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British Post Office new issues, WAY OVER the top

To most people'd minds we have far in excess of new stamps

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Christopher Phillips08/12/2010 10:13:13
48 forum posts
263 photos

When I was a  boy,. born in 1939, a  special issue of stamps was an  EXTREMLY SPECIAL event. We went YEARS  without a new issue.  Those were the days when we waited so eagerly for a special issue, and then when they came, they were always on our mail. Now we dread each week as new issue comes out, what will be next?  Not JUST the number of new issues, but the terribly high cost of each set, often now ten in a set.

In the 1950/60/s I was actively campainging for more special issues and small low value definitives. At the time I was the secretary of the Newlands Road Philatelic Society  (Tunbridge Wells, Kent), the ONLY all junior stamp club that servived more than a  year or so.  I created it in April 1953, and it died in Jan 1967.  It was never run by adults, all members were under 21.  In 1957 we ran our first FDC service for the Boy Scouts stamps.  I cycled all the way from Tunbridge Wells to Sutton Coldfield, to post our covers at the Mobile Post Office at the Scouts Jamboree.  A year Later I had the day off school to go by train to Cardiff to post the Empire Games FDC, which I did on a day return ticket.  After that the club ran a FDC service for EVERY new British issue, using the profits to run the club.

In 1959 we ran a STRONG  campaign to get the British PO  to issue small low value PICTORIAL definitives using the CP Rang designs to prove it was possible.  We had local & national press coverage, and had questions asked in the House of Commons on our behalf.  I still have the pages of Hansard.  The Post Office in those days were adamant that it could not be done. We also suggested that we should have a few more commemoratives, say 3 or 4 issues a year for important events.  Again turned down.  BUT

in 1961  they had  3 new issues, 1962 1 set, 1963 6 sets. Each set being 1 to 4 stamps.   THIS WAS  JUST WHAT WE THOUGHT WAS RIGHT.  Had the Post office continued with THIS  policy everything would have been fine.  Many innovations were introduced, all good. the numbers crept up to about 6 sets of 4 a  year, just managable, and we stll looked forward to each new issue.  But in 1990s things began to get worse.  And after the Millenium things have gone from bad to worse....

The whole idea of attractive stamps and special issues has gone by the board. how often do they get genuiinely used in the mails?  They are now produced purely to raise money for the post office, not postal use.

I stopped running my own FDC service in the mid 1980s, and stopped collecting new covers in 1990's.  They are now so worthless.

I would still like to see small low value definitives,  with each issue being used for about 5 years, and only about 5 or 6 special issues per year, of stamps that get used in the post..

I use to be proud of the British Post Office, I feel so let down by the numbers of issues and such high values. LET the post Office regain that pride please. 


Stamp collecting should be fun, not a  means by which a  post office JUST makes money out of collectors.

Julia Lee10/12/2010 10:26:57
2047 forum posts
1002 photos
230 articles

I know many of you will have concerns about this; what do the rest of you think?

What is the IDEAL number of issues, which gives you something to collect, but doesn't go mad?

What products of Royal Mail's do you like, and which would you like to see scrapped? (Smilers, commemorative sheets, even miniature sheets...?)

BERNHARD FRENZEL07/02/2011 19:49:16
1 forum posts
Dear community of GB-collectors,
I am a collector of British Stamps since May 1945 when I as a young boy got my first GVI stamps from British soldiers occupying our farmhouse in Schleswig-Holstein/Germany.
Since then I have tried to complete my GB stamp collection. It was always attractive for me to collect British stamps rather than those from other countries because the amount of new stamps being issued was affordable with just a few sets a year. GB has been for me the country of the classical stamp.
But now my patience is exhausted because the budget I am paying every year to keep up with new issues has been rising enormously and continuously over the last 20 years.
Royal Mail is now not only issuing commemorative sets of sometimes 10 stamps, but they all are of high values; extreme examples recently are Gerry Anderson and Musicals sets with half of the set having a value of 97p. Why issuing sets of 6 or 10 stamps for trivial events? Royal Mail never issues a commemorative stamp for 2nd class postage except for Christmas. They no more issue a single stamp for an event. And events like Beatles, Flowers, Harry Potter, James Bond, Locomotives and alike –just to mention a few recent ones- are they all worth issuing huge sets of stamps? I don’t think so.
Royal Mail is inventing and inventing permanently new features of collectibles, variations of booklets, Miniature Sheets, Souvenir Sheets, Smilers Generic Sheets, Commemorative Sheets just to mention a few. And in addition Royal Mail increases the frequency of issuing those new ‘inventions’. For the definitives Royal Mail is continuously experimenting with new printers, variations, security holes, security features, self-adhesives, special-delivery stamps, Recorded Signed-For, Post&Go and other crazy ideas just to make more money from the community of philatelists. By intent they have inflated the programme for new stamps being issued in order to decrease budget / profitability problems of Royal Mail .
Royal Mail has now turned to an issuing policy for stamps worse than that of San Marino. With this policy they discourage any young people from collecting GB stamps.
My patience is really over now and I will have to quit collecting any new GB stamps. And I will not encourage any young collector to collect British stamps, as Royal Mail is not a serious agent for philatelists any longer.
Kind regards
Bernhard Frenzel
Christopher Phillips07/02/2011 20:28:17
48 forum posts
263 photos

