September 09, 2006


Once upon a time all was delightfully clear: there were definitives and there were stamps that were not definitives. Christmas stamps were sort of definitives but, being produced in the commemorative style of the day, one could safely leave them to the general collection or ignore them if that wasn't your bag. Now I'm beginning to have doubts. These may pass but this year's 4 small size stamps I mentioned previously have a sort of Smilers feel to them and I've convinced my self of their merit in my definitive collection so I guess I'll have to add the Christmas ones too. That view is confirmed as I see that there will also be two 'Large' additions, being the small size reproduced on a Horizontal PiP size stamp and lots of white space.

What worries me is what I do if more 'special' stamps come out in these formats and I shall have to get them too + all the variations. Maybe I should have stuck to machins after all!

9 November 2006: new NI pictorial definitives

Again, not Machin news, I'm afraid, but pretty essential definitive items, with the 4 NI definitives being reprinted in gravure instead of litho by De La Rue. The Poppy sheet, out two days later on 11/11 will include each of the 4 Country 72p pictorial definitives again in gravure by De La Rue. Until you see the actual stamps you may not be able to decide whether the individual items meet your criteria as new additions but I'd advise playing safe and getting this sheet even if you aren't bothered about gums or less obvious variations by the same printer - and there are some new se-tenant pairings here too.

The poppy sheet will probably be produced in large numbers and is unlikely to command great prices in future but the Poppy 1st class stamp included is a superb piece of design.

17 October 2006: new Smilers

A book of 6 1st class small-size Smilers - the ones I suggested definitive collectors should ensure they keep an eye on - will be issued with new designs. There will also be a presentation pack and a generic sheet. So make sure you get your current issue sheet, either with your own choice of photo or the generic one. At £6.95 this may be pricey but it is the cheapest way to get the Cartor printing. I can see this being a rare item in years to come. With all self adhesive stamps, the backing can vary and there have been issues in the past where a special run is made on white backing just for a year set or individuals supplied to BPB orders. Don't know whether the presentation pack stamps will be the same so watch out in case they aren't. So far there haven't been any white back Smilers specially produced.

2 October 2006

PiPs again - looks like the same 1st class stamps with the large value but in a new booklet of six which features an advert for stamp collecting.