1 comment – The Latest News on GB stamps from Norvic Philatelics

Royal Mail announcement 15 November: Royal Mail are delighted to be working with Post Office Ltd on their Christmas Stamp Shop. This Pop Up Post Office is a large mobile trailer that will tour some of the major shopping locations around the UK in the run up to Christmas. The Post Office will be selling Christmas Stamps and Smilers. In addition, Royal Mail s own Post and Go terminal will be vending Post and Go stamps.

Full details are listed below: Royal Mail s Post and Go machines used for Exhibitions: A3 and A4
Post and Go Stamps: Robins (MA13) and 2nd Class (MA13)
There is no overprint
Receipts will be unique to each venue
The Smilers sheets will be available in 10 and 20 stamp sheets with the following designs available:
o Madonna and Child 1st and 2nd class o Christmas 2012 Santa 1st Class may be available dependant on early demand
(Note London Westfield is Shepherds Bush, not Stratford.)

I am surprised that this wandering trailer – we used to know them as Mobile Post Offices – is making such a passing visit to each location. Last year, Post Office Ltd announced that the pop-up post office (which opened on 30 November) was:

“The first of its kind to be found in the UK is located in Camden Market and is showcasing a range of collectible and retail items. The Pop Up shop will be open seven days a week and customers will benefit from extensive opening hours as well as a range of services including posting and packaging.

“To help make life easier for customers a gift wrapping service is also available with all donations going to BBC Children in Need.” I haven’t had a formal statement from Post Office Ltd about the rationale behind the tour, but understand that the focus is on selling stamps – expect there to be blow-ups of the competition winners designs – and instant Smilers. There will be no counter services, no Horizon system, though there may be a posting box, presumably with mail to be offloaded into the local mail distribution system.

So although they are described as post offices, they are really just post office retail units. There is no doubt that – despite initial difficulties in actually finding it – customers made the Camden unit a great success. The new mobile trailers – to be located in major shopping streets or covered shopping centres – will stand out.

It seems they won’t be tucked away in an otherwise vacant corner. But can the same sort of success be replicated when the unit is only in one place for two days? By chance the Camden unit’s turnover included significant philatelic sales as collectors and dealers found definitive stamps not previously available from Royal Mail’s Tallents House bureau or from many post office branches, and further supplies were made available as collectors bought up initial stocks.

Philatelic sales will be far lower (pro rata) at these venues than at Camden last year, although collectors will certainly flock to Newcastle on 20th November for the new 2nd class Machin Faststamps with year code MA13 simply because it will be available for the first time.

But one has to question why it exists, given that stocks of the MA12 version were sold only at Spring Stampex and in bureau packs and have never appeared in Post Office Wincor-Nixdorf machines.

I’m not one for using the term ‘cynical exploitation’ but I feel sure that the original print run of MA12 2nd class Machin Faststamps has not been exhausted.

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1 comment – The Latest News on GB stamps from Norvic Philatelics

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