Wednesday 12 June 2024

It's advertised for sale but does not exist: 1st large KC3 business sheet.

When the King Charles III Business Sheets were issued a notable absence was the 1st class Large Letter sheet.

We were told at the time that this "had not yet been printed". 

King Charles III 1st class Large business sheet.

At the time the Royal Mail website warned that:

Please be aware that the stamps you receive may feature an image of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth, rather than King Charles as shown, depending on stock levels and usage.

But in mid-May we were told that all Queen Elizabeth II Datamatrix Machins would be taken off-sale from 1 June 2024.

As several people have pointed out, the caveat on the website remains, but the withdrawal from sale might indicate that the King Charles sheet has now been printed.

Not so!  The end of May withdrawal of the Machins was from philatelic sale: although the information came from the Stamps & Collectibles (S&C) side of Tallents House, it had been assumed that it applied across the board.

But no - the retail side (ie website) continues to sell Queen Elizabeth stamps while they last, in accordance with the wishes of His Majesty (and basic business sense) - to minimise any environmental impact.

I'm advised that the King Charles 1st Large Business Sheet is unlikely to be printed this year, but that it should appear some time in 2025.  

We hope that the S&C team are told early enough to make an official day of issue, so that collectors and dealers can produce first day covers. 

Monday 10 June 2024

News snippets June 2024

This post has a collection of short pieces not really warranting a whole blog post of their own.

Beyond the Definitives

Last year we discussed what products would need to change apart from postage stamps, with Horizon and Post & Go Labels being obvious examples.

Horizon Labels bearing the head of the King have appeared, but not Post and Go - although Royal Mail stopped using Post & Go machines at the end of the year, so no replacement was necessary there. The existing stamps continue in use at Post Office self-service kiosks, although there are trials of a new label which does bear the profile of King Charles.

A couple of readers have reminded me that although there is no postal stationery on sale now other than the prepaid plastic Special Delivery bags.  However the Houses of Parliament, and in particular members, are entitled to use prepaid postal stationery which currently still bears the Machin head. Both 1st (provided by RM) and 2nd class (from RW) are in use.

House of Commons prepaid 2nd class envelope used June 2024.

House of Commons prepaid 1st class envelope used May 2024.

Counterfeit Stamps

Thanks to BB for alerting me to more counterfeit non-definitive stamps being sold on eBay.  The current range now includes the Discworld, Cats, Christmas including miniature sheets, Paddington Bear and Children's TV Classics.  OK, they might be genuine, but it's clear from this photograph that there are no phosphor bands whereas there should be two.

2022 1st class 'Cats' stamps which should have two phosphor bands....

Catalogue Numbers

Thanks to CN who has alerted me to changes of numbers of the King Charles booklets in the Stanley Gibbons Concise Catalogue 2024, as follows:

TB2 - 4x 1st   now    CB1
TC2 - 8x 2nd   now    CC1
TD2 - 8x 1st   now   CD1
TE2 - 4x 2nd L now   CE1
TF2 - 4x 1st L  now    CF1


M24L printings

CN also tells me about the new printing of the booklet of 8 x 2nd class stamps, now with M24L year code.  Here's his picture:

King Charles III 2nd class booklet stamp coded MEIL and M24L, 2024 printing.

JH has provided a good photograph of the whole booklet.

King Charles III 2nd class booklet with stamps coded MEIL and M24L, 2024 printing.

Philatelic Bureau mail

Back in 2014 we reported that Royal Mail was using real stamps (stuck over the PPI) on sendings of bulletins from Tallents House.  Sadly this practice didn't last long.

Set of 2014 Butterfly stamps used on mailings from Royal Mail Tallents House, Edinburgh.

Few philatelic bureaux do use stamps on their sendings (Isle of Man and Greenland do, I think), but Guernsey has made up for not using stamps by advertising them on their envelopes!  My thanks to RM for sending this and other interesting material.

Guernsey Post envelope used in 2024 for sending out stamp orders, illustrated with examples from previous stamp issues.

That's all for now, thanks for reading, and keep sending your news - thanks!

June Slogan Postmarks and other interesting postal markings.

May was quiet with only one new slogan, but we have already had the first for June - will there be any more, though?  

Remember when new stamps were announced with a slogan, and sometimes specific to a particular stamp or location.  Those were the days, and with computer-generated ink-jet, there is no manufacturing costs of slogan dies as there were in the old days.  So the paucity of slogans mus be down to a change in policy and a lack of people available to generate them.

Christmas stamp design winner
East Kilbride New Town

If this month follows the practice of previous years we could see, Father's Day, Pride Month, Loneliness Awareness Week, Armed Forces Day (and possibly Reserve Forces recognition), and Dog Awareness although that might be in July.

However, the first slogan of the month marks the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings in World War 2.

JE was the first to send a picture (from Preston Mail Centre) but it is unnecessarily on a postage paid envelope (C9 license, King Charles stamp), so I'm using this one supplied by RS from Bristol Mail Centre - it's better than the one I received this morning from SE Anglia (Chelmsford).

6 June 2024

D-DAY80 slogan from Bristol (BA,BS,GL,TA) Mail Centre 01/06/2024

Update: JE has now been able to add the iLSM version of the D-Day slogan, from Edinburgh Mail Centre.  Apparently dated 31 May this was allegedly posted on 4 June!

D-DAY80 slogan from Edinburgh Mail Centre 31/05/2024

We understand that the default Heart Foundation slogan resumed on 6 June.




The first postmark of interest this month is a Norwich packet stamp, image provided by JH.  He wondered whether it would pass the threshold for the blog?  Well it is worth showing just because so few people see this sort of handstamp now, with larger items having postage paid by label or with any stamps used either uncancelled or scored out with biro or marker pen.  

The unfortunate thing is that they don't tend to work well with the glossy surface of Post and Go stamps!

Norwich packet stamp with postcode NR1 1AA, used 31 May 2024.

This cover from NB also belongs on the Postal History blog.   The mark is not uncommon, but I suspect we will see many more uses of it as Revenue Protection are asked to double-check and now that the surcharging of mail with allegedly counterfeit stamps has been halted.

Revenue Protection mark on letter, May 2024.

This is an interesting case: the handstamp is often used on contract mail, or bulk mail which is all underpaid - the wording "correct postage raised" would mean that the sender (Philangles) had been contacted, told what the collective underpayments were and 'invited' to pay the difference - or their RM business account would be debited.


The postage paid is 85p, ie fully paid for 2nd class up to 100g.   It is a c5 envelope and could be heavy but I would think the company sought to keep the sending under 100g.   

 After checking it is marked 'treat as 1st class'.  Would this be because it has been delayed by the checking process, or because there was a shortfall and it has been recovered in bulk? 

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

Remember, all postmarks appearing in June will be added to this post, so check here before you spend time scanning and emailing.