March 20, 2019

Six more Machins for your album

Increases at the end of this month have produced six new Machin definitives and eight Regionals. Covering a range of parcel and international rates the face values start at £1.35 and this is quite an expensive lot to acquire. However, unlike many recent issues, these will get some real postal use and certainly need to be added if you are trying to keep that Machin album complete.

There are the usual two Regionals - now at £1.35 and £1.55 values in the same designs that have now lasted far longer than I am sure anyone would have predicted. Now I should know the answer but I am intrigued by the fact that there is a £1.55 value in the Regionals but a £1.60 value in the Machins. I had though that the Regional pairs were two of whatever was issued nationally but clearly I am mistaken. I shall to look back and also look at which rate is which. Still seems odd.

The Machins are printed by Walsall and have the M19L code. It is not easy to read and I can imagine it being difficult to distinguish M18L from M19L in Walsall printings should they use a similar process for some future values that are already out with M18L codes. I presume that the Regionals are Cartor products but I have not seen confirmation yet.

One would expect to have all these details, if not in the description at the Royal Mail shop at least in some article in the Philatelic Bulletin. There are pages of quite tedious text about forthcoming events and exhibitions but little by way of useful detail of issues. Once the Bulletin was a very useful reference for issue detail but these have not even been deemed worthy of a mention. Interestingly, the whole panel of 'Forthcoming Issues' in the recent Bulletin is taken up by the Marvel issues!

March 15, 2019

Another Prestige Book. Marvellous.

As if the issues nowadays were not a joke already, here is another laugh for collectors as Royal Mail celebrate comics, the Marvel brand in particular. For fans of this genre I have no doubt that this will be a splendid affair but that really is it. The number of the prestige books that will be sold to anyone wanting to use the stamps is probably a really low number. I have long said that we should be collecting used examples of the contents. But that, I guess, is not a simple task and would necessitate either weeks spent going through charity sacks or doing what by old friend Mr Vincent would do; take the stamped envelopes along to Kings Langley Post Office and ask the chap behind the counter to do the honours. Carefully. He called it 'tipping'.

For this issue there is the Concrete & Clay book with four 1st red stamps with the usual MCIL code but these seem to be the first with M19L codes. These we should expect to see on envelopes from time to time.

The Machin pane in the prestige book, contains 1p, 20p, £1.25 and £1.45 values. I'm not sure how useful they'll be with the forthcoming rate change!

With their M18L and MPIL codes they will need to be collected if you are trying to keep up-to-date.

That's two prestige books in two months. At £12 or so a time, I may have to start using the other contents of the books myself!

There seem to be 33 different items at the Royal Mail shop for this issue. I am beginning to wonder just what proportion of their business is now funded by collectors as opposed to people wanting to post stuff.