Sunday, 19 June 2022

We are taking another break, from 20-27 June. 

The e-commerce site will stay open and orders will be dealt with quickly on our return.  

Thank you for orders from the Booklets list. Some sections are sold out, for others we still have good stocks, at bargain prices.

Regional Machins will overtake booklet panes that I suggested would be in the next list.  I was hoping to have produced that by now but family matters have been something of a distraction.

Meanwhile the 2022 edition of SG's GB Concise catalogue has been published and they have already changed some numbers for the datamatrix stamps (V-numbers), so I have to examine these carefully and update the Norvic Machin Checklist.  

I'll be doing a write-up of that, and the new edition of the Complete Machin Stamp Catalogue.  

Please do not phone and leave messages until 28 June.  Thank you.

Friday, 17 June 2022

Old Machins now off sale

A reminder to everyone, as I have just been reminded the hard way myself, that all old-style Machins are now off sale from Tallents House - although there are reports that many PO branches are still selling them.

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Booklet list updated - version 4.

A revised (version 4) list of earlier booklet stock has been added for download here.

This includes some new stock and amendments to the earlier list.

Please take a look in case you need any for collections - there is a good range of cylinder numbers, in some cases more than one for a specific booklet.

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Updated 2022 Stamp Issue programme from Royal Mail

My thanks to John H who commented on the annual programme post that a revised list is now on Royal Mail's website.

Royal Mail stamp issues 2022, updated in June; still not complete


This confirms what many of us have known for a long time, namely that the 1 September issue is entitled Transformers.  As John writes: "I bet it doesn't mean people who have transformed our lives in some way.

The other issue confirmed now is for Pride.  Why Royal Mail couldn't issue this striking set of stamps (yes, I already have them) in PRIDE MONTH instead of after it finishes, is anybody's guess.  It would have been easy to switch with the non-event-related Cats issue, after all, especially as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride event in the UK.  

This year the Pride in London parade will be held on Saturday 2nd July 2022 and I suspect Royal Mail may well be giving out specially overprinted Stamp Cards suggesting people should also buy the stamps *.

I can't show you the UK stamps yet, but here are a few which less conservative issue policies have produced in previous years.

What is said to be the first stamp issued with an explicit LGBTQ-related theme was issued on 3 July 2010.  It celebrates fifteen years of the Rainbow Parade held annually on the Vienna Ring Road at the end of the annual Vienna Pride festival, organized by the Homosexual Initiative Vienna (HOSI Wien). 

2010 Austria stamp making 15 years of the Rainbow Parade in Vienna.

In 2016 both Sweden and Netherlands issued Pride related stamps, Sweden's showing the Pride flag and Netherlands making EuroPride 2016 in Amsterdam.

Sweden inland letter stamp showing Pride flag, 2016.

Netherlands pair of inland stamps marking EuroPride 2016.

In 2017 Denmark issued a pair of 8kr stamps showing Pride Hearts.

Pair of Denmark 8kr stamps showing Pride Hearts, 017.

In 2020 Spain issued a single 1€ stamp to commemorate International LGBTQIA Pride Day and as a tribute to the victims of the 1971 Torremolinos Police Repression against gay-friendly clubs during the Franco era.

Spanish 1€ stamp 2020 marking International LGBTQIA Pride Day and the victims of the 1971 Torremolinos Police Repression

If you have an interest in this subject a long thread on Stampboards discussion forum is entitled LGBTQ History and Culture in Philately and on Stamps Discussion.  The thread is indeed wide-ranging and shows many stamps depicting "well known, openly gay / bisexual people".  Among those from the UK (or depicted on British stamps) are Elton John, Alan Turing, Virginia Woolf, Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Alexander the Great, Sir John Gielgud, Miriam Margolyes, Benjamin Britain, Vita Sackville-West, Arthur C Clarke, Nicola Adams, David Hockney - the list goes on.  

