jason Robinson’s try and five successful kicks from Jonny Wilkinson (pictured), see England become the first northern hemisphere country to win the World Cup.

Technical Details

The 37 x 35 mm stamps, designed by True North, are printed by International Security Printers in litho with ordinary gum in se-tenant horizontal pairs.  

Acknowledgements:  Stamp designs produced under licence with kind permission of The Rugby Football Union, Scottish Rugby Union Limited, The Welsh Rugby Union Limited and The Irish Rugby Football Union. England Rugby and the England Rugby rose are official trade marks of The Rugby Football Union and are subject to extensive trade mark registrations. The Scottish Rugby and stylised thistle logo are registered trade marks of Scottish Rugby Union Limited and used by Royal Mail Group Limited under licence from Scottish Rugby Union Limited. The Welsh Rugby Union logo is an official trade mark of The Welsh Rugby Union Limited and is subject to extensive trade mark registrations worldwide. The shamrock rugby ball is an official trade mark of The Irish Rugby Football Union and is subject to extensive trade mark registrations.

Images: England v Canada – Women’s Rugby World Cup Final, 2014 © Jordan Mansfield/Stringer/Getty Images Sport;
England v Wales – Five Nations Championship, 1970 © S&G/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport/PA Images;
Scotland v Ireland – Women’s Six Nations Championship, 2015 © INPHO/Dan Sheridan;
Ireland v Scotland – Five Nations Championship, 1984 © Independent News and Media/Contributor/Hulton/Getty Images;
Scotland v England – Women’s Home Nations Championship, 1998 © 1998 Marc Aspland/The Times of London/News Licensing;
England v Ireland – Five Nations Rugby Championship, 1994 © Colorsport/Colin Elsey;
Wales v England – Women’s Six Nations Championship, 2009 © Stu Forster /Staff/Getty Images Sport;
Australia v England – Rugby World Cup Final, 2003 © Phil Walter/Staff/Getty Images Sport Classic.

Additional Products

Presentation Pack, First Day Cover, Stamp Cards.   Stamps may be bought in pairs (multiples of 5).

Framed prints of the 2nd class JPR Williams stamp, or the £3.55 Jonny Wilkinson stamp (also available signed). 

As usual we are not stocking these products which can be obtained on the Royal Mail website.

Comment.  Although there have been many previous rugby stamps from Royal Mail it is a popular subject and at least in this case is commemorating historical events on a sensible anniversary.

UPDATE 18 October.

CP reports that a local post office was happy to sell these on 12 October, and stated that the cards (always available a week before the stamps) were available on 5th.  Sadly the one that he posted arrived without a legible date.  I checked with my nearest office which has special stamps, the Crown PO in Dereham and of course they said, not until 19th.  The office I more regularly use for posting doesn't take special stamps any more.

Saturday, 2 October 2021

October 2021 postmark slogans

This is the place for all new slogans for October, and any other interesting postal markings that I find or which are reported.

The month got off to a good start, in September for delivery on 1 October, with the Breast Cancer Awareness Month slogan

Once again RW was the first to send an image (below).  This example is from Nottingham dated 30/09/2021.

Breast Cancer
1-31 October
        + CHECK

Breast Cancer Awareness Month postmark slogan, Nottingham, 30/09/2021

The other format comes from KD, a true October slogan from Glasgow dated 01-10-2021.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month postmark slogan, Nottingham, 30/09/2021

UPDATE 18 October.  My thanks to KD, RL & JE for recent reports on postmark slogans. I'm sorry that domestic matters have limited my time for adding the news here.

The first is a variation on the above Breast Cancer slogan, "trialled in one Intergrated Mail Processor machine in Bristol Mail Centre.  The whole imprint has been moved 20mm to the left, and the wavy lines at right reduced from 7 to 3.  The Royal Mail cruciform logo is intentionally omitted.  This layout is intended to accommodate barcoded stamps, similar to the trial 2nd class Machin issued in March, to avoid the wavy lines obcuring the barcode."

Breast Cancer Awareness Month postmark slogan, Bristol, 06/10/2021 in new trial layout.

This is especially interesting as nobody has reported any use of said 2nd class Datamatrix Machin on other than philatelic mail.  Please report any other sightings of this 3-line layout!

UPDATE 19 October: PA has sent another image this time with the 2nd class Datamatrix stamp showing how, if the stamp is applied 'normally' the barcode will be clear.

Together for our Planet postmark slogan, Bristol, 18/10/2021 in new trial layout, on 2nd class Datamatrix stamp.

This layout has no space for the Royal Mail logo as there are only four elements to the impression. All have been shifted to the left, with a blank in the right-most position.
UPDATE 23 October: Thanks to KD for demonstrating that this layout is not confined to Bristol with this example of the 'Together for our Planet' slogan from Nottingham with three wavy lines.

Together for our Planet postmark slogan, Nottingham 21/10/2021 in new trial layout.

A new slogan marks Anti-Slavery Day which is today, 18 October. Here are examples from Preston (Lancashire and South Lakes) and the other (iLSM) layout from Dorset & SW Hants both on 14 October.

Anti-Slavery Day
18th October

Stamping out Modern Slavery slogan Dorset & S.W. Hants 14-10-2021

Stamping out Modern Slavery slogan Lancashire and South Lakes 14-10-2021

Later: KD reports receipt of a barely legible late* use at Nottingham aroound 14 October of the Together for our Planet slogan used in September. (Usage date is based on the invoice inside!)

Together for our Planet SME Climate Hub - Nottingham late use in mid-October 2021
* It seems that this is not a late use but a reuse as they are appearing in several places.  (See also the Bristol & Nottingham trial layout above).


Other slogans for October and any interesting postmarks, postal labels old or new will be shown here.

Before reporting 'new' slogans please check here in case we have already shown it.