Saturday 2 March 2024

Sales of Invalidated stamps - New NVI, airmail, double-head list

I wrote in January that this exercise was nearing its end.   The final list is a wrap-up of stamps in categories not included in the other lists.

The new list is List 12 - NVIs and miscellaneous. It tidies all the loose ends not covered by the X-, Y,- and U-numbered stamps. It extends to the double-headed (Queen Victoria) stamps including those with numerical face values, and the airmail stamps. 


This apparently simple set of 5 was printed by three printers, using two processes and two different perforation gauges.  At the time these were issued Royal Mail was trying various types of booklet production and whilst some books of 4/10 were normally perforated, some were guillotined (ie imperforate) on the two long sides, and some on three sides, producing stamps with one edge or two adjacent edges imperforate. 

So to the basic SG Concise listing of 13 can be added 20 perforation varieties. Later there were 20p and 1st class printings with elliptical perforations, so there are another 5 there.  Quite attractive are se-tenant pairs with top and bottom, or left and right imperforate.  (This type of collecting is very popular in Sweden.)

The list includes many stamps with either blue or yellow phosphor, and several different 1st & 2nd class coils, some available in strips of up to 20 (although folded at 5s).  

List 12 also includes the short-lived Pricing in Proportion stamps of 2006, and the five airmail NVIs including these two.

Some of these are also available in complete booklets and exist with many misplaced phosphor bands.

Also listed are three different 'Boots' labels.


 

The full list

List 1 Booklets for sale v13

List 2 Prestige Booklets v3 

List 3 Regional Machin definitives (not yet updated)

List 5 Pictorial Country definitives (not yet updated)

List 7 Machin X-list for sale v4 (updated 26 January)

List 8 Machin Y-list for sale v4 (updated 26 January)

List 9 Security Machins for sale 

List 10 - Smilers Sheets and singles for sale

List 11 - Castle High Values 1988-1997.

NEW: List 12 - NVIs, airmail, PIP and miscellaneous. (2 March 2024)


Some stocks are already lower than shown on these lists because I have returned to Royal Mail some hundreds of stamps, mainly where the quantities I had were excessive.  I've also broken up some Prestige Books - all those have been available here for long enough for anybody who needed them.

The next stocks I shall weed will be Regional and Country stamps (Lists 3 and 5) because there is very little interest in those now.   

If anybody would like a bulk lot of low-value stamps for crafting or other artistic purposes please contact me by email.  

Similarly if anybody would like any empty PSB books, or the gummed part of some panes, please also contact me.  There are some for which I have dozens, and I would gladly send them.



Tuesday 27 February 2024

Christmas 2023 booklet with missing barcodes sold over PO counter.

In October last year a postmaster found, in his new stock, a sheet of 2nd class stamps with no datamatrix barcodes, which we reported here

Well before the stamps were due to be issued an image of this sheet was shared on a postmaster chat forum and, although we don't know the full facts, it came to the attention of Royal Mail and it seems that Post Office Ltd arranged for the stamps to be withdrawn. They were apparently never sold over the counter, nor direct to collectors or dealers.

Not so in this case.

Earlier this month I was alerted to another case.  The writer had found the earlier blog post and wrote with details and an image, and this time the error is on a 2nd class booklet


Christmas 2023 2nd class booklet with missing barcode

The writer tells that the booklet was sold at a branch in Surrey.  

This error is previously unreported: nobody has mentioned this or similar errors to me before, nor to the Modern British Philatelic Circle (MBPC), the Great Britain Philatelic Society, and no dealers have reported it, and nor have the three monthly magazines with wide circulation in the UK.

The owner is interested in its value.  As I explained, 

The way they are printed, there must be - unless quality control only let a few out in error - a dozen or more, maybe 50.  The fact that they haven't been reported means that:

- they were spotted after your booklet was sold, reported, and returned to the warehouse;
- they were sold but haven't been used, which would be unlikely for Christmas stamps at Christmas;
- they were sold and people who bought them are holding on to them to see if any others are reported - if everybody does that of course it is down to the first one to blink. 

---- or a combination of these.

UPDATE 3 March

I suppose it is a sign of the times that the first comment on this is that the booklet might be counterfeit, never mind the fact that there would be no point in counterfeiting an error rather than a stamp-as-issued. This reflects the plethora of forgeries on the market now, not only of Machin and KC3 definitives, but also many Christmas stamps and, more latterly, gummed special stamps.

To my mind it is an error, nothing more nothing less.  Let me remind you that these were probably printed in the summer, at a similar time to the sheet stamps with missing barcode which were recalled before they could be issued. 

Christmas stamps are printed well in advance of issue. Other special stamp issues are not printed quite as far in advance of the issue date.  Also issued last summer was the River Wildlife set which included the error of a single phosphor band on the 1st class stamps. 

And in February the King Charles valued definitives were printed in sheet form.  We don't know exactly when the coil stamps for first day covers - produced erronesusly without U-shaped slits - were printed but it would have been well before November.  What seems evident is that all these - River Wildlife, Definitives, Christmas sheets and Christmas booklets - were produced during the first 9 months of 2023. 

Although there were other errors, most notably involving prestige stamp books which had missing or duplicated stamp or interleave panes (or covers), or which had serious miscuts or other misalignments, these types of errors were occurring many times over the life of this blog.  