A scroll through the six pages of illustrated discussion will show many British stamps and others depicting members of the British Royal Family - not for themselves, but for the fashion designers, photographers etc, with whom they are associated.  This would make an interesting sideline collection.

Although Royal Mail have painted postboxes and post vans in Pride colours and supported London's Pride Parade they are way behind when it comes to issuing Pride stamps, as the discussion shows.

* If you get, see, or hear of these, please do let me know with pictures.

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

June 2022 slogan postmarks and other interesting postal markings.

As was expected, and predicted the PLATINUM JUBILEE slogan which started on 28 May has continued into June.

Her Majesty's
Platinum Jubilee
70 Years of Service
Thank you ma'am

This example was on a letter we received today, from Greenford/Windsor Mail Centre 06/06/2022.

Platinum Jubilee slogan postmark used at Greenford/Windsor Mail Centre 06/06/2022

UPDATE 10 June: Royal Mail has marked the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the Fakland Islands with the latest slogan postmark.

40th Anniversary
Liberation of the
Falkland Islands
14 June 2022

Here is an example which arrived here this morning from Greenford/Windsor Mail Centre 08/06/2022 and we also have the same format sent by JE (Preston 09/06/2022) and LT (Sheffield 08/06/22).

Liberation of the Falklands 40th anniversary slogan postmark Greenford/Windsor Mail Centre 08/06/22

Liberation of the Falklands 40th anniversary slogan postmark Lancashire and South Lakes Mail Centre 09/06/22

Liberation of the Falklands 40th anniversary slogan postmark Sheffield Mail Centre 08/06/22

UPDATE: My thanks to JE for the 'other' format from the iLSM machine at Mount Pleasant Mail Centre on 10-06-2022 on a Mail Rail Platinum Jubilee Post and Go stamp.

Liberation of the Falklands 40th anniversary slogan postmark Mount Pleasant Mail Centre 10-06-2022

UPDATE 16 June:  The latest slogan arrived here today from Edinburgh, and I was sent one by RW from Tyneside Mail Centre.  It's the latest in Royal Mail's tie-up with the Greetings card industry.

Don't forget
Father's Day
Sunday 19 June

Don't forget Father's Day slogan postmark Tyneside NE/SR Mail Centre 15/06/2022

Don't forget Father's Day slogan postmark Edinburgh Mail Centre 15-06-2022



This is the place where all news about June postmarks - provided by readers or discovered by us - will be posted.  Please check back and refresh the page before sending anything which may have already been sent since you last looked: this will save you time scanning and writing.  Variants on postmarks already shown are welcome.

Friday, 3 June 2022

Platinum Jubilee Post and Go news.

To mark the Platinum Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II's accession, Royal Mail's Museum machines will dispense stamps with a new inscription from 3 June to 1 July. 

Images of The Postal Museum (TPM) output are shown on the post for 2022 news (see January lists).

Both the TPM press release and the Intelligent AR website indicate that all the other museum machines will also carry this inscription, although we have no news of the others.

"The overprint will be available on Royal Mail Post & Go kiosks Machin reel from Fri 3rd June 2022 – Fri 1st July 2022.

Overprint reads: The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Kiosks: A002, A003, A004, A006, A007, A009, A010."

UPDATE: Commonwealth Stamps Opinion reports that IAR get it wrong once again at the Shakespeare machine A009 and shows a Machin stamp with the new inscription superimposed on their logo.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Taking another break

As indicated earlier, we are taking a break for a week, to allow the batteries to recharge and see some different scenery.

The shop stays open and orders will be dealt with quickly on our return.  Don't forget the Booklets list - see below - orders have started already and for most we only have one example, so act now!

The next list is likely to be booklet panes, if I can work out a way to identify the ones not containing a mix of values (which are not listed by SG Concise), followed by regional Machins.  Again we have many of these, but very few of each. 

Please do not phone and leave messages until 2 June.  Thank you.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Cats - no, not the musical - set of 8 issued 9 June 2022

For no apparent reason, Royal Mail will issue a set of 8 stamps on 9 June.  

