Collecting Blank Post & Go Stamps Could Prove A Good Option
The idea behind Post & Go stamps is they are printed in rolls to be vended by machine. It is only at the point of sale that the machine overprints a stamp with the desired mail service (1st Class, Large letter, Europe or three weight bands of Worldwide service). Obviously the vast majority of Post & Go stamps get sold from the machines overprinted but a few "blanks" - that is Post & Go stamps with no service overprint - do make it in to collectors hands. I will leave readers to speculate how this happens!
When a new pictorial design of Post & Go stamp is issued they are usually sold by Royal Mail's philatelic outlets in sets of six designs already overprinted for standard 1st Class postage. Rolls of the pictorial designs are also placed in some or all of the Post & Go machines located around the UK. These tend to sell out fairly quickly as the stock of pictorial stamps for each machine has, to date, seemed relatively small. The vast majority of the stamps vended by machine are then dispensed to consumers overprinted with one of the six postal services offered. So, while it is impossible for anyone to calculate the exact numbers, the number of blank pictorial Post & Go stamps making it to private hands for each issue is, in my opinion, likely to prove very small in philatelic terms. Does this provide collectors with an opportunity?
A Blank Example of The Christmas 2012 Post & Go Stamp
The traditional stamp collector who aims for "completeness" can find Post & Go stamps an expensive challenge. As there are currently six different postal services offered a collector will often have to buy 36 stamps from each issue to obtain an example of each design displaying each service. In addition, Royal Mail now issue regular commemorative Post & Go stamps at exhibitions where just the overprint wording changes to be printed on existing Post & Go stamp designs. However, the fact is there are only usually a maximum of six different designs that makes up a Post & Go issue and it can prove a lot cheaper to purchase the non-overprinted blank stamps from online auctions soon after issue compared to the 36 stamps a collector might otherwise buy. Is this a better option? I think it probably is.
This rather battered commercially used cover bears a blank Union Flag Post & Go Stamp. It recently sold on eBay (Nov 2012) for £10.30 (inc Postage)
If you accept the number of blank Post & Go stamps making it to collectors will continue to be very much less than the number of normally overprinted stamps then it's a fair bet they will hold their value better and, in my view, almost certainly appreciate more in value. While blank examples of the first few pictorial issues are now rarely offered, blanks for the more recent issues are usually available for just a few pounds online. If you can buy a set of six blank post and go stamps for around £10-£15 or so, this is actually a fraction of the cost compared to buying 36 normal stamps to get all six designs featuring all six service levels and the commemmorative overprints wont be required either. So I'm suggesting collectors can spend significantly less buying stamps when they're issued and still build a Post & Go collection that is likely to prove more interesting, desirable and valuable in future.
Is this collecting angle making sense? View listings of blank Post & Go stamps (results will open in a new window) to see the availability and prices yourself.
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