June 25, 2014

Rare stamps!!

real stamps on an envelope!

I actually got some stamps on an envelope in the mail this morning. The fact that it was from another dealer in Machin stamps says it all really. Are we the only people who are now using these? Is this 'collecting' lark merely a sort of self-perpetuating affair where Royal Mail know that we're the only people buying them and just produce all sorts of variations for the fun of it and watch contentedly as people like me write articles encouraging you to acquire this or that?

Oh well, for the benefit of those who are still awake and wondering what is new out there, here are the latest developments and issues.

The first is a 2nd Large DLR with M14L date code. Then there's a book of 12 Walsall 2nd CB showing M14L MTIL which will doubtless be the most frequently found stamp on post this year so not exactly worth a fortune but needed nonetheless if you're going to keep that collection complete.

Next we have three more DLR items. A 10p, 20p  and 1st Large showing M14L.

Now there's is something surprising. A new Post And Go print showing both Euro 20g and World 10g which are now the same price but it must have been confusing for people wanting to send something 9g to somewhere that wasn't in Europe. To be honest, I get confused by the rates and weights anyway and really do wonder whether this idea of NVIing everything is that bright after all.

It all started with 1st and 2nd and then E came along when we had a perfectly adequate 34p stamp (or whatever the rate was at the time). I suppose it did mean that we could buy stamps and carry on using them after a rate change and got a little bit of satisfaction from the fact that spending all that money in advance had saved us a few pence later. So those made some sense and it always seemed pretty reasonable to buy an Airmail envelope (actually, maybe that was where it started now I think about it) and just pay whatever the latest price was for the flimsy sheet of blue paper.

The latest flurry of activity around these rates and weights, though, seems to be heading for confusion. They are trying to hang on to six for the 'collector's strips' as all sorts of problems will develop if there are numbers like 11 or 5. The NCR machine putting values on the labels seems to be going back to the original idea of a stamp but just adding the value at the end instead of us having to buy a range and make up the rate ourselves.

For now, though, the Post And Gos continue apace with these two overprint issues, 'The B.P.M.A. on Flags and Machin olives. Both these have the new dual value although here in Type 4 font at the same point size for both lines, unlike the NCR Type 2a font with its different sizes.

The Machin Post And Gos here all have an MA13 date code. I imagine there must be a lot of that year's backing around so it could be some time before we see MA14. The NCRs below are the 'normal' basic set which I think I have featured before but that may have been with no date code or a strip I had earlier. the Worldwide 10g and 40g values will exist as these were still in being when the first NCRs appeared and will be worth hanging on to.

Of course, there is still no mention from some dealers of the other NCRs - the ones with the actual values printed that I have written about recently. I am still none the wiser as to whether they are indeed likely to be a myriad different denominations for those. I am pretty sure there will be - a similar range to those we see on Horizon labels seems logical although perhaps the 'Signed For' denominations and one or two others can't be included because there would need to be some paperwork kept behind the counter and if someone had to queue up afterwards to hand that over it defeats the purpose of the automatic machines.

So far, I have to say that by far the most common labels I am seeing on post are the Horizon gold ones. They're awkward to collect but do seem to be the range that is surviving. I will write about them in an article soon.

June 02, 2014

Slightly more interesting... NCRs


So here are the first NCR 'Open Value' labels on Spring Flowers that I have seen. In fact they're the first on any pictorial Post and Go label that I've seen. These are the new denominations, as are the Machins that I have also acquired. 

Now I still don't know whether these represent all that can be obtained or whether, by pressing different buttons, other codes and denominations can be printed, as listed and suggested, or should I say, feared, in an earlier post. 

Whilst I think the Machin head issues are a must for any GB definitive (and, of course, any Machin) collector I am not sure I feel duty bound any more to keep up with the pictorials. It's good to have some early examples of almost any series but, if this style becomes standard then I am seriously considering collecting just the Machin head items. I suppose that'll have to include the ruddy overprints which I dislike but just feel very relieved that they're not on ordinary definitives!

I do collect pictorial definitives for Regional issues but they have been extremely modest in output. In 5 years there have been 67 different pictorial labels. That's just the picture, no account taken of fonts, date codes or whatever. The Regional Pictorials over 14 years have been just four main and a few odd additional items for each of the four nations. And if there has been a change then we haven't had to buy six denominations for each image! 

As it is my understanding that any roll can be fitted into the NCR style machines, there is a possibility of almost any of those 67 designs appearing. OK, some must be pretty remote but they're the ones that make the headlines and we all wish we'd found. This business of stamp collecting is all about completeness - you really do want to feel that you stand some vague chance of getting a complete set of things. I just don't feel that way about the Post And Go pictorials now, especially now with the NCR potential for huge additions to the series, old rolls being found in cupboards and six more of each for every rate change introduced.

If it wasn't for the fact that I have only recently added back in Post And Go overprints on a standing order with a dealer I would cancel any new pictorials now. I can live without Flowers II, III and whatever comes next. I could happily watch news of the latest overprint on Dogs IX appearing on NCR 60g varieties in font style 8.5. The Machins would be more than enough. I think I had better wait for a few months though and just try and sell all the pictorial stuff that I have and comes in.

I do think I have finally come to a conclusion. Basically - stick to Machins. Duh, of all people, I really should have figured that out long ago!