The embargo for this set is the issue date, though doubtless while I am away later this week the Commonwealth Stamps Opinion blog will have the details taken from a cover producer's website, and a few days before the issue date Royal Mail will start putting them on their website*.  Royal Mail's First will probably be issued, and it is quite likely that the Philatelic Bulletin and Postmark Bulletin will appear around the time of issue, but not before.  

* And so it came to pass more quickly that I realised it would with First landing on doormats on 26th May; my complaint to Royal Mail was simply answered by the fact of the (new) publicity date.  So all that I have written below is wrong, as the Postmark Bulletin also appeared by email last week and may have been delivered before everything shut down yesterday evening for the Platinum Holiday Weekend.

[This, of course, means that there is no possibility of putting your order in early, although standing order customers will find out soon enough how much they are being charged and be able to work out what the face values are (easier now that everything is not a multiple of 85p!). And with the Postmark Bulletin arriving similarly late, only dealers will be able to send their covers in early, and they will only be able to use a handstamp that they have sponsored or know the details of.

The consequence is that the Special Handstamp Centre at Tallents House will receive everything at once, including from dealers who haven't made up their minds which handstamps to use, and many collectors and dealers will likely still be waiting for their covers at the end of June.]

The last time we had a set devoted solely to cats was in 1995, but there have been mixed sets of cats and dogs since then.

UPDATE: As you will see from the comments, the May Philatelic Bulletin suggested that this is a set of 6, with two each 2nd class, 1st class, £1.85.  Well there are two £2.55 as well; it's a set of 8

The stamps

2nd class Siamese and Tabby; 1st class Ginger and British Shorthair cats.

£1.85 Maine Coon and Black and White cats; £2.55 Bengal and Tabby and White cats.

A4 self-adhesive collectors sheet of 10 stamps, being the set of 8 and additional 2 x 1st class.

From Royal Mail:

Reason and inspiration

Cats are the most enigmatic of domestic pets. Today there are over 10.2 million cats in the UK with almost one in four UK households owning a cat. Whilst they are now almost entirely kept as pets there was a time that businesses, including The Royal Mail from 1868 - 1984, formally employed cats to keep out mice.

As one of our two favourite pets, Cats are enchanting, independent and fiercely discerning in who they choose to engage with. They do as they please and will not be trained unless it suits them – and while you might think you own your cat, rest assured, your cat owns you!

This special issue features eight beautiful stamps showcasing cats doing what they do best, grooming, stalking (they share 96% of their genes with tigers), playing, sleeping, staring, being on alert, being curious and stretching, these stamps are sure to melt the hearts of stamp and cat enthusiasts everywhere.

Technical Details

The 41 x 30mm stamps were designed by Studio Up and printed by ISP on gummed paper in lithography. The stamps are in vertical se-tenant pairs in sheets of 60.

Acknowledgements: Siamese grooming, Tabby stalking and Tabby-and-white stretching © Warren
Photographic; Ginger cat playing © YAY Media AS/Alamy Stock Photo; British Shorthair sleeping © Michal Bednarek/Getty Images; Maine Coon staring © Life On White/Alamy Stock Photo; Black-and-white cat on alert © Bailey-Cooper Photography/Alamy Stock Photo; Bengal being curious © Juniors Bildarchiv GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo.

Products available from Royal Mail, some also from Post Offices:

First Day Cover, presentation pack, stamp cards, framed set, framed collectors sheet.

Great Britain Stamp Booklets 1979-2000 for sale

I mentioned earlier in the month that I was sorting my stock and collection of GB decimal booklets containing Machin definitives, because it seemed sensible to offer them to collectors ahead of sending the balance to Royal Mail for destruction.

The first booklet list is now available for download here.

All items are subject to availability and you will see that for many we have only one copy.

Orders must be sent by email to  We will reply as quickly as possible with details of what we can supply and the total cost of your order, together with payment details.

UPDATE: A new version of the list has been uploaded today. Very few have been added, but we still have stocks of the FQ, FP, FT, FW, FAX, G-, and H- booklets.  Take a look now.