If you look at the word-cloud in the right-hand column of this page, you will see that 'Error' runs to 127 posts.  This does include pre-release usage, and various Post and Go errors, as well as errors in the design (Wales 1st class font types), the missing P from the source code in PSB stamps (M_IL), and errors of colour the 81p PSB stamp) or make-up/inclusion (The £1.17 stamp included in a PSB after it ceased to pay a postage rate), but it also includes many instances of "these should not have made it to the public"!

So errors of one sort or another have abounded, and they really came to a peak in 2023.  It doesn't seem to be unreasonable that the booklet under discussion is another one in the 2023 errors saga.


I hope that publication here and by the Societies and magazines will come to the attention of anybody else who might have one of these and we will then have a better idea of how many there might be.

If any dealer wishes to suggest a value for my contributor, then I shall be pleased to pass it on.



Friday 23 February 2024

Basic 1st and 2nd class letter prices rise by 10p from 2 April 2024.

As usual at this time of the year Royal Mail have announced that some prices will rise from 25 March and 2 April 2024. 

No details have been announced yet for uses of social mail or small businesses: we can expect the announcement for these on 1 March.

Details for franking machines (meters) have been announced including a 1st class rate of £1.17 and 2nd class of 79p.  

As we know most business and meter rates are discounted from the rates for stamps, so we can expect a new first class rate probably close to £1.30 and the second class rate would probably be 80p or more.

Similarly changes new rates apply to Special Delivery and Signed For basic letters. 

Further speculation at this stage is pointless, but I hope to have details to publish here by 2nd March. The 25 March changes will probably only affect business users.

Royal Mail have now issued this press release 1 March 2024

From 2 April 2024, the price of First Class stamps will increase by 10p to £1.35 and the price of Second
Class stamps will increase by 10p to 85p.

Royal Mail has sought to keep price increases as low as possible in the face of increasing cost pressures
and wage increases, declining letter volumes and lack of reform of the Universal Service Obligation (USO).

Letter volumes have fallen from 20 billion in 2004/5 to seven billion a year in 2022/3, while the number of addresses has risen by four million in the same period. The average adult spends less than £7 a year on stamped letters and people now receive on average just two letters per week.

The USO – which requires Royal Mail to deliver letters to all 32 million UK addresses six days a week – is in need of urgent reform. Delivering an ever-decreasing number of letters to an ever-growing number of
households six days a week is increasingly expensive and unsustainable. Postal regulator Ofcom has
recently opened a call for inputs to look at options for reform of the USO given the dramatic reduction in
letter volumes in recent years.

More details to follow.  In the meantime you can download the 'stamps' rates here.



1st

2nd

Letter

1.35

1.25

0.85

0.75

Large Letter – 100g

2.10

1.95

1.55

1.55

- 250g

2.90

2.70

2.10

2.40

- 500g

3.50

3.30

2.50

2.70

- 750g

3.50

3.30

2.70

2.70

Small Parcel 2kg

4.59

4.19

3.69

3.49

Medium Parcel 2kg

6.69

6.29

5.89

5.49

- 10kg

8.39

7.99

7.39

6.99

- 20kg

12.49

11.99

10.99

10.49

(Correction: the original version of this blog showed the April 2023 figures in the table as a 12 month comparison.  In fact a better comparison is with the current (October 2023) rates which show that some of the 2nd class rates have reverted to lower levels.  Correction made 17.40 1 March)


Special Delivery rates, which for 1pm were unchanged last year, are also increased.  The 100g rate rises by 60p from £7.35 to £7.95, the 500g rate by 80p to £8.95.   There are much higher increases if compensation greater than £750 is required.  The basic £1,000/100g rate rises by 33% from £8.25 to £10.95 and that for £2,500 rises by 73% from £10.35 to £17.95.

Two new services have been introduced for Large Letters and Parcels, which include compensation up to £150.

UK Tracked and UK Tracked and Signed offer 24 hour and 48 hour services:



These products do not replace Signed For.  Rates for Signed For are increased in line with the rises in basic letter rates.  Both 1st and 2nd letter increase by 30p to £3.05 and £2.55 respectively.   Large Letter rates and parcels increase by varying amounts. 

Cost of my Post Office Box increases by 7% from £330 to £353.40 pa.  Redirection costs are up 10%.

INTERNATIONAL CHANGES

From last spring there has been only one price for letters worldwide.  This now increases from £2.20 to £2.50 and a new definitive stamp will be issued at this rate in another insipid colour, the old Gooseberry Green.    

This will not be available until 4 April which will be the first day of issue.  Post Offices have been instructed to use make-up values on 2nd & 3rd April: £2 and 50p seems the obvious way.

2024 tariff airmail stamp, £2.50 Gooseberry Green.

 

Postcards will also be £2.50

The 100g rates for Large Letters in Europe and Rest of the World remain unchanged at £3.25 and £4.20 respectively, but rates for over 100g increase by around 10%.

Lowest rates for Europe Small Parcels will also increase by around 10%.

Increases for Worldwide Parcels are also pegged at around 10%.

Surface rate outside Europe, known as International Economy will rise from £2 to £2.20 so it makes sense to keep the £2.20 stamp available for those few people who use this service (often finding that the item has been sent by air anyway!).

If I've missed anything, my apologies.  I will be pleased to be told of any errors and will correct them as soon as possible.



