March 18, 2020
I have updated the charts I last published in 2017 as we approach the latest increase in UK postage rates. 1st Class rates will start at 76p and 2nd Class 65p from 23 March. You'll see just how good an investment NVI stamps have been, especially those bought in 2006 or thereabouts!
Acknowledgements to http://www.wolfbane.com/rpi.htm for the RPI data. The UK rates I have recorded myself for many years.
The Queen Victoria 1d black, 2d blue and 1d red from 1840/1 return once more in a London 2020 booklet. You will recognise these from a few years ago when the 175th anniversaries were noted in 2105/6. I like the idea but the Queens head and value tablet placing has always jarred slightly with me. Having said that, I can't think of where else they could go. I might have been tempted to replace Victoria with Elizabeth II and change the text to 1ST CLASS and 2ND CLASS. In fact I might try that in my editing program and if it works I'll share the results here just for fun.
We also have a Concrete & Clay booklet and a Prestige booklet marking James Bond films.
The 4+2 booklet features te 1st Royal Mail red with code M20L MCIL which we have already seen.
The prestige book pane has a strange combination of the Union Flag 1st and the Scottish Saltire 2nd so that's going to upset the Welsh and Northern Ireland people for a while. Then there are 2 very tired looking 2p deep greens and a couple of 2nd Class blues. the Scottish stamps have the later serif-style value tablet but the UK one is the older sans serif type, not that we've had the later type for that stamp. Now might have been a good time to change that although quite why we get this combination is anyone's guess.
This pane, being planned and presumably produced sometime previously, features stamps with the code M19L MPIL. The 2p looks very much like the one in the February 2019 book but the 2nd Class stamp looks, to me, a quite new 'baby blue' shade. It also appeared in the February 2019 book so I'll have to dig that out to compare. It'll probably turn out to be the same as Cartor would, I guess, just bring out the colours from last year in whatever process is used. Not a tube of paint, I know, but some sort of formula that can be readily repeated.
The main event this month is the issue of the new definitives, supposedly to meet demand for the new rates coming into force in a few days. This has become a regular March (or sometimes April) affair and I do look forward to it, albeit with some trepidation now that the combined total is £29.80!!
The official colour names are:
£1.42 garnet red
£1.63 sunset red
£1.68 tarragon green
£2.42 purple heather
£2.97 rose pink
£3.66 harvest gold
£3.82 holly green
I recognise a few of these.
The regionals are all just as we've seen for many years now with just new values. I can't remember seeing the black outline on the Northern Ireland higher value but that's probably my memory rather than anything new. Perhaps that was introduced when the font changed and I didn't notice.
Whilst these designs do reflect the nations well I am surprised they have not been changed since 1999. There are so many items or scenes which could be representing the four nations that could be used and I am also surprised that the designs have remained such that some values are not at all easy to read. I suspect that they are little used and no-one really cares. Those businesses who have sheets of them for particular product postage needs are so used to looking for the yellowy-brown or purple one that I guess staff don't need to bother about the value tablet either. One reason for retaining the designs, I guess.
Right, now to move once more rows of stamps from page t page to make room for all of these unexpected values. I really should have learned my lesson by now and left a lot more room between values.
March 08, 2020
The £1.55 pale marine turquoise gets dull fluor and a slightly pale shade but is still M19L code.
The other additions arriving a little while ago were the two Machin panes in the Visions of the Universe book, marking the 200th Anniversary of the Royal Astrological Society.
On this pane there are new 1p, 2p and £1.35 stamps from Cartor with the M19L MPIL code.
On this pane there are new 5p and 10p stamps with the M19L MPIL code, each paler than the previous similar code issues in the StarWars and Queen Victoria books.
The England and Wales regionals could be new shades, the English 1st seeming somewhat deeper terracotta and the Welsh dragon looking a bit paler grey. The Northern Ireland and Scotland stamps appear to match those issued in 2018.
Prepare yourselves for some big expenditure later this month with the new postal rate issues! With each stamp now attempting to cover postage rates of £2 or more life is not cheap in the Machin collectors' world in March. So expensive that my local Post Office almost certainly will not hold any stock of them, preferring instead the pay-as-he-goes Horizon label printer and having less money tied up in stock. I did offer to purchase his entire stock of 1st and 2nd Class stamps in the knowledge that the total would be quite a modest and affordable sum.