Orders will be posted after receipt of payment except for regular customers. 

Identification: Booklets have been identified to the best of my ability. All are sold subject to satisfaction. Cylinder books are priced at a premium.

This is not an illustrated list, because most collectors will be familiar with the basic booklets, and where varieties are mentioned not listed in the catalogue, they will be easy to see.  Scans can be provided if required.

Booklet panes, Regional Definitives (Machin and pre-decimal) will be listed next.

As you will see from the post which will appear above, our office will be closed from 25 May to 3 June.  We will deal with emails and orders as quickly as possible, taking care to ensure that customers who ordered first will have first pick.

We have some other booklets - including all Prestige and Security booklets - listed in our e-commerce shop.  If you wish to order from both we can combine for postage savings.  Please do not use card of PayPal payments on the shop: instead choose 'Pay by Cheque', and we will then calculate the total of your order and P&P with arrangements for paying.

We hope you find something of interest - if you do, write immediately to avoid disappointment.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Gibbons numbers for newer datamatrix stamps

Stanley Gibbons' monthly magazine for June includes numbers for the datamatrix definitives issued on 4 April.

These have been added to the original post.

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Gibbons' Great Britain Concise catalogue due in two weeks.

Stanley Gibbons have announced that their Great Britain Concise catalogue 2022 edition will be available week commencing 30 May.   Buy from your favourite dealer or independent bookshop.

From Stanley Gibbons press release - the 37th edition of the Great Britain Concise catalogue.

The 2022 edition has been extensively updated with all prices reviewed and revised in line
with the current market.§

• Priced listings of definitives, commemoratives, regionals, postage dues, departmental officials,
postal fiscals, first day covers, miniature sheets, booklets, specimens and post office ‘Smiler’
• Priced listings of watermark varieties, major plate varieties, missing colours, phosphor,
embossing and imperforate errors.
• Priced listings of Post Office Telegraph stamps, including watermark varieties, major errors
and specimens.
• Priced listings for all booklet panes, including single value panes and those with inverted
watermarks up to 1967.
• Commemorative design index included.
• Listings are complete from May 1840 to April 2022.
• Helpful introductory notes.
• PHQ card and presentation pack listings include Royal Mail reference codes for easy
• The Machin definitives are amalgamated in an easy-to-find separate section and fully updated.
The highly collectable source and date codes are individually priced.
• Post & Go stamps are brought right up to date, with clear notes describing stamps from
different machines. Separate illustrated tables give details of those only available at
exhibitions and museums.

§ This will presumably reflect recent increases in postage rates, but I wonder what the changes will be in the 2023 edition, when the postage value of old 1st class definitive stamps drops from 95p to zero?

Monday, 16 May 2022

First Post and Go Stamps Illustrator, Robert Gillmor, dies at the age of 85.

The death has been announced of Robert Gillmor MBE, one of the country's most popular and respected bird artists, aged 85.

Robert Gillmor at his North Norfolk studio overlooking Cley Marshes (Photo: John Walden)

He is best known to the stamp world as the illustrator for Royal Mail's first pictorial Post and Go Stamps, then known as Faststamps issued in September 2010, which depicted garden birds.  This first set of 6 was followed by more Garden Birds, Water Birds, and Sea Birds.

He was also responsible for the 2012 Farm Animals (Sheep, Pigs, Cattle) and 2015 Fur & Feathers series of Post and Go stamps.

Before that he produced designs for the local carriage labels of the Summer Isles, off the coast of Scotland.  

Six 'stamps' from the (Scottish) Summer Isles depicting birds often seen in the area of the western isles: Arctic Tern, Red-breasted Merganser, Gannets, Barnacle Geese, Heron and Gold Eagle.

But he was known for much more than stamps: the first publication containing one of his works appeared when he was still in his teens.  Many obituaries have been published, including this one in The Guardian.

A more personal comment appears in John Cooper's blog "Britain is no country for old men" (a quote from W B Yeats).