Thursday 15 February 2024

Viking Britain set of 8 stamps - 20 February 2024

The second important set of stamps to be issued this year explores the history and impact of the Viking invasion of Britain and also marks 40 years since the Jorvik Centre opened in York.

As my co-blogger WhiteKnight has covered on his Commonwealth Stamps Opinion it appears that Royal Mail have overlooked the Anglo-Saxons, although they don't always issue series in any sort of order.

Be that as it may, this is a second successive set which is a credit to the designers, and a set which I might almost have for my collection!

Reason and Inspiration (by Royal Mail)

Between the 8th and 11th centuries, the Vikings – seaborne adventurers from Scandinavia – profoundly transformed Britain. They left a legacy that remains with us to this day.

The Vikings were seaborne adventurers of Scandinavian origin whose activities in the British Isles from the end of the 8th century onwards changed the languages, economy, society and political geography of these islands forever. Early raids targeted Christian monasteries and coastal communities but, by the mid-9th century, these incursions had evolved into large-scale invasions that tore up the traditional patchwork of small independent kingdoms. 

The waves of migration, settlement and conquest that followed transformed Britain; by the early 11th century, kings and earls of Danish and Norwegian heritage ruled the whole of England and large parts of Scotland, and dominated the Irish Sea. And while ultimately the sounding horns of the Viking Age fell silent, the echoes still remain.

The stamps

Viking Britain, set of 8 Great Britain stamps issued 20 February 2024, click for enlargment.

1st class - Iron, silver & copper sword, Temple, London; Olaf Guthfrithsson silver penny, minted in York

£1.00 - Silver penannular brooch, Penrith, Cumbria; Lindisfarne Priory, Northumberland

£2.00 - Norse settlement remains, Jarlshof, Shetland; Antler comb and case, Coppergate, York

£2.20 - Guilded bronze brooch, Pitney, Somerset; Hogback gravestone, Govan Old, Glasgow
 

Technical details

The 50 x 30 mm stamps were designed Studio Up and printed by Cartor Security Printers in lithography, in sheets of 30 se-tenant pairs (not sure whether that is sheets of "30 se-tenant pairs" or "30, in se-tenant pairs".  Perforation is 14.  

Acknowledgements

Iron, silver and copper sword (1st class), Silver penny (1st class), Silver penannular brooch (£1) and Gilded bronze brooch (£2.20) © The Trustees of the British Museum;  Lindisfarne Priory(£1) © AJM681/Alamy Stock Photo, featured with kind permission of English Heritage; Norse settlement remains (£2) © Chris Griffiths/Getty Images; Antler comb and case (£2)  © York Archaeological Trust for Excavation and Research Limited; Hogback gravestone (£2.20) © Alan McAteer; featured with kind permission of Govan Old; 

Vintage paper texture © Javarman/Alamy Stock Photo; ‘Time of Viking Invasions’ map, from History of England by George Macaulay Trevelyan. Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd, London, 1926 © The Print Collector/Alamy Stock Photo;  Antique map of Shetland and Orkney Islands  © ilbusca/Getty Images. 

All © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2024

Products available

Set of 8 stamps, presentation pack, first day cover, stamp cards, medal cover (£20, limited to 5,000), framed set (£35).

Congratulations to Studio Up and the Royal Mail team for a great set.


Wednesday 14 February 2024

Happy New Year, it's M24L time for the King Charles definitives.

There have been several reports of King Charles definitives being sold from post offices or appearing on mail, and it seems that a reprint of the 1st class sheet stamp has been necessary already this year.

King Charles 1st class sheet definitive with M24L year code, from 17/1/24 printing.

NVI definitives are printed in sheets of 50 with a gutter, whereas the valued stamps are in sheets of 25 allowing for block of 10 to show the cylinder numbers and date.

On the NVI sheets the cylinders are at the top left, and the date at the top right:

Date strip 17/01/24 at top right of sheet.

Cylinder numbers C1 x3 at top left of sheet: colour, iridescent, phosphor.

UPDATE 29 February 2024.   The 2nd class sheet stamp has now become available with a printing date of 18/01/24 and of course the year code is M24L.

King Charles 2nd class sheet definitive with M24L year code, from 18/1/24 printing.







Tuesday 6 February 2024

Cartor Security Printers acquired by banknote authentication technology specialists.

From Cartor's website:

Following the recent acquisition of Cartor by Spectra Systems Corporation, we are now an integral division of Spectra Systems, the US-based global leader in electronic encryption, authentication systems and gaming security software. 

The combination of Spectra Systems and Cartor will allow for rapid penetration into the banknote polymer substrate market as well as an increased product offering in security printing of tax stamps, labels, and  ID documents.


From Cartor's Press Releases

Security printing group, Cartor Security Printers, has been acquired by Spectra Systems Corporation, a leader in machine-readable high-speed banknote authentication, brand protection technologies and gaming security software. Following completion on 22 December 2023, the acquisition is set to bolster Spectra’s presence in the polymer banknote substrate market and introduce fresh avenues for selling its security products.

Cartor’s existing management structure, comprising Andrew Brigham as managing director, Ian Brigham as chairman and Martin French as finance director, will maintain their respective roles, emphasising the integration of the team as a unified group.

