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Europe/Great Britain : Royal Mail introducing new security features and a discussion of moustache mugs, what else?

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Randy B. Kerr (Musicman)
15 Nov 2008
10:41:45pm
For those of you who are interested -

My latest issue of Linn's arrived today, and on page 2 was a small article with the headline:
"Royal Mail plans to make stamps impossible to remove from covers"
Apparently they are adding security features to future 1st & 2nd class definitives (for me, this is pronounced "machins"!), including slits that will make them impossible to remove from envelopes.
Quote;
"In addition, British definitives, with the exception of coils, will be self-adhesives."

The QEII definitives will have "four small semi-circular slits within the stamp which prevent the removal of stamps from envelopes."
"The stamps will be printed with an iridescent ink with a security pattern on the darker background color around the queen's head."

Stamps with these changes are scheduled to be issued Feb. 17 of '09.

Just an FYI!


Randy B.
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Bob Ingraham (Bobstamp)
16 Nov 2008
02:08:07am
re: Royal Mail introducing new security features and a discussion of moustache mugs, what else?

That's interesting, and probably could have been predicted if we had thought about it. Canada Post loses thousands of dollars in revenue through re-use of used-but-uncancelled stamps. In fact, the practice isn't even illegal in Canada. It rather looks like soaking stamps off paper really will become not just difficult, but impossible!

I was recently complaining about self-adhesive stamps and poor printing quality of U.S. stamps to my son, who understands the reasons we collectors collect and even advertises my mostly-philatelic web site on his commercial web site. However, he didn't have much sympathy when it came to my complaints. He feels, and I really do have to agree with him, that we collectors simply have to make the best of whatever changes occur in stamp production and use. Stamps that can't be removed from envelopes will force collectors to collect the stamps on paper, or the entire envelopes. I wonder how the album publishers will handle that….

Here's another way to look at it: The period of "classic philately," based on water-activated adhesives and cancellations that could actually be understood, represents just a blip in history. We collectors really have no choice but to accommodate the changes, or stick to earlier issues, or find another hobby. I myself will stick with earlier issues.

It really is pointless for us to bemoan the loss of what we thought was traditional, because it traditions are dynamic and easily morph into new "traditions." What is common today may be considered quaint tomorrow. Tevye learned that in "Fiddler on the Roof." Consider the collectors of antiques: Do they bemoan the fact that antiques aren't made any more? Not really. Many of them have simply revised their definition of what constitutes an antique, and are starting to collect items that I used and took for granted as ordinary objects not so many years ago.

Bob

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Randy B. Kerr (Musicman)
16 Nov 2008
10:53:00am
re: Royal Mail introducing new security features and a discussion of moustache mugs, what else?

Bob,

Regarding your comment on how album publishers will handle the fact that collectors will be "forced" to collect on paper or cover;

In my opinion, the majority of albums published out there are geared toward mint collections anyway. You only have to flip thru a few pages to notice the places in them for full collector sheets, strips and so on.
(In Harris Co.'s defense, btw, they do include spaces for individual stamps from those sheets as well as the full sheets themselves.)

Over all, I think you are exactly right - it IS pointless to bemoan the loss of 'our traditions' in regard to our hobby. And the antique collector analogy was an excellent one and quite fitting. In the "antique world", rule of thumb is - 50 years or more is considered an antique (except in the case of automobiles, which is 25 yrs.). Therefore, many of us collectors ARE antique collectors anyway!


Randy B.

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Daniel Cohen (Dani20)
16 Nov 2008
10:36:49pm
re: Royal Mail introducing new security features and a discussion of moustache mugs, what else?

Dear Bob & Randy,
By either definition we ARE the antigues!!
Dan C.

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Thomas Harley (Harley)
17 Nov 2008
12:23:31am
re: Royal Mail introducing new security features and a discussion of moustache mugs, what else?

The printed albums are different in setup,depending on price,and level of collector needs.
The el-cheapo has a spot for each single issue(used or mint) and oly the one stamp,not varieties or rareities.
Next up is for the intermediate collector,with most basic stamps and their counterpart,varieties.
Next is the specialist albums,
then mint only,which as mentioned has places for full panes,booklets,strips,etc. as well as for individual stamps of the issue.
Then specialty items,topicals,and postal history,cover collectors.
There are printed albums(and or pages) for every type collector.
Myself,I abandoned printed albums about 10 years ago,and use vario stock pages for everything collectable.There is a size to fit any size item,from small size stamps to full panes (10,20,50).
Although most of my collections now consist of coil stamps of the world,I do still have many items of previous collecting interests,still in those stock pages. Made up as albums,and easily changeable to move,add, or delete items, or rearrange to suit my interests at the time. No wating for those new supliments, that somehow never seem to include all the new issues. No hinges needed,no mounts needed, and no fancy smancy album needed,a three ring binder will do nicely.

