The new Comedy Greats introduce a variation in the related booklet. It seems that it is a tradition now to issue a 4+2 book with each Special Issue (assuming that they have a 1st Class NVI value) and pop two examples in with four 1st Class definitives of the day. I haven't checked when this started and whether it has, indeed, been consistently maintained but it certainly seems to be doing so now.
The variation here is that the larger space for the Special issues is fully occupied by an illustration within which there is the stamp with no border, just the perforation. Interesting. The Machin stamp is the M15L MCIL we've seen before.
A new book of 1st Large includes MA15 MFIL stamps.
A 2p M15L MAIL counter sheet stamp has appeared with a 5p and 20p joining the ranks of 15 codes.
Lastly for now, Post And Gos have gone completely mad with all sorts of overprints appearing on all sorts of different backgrounds. although my supplier did actually send me a bundle of Flags with The RMM, The FAAM and goodness knows whatever acronyms they'd done so in error and are already winging their way back in order to get a refund of the £50 plus cost. Whilst I am sure some of you love these acronym overprints and can happily afford to lay out the regular fortune required, they rather leave me cold. Had overprints been a very occasional thing I might have stuck with them, although I am not entirely sure how I would have coped with what must be the almost impossible task of having a 'complete' collection when you can never really know which Post Office might have some dusty old Birds II roll to put in in future or some strange printing appears when an engineer pops in and makes an adjustment.
All that remained on the Machin front, thankfully, are these pairs of Europe 100g and Worldwide 100g denominations. One pair has an MA13 in the background, the other MA14. You would, at least, have expected an MA15 but there you go. That says a lot. And you'd have though these Post And Gos would have been getting through the rolls but I am wondering just how popular they really are. I haven't yet been in a Post Office where there has been a machine installed. Presumably they do seriously impact on queues at the counters and allow us to pop in and get the required label pretty smartly. I just wonder, though, about just who pops into Post Offices now anyway? I do, once or twice a week, to post parcels which these things wouldn't help me with anyway, but I seldom have to wait very long. If the queue has stretched a bit far then I'll go and do something else and return later.
These are beginning to look very boring now. I am still having third and fourth thoughts about whether even to continue with the Machin labels. I suppose if the costs remain moderate I will but they're not inspiring me. The Horizon labels look just as interesting and seem far, far more widely utilised.
Soon we should have some visual treats with the Penny Black and Twopenny Blue issues. They do look very smart and I do hope there will be some interesting oddities in the mix. It would also be nice if people would actually use them in post. Perhaps the Post Office should try and supply just these for a week in recognition of the other Hill's efforts in 1840 and put all other first class labels aside.