Cartor operates through three wholly-owned subsidiary companies and maintains manufacturing facilities in both the UK and France. It supplies postage stamps to more than 180 administrations worldwide, offering a wide range of products, including conventional and hybrid postage stamps, tax stamps, vouchers, coupons, certificates, and security documents. Additionally, Cartor provides a secure environment for manual assembly and fulfilment. The company stands out from its competitors by employing cutting-edge technology to make it difficult for counterfeiters to operate in industries with valuable products and services.

In collaboration with Spectra over the past two years, Cartor has developed the expertise required to produce Fusion™ substrates, which are undergoing qualification by central banks and leading polymer banknote printers.

Spectra’s acquisition of Cartor will not only enhance its presence in the polymer substrate market, but also enable the integration of advanced security technologies into Cartor’s product portfolio. As a well-established global player in these sectors, Cartor is well-positioned to seamlessly incorporate Spectra’s technologies, develop necessary processes and introduce Spectra’s products to its existing customer base.

Dr. Nabil Lawandy, CEO of Spectra Systems, commented: “The Spectra Board of Directors and I are pleased to announce the acquisition of Cartor, which solidifies our position in the polymer substrate market and broadens our business reach through new sales channels. Our two-year collaboration with the Cartor team has been exceptional and I have great confidence in the group’s leadership.”

Andrew Brigham, managing director of Cartor, added: “The acquisition comes at a pivotal moment for Cartor’s growth and, under Nabil’s leadership, we aim to expedite this growth and unlock new opportunities. The Cartor group intends to harness Spectra’s extensive technical expertise and Cartor’s operational prowess to deliver groundbreaking solutions to both current and future customers.”

 

What is the impact on stamps?

I don't expect any immediate impact on stamp production, and believe that most of the benefit will be in Cartor's other areas of production.  However, this clip from Cartor's 'stamps' page identifies how they are assisting postal administrations in the fight against forgery:

Postage stamps were in the past less targeted by organised crime, but that is no longer the case. Today, many administrations are losing revenue due to counterfeit stamps, but also due to stamp washing, an illegal activity whereby used stamps are collected in large volumes and cancellation marks are removed chemically thereby enabling their re-use.

Cartor is at the forefront of combatting these activities. A combination of security features including encrypted barcodes enable electronic cancellation and inhibit the possibility to generate counterfeit codes.

With our turnkey solutions, administrations can not only immediately reduce revenue loss but also benefit from additional marketing and track and trace capabilities, made possible by our bespoke camera systems and aggregation software. This means it is possible to record exactly which stamps have been produced, which retailers they are ultimately sold from, and where the stamp is eventually delivered, which will be key information to drive mailing solution optimisation in coming years.

Whilst combating revenue loss remains our primary goal, it is also Cartor’s ambition to provide solutions that meet the high aesthetical and quality standards expected in this sector. Cartor has unique experience of working with innovative substrates and is the only provider in the market that has invested in coloured barcoding solutions.

That said, I don't think barcodes will be extended to commemorative stamps. I believe the numbers of modern stamps is very much lower that it used to be, and the numbers actually used (ie within two years) is very low.  

The definitive Swap-out scheme has been a huge and expensive exercise for Royal Mail (and stamp holders) which has had a significant effect on the stamp market.  The market for discount postage has plummeted according to some sources, though generalisations are not easy to substantiate.  Doing the same for commemoratives would be even more disastrous.



Monday 5 February 2024

February 2024 slogan postmarks and other interesting postal markings.

As expected the current default slogan is for Royal Mail's staff-chosen charity, the British Heart Foundation.  

The slogan is a new variation; it has the BHF logo and web address but also a reference to Learning CPR although the exact wording and new web address await a clearer example.  I've asked Royal Mail for a clearer (publicity) image, but in the meantime I have found out that the new wording includes RevivR.

British Heart
Foundation

Learn lifesaving CPR with RevivR
Find out more at
bhf.org.uk/revivr


Our post included this one from Norwich Mail Centre 02-02-2024, thanks to my car-repairer for another bill!

British Heart Foundation slogan from Norwich Mail Centre 02-02-2024

UPDATE: Thanks to Trevor for a clearer example, and in the other layout, and the text on six lines, from (Bristol) BA, BS, GL, TA Mail Centre 01/02/2024

British Heart Foundation slogan from Bristol Mail Centre 01/02/2024


However, the same post brought the first new slogan of February, which started on Saturday 3rd to arrive today, 5th.

National Apprenticeship Week was last record in March 2018. This year's slogan includes the actual dates unlike the previous one.  This example is from Manchester Mail Centre 03/02/2024. (URL in postmark corrected, thanks NI)

Royal Mail supports
National
Apprenticeship
Week
5-11 February

www.apprenticeships.gov.uk

National Apprenticeship Week slogan Manchester Mail Centre 03/02/2024


UPDATE 14 February: I should have posted these sooner, the Valentine's Day slogan which wasn't recorded last year, but which is the same as that from 2022.

Send a little love
this ♥︎
Valentine's Day
♥︎ ♥︎ February 14

Two people sent examples from Sheffield Mail Centre and I'm showing the clearer of these, dates 08/02/2024 (thanks to JH and LF).

Valentine's Day Slogan Sheffield Mail Centre 08/02/2024

Also the other format from a correspondent via Peterborough Mail Centre 10-02-2024.

