February 16, 2013

On the Horizons

Although it's very big and 'parcely' and only comes in used form* the gold Horizon label that appeared in 2009 deserves a place in a Machin collection. It has taken a while but I think I have worked out which types are which and why now.

Type 1
Perforated style edge
Thick font
Slits all around
Date style //
no VAT .code
Type 1a
Perforated style edge
Thin font
Date style - -
no VAT .code
Type 1b
Perforated style edge
Thin font
Date style //
with  VAT .code
Type 2
Straight edges
Thin font
Date style - -
no VAT .code
Type 2b
Straight edges
Thin font
Date style //
with VAT .code
 Types 1 and 2 have slits all around. Type 2a and 3 have slits just down the sides.
Type 2a
same as Type 2b but with slits just left and right
Type 3
Printed by Walsall. I am still trying to find an easy way to tell Walsall Type 3 apart from DLR Type 2a!
My site listing has 8 entries but I am not sure one of them exists. That's the Type 1a with // date style. I have a feeling that you will only get the // date style with the later VAT .code types. When the change from fat font to thin font was made the // date style changed to - - and only reappeared when the set-up was changed to add a VAT .code.

More likely, actually, now I think about it, might be a Type 2 straight edge with a fat font if someone had the new supply of blanks but hadn't updated the printing machine software. That's pretty unlikely too, though.

So I reckon there are just 7 types to look for at the moment which means you should have a good chance of getting this part of your collection 'complete' quite easily. That is assuming, of course, that you're not looking to get every service indicator. There are about 20 of them so you'll need 140 items which I guess exist but some will be hard to find! I quite like the fact that you can't just buy these over the counter, take them home and put them in an album. Well, you could send some packages to yourself I suppose but you won't know what type of label they'll affix unless you get a chance to peer over a friendly PO Counter staff's shoulder, I suppose.

This brings collecting right back to our earliest days (well, my earliest days - you may have been lucky and had someone who bought you all the new issues) when it was just those on envelopes that we had. It's a pity they're so damn big but, apart from that, I am happy to include them and have realised that they're there before prices start to rise. You should be able to get most label types for under a £1 and it may well be worthwhile buying a big bag or two to see what variations you can find. I may well have to extend that list when I get mine. No-one really knows what to charge at the moment. The postage value isn't terribly relevant so it's just down to rarity and only time will tell in that respect. At present the most expensive are the Type 2s with codes at about £2. I would have thought it would have been the older Type 1s with codes but they're just £1.

It is, though, very early days and there's not much interest yet so much depends upon whether others like me decide they're collectable or not.

*You can buy blanks from some dealers. I'm not sure how they got hold of them and they're not actually stamps at all without the overprint but are attractive and informative background additions for a collection and, not having been through the rigours of being attached to soft bendy packages, thrown around sorting rooms and vans, may display more clearly some of the differences between 1, 2a and 3.