December 22, 2015

Nice handwriting

I think this is the fourth 'used' Post And Go that I have received. I say 'used' although the postmark appears to have been applied to the other side! Some delightful handwriting demonstrated how much more pleasant it is to receive cards that look like someone cares. The days of printed address labels have been around for many years now and the difference is quite remarkable. They may well be more efficient but I am not at all sure they contribute to conveying the intended message as well.

I remember using MailMerge in Word and Excel back in the 1990s and being pretty pleased with myself at the time. I did make an effort, though, to make the labels also a bit more fun with pictures of Santa or reindeer. Now I write them all. It takes a bit longer but I know which I prefer to receive.

So, on the other side, here's the cheery card from our friends in Edinburgh for 2015. I did at first wonder whether there was some game I was supposed to play by stroking the snowman's tummy but realised fairly quickly that that's the postmark message!

Incidentally, what are the dark marks on either side perforations? They're not postmarks - looking at my original image they seem to be part of the print as if the adjoining label pattern had slightly shifted. Except that it wouldn't have shifted left and right and there wouldn't be anything to the left or right anyway. Intriguing. Any ideas?

December 18, 2015

Merry Christmas

Combining my collecting interests in this year's Christmas card. All the best to all my readers and I shall try to be in a better mood next year.

Incidentally, I spotted this while out walking yesterday in the adjoining village of Eastcote, Northamptonshire. I am not an expert in the field of British Post Boxes but I haven't seen anything like this before so guess it must be some new type. I am sure that every other box I've encountered has an embossed EIIR symbol. This shiny metal plaque looks a little less important.

No doubt someone will bring me up to date on these things. A quick Google image search didn't reveal much but I ahve also shared the picture on twitter @GBMachins so that'll probably get some comment too.

79p for a label

There is a reason for reminding readers of splendid past issues like these. But first, what's new?

To end 2015 there have been a few slight changes in the most frequently used definitives but nothing very exciting I'm afraid. It's a dull fluor on both De La Rue and Walsall stamps issued in recent months. 

There is also a Business Sheet 1st Large coded MA15 MBIL.

And, oh yes, some Star Wars stamps. You can hardly have missed the mass invasion of philatelic journals by celebration of the film series and Britain's contribution to its success. With the very latest movie released this week Royal Mail must surely have received a sizeable contribution to the old coffers from LucasFilm Inc. for the remarkable additional promotion it has provided.

In amongst the many, many special issue stamps we've seen in both this and an earlier issue is a Prestige Booklet with the traditional definitive pane of eight plus a label. This brings us a Union Jack 1st for the first time in gummed style. The 1st and 2nd Machins are also new, being coded M15L MPIL. 

You will have to fork out a massive £16.99 for this. For that you do get 24 1st Class stamps, 2 2nd Class and that's £16.20 at present rates, making the Star Wars icon label 79p. So if you do decide in years to come that prestige books are pretty but pretty unnecessary in your collection and it is just the Machin pane you need there is a good chance that'll get your money's worth when rates increase in future years. That's the way I look at the prestige books these days. Occasionally there is something a little special but most of them seem little more than income streams for Royal Mail. I have yet to encounter anyone who has bought one in order to use the stamps. Indeed, I have yet to encounter anyone who has bought one in the last ten or twenty years who has not been a collector!

We should be thankful for small mercies, I suppose. Those who didn't join us in abandoning Post And Gos last year will have the most ridiculous job trying to keep up. Not only have the various military associations decided to have an intelligible name on the overprint instead of a set of letters, involving a mass of reissued strips but there have been new designs, added overprint logos and more from the Channel islands to boot. Here's the list of 36 strips you've missed in the last two months:

Union Flag Royal Navy Trafalgar Day
Union Flag Royal Marines Trafalgar Day
Poppy Royal Navy Submarine
Winter Greenery NCR Strip
Winter Greenery Series 2 Strip
Winter Greenery Wincor Strip
Poppy NCR with 15 date code
Poppy Fleet Air Arm
Poppy Royal Marines
Poppy RN Submarine
Winter Fur & Feathers Presentation Pack version
Winter Fur & Feathers  NCR strips
Poppy Series 2 15 date code
Winter Greenery strip with old Euro 20g value
Union Flag Royal Navy
Union Flag Royal Marines
Poppy Series 2 15 date BPMA
Union Flag Hong Kong November 2015
Sea Travel Hong Kong design strip
Union Flag Sindelfingen October 2015
Machin no date Sindelfingen October 2015
Poppy 15 date Sindelfingen October 2015
Heraldic Beasts Sindelfingen October 2015
Jersey Flag Sindelfingen October 2015
Jersey protected Species Sindelfingen October 2015
Union Flag Paris November 2015
Machin Paris November 2015
Poppy Paris November 2015
Heraldic Beasts Paris November 2015
Machin Royal Navy + Logo
Machin Royal Marines + Logo
Machin RN Submarine + Logo
Machin Fleet Air Arm + Logo
Jersey Flag Broad Street RAFA Jersey 90
Jersey Protected Species Broad Street RAFA Jersey 90
Guernsey Flag Envoy House Merry Christmas

What you might have had to lay out to stay vaguely complete might have been better spent going back and filling some spaces in old pages. That ½p left band, perhaps, or the scarcer 17p Northern Ireland type. You could even afford the rare 31p purple type! Or how about getting a nice Royal Wedding £1 or PUC £1?

Whenever I post anything these days my Post Office use, almost without exception, the 'Horizon' labels. These are the ones that used to be gold but are now more white. I do think these are quite collectable but, of course, you can only obtain these 'used' on items so they're not something dealers are supplying much at the moment. It is quite feasible to send things to yourself to get many of the various types of label and I am sure some enterprising dealers will be offering a service to supply these in due course but I don't think there is yet a great deal of demand to make it worthwhile. I do feel, though, that collecting these makes more sense than collecting mint strips of Post And Gos.