Valentine's Day Slogan Peterborough Mail Centre 10-02-2024



UPDATE 20 February:  Thanks to JE for a slogan for the Cystic Fybrosis Trust which few will see as it was only used on 16 & 17 February, then replaced by the BHF CPR slogan.

This in turn should be replaced by the 'normal' BHF default slogan from 29 February, he says.

Cystic Fibrosis Trust
Since 1964.
We won't stop
until CF does.
cysticfibrosis.org.uk

Cystic Fibrosis Trust slogan, Birmingham Mail Centre 16/02/2024

 

 


UPDATE  29 February - advance notice for MARCH.

I have heard that an International Women's Day slogan will be used in both formats on 5 & 6 April only, with the aim of 'doormat delivery' (for 1st class letters) on 6 & 7 April, 'the day' being on 8 April.  

From 7 April the 'original' default British Heart Foundation slogan should be used, to appear on deliveries from 8 April.



OTHER POSTMARKS AND POSTAL MARKINGS

Time for another post office branch self-inking datestamp - but where is this from?

Wick News B self-inking datestamp 27.JA.24

You might think that there is only one obvious answer, that it is from the far north of Scotland. Where else is there with the town name of Wick?  

Google map showing location of Wick, Scotland.

Well at one time there were post offices in the villages of Wick in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, but it's neither of those.

No, this one is in the Wick district of Littlehampton, Sussex, in the Wick Newsagents.  At one time the courts relied on the postmark as proof of date/time and place of posting. Although Post Office Ltd would probably be able to tell the court where this packet to our Canadian correspondent was posted, how much easier it would be if the place was on the postmark - Wick, Littlehampton would be much better.

Google map & street view, Wick, Littlehampton.


Update: it has been put to me that this might be from the Gloucestershire Wick where there is also a post office in a retailer named Wick News.  Later update: The Gloucestershire Wick closed and reopened as a Drop & Go branch where there are no handstamps and stamps are not sol.


Thanks to JH for this nice clear datestamp from Holmbush. Once again it is necessary (unless you live nearby) to resort to Google to find that this is in the outskirts of St Austell in Cornwall.

Self-inking datestamp, Holmbush index J, 23.FE 24

Holmbush Post Office, Daniel's Lane (Cornwall) - Google street view.


If you have any other slogans used this month, or any other interesting postal markings, please send them to the email address in the top right of this blog.  Thank you.


Remember, all postmarks appearing in February 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.


Thursday 25 January 2024

Weather Forecasting, 170 years of the Meterological Office - 1 February 2024

Royal Mail celebrates the 170th anniversary of the UK Meteorological Office and the history, science and future of Weather Forecasting with a set of eight stamps.

I am very pleased to see that this issue has proper designs, with distinct elements - and captionsIt would have been difficult to fit the anniversary on the stamps - even more difficult to deal with the questions as to why it was the 170th* anniversary being marked.

Luke Howard, classified clouds in 1803 - Storm barometer of Robert FitzRoy.

Terra Nova Expedition - Marine buoys collecting data
 

Weather observers preparing for D-Day  -  Radar and Computer assisting forecasting in 1950s


Barbara Edwards, first UK female weather presenter - Supercomputers & satellites assiting forecasting.

Royal Mail's write-up:

For most of human history, people regarded weather as a mysterious force of nature. The wind might blow, the rain might fall or the sun might shine, but it all seemed to happen without a clear pattern. 

For centuries, people relied on folk wisdom or the prognostications of astrologers as they sought to find out what was coming next. But then, about two hundred years ago, in Britain, a bold new scientific discipline began to emerge. It would transform our relationship with the atmosphere, making life safer and more enjoyable. Today, we refer to this discipline as weather forecasting. 

2024 marks 170 years since the foundation of the Met Office in 1854, the UK’s national meteorological service. Since its inception, it has pioneered the science of meteorology and its application. Their experts use a wealth of scientific, technological and operational expertise and work around the clock to provide critical weather services to help us make better decisions, stay safe and thrive in our environment. 

Full descriptions 

2nd Class - Luke Howard, pioneer meteorologist, classified clouds in 1803.
2nd Class - Storm barometer of Robert FitzRoy, founder of the Met Office in 1854
1st Class - Terra Nova Expedition studied extreme weather in 1910–12
1st Class - Marine buoys collect data for the Shipping Forecast, first broadcast in 1924 
£2.00 - Weather observers were vital to the success of the D-Day invasion in 1944 
£2.00 - Radar and computers improved forecasting accuracy from the 1950s
£2.20 - Barbara Edwards became the first British female TV weather presenter in 1974 
£2.20 - Supercomputers and satellites help track the Earth’s weather today
               

Technical Details

Designed by hat-trick design, the 41 x 30 mm stamps are printed in lithography on gummed paper by Cartor Security Printers in sheets of 30. Perforations 14.5 x 14.

