For one reason or another I've been following the stamps issued by Post & Go machine M001 since it was installed at BFPO HQ RAF Northolt. However, I've become somewhat wary of many eBay listings recently and a little digging has given me some concerns.
Regular readers will know I recently posted a series of articles venting my frustration with Royal Mail for a lack of support and imaginative marketing of British stamps. I was talking about all British stamps and not just those currently being sold.
So, it's official, the "Music Greats" issue scheduled for July 7th will feature Pink Floyd - despite previous, quite recent, philatelic tributes to the band already housed in many stamp albums. Personally I feel there was more justification for other subjects - the recently departed George Martin for example - but my opinions don't matter.
The British Forces Philatelic Service (BFPS) is producing a limited edition commemorative cover to mark the tercentenary of the Royal Engineers released for sale on the 26 May 2016. Just a few days later, on July 31, another cover will be released to commemorate the centenary of the largest naval engagement of WW1, the Battle of Jutland.
I freely admit I'm not an old school purist when it comes to appreciating our postage stamps. I like to see stamps being used. By this I mean used productively - in the broadest sense - with some imagination, creative skill or even to realise a capitalistic talent. For me, while I concede it's just my opinion, mounting stamps in an album that will only see the light of day from time to time over the coming decades seems unexciting and uninspiring.
Get ready eBay, they're coming your way! Royal Mail has announced Post & Go machines are being installed at two new Royal Navy museums. HMS Trincomalee in Hartlepool and HMS Caroline in Belfast. This makes me wonder how many possible variations there must be for the Union Flag Post & Go label alone now?
Some stonking good bargains are out there waiting to be claimed every day of the week on eBay but will you be taking the plunge? Would a little patience and some reasonable knowledge help you find some corking good deals or will you be taken to the cleaners by those scammers and cheats you hear about in some forums and blogs? Let's look properly at the reality of the opportunities and threats that await buyers at eBay.
My recent articles about the future of stamp collecting and the under-performance of Royal Mail when it comes to marketing British stamps has stirred up quite a bit of interest judging by the page views and my inbox. The good news is, plenty of people are interested in the subject and that's a reason to be cheerful. So, to finish venting my frustration about Royal Mail and the hobby I care about, let me clarify a couple of things.
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, readers of my recent post will know I'm becoming increasingly optimistic about the future of tangible collectables and, not least, postage stamps. I'm convinced the problem for GB stamps is down to a lack of genuine interest in - or understanding of - philately at the very top of Royal Mail and, to a lesser extent, weak management of our Post Office network.
It's all too easy to become pessimistic about our hobby in this tech age. Kids aren't interested we're told, stamps are issued in ever increasing numbers and the cost of new issues seems to go up faster than a greased weasle riding a bar of soap. Then we have the ever wider range of formats, some dubious topics commemorated while obvious historical events are ignored, and so we go on.
In a few days time the latest special stamps from Royal Mail become available. Designed to appeal to children, the animail stamp sheet looks much like those sheets of stickers that all kids play with when they're tots. So what's my rant about?
It appears the ability to issue 2nd class stamps and add logos to Post & Go stamps is now being assessed during the BFPO trial at HQ BFPO.
We've added a new section to the GB Stamp website to offer mobile device users some live feeds for closing stamp auctions and newly listed fixed price offerings.
Most current or former armed forces people will understand what the acronym SNAFU stands for but, to avoid offence, I will change one word and say it means "Situation Normal All Fudged Up". So what is the problem? Well, in terms of usage sessions, it's fair to say machine M001 being trialed at BFPO HQ has not had to break sweat but it did manage to do some fancy time travel recently.
Royal Mail have announced that a Battle of Jutland underprint will be available from the Post & Go machines installed at the Royal Navy museum sites.
A new philatelic marketplace website has launched - www.HipStamp.com - as an alternative to eBay. Run by the former Bidstart CEO and SG Director Mark Rosenberg, there's already plenty of sellers and listings to take a look at. But will HipStamp succeed? can it prove to be a genuine alternative to the gorilla that is eBay?