Robert, who has died at the age of 85, was a highly regarded by ornithologists throughout the world for his illustrations in numerous books, especially those on bird behaviour. He drew from life and his many hours of observation were reflected in the quality of his final prints, in which he captured the essence of the birds, using his brilliant draughtsmanship and beautiful compositions. From an early age, the Quaker blend of humility and a celebration of life, shone through all his work.


When Mark Avery asked Robert : "How many individual pieces of bird art have you produced?" as part of his interview for inclusion for his 2015 publication, 'Behind the Binoculars', Robert replied : "I haven’t the faintest idea!  There would be several thousand drawings altogether and then all the paintings.  All the calendars – I did calendars for over thirty years and latterly there were two calendars a year, needing twenty-four paintings, so those add up". In recognition of his work, in 2020 Robert received the 'SWLA Outstanding Contribution to Art & Nature Award'.


When the Norfolk & Norwich Philatelic Society commemorated its centenary in autumn 2011, the project leader compiled a book of Norfolk Posts & Personalities (still available here!) which included as many stamps associated with Norfolk, and Norfolk-related stories about stamps as he could find. 

Robert was kind enough to be interviewed, and to have photographs taken for publication in this book. He also loaned some of the original artwork for our exhibition, which he attended, signing his latest book of bird illustrations, and our souvenir covers (and some past first day covers). A charming man, and I am pleased to have a complete set of 4 of the Post and Go birds first day covers signed by him - probably unique.

Detail from signed commemorative cover, 2011.

He said, "It is a delightful thought that my stamps will appear on people's letters and packets using the very latest technology, especially as my artwork was created using a 150-year-old printing press.".

UPDATE: My fellow-blogger WhiteKnight shows on a recent post (Commonwealth Stamps Opionion) some stamps designed by Robert in 1972 for the Seychelles.

Monday, 9 May 2022

May slogan postmarks and other postmark news

Royal Mail continued use of the relevant slogan over from March, through April and into May

The slogan advertising the Disasters Emergency Committee's Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal which has been widely used since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  


The first May slogan is advertising Mental Health Awareness week, the slogan for which this year is #Ivebeenthere. Whilst this is clearly grammatically incorrect, punctuation marks break up hashstags, so #I'vebeenthere would simply translate on social media platforms as #I.

I've had two poor examples supplied so far (thanks to MM and LT).  This one from Sheffield Mail Centre is dated 06/05/2022

Mental Health
Awareness Week
9 - 15 May
Together we can
tackle loneliness

Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 slogan used at Sheffield Mail Centre 06/05/2022 #Ivebeenthere

Covid Heroes artists.

Last month we reported that according to the Royal Mail press release on the Heroes of the Pandemic stamps, "In addition, to mark their success, a special postmark will feature on stamped mail delivered to addresses nationwide. Each child will have their name included on their own congratulatory postmark over the coming weeks."  These may be used, or they may have been abandoned.  More news when we get it.

UPDATE 11 May 2022: Before Mental Health Awareness week is over, it is International Nurses Day, and thanks to LT for another slogan from Sheffield Mail Cente on 10/05/2022.

Nurses' Day
12 May


International Nurses' Day slogan postmark Sheffield Mail Centre 10/05/0222

UPDATE 3 June: this example of the other layout was given to me by a neighbour.  Norwich Mail Centre 09-05-2022

International Nurses' Day slogan postmark Norwich Mail Centre 09-05-0222


UPDATE 16 May 2022.  Continuing the medical theme, RL has sent this latest slogan from Mount Pleasant Mail Centre dated 14-05-2022 marking Dementia Action Week.  The dates aren't shown but the week runs from 16 - 22 May 2022.

It's not called getting old,
it's called getting ill.

