Post & Go Stamps: The Error Argument Continues
Our recent post about the validity of some Post & Go stamp errors - which have been changing hands online at a significant premium over their face value - has drawn some interesting responses.
Naturally the majority of responses have come from people who disagree totally, or in part, with my view that the significance of the point of sale inkjet overprinting is being overblown in some quarters. The types of error being promoted tend to fall in to two categories. Bad formatting and missing text which might have been induced by the purchaser abusing the machine and software errors which meant the stamps were issued using the wrong font or abnormal spacing etc.
Some people maintain that most of the more dramatic format errors are valid and valuable even if they are probably caused by users abusing the dispensing machines by yanking at stamp strips as they are produced. Forgetting for a moment that some of these arguments may be motivated by wanting to sell - or having already paid for - "yanked stamps", among the arguments given are the value placed on overprint errors, perf shift errors, doctor blade errors etc. on stamps issued in the past. While I acknowledge printing errors can command premium prices on older stamp issues I still tend to dismiss these arguments. The production of thse kind of errors on past stamps could not had been influenced by the customers buying them in the Post Office.
However, I'm tending to have a little more sympathy for the arguments I've received for font errors and formatting peculiarities that are obviously not "helped" by the purchaser. But again I do question the significance some people are claiming for such stamps.
Plainly software issues have led to some machines producing badly formatted Post and Go prints, missing text or labels displaying an unintended font. I can agree with the argument that it is of significance to philatelists if a stamp can be tracked back to a particular location or specific machine in years to come because of unique visual characteristics. Having said that, the numerical codes used on Post & Go stamps will also enable philatelists to trace these locations anyway. I tried to justify comparing these anomilies to distinctive maltese cross postmarks which can help philatelists identify where a line engraved stamp was used. However, given the location question is already answered by the numerical information on the stamps, I'm still far from convinced such errors will really prove to be significant for future philately.
So, while I may have been wrong to dismiss almost every point of sale inkjet printing error in my previous post, I still maintain the errors that could have been created by abusing the machine should be considered of little interest philatelically. As for the formatting and font errors that are characteristic to a specific machine I suggest these will achieve a degree of recognition among future specialists as varieties rather than errors. I still look forward to seeing a significant real Post & Go error that affects the actual design of the stamp before it is printed on at the point of sale.
What's your view? eMail admin[at]gbstamp.co.uk to let us know.
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