May 30, 2015

In the postman's bag this week

I was telling my postman about the 1d black anniversary issue last week and as he'd never heard of them I suggested we have a look through all the mail in his bag and see if there was one there. Not only were there no 1d black anniversary issues but there there were no Post And Gos, no special issues and just two actual stamps, a couple of 1st Class reds, one which look distinctly as though it was being reused when we looked a bit more closely, despite all the security slits and awkward glue.

That was amongst the whole of his round still to be completed, well over 200 items which we just skimmed through pretty rapidly so may have missed something but I doubt it. Horizon labels were the main 'stamp' items amongst the bundle.

I am beginning to wonder just what the numbers would look like for stamps sold for postal use. I know that collectors are probably providing 99% of the revenue for special issues but the thought that we may be the principal raison d'ĂȘtre for most definitives too is saddening. I can't stop until the Machins stop but I am, for the first time, almost hoping for their end.

Spare a thought too for the Post And go collectors who have not cancelled orders for the non-Machin issues and overprinted issues. I've counted 22 new issues, not counting those illustrated below, three for the Heraldic Beast issue but most of the others all new overprints or old overprints on different labels. There are even some from overseas exhibitions. They would have needed well over £500 to fund that lot in an attempt to stay 'complete'!

The Cartor versions of the 1st black and blue are not Machins I know but these are nice stamps that ought to be in any British collection, although I am none to sure of the need for these 'Smilers' sheets. the facility to have a photograph of yourself or someone or something else professionally printed and appearing on a sheet of proper British postage stamps was quite a remarkable thing when it first came on the scene. It pushed most of our computers' graphics cards to their limits to handle the process and it was a bit tedious over dial-up but it was different, if expensive. The 'Smiler' issues that were available for the process also seemed vaguely appropriate but now you can appear next to anyone.

Similarly, you'll find a variety of labels next to these stamps but I'm not too bothered, being only interested in the variations of the stamps themselves.

Next we have the Post And Gos in a 'normal' strip with the MA14 date code and font IIA. the previous ones are all short phosphor variations, not that you can see much difference here. I shall probably sell the short phosphor versions if anyone wants them.

Now here's something interesting! Sme post office staff have put the wrong roll in the machine again and we've got 2nd Class values being printed on the olive background. It wasn't that long ago that we had the 1st Class and higher values printed on blue so this sort of balances things nicely. I like this pair. Because it is comparatively easy to do, I suspect that values will never be vast because it is simple for someone to recreate if they're a little mischievously inclined.

The Great War 21015 prestige booklet carries just three new Machins. The 1p, 5p and £1.33 have the M15L MPIL security codes. The small definitive size poppy stamp is attractive. The Poppy series of remembrance issues are quite exceptional designs all of them and would make a superb collection on their own.

A 2nd Class from the Walsall book of twelve with the M15L MTIL code.

De La Rue have a M15L code for the counter sheet 1st Class and 1st and 2nd Large issues too. In addition, it seems that they didn't do enough M14L Special Delivery stamps as that has now appeared with M15L after years of inactivity beforehand.

The Walsall 2nd Class with M15L MTIL comes from the revised booklet with slightly different text as we get yet more lessons in distinguishing between normal and large. I find that putting almost anything in my thickish C5 envelopes will stop it slipping through the device the ladies at Towcester Post Office use. How ever many times they put stuff on booklet covers or issue posters, there is really no way most of us can figure out how thick 5mm is. I am not too sure I have much of clue as to how heavy 100g is either. I know from my younger days that jars of jam are 454g but that probably includes the glass.

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