Stamp designs © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2024
Images courtesy of the Met Office and/or © Crown Copyright, Met Office 2024 (with a special thank-you to the Met Office National Meteorological Library and Archive), except where noted: 

2nd Class Luke Howard by John Opie, courtesy of the Royal Meteorological Society © Open Government Licence 2024, Met Office; illustration of cloud formations from On the Modifications of Clouds by Luke Howard, 1803; 

2nd Class Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy’s storm barometer, c.1875; Royal Charter storm synoptic chart, 1859; 

1st Class Antarctic weather balloon research, 1911 © Scott Polar Research Institute/Science Photo Library; page from Terra Nova Expedition weather register, May 1911; 

1st Class ODAS (Ocean Data Acquisition Systems) buoy; Shipping Forecast areas, 1924; 

£2.00 observer taking hourly temperature observations from a Stevenson Screen, 1941; synoptic weather chart showing weather conditions on 6 June 1944; 

£2.00 weather radar system, Lincolnshire © John Birdsall Social Issues Photo Library/Science Photo Library; Met Office radar image showing rainfall intensity during Storm Ciara, 9 February 2020; 

£2.20 photograph of Barbara Edwards with a television forecast map, c.1975 © BBC; 

£2.20 illustration of a Meteosat Third Generation geostationary satellite © European Space Agency, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO/Science Photo Library; satellite image showing water vapour in the atmosphere © Crown Copyright, Met Office, data: EUMETSAT.

Product List

Set of 8 stamps, presentation pack, first day cover, stamp cards, (total £58.05), and framed stamp set (£34.99).

* So why 170 years - and why not combine it with the centenary of the first broadcast Shipping Forecast?  Maybe in 5 years time there will be no more stamps - or no more subscribers to Royal Mail's new issue service.


Tuesday 23 January 2024

Last chances to buy Machin Definitives, booklets, etc.

Yes, it's the final countdown.  Whilst I have not fixed a date by which I shall return all Machin stock to Royal Mail (and neither have they announced an end to the scheme), this is the last major chance for you to buy all Machin definitives.

New updated lists of original (X), elliptical (Y), and security Machins (U) are now available to download from Dropbox using the links below.  When this post has disappeared off the foot of the page, the links will still be available on a separate sales page shown in the column on the right.  Country definitives will be added shortly.

Update:  A customer asked about the Castle definitives, and so I have produced a short illustrated list of those.  You can download list 11 now.

NORVIC STAMP SALES LISTS

List 1 Booklets for sale v13

List 2 Prestige Booklets v3 

List 3 Regional Machin definitives (coming soon)

List 4 Pictorial Country definitives (coming soon)

List 7 Machin X-list for sale v4 (updated 26 January)

List 8 Machin Y-list for sale v4 (updated 26 January)

List 9 Security Machins for sale

List 10 - Smilers Sheets and singles for sale

List 11 - Castle High Values 1988-1997.

 

NOT included are 1st and 2nd class pre-security stamps or the Queen Victoria double-heads, although some are included in the booklets list.  I do have some of these but they have not been sorted.  Wants lists are welcome.

Please email me your requirements from these lists, one list at a time, preferably in the same order as shown on he list.  

If you know that you (may) require stamps from more one list, mention this with each email you send, and I will consolidate and give you a total figure.

In the past a couple of customers have been surprised by the total cost of their order - please try to keep a rough track of the total cost of what you are asking for.  I don't want to draw all the stamps from stockbooks onto stock cards only to be told that you can't afford them.  This would be especially unfair on other customers who might have been turned down because you had 'reserved' the stamps.

Postage and packing will follow usual rates.  For very large orders special delivery may be advisable. 

Purchases from our online shop can be included; to complete the order payment must be made, but please include a message with the order that you are ordering from the lists as well.  Postage paid on online orders will be taken into account when adding other stamps.

If you have any questions please email or phone.



Marshall Islands Queen's Diamond Jubilee Anniversary sheet of Machin definitives - two available!

I first mentioned this stamp issue from the Marhsall Islands back in 2012 not long after the blog started. 

Issued on 6 February 2012 the Marshall Islands miniature sheet marks the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II and contains 6 x $1.05 stamps each illustrated with a British Machin definitive.

The stamp illustrations show stamps in multiples of 10, the 10p orange brown, 20p bright green, 30p olive-green litho printing, 40p azure, 50p self-adhesive 2009 security issue, and 60p light emerald. All the illustrations are slightly larger than life-size and have a line through the face value.

I have now found three of these sheets and they are available at £6.50 each including UK postage. International postage on request.

FOUND ONE MORE! 

And that's gone too!

This can be combined with anything from the shop or our sales lists (to be updated very shortly).

Please email to ian - at - norphil.co.uk



Last Post for the Norvic Security Checklist: I think it's all over!

"From February 2009 1st and 2nd class Machin Definitives and higher-priced 'make-up' values at 50p and £1 will be produced as self-adhesive Stamps with enhanced security features including semi-circular slits and an irridescent overprint.

"These initiatives are part of the on-going development of security features for Stamps. The slits are designed to inhibit the removal of these Stamps for fraudulent sale and re-use. The overprint features the words 'Royal Mail' in a pattern reminiscent of security features on banknotes."

This was how I announced the introduction of Machin definitives with security features on our website back in 2009.

It was only in April 2009 that we listed the different source codes, following the report on the Machin Mania blog. This in turn reported that the late Douglas Myall had written that 'the non-denominated security Machins have a hidden code that identifies the format in which the stamp was issued'.

The following April, the late Alec Withell reported that new retail booklet stamps had a year code, and this was soon found to apply to all stamps printed each year.  There were inconsistencies, with many new years' printings not being sold until the following year - but occasionally in the previous year!

Catalogue producers then had to work out how to list these new stamps with their variations.  Gibbons, sadly, chose a complex way of doing so.  There is a logic to it, but their system caused multiple changes, such as for the Recorded Signed For stamp is listed as

Concise 2010: U2916a;
Collect British Stamps: U2940;
Concise 2011: U2981.

