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 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


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.



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.

Friday, 6 May 2022

Latest maximum card

There is not a great deal happening at present until the pre-release images of the Cats stamps break the embargo and are shown elsewhere!

So here is my latest maximum card, the only one I produced from the Migratory Birds set.  I didn't have time to search for or buy other subject cards.  

The card design is by Robert Gillmor who produced the designs for Royal Mail's Post and Go Birds stamps and others.

1st class stamp illustrated by Killian Mullarney. Postmark Nightjar Close, Poole.

Nightjar maximum card, Migratory Birds stamps, 7 April 2022 with Poole pictorial postmark.

Sunday, 1 May 2022

Datamatrix low values: positions, blocks at face.

Although these new stamps are readily available from Royal Mail's philatelic service, and many post offices, it is often difficult to get collectable positional singles, or cylinder and date blocks from either.

As I have a spare set of sheets, I am able to provide these at face value, but I only have one sheet of each.   ALL THESE VALUES are available: preference will be given to applicants who want a complete set of positions.  Set of eight is £1.88. 

Low value Machin datamatrix stamps 2022.

Full counter sheet of 1p datamatrix definitive stamps.

Cylinder block options:   

block of 4, 6, 8, 10 with stamps vertical and cylinder number in top margin;

block of 4, 6, 8 with stamps sideways and cylinder number in left margin;

block of 10 with stamps sideways and cylinder number and date & grid in left margin.


Date block options with stamps vertical:

block of 4 with date, grid in top margin;

block of 6, 8 or 10 with date, grid in top margin and colour tab in right margin;

UPDATE 13 May 2022:

We also have some of the airmail and high values with date, and colour name, from the top right of the sheets.


Delivery and payment

For UK delivery postage will be low (unless signed for or special delivery is required), and with payment by bank transfer.  

For international delivery postage below cost (unless tracked/registered is required): payment by UK bank transfer or PayPal friends and family.

To apply

Please email with your requirements, name and postal address for delivery.  

I will wait two weeks for responses and then email replies with costs.  

Thank you.

Last dates of sale for special stamps announced

Earlier I reported on the last dates of sale for Machin stamps without datamatrix codes.  We can now report the last day of sale for a range of commemorative/special stamps.

The following stamp issues will all come off sale on 29 June 2022.  It is interesting that this date is not shown in the Stock List issued only last month.  Collectors now have only two months to buy the stamps and associated products shown in blue.  

This is the list for stamps to the end of 2021.

MINT STAMPS (values and Royal Mail product code)

Stock list

New announcement

Lest We Forget (3 x 1st) 06.11.08 AS474


Lest We Forget (Poppy 1st) 23.10.12 AS841


Harry PotterTM 16.10.18 AS4123


Marvel 14.03.19 AS4355


D-Day 06.06.19 AS4659



End of the Second World War AS5700 £9.36



Queen 09.07.20 AS6000


Sherlock 18.08.20 AS6200



Rupert Bear 03.09.20 AS6300 £9.56



Brilliant Bugs 01.10.20 AS6400 £8.20



Star Trek 13.11.20 AS6600 £11.40


National Parks 14.01.21 AS6700 £9.50



Only Fools and Horses 16.02.21 AS6800 £10.60


UK Celebration MS 26.01.20 MZ160



The Legend of King Arthur 16.03.21 AS6900 £13.25



Classic Science Fiction 15.04.21 AS7000 £10.40



The Wars of the Roses 04.05.21 AS7100 £11.76



Paul McCartney 28.05.21 AS7200 £10.60


Dennis and Gnasher 01.07.21 AS7300 £7.95



Wild Coasts 22.07.21 AS7400 £9.50



Industrial Revolutions 12.08.21 AS7500 £6.66



British Army Vehicles 02.09.21 AS7600 £10.60



DC Collection 17.09.21 AS7700 £11.40


Rugby Union 19.10.21 AS7800 £11.76


Christmas 2021

Already withdrawn

Platinum Jubilee Cover 1 June 2022 - Royal Mail learn from their 95th Birthday mistake

Twelve months ago we had been debating the rights and wrongs of Royal Mail's 95th Birthday cover commemorating the 95th Birthday of Queen Elizabeth II.  That one included a special definitive pane similar to one from a prestige stamp book, but not available elsewhere and including stamps not otherwise available.

They have now announced their Coin Cover to mark Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee.  This utilises the similar pane from the Platinum Jubilee prestige stamp book issued in February this year, combined with a 50p commemorative coin.

Royal Mail Platinum Jubilee commemorative coin cover, 1 June 2022

Postmark and reverse & obverse of coin for Platinum Jubilee cover.
"In celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee , Royal Mail is releasing a limited edition Coin Cover featuring the 2022 Commemorative 50p coins in Brilliant Uncirculated plus Silver and Gold Proof versions released by The Royal Mint.

"Affixed to the Coin Cover is the definitive pane from Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Prestige Stamp Book issued on 4 February 2022. The special edition envelope and information card celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s lifelong love of horses. Available to pre-order now the Coin Covers will be postmarked and issued on 1st June 2022 just before the 4 day national Platinum Jubilee celebration weekend." 

In an edition of 15,000 the basic cover with brilliant uncirculated coin costs £17.50.
There are also 750 covers with a 925 Ag silver proof costing £57.50 and 50 covers with a 916.7 Au gold proof coin, costing £1,095.

We hope that this is produced from the original printing, rather than being a reprint with a year code of M22L.   I'm sure this cover was planned long ago.