The final straw for me will be if (when) the Post office is sold off to9 a foreign company. If that happens I will no longer collect new issues, just continue with Edward 8th George 6th and Machins up to any change over to owner!

I feel many others will do the same.

I feel strongly that successive governments have been mis-leading us by sating competition in the post Office for services will lead to LOWER PRICES. when in fact anyone with ant sense knows it leeds to HIGHER prices, more pollution and conjestion on the roads.

SAD sad sad

Alex08/02/2011 18:52:55
587 forum posts
13 photos

I agree that Royal Mail has far too many stamp issues. Each issue, furthermore, has too many stamps and other items brought out. It is really to do with money, I'm sure. Ripping off the collectors still buying new ERII stamps seems to be their business plan. What is it with all these Smilers and other additions to the ordinary issues? There are probably twice as many stamps in each issue than necessary. And why so many with the higher values (which my local Post Office don't use anyhow)? The FDCs are not worth the paper they're printed on. I do buy British FDCs in my local charity shops, there they go for 50p to £1 per cover, even for recent ones. I would not buy one new from the Post Office.

Royal Mail does still bring out some good issues, I liked the recent train issue, also the medical issue. But there are too many other add ons to buy if you want a complete collection, and there are too many higher value issues.

Regarding the fact that Royal Mail being bought by a foreign company, that doesn't bother me much. Hopefully they'll get rid of that ugly queen head definitive issue, and they should add the country's name to the stamps. Or perhaps you British are too darn embarressed by your stamps to add your country's name to them?

Edited By Alex on 08/02/2011 18:54:27

Edited By Alex on 08/02/2011 18:57:45

Adrian13/02/2011 21:08:29
1828 forum posts
971 photos
4 articles

But Christopher, I hope you will refrain from the 1993-1997 Machins, as they are as horribly foreign as your Royal Mail may one day be. I know you're allowed to be insular, but just stop and think for a while that maybe it's not such a bad thing. After all, if RM run by foreigners is the final straw, just remember that all those previous straws were British.

Christopher Phillips13/02/2011 22:40:02
48 forum posts
263 photos

It is the whole principle of the Post office and the political lies told to the public that annoys me so much. When the Post office started loosing its monopoly we were told it would lead to LOWER PRICES. prices have risen even faster the more the monopoly was taken away. So much of British services are being sold off to non British interests.

ALSO I am terribly annoyed by the foolishness of the way we now have vans & lorries or several different companies running around burning up oil and poluting our atmosphere, depleting the worlds precious oil reserves as if there was an never ending supply. But what is even MORE despicable is that these other companies can just dump the "DIFFICULT" mail on to the Royal mail to deliver. How can the Royal mail expect to keep prices down under such profiteering by other companies. This all comes on top of diminishing ordinary mail due to the internet. The successive governents know how to shoot the Post Office, so that they can force the sale to the highest bidder. The governments have made a total mess of the whole system, and I see no reason to continue to back them. What has happened to the Post Office is insane.

David Blake 102/03/2011 19:01:49
9 forum posts

Why are there no special 2nd class stamps apart from Christmas ones?

Christopher Phillips03/03/2011 09:36:23
48 forum posts
263 photos

Because David they don't make enough profit on them! Simple as that!

SA18/03/2011 15:19:44
49 forum posts

Of the bigger European States - France, Germany Spain and Italy - I do like the approach of the Italian Post Office, which tends to have a recurring themes each year; and also limits new issues to one or two stamps per commemorative event. I'm not sure that the Italians issue any fewer stamps than Royal Mail, but at least you can pick and choose more easily the issues that you might want to collect; and there is also a greater variety of designs.

To be fair, Germany and France also follow a similar policy, but more recently, the French Post Office has followed Royal Mail's route by increasing the number of ancillary products (e.g. the French regional issues). The issuing programme of Spain is also based on one or two stamps, I think, per issue.

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