I had already decided on a different numbering system, and started a conversion table, in part so that users of preprinted albums with SG numbers would know where to find the stamps in our sakes listing.


This developed into the Checklist which has developed over the years, with the help of so many readers and other collectors, running to over 50 pages.

Now that the last of the Machins have been issued, there will be no more additions to the Checklist, and no changes unless somebody wants to go through and fill in all the missing printing dates etc. 

The last edition is now available for downloading here.

My thanks to friends, collectors and dealers for their continued contributions to this list over the years.


Thursday 18 January 2024

"Can we still use Queen Elizabeth stamps?" - information and misinformation

This question continues to be asked in social media platforms, and I have had reports of friends not wanting to buy collectors' surplus of Queen Elizabeh stamps arising from the Swap Out scheme.

The invalidation of old-style Machin definitives caused a lot of confusion which will, it seems, continue for some time.  After all, unless you are aged over 75 you have probably never used a stamp from a previous reign (unless you are/were a collector).


Not Valid

Both these types remain valid for postal use

Given that Royal Mail, retail outlets, and Post Office branches, are still selling barcoded Machin definitives, and they are still being supplied in the Swap Out it is very unlikely that they will be invalidated soon.

Whilst no regular definitives were issued after the end of the reign, some were included in subsequent prestige book panes, as were many set of special stamps.

Previous reigns

King Edward VII definitives were printed in two distinct series, by De La Rue and Harrison and Sons. ALL the Harrison printings were issued after the King died.  It wasn't until 1913 that the last stamps of the first long set of King George V definitives were issued.

King George V died in January 1936 and three values of the last (photogravure) definitives were issued in the February, the 5d, 10d & 1s.

The first definitive stamps of the reign of King George VI were issued just before the Coronation in May 1937. Some values were not available until 1939 - all values above 5d, so the stamps of the previous reign continued to be issued.

After the Accession of Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952 the first deinitives were issued in time for Christmas, but the remaining values were spread over the next two years and some booklets in the new reign included stamps of both reigns.

With modern high-speed printing the stamps of King Charles III have had only two issue dates, with NVIs being issued ahead of the (plentiful Machin) make-up values.






Tuesday 16 January 2024

Great Britain 2024 Stamp Programme - Predictions and winners

My thanks to the 21 people who sent their predictions, some regular readers of the blog, and some members of the Stampboards forum (some are both). 

The entries were a mixture of:

- actual predictions of likely subjects; 

- a wish-list of things that might be included but that Royal Mail were unlikely to include;

- a list of anniversaries in the hope that some might be included;

- total spoof (I hope) suggestions

- a mix of these.

Of the 15 stamp issues on Royal Mail's programmme more than half (8) were not predicted by anyone! Leaving aside the obvious Christmas issue, that's 8 out of 14. 


 Of the remaining six, the most popular prediction was for the 150th anniversary of the birth of politician and wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill which eight people predicted.

Next was the Centenary of the first British Commemorative Stamp (4 people), Dogs (3), and Dungeons and Dragons (2).

There were many suggestions which I considered as definitely worthy of a stamp issue, even if Royal Mail couldn't find room in he programme. 

Most notable of these is the bicentenary of the establishment of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, suggested by 5 people. I think it was a mistake not to include the 70th anniversary of the first broadcast 'Shipping Forecast' in the Weather issue next month (suggested by 4 people as an anniversary to be marked). One suggestion was to have a remembrance of civil disasters such as Hillsborough and Grenfell: while I think a National Day of Remembrance would be a good idea, I don't think the subjects could sensibly and sensitively displayed on stamps.

If only we were marking British cultural personalities and notable anniversaries we could have included, among others: the bicentenary of the National Gallery, 75 years of NATO, Detective fiction (Wilkie Collins Centenary), Alfred Hitchcock, Clarice Cliff, Oscar Wilde, the RSPCA, the Normandy landings, athletics, etc. Three people suggested issues on similar 'green' themes: sustainability, environment, global warming or climate change.

Under Politics people mentioned the First Labour government, Margaret Bondfield, Welsh Assembly, creation of Metropolitan Counties, establishment of the Brexit Party (5 years), Ramsey Macdonald, the Welsh Assembly, and the likely General Election. Whilst we have had politicians before, and doubtless there are other politicians who would rank along with them, but such is the state of United Kingdom politics these days, that there is really no possibility.

Some people obviously did a lot of research for anniversaries, but the inclusion of non-British events or people was optimistic to say the least: Abba, Edward Hubble, The Big Bang Theory (tv programme), and others. Some suggestions relied heavily on past issues – maybe so that I could say “we had that before” if it turned out to be true!

Nobody predicted more than 3 issues accurately. Of these D in The Netherlands and AL both suggested a further 5 which I thought could and maybe should have been marked. Three more people recorded four subjects which I thought were justified. Two people were accurate with only two predictions but both produce 7 really good unadopted ideas as well.

I also gave 'commendations' to two people for the inventiveness and/or humour of their ideas. One of them predicted nothing accurately and made no 'worthy' suggestions, but produced a good list.

It would be good to reward everybody who took the trouble to enter, but sadly that is not the case. I shall be writing to the six mentioned for their addresses to send a prize for their suggestions.

