March 27, 2014

No, I didn't leave the £1.47 stamp in clothes that got washed by mistake

 Post And Gos continue to multiply. Now we have the definitive set with the new Type 4 font and these appear, annoyingly, on background designs both with and without the date code MA13. You'd have thought they would at least have made that MA14.

Furthermore and further requiring credit card action are two more overprints. Stampex 2014 and The BPMA continue to get publicity from these issues. They, too, will appear in two versions, dated and undated backgrounds. Strangely, I took the decision not to collect the overprints but still get them on my standard order with my dealer but I don't get the Flags changes. Something odd there which I'll have to attend to. The Flags are a sort of alternative definitive that crops up from time to time when no-one is too sure what roll to put into machines. It really does seem to have a pretty random appearance profile which is why I would actually like to have them and will just put the overprints up for sale.

Flags will be appearing when I get them. For now you need to look out for them with the new Type 4 font with and without MA13, and in Type 3a font a BPMA Postage Due 1914 overprint again ith and without MA13. (I am presuming it'll be MA13).

As if that were not enough additions to my catalogue list, a batch of 1st Class Stampex 2014 normal definitives were issued with the value inscription 1st Class Large instead of the usual 1st Class. I wasn't lucky enough to get these overprints by mistake, just the corrected ones. Odd that.
Back to fairly normal Machins the 1st Large and 2nd Large stamps from Walsall now have Type 2 slits - there is a clear break top and bottom - so are new stamps. They have MA13 and MBIL in the overprint, being from Business Sheets. Now, it may just be me or the light here but they also seem to have a very bright and clear iridescent overprints. I am sure a new process is being used for that.

A recent, not very much published change in postage rates has brought along the usual Spring new definitives. There are four new additions to the amazingly still growing list of Machin denominations. Wonderfully bizarre values: 81p, 97p, £1.47 and £2.15. The £1.47 appears to have been left in someone's pocket during a wash cycle but that really is the true colour and not my scanner playing up. I suppose the postmarks will be clear but I would be quite disappointed if I have handed over £1.47 and had that in return. The surface of the 81p, in particular, looks quite scratchy when compared to older issues. All except the £1.47 have blemishes I am not used to noticing. It will be interesting to see whether this is something that all Machins just have and is neither here nor there or whether it is a significant quality matter that gets addressed and, of course, either the replacements of the originals then become collectable in a big way.

The Regional issues get in on the act too with each issuing a 97p value. In what must be one of the longer running designs now I think about it, the Northern Ireland lace, Welsh blue (why blue anyone?) daffodil, Scottish thistle and English oak now have nines and sevens inscribed where one were just eights and, in 2001, just the letter E.

March 18, 2014

Royal Mail Stamp Reproductions - worth starting a collecting now.

This was issued in 2000 to celebrate the 160th Anniversary of the 1d Black. Quite rare these days, the packs can be found at dealers and at auction but expect to pay £30 or more.

Issued 8 May 2010 and featuring the stamps that most collectors don't have in their British sets! The reproductions are marvellous.Still available at the time of writing at Royal Mail's on-line shop for £5.05!

Also still available at Royal Mail's on-line shop at the time of writing is the 15 September 2011 issue for the 170th Anniversary of the 1d red. I am not sure why such strange numbers but maybe that was the best they could find to have an issue for in 2011. A very good buy at Royal Mail still - just £5.95

The 2012 Facsimile pack had an Olympic theme and recreated the 1948 issue. I guess that was the last time the Games were held in Britain. An even stranger number, 64th Anniversary. These are not available from Royal Mail and must have sold out in 2012. Still available at dealers and auctions for around £18.

The beautiful Seahorses high value issue came out on 19 September 2013. Now this time they got the numbers right with a 100th Anniversary. This is still available at Royal Mail for an extremely modest £8.95.

Due out on 25 March is the Festival of Britain facsimile pack. Hmm.. 63rd Anniversary? This is, perhaps, not the most appealing of the packs issued so far but it's only £5.95 so worth getting for completeness and we'll wait and see what they decide to celebrate in 2015.

This was a nice stamp around in 1915. That'll do!

Seriously, though, these packs are excellent items, well-produced and featuring, so far, interesting an attractive stamps and comprise a collection that you can start now and maintain at modest cost with some reasonable hope of keeping complete too!