The 20p and 5p have now appeared with M17L MAIL codes, being the De La Rue counter sheet issues.
From Walsall we also have M17L MBIL from Business sheets
and a Walsall 1st red with M17l MTIL from books of twelve.
Two more '16' codes here for the Walsall 1st red M16L MBIL and 2nd blue M16L MTIL
Lastly, something nice and confusing for us all! If you look at the 2nd Class above and 1st Class below you'll see that the security backing text looks a bit different from one to the other. I think that's because one has the text printed upside down in comparison to the other. Because the lines of text are now not only large-small-large but also normal-inverted-normal but either the large or small can be one or the other. So if the paper is printed in one direction it will appear different to that printed in the other. Now, so far, I gather that only one issue has been produced in both ways. That's the Walsall 1st red M16L MSIL from books of six.
One dealer is distinguishing these by asking us to look at the first line of text that is upright and below an inverted line. This will either be large or small text and will be followed by another upright line in either small or large text respectively. So you look down the left edge and the first two lines of upright text will determine the type. This one above is Large-Small. Because the Walsall M16L MSIL first appeared with the older style backing text, where each line was upright, this is even more confusing than I first thought. In fact, I don't seem to have an example of the Small-Large at all so assume that the dealer sent me this one as simply an example of the new security backing paper for the M16L MSIL issue and not, as I had thought, the second type of the new security backing paper.
Before looking through my previous items and finally getting my head around how to detect the difference I had already written to the dealer to say that I really couldn't get excited about this and so please exclude these inverted but not really inverted small-large or large-small things from my standing order. It now looks like they hadn't actually sent me both types anyway. So they'll be thinking I am a bit stupid.
To be honest, I think it is entirely reasonable to be a bit stupid about this. For a start, we're talking about something that really is not easy to detect unless you have a nice fat margin of paper around a mint stamp, and which is not part of the stamp at all but some printing on the paper it is attached to and will, occasionally, be detached from.
How long before someone peels off the stamps and then replaces them the other way up? That would achieve the same result, I think, and be virtually impossible to detect. Yes, the more I think about this, it is nothing like paper types, watermarks, stars printed on the back and all the previous variations we've had to consider and which have been worth collecting. I'm quite glad to have excluded them. For all I know, all the new SBP issues could be found with this alternative text. As it is there's a risk of more year codes for all of them and this could effectively double the numbers again!
I shall consider that a close call.