Commendation goes to MM for this innovative and humorous programme:

I’m going with some of the “one-day only” issues and the treasure hunt.  

- New Years Day (01/01/2024)

- Burns Night (26/01/2024)

- Chinese New Year (10/02/2024)

- Valentine’s Day (13/02/2024 - £15.00 face value set of six alternative designs guaranteed before 08:00 am

- so that cards can get there before school starts. Special £100.00 limited edition offer to have a red rose delivered alongside the card)

- St David’s Day (01/03/2024)

- Mothers Day (09/03/2024 - £20.00 face value set of six alternative designs guaranteed before 09:00 am Sunday delivery. Special £150.00 limited edition offer to have a bouquet delivered alongside the card)

- St Patrick’s Day (17/03/2024)

- Spring Equinox (20/03/2024)

- St George’s Day (23/04/2024)

- Fathers Day (15/06/2024 - £20.00 face value set of six alternative designs guaranteed before 09:00 am Sunday delivery)

- Autumn Equinox (22/09/2024)

- Halloween (31/10/2024)

- Guy Fawkes (05/11/2024)

- Remembrance Sunday (10/11/2024)

- Armistice Day (11/11/2024)

- St Andrew’s Day (30/11/2024)  

- I’m going to suggest 30/03/2024 for the treasure hunt issue as that would make March particularly crowded. Normal embargo rules would apply which would then make March a total nightmare for everybody.

- We could maybe leave the General Election issue in as a floating set as nobody knows yet when it will be.

And then there is this from WB who wrote:

Really enjoyed coming up with this - the challenge was to go for the (faint!) dividing line between definite spoof and daft, but just the sort of thing that Royal Mail might indeed be stupid enough to attempt to unleash on us...

2024 Royal Mail Stamp Issues- 2 issues per month

January - Reality TV-featuring catchphrases and stars from various reality TV shows

January - Winter Olympics-special stamp to be produced for each British gold medallist

February - Centenary of 1st Labour government-featuring each Labour leader/Labour slogans

February - Music Greats-Taylor Swift

March - Comic Book Heroes-Batman

March - Seasons of UK(Spring)-views from locations around the UK in Spring

April - Cryptocurrencies-stamps priced in both sterling and bitcoin values

April - Artificial Intelligence

May - Premiership clubs-stamps contain QR code linking to offers from that club*

May - Entertainment-Big Bang Theory

June - Music Greats-ABBA 50th anniversary of winning Eurovision Song Contest

June - Seasons of UK(Summer)-views from locations around the UK in Summer

July - Olympics-special stamp to be produced for each British gold medallist

July - Paralympics-special stamp to be produced for each British gold medallist

August - Famous Brands-stamps contain QR code linking to adverts from that brand*

August - Drill and grime artists

September - Seasons of UK(Autumn)-views from locations around the UK in Autumn

September - Disney characters

October - Nonbinary Issue-Non binary personalities-introducing pronoun tags+

October - Nonbinary Issue II-Non binary flora and flora-introducing pronoun tags+

November - YouTube influencers-stamps contain QR code linking to that influencer’s channel*

November - Artemis II launch

December - Seasons of UK(Winter)-views from locations around the UK in Winter

December - Winter Festivals-celebrating Kwanzaa,Hanukkah,Yule and Solstice

 

There is a long list of other suggested topics which have not already been on stamps included:

Orwell's 1984 (75), Bagpuss (tv) (50), Greenwich Time Signal (100), London Eye (25), Eurotunnel (30), Zulu (film), Gay Weddings (10), PO Tower (60), BBC Belfast (100), Band Aid (10), New Year's Day public holiday (50), BBC2 (60), Golf in England (100), Ben Nicholson, Bronte Sisters, Rosetta Stone (225), Match of the Day (tv) (60), Ceefax (50), Death Penalty abolition (60), Sir Stanley Spencer, Vagrancy Act of 1824 – images of city streets, Great Storm of 1824, The Good Beer Guide (50), Neurodiversity Week, First Municipal Fire Brigade (Edinburgh) (200), Food (150 years of Coopers Oxford Marmalade), Fantastic Fungi, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (film link), British Scientists, Gustav Holst (150), UPU (150), Motorcycle Ice Speedway, Folk Museums, House of the Dragon, Town Halls, other historic buildings, Folk Museums, Open University (50), Pizza Hut in UK (50), Tony Hancock (100), ferries; modern transport; public houses and inns, Howard Carter (150), Arthur Quiller-Couch (80), Benny Hill (100), Charles Laughton (125), Sir Edmund Halley, Sir William Siemens, Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race, Monty Python, Royal Houses from 1066 not prevously included, Burmese War (200), Harry Grundell Matthews death ray (100), Mallory & Irvine (100), DH Comet (75), New Covent Garden Market (50), Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (100), Eileen Argar (125), first royal broadcast(100), 30th February Harry Mountbatten – Windsor renounces all ties with the UK and takes US citizenship; 31st September GB Govt announces the end of British Summer time and all that clock changing. 

 

This has been an interesting exercise, and I am amazed at the number of different subjects suggested. I would have liked to have illustrated this blog, but there is no simple way to do that which is not very time-consuming: I didn't ask contributors to illustrate their answers.

It is not an exercise that will be run again, as it took rather more time than I expected.

I hope all readers find the results interesting and I look forward to your comments.