Dan C-- as with most antiques, repairs and alterations decrease the value.Antiques are best left in their original condition. So for us antique guys and gals,keep that in mind,retain your value,skip the plastic surgery,the boob job,lipo suction,and in many cases ,the makeup. You wouldnt want to become just another knockoff replica of the original you. An altered antique.You are worth more as YOU.
TOM

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Thomas Harley (Harley)
17 Nov 2008
12:40:05am
re: Royal Mail introducing new security features and a discussion of moustache mugs, what else?

All the postal authorities of the world,have ,since the begining, tried a most interesting,yet falable, form of revenue protection,in the product (stamps) and WE ,as collectors, have always found a way around those so called protections,and managed to collect each and every stamp in both mint and used, on and off paper.
Britain again ,seems to think an old idea will work.(it has been done before). Circles,squares,Xs,slits,and precancels of all sorts.
These revenue protection fiascos wont detter the collector,, only give them a challenge,,(and we like a challenge),, that will be easily overcome once experiments show the easiest method of retrieval of the socalled protected stamps.

The first U.S, self adheasive,the 10 cent xmas stamp,precanceled,and an X cut in the center,was no problem to collectors,as far as removing from paper. I never saw any report of the stamp separateing,splitting,or falling apart when soaked off .In fact,,all the used ones I examined,the X was never cut completely through.
I imagine the machins will be the same.
TOM

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David Teisler (Teisler)
17 Nov 2008
09:26:45am
re: Royal Mail introducing new security features and a discussion of moustache mugs, what else?

I have a slightly different perspective here. I believe that USPS does make sporadic efforts at revenue protection in the production phase, notably their microprinting, which makes identification of forgeries easier under a magnifying glass (but only the absence of phosphor is likely to trigger a closer look, so its utility is low). I don't think the absence of a water-soluable layer has anything to do with revenue protection; it is instead aimed at cost reduction. It's NOT an attempt to get people to save mint stamps instead of used stamps; if it were, it is destined to fail as the motivation to save one or the other is really about having a pristine copy or a copy that has done postal duty (or shows how that duty occured). Royal Mail's efforts probably ARE aimed at revenue protection, and actually require additional expenditures unrelated to automation. USPS's efforts are only cost savings. If USPS wanted to protect revenue, it would only need make the phosphor water soluable, but that, too, would make collectors made because it would eliminate an identifiable difference post soaking.

I do agree that is pointless to moan: USPS has made it VERY clear that they do not care.

David

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Thomas Harley (Harley)
17 Nov 2008
10:26:31am
re: Royal Mail introducing new security features and a discussion of moustache mugs, what else?

David,
I dont thinkit is a matter of not careing,but that little attention is given to the smallest revenue raising sector of the USPS-- RETENTION.

And it is their own undoing. Each step they take in decreaseing costs, usually involves the quality,quantity,and desirability/collectablity of "stamps".
It was a boon to retention when they introduced the plate numbers to coil stamps.Each little change garnered a different number, each printer added another set of collectable numbers,etc..
With the change to one number only,regardless of how many reissues,the count for colectables dropped from hundreds to just three,,the thre different printers.
And now,the cost saver for paper expenses,,no soluable layer,,has even decreased the USED stamp collectables.
Most stamp inthusis ,especialy postal historians, have offered a solution,,,collect on cover. This may sound good as a simple solution,but sorry to say,,fewer stamps are used on mail, and finding all the different issues will be "almost" impossible.
You may havre to mail yourself letters in order to obtain used stamps "on cover", or as a way of getting all those "used" stamps you need to compete your albums.
No,,it is not that USPS does not care,it's that they have no business sense.
Lost revenue, low sales,and less use of USPS services is being blamed on the internet--email.
Well,,,I bet if you asked each person sending an email,, "how many letters did you send through the U.S. mail,,before the advent of email",,,you may be surprised that very few mailed personal letters of communication,, and only utility bills etc. were mailed the traditional way.
Here at SOR,, we promote the different mail authorities, even if we do our posting ,communications,on the DB,, we do incourage use of each countrys' mailing systems,through the auction on this site. Remember,, one letter to send payment,one letter to send won auction items= 2 mail pieces per closed auction transaction. Each sale/purchase is a support for the postal authority of the one or two countries involved.

Seems the USPS should reward the stamp collecting community in some way. We support and promote them in more ways that just collecting stamps.We buy and use their stamps and such,we help keep a higher employee count,for the extra mail we send,thus keeping down the unemployement numbers( small,but still counted), auto industy comes into play,,they need more trucks to deliver the mail,more gasoline,,thus helping the oil industry, realitors,,they rent most PO building, and the list goes on.
WE- the stamp collectors- are an intragal part of the formula for success for the USPS. Sure wish they would "care" a bit more.

As for the original topic of this thread-- have you noticed the majority of revenue protection methods are geared toward the presort,non-profit,and lower denominated stamps. The latest,the 5 cent