Alzehimer's Society
Dementia Action Week

Dementia Action Week slogan, Mount Pleasant Mail Centre 14-05-2022

20 May:  KD (see below) also sent the 'other layout' of this slogan with 6 lines, from Birmingham Mail Centre 17/05/2022:

Dementia Action Week slogan, Birmingham Mail Centre 17/05/2022

UPDATE 20 May: Thanks to KD for yet another new slogan in May, this time marking 'Find Every Child Week'  highlighted by Missing People, "the only UK charity that reunites missing children and adults with their loved ones".  This example is from Medway Mail Centre 19-05-2022

Find Every Child Week
23rd - 30th May

Find Every Child Week slogan used at Medway Mail Centre 19-05-2022

UPDATE 3 June: Thanks to KD for the alternative format from South East Anglia Mail Centre 23/05/2022; another less clear example from N&W Yorks was also supplied but I have lost track of by whom - sorry!

Find Every Child Week slogan used at South East Anglia Mail Centre 23/05/2022

Update 4 June:  A surprise arrived in the post today, the reappearance of the Ukraine Appeal slogan, which could only have been for a few days between 'Missing People' and the Platinum Jubillee. This is from the Southampton Portsmouth & IOW mail centre on 26/05/2022.   

Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal slogan postmark Southampton Mail Centre 26/05/2022

PLATINUM JUBILEE: Another new slogan started on 28 May and will probably run over until next month; as there is no postal service on 2nd & 3rd June it may resume on 4th and 6th.  We will see: all reports welcome.

Her Majesty's
Platinum Jubilee
70 Years of Service
Thank you ma'am

Meanwhile thanks to several people for sending these examples from Exeter Mail Centre (poor as usual from there) on 28-05-2022, and the other format from Sheffield Mail Centre on the same date, and South East Anglia and Plymouth and Cornwall Mail Centres on 30/05/2022

Platinum Jubilee slogan postmark Exeter Mail Centre 28-05-2022

Platinum Jubilee slogan postmark Plymouth and Cornwall (Mail Centre) 30/05/2022

Platinum Jubilee slogan postmark South East Anglia Mail Centre 30/05/2022

Platinum Jubilee slogan postmark Sheffield Mail Centre 28/05/2022


LT has sent this example of a packet stamp from Sheffield Mail Centre with postcode S9 2XX dated 9 May 2002

Sheffield Mail Centre S9 2XX handstamp May 2022



This is the place where all news about May postmarks - provided by readers or discovered by us - will be posted.  Please check back and refresh the page before sending anything which may have already been sent since you last looked: this will save you time scanning and writing.  Variants on postmarks already shown are welcome.

It's interesting to note that alternative formats have not (by the end of the month) been provided for one of this month's slogans (and another is one that has been given to me by a friend) perhaps reflecting the small amount of stamped mail we get these days.

Now, on to June!

Before Definitive Disposal, Booklet Bonanza !

Royal Mail's decision to invalidate Machin definitives has certainly made dealers consider their stocks, and collectors and dealers alike are deciding what to keep and what to release.

I have been surprised as to how many booklets I had in my collection, and how many different booklets there are, which otherwise appear the same.  It's also interesting to note how printing has changed since the 1990s.

Selection of four 1st x 4 'window' booklets

These booklets, catalogued in Gibbons' HB series were produced from 1993 - 1997, and printed by Walsall.  Whereas these days the same cylinder (appears) to be used for months and months (that is, the cylinder number remains unchanged), back in the 90s not only were as many as four cylinders were used for printing the (apparently) single colour stamp, but they frequently changed as shown here.

Above, HB 3b - cylinders W9 W18 W12, and HB 4 - cylinders W5 W11 W10 W1 

Above, HB 6 - cylinders W15 W25 W22 and W19 W28 W26

Above, HB10 - cylinders W35 W43 W46 and W42 W47 W52

HB12 - cylinders W48 W51 W60

Many booklets are already listed in our online store, but of necessity I concentrated on the security issues from 2009, and prestige books.  Most of the others we have only one of and so they will not be listed in the shop but I'll produce a priced list and it will be first come first served.

Remember, there will be a limited opportunity to buy these - most of the stocks will be sent back to Royal Mail next year.