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Ancient Britain

January 2017 Issue

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Ancient Britain

Ancient Britain

Issued on January 17, 2017

Julian11/01/2017 19:51:03
635 forum posts
261 photos

Lol they scored that higher than I would that's for sure, I agree with the Verdict though and the positive things I can say its a British subject of history and the stamps are good design!

Considering they do not teach much of history in schools these days and really all this is speculative history anyway to a degree I do not see much to point.

I see enough neanderthal's walking around the town center these days, most certainly making a come back on the roads as wellfist

Who knows maybe the M 25 should have been pictured.

John Howe17/01/2017 15:33:21
68 forum posts
60 photos

Ancient Britain another expensive set from Royal Mail, I paid just a few pennies short of £10 for the set this morning.

While I appreciate the subject of the stamps and praise RM for its efforts to raise awareness of Britain’s ancient history the designs leave a lot to be desired. The line drawings do nothing to enhance the appeal of the stamps nor do they adequately help to explain the individual subject matter; both the £1.33 Drumbest horns and the £1.05 Star Carr headdress are baffling.

I have seen the Mold Cape myself and the stamp does it no justice whatsoever.

So my verdict a worthy subject spoilt by poor design and far too expensive.

Julian19/01/2017 13:14:30
635 forum posts
261 photos

Hi John, I do not understand why RM use such high value stamps? I can see a method to the reasoning but I do not see why they cannot just use 1st and 2nd as highest value and use lesser values below them rather than going higher? Of course this does just prove what value the £ has these days, as a pound will buy little unless you shop in Poundland or some other such place.

And whilst we say £10 sounds a lot, most trades men will not even step out the front door for less than £100. I can remember fishing as a young person years ago and got talking with a "Chippy" and even back then it was much more than £100. We have been duped by the powers to be to find this acceptable, just as utility companies and Banks are all extorting money out of us one way or another. Its a clever game these people use to condition us but 2008/9 should never be forgotten as a historical event, for financial stealing and we just let it happen.

stevevp19/01/2017 23:28:20
6 forum posts
Posted by Julian on 11/01/2017 19:51:03:

Lol they scored that higher than I would that's for sure, I agree with the Verdict though and the positive things I can say its a British subject of history and the stamps are good design

A good design indeed although I'm not sure the skateboard in the 1st class issue illustrated is historically accurate ...

John Howe20/01/2017 13:42:34
68 forum posts
60 photos

I think that RM are "dissing" the hobby by issuing such high values in such large sets. I can cope with a monthly issue but the values should be 2nd, 1st class, Europe and worldwide rate and worldwide postcard, with a maximum of five stamps in each issue and the value of say under five GBP.

Why a worldwide postcard rate? I belong to Postcrossing which is an international postcard exchange group for which pictorial stamps would show British culture, scenery and achievements.

Alex22/01/2017 21:07:13
584 forum posts
13 photos

I have to say that I'm not inspired by this set at all. As usual, too many stamps in the set, too expensive and, to my eye, a very poor designed set that is lazy and unimaginative. So we have a photo of an artefact or a site and then a stupid line figure(s) added. It just doesn't gel for me, it isn't clever. It doesn't inspire me.

Germany produced a nice, clean design of its Celt past way back in 1976. The design was simple, just an illustration of the various artefacts. They issued a few small sets over a couple of years or so, keeping individual sets small and people interested in the subject.


Here is a Celtic Torc.

Germany still produces regular single stamp issues showing aspects of its early history, as this 2005 issue of the Glauberg Celtic King demonstrates. The stamp is imaginative and shows in the background a ground plan of the Glauberg site with an image of the Celt statue found there.


While not prehistory, one of my favourite stamps on the subject is this beautiful 2009 Varus stamp commemorating the battle between the Legions of Varus and the Germanic tribes. A simple stamp that says so much. If it had been RM there would probably have been a set of ten!


So RM, a great big NO from me. Could try harder. As it is, you're not getting my ten bucks!

Edited By Alex on 22/01/2017 21:09:55

John Howe22/01/2017 22:02:43
68 forum posts
60 photos

Well said Alex, I rarely buy UK stamps these days, perhaps one a year, the designs are often uninspiring and to my mind often a juvenile failure. Take for example the cartoon animals set or the Mr Men set - why?

Alex23/01/2017 11:56:57
584 forum posts
13 photos

I can't even remember when I last bought a RM set for myself. Back in the 1980s I'd buy every set issued but I think the rot really started in the 1990s, especially with the Millennium issues. It just got worse from there and it is all a big money making exercise nowadays. The designs of the modern stamps are poor, in many cases just photographs or a computer designed image. I sometimes seriously think that it is a sign of the decline in modern British university education. I mean, where are the designers of yore who produced real artwork in the 1960s - 1980s? RM is a money making business, it no longer really cares about real philatelists who are probably seen as a pain. Get stupid uninspired designs out as cheaply as possible and then charge the punter as much as possible for stamps that mostly won't ever grace a real letter. I mean, go into your local PO and you'll more than likely get a label printed out than a current commemorative stamp. At least if they stick to 1st and 2nd class stamps they may actually get used. I think that the recent Mr. Men and Animail stamps were geared for a younger market but I think it is much too late to get children involved in philately in the modern world. Thankfully, there are many countries who still care about their stamps and the image they give out for their respective countries. Unfortunately, that doesn't include this country and that is so sad, especially considering the glorious postal history that Britain had produced in the past.

Carmen23/01/2017 12:36:37
650 forum posts
61 photos

Oh, I don't know, guys, I actually sorta liked the design of the set simply because it allowed me to see how it would have looked in it "environment" (e.g. the headdress or the Maiden Castle Hill Fort for instance). I'm not the most imaginative person when I see these old sites and artifacts so I actually got something out of that with the set.

I do agree with all your comments above though about where RM is going, since Canada Post is there as well. Normally I will get one "high priced" packed of the four I receive per year - usually the January to April one since that's when all the definitives come out. and all that and then after that, 10-15 dollars/packet- but last year there was at least one occasions when I paid WAY more than I have in the past (40 bucks for jul to sep, when all I had paid in Jan was 28.00!)


SuzeB03/02/2017 13:06:27
9 forum posts

I guess we can't please all of the people all of the time.

Some of the British stamp designs are really good and I personally found the Mr.Men issue something to smile about seeing as how I'd spent hours reading from the 'books' to my eldest daughter back in the 70's. We aren't all interested in trains and vehicles and architecture - perhaps they are a 'man' thing?

As to the Millennium series, which seemed to last 2 years, I agree that there were rather a lot of issues. But perhaps they were coupled to all the various group commissions who all wanted to be represented. In this, perhaps, RM did in fact please all of the people?

And as to the designs of modern stamps, you should all nip over to Holland and take a look at what they have on offer! Most issues are released in a sheet of 10 different stamps WITH tabs on either the left or right hand side and I still refuse to purchase the bog standard 1 or 2 (equivalent to 1st and 2nd class) showing the head of our King William Alexander as my little protest against a crappy design! I'll take any other card of 10 self adhesive stamps rather than this issue which will sadly remain on sale until someone decides to replace it with another design. Nobody really understood why our King gave it the thumbs up - it truly is atrocious!

I've never been too clear why RM choose different printers for different items which obviously makes collecting certain stamps/booklets more expensive than they need to be. Why do we have booklets printed by Harrison, Questa and Walsall? The stamps, to all intents and purposes, are all of the same value. And Stanley Gibbons (concise) doesn't offer that much help in traversing the mine-field of laminated booklets as it only gives a textual offering of the differences rather than a clear image of the inside cover. I recently spent a whole afternoon hunting various web-sites and auction listings to try to discover exactly how HA12, HA12a and HA12b should actually look and eventually drew my own conclusions after having a post on a stamp forum replied to!

But that's just my moan of the day and has little or nothing to do with the designs of the British stamps. I agree that the Ancient Britain issue left something to be desired but then I'm not a great fan of line drawings either done directly on paper by an old fashioned artist or generated via a computer graphic program. I prefer looking at images like Buckingham Palace (2014), Bees (2015) and Bridges (2015) to name but a few of my favourites but I also saw the merits in the design of Inventive Britain (2015). There will always be one of two issues each year which I will like less than the others but I harken back to my first sentence about not pleasing all of the people all of the time.

At the end of the day we all make our own choices of what and when to collect something. And we will allocate exactly the correct amount of money for each purchase. Nobody is twisting our arms into buying modern stamps - we all make our own choices as to what we feel they are worth or even IF they are worth purchasing. With these thoughts in mind, I made my own decision at the end of last year not to collect any more Post & Go issues - I just didn't see the point and they are way too diverse for my simple collection. The money I will save on this decision will probably be spent on expanding my booklet collection.

Each country have their own protocols regarding postage stamps - some only produce one or two stamps for each issue whilst others include Prestige Booklets, retail booklets, sheets of 10 or strips. It is very much up to us as philatelists to choose what we want to collect and what not.
I recently sold some doubles to a chap who only collected British stamps with a round cancellation rather than waves. Sounded very odd to me but I was happy to oblige him with a couple of Euro's worth of stamps for his collection (*_*)

None of my offspring have shown the least interest in my hobby probably because they have created their own (my eldest daughter paints, my son sews corsets and kites, and my youngest has just discovered she has green fingers). It's also doubtful any of my 5 grand-children will ever become interested either as they have all been raised on computer technology rather than paper. I rarely see any of them reading a book and only my youngest daughter gets the same pleasure from being a book worm as I have done for over 60 years. But who knows? Maybe one of my relatives will suddenly take an interest in my collection when I shed this mortal coil! And if not, then it will all be auctioned and without sorrow as it will have given me the greatest pleasure for most of my life.

I wish you all joy in whatever you collect and however much money you are prepared to pay for your hobby. Some folk spend exorbitant funds on old cars (dare I call them old bangers?) whilst others require 3 vacations each year. My husband insists on spending well over €400 yearly in order to read a daily newspaper whilst I tap into the Dutch NOS each morning on my iPad for the main news. It's all relative - I'd rather spend some of my pension on stamps rather than machines or travelling

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