February 26, 2014

Prestige confusion and more Spring flowers than you may think

After all the effort I made to try and figure out who International Security Printers were it seems that the Loco prestige booklet was printed by Enschedé. Now, they may also be part of the magic ISP group but until I know more please accept my apologies for any rubbing out you now have to do in your records. So these are all new - four Regional pictorials and the 2p and 5p. You'll recall that the 5p Enschedé in the Merchant Navy book had ellipses near the top. And the last 2p was Cartor.

Another new find - no not a dark blue or black 2nd, that's just my scanner misbehaving and I'll replace the picture when I next use it - is a 2nd blue code M12L MRIL from Walsall. This came only in the coil issues used by big firms. Rare mint but you may encounter some used copies in used mail. 

A new set of Post And Gos is here. Using the same quite bland style of image but the subject matter does cheer in contrast, you need to look out for three different versions already! The first will be the usual strip sent out by the Philatelic Bureau, never to be seen again once installed in an album or box. They have font style 3 as before.

Then you need the nice new font style 4 shown above. These are from new Hytech machines - well, new software in old machines - and have a much more attractive and well-positioned text element.

Lastly, the usual Wincor mchine is printing them with font style 2, annoyingly still misaligned but at least easily identifiable!

February 22, 2014

Walsall + Cartor = ISP - Courvoisier

A new prestige booklet is out this month - Classic locomotives of Great Britain. Royal Mail know very well that there steam engine fans are inevitably either stamp collectors or unable to resist nice stamps with trains on them!

It's an OK sort of book and a better topic than some we have had but what interests me is the definitive pane. I do wonder just how many prestige books they would sell if there wasn't a definitive pane! 

The Philatelic Bulletin announces that these were printed by International Security Printers. That's a new name to me. I must have missed an article or news about this but discovered from a quick search that Walsall bought Cartor and, together with another France-based printing firm, Courvoisier, formed ISL as an umbrella group for this sort of quality and security work.

So, to all intents and purposes, the stamps are printed by Cartor, on the same equipment as before, so the 2p and 5p may not be new Machins, nor may the pictorial Regionals be new either. We'll have to wait and see as no doubt someone much more technically informed of the process will tell us before long.

I don't see any changes for these 1st class reds, the latest foursome in what is now a fairly permanent feature of 2+4 in a booklet. What makes this booklet amusing is the strange alien / ghost-like image to the wright of the footballer on the blue panel! It may not be obvious on first glance and you may even find that you have to view the actual stamp to see it but it is definitely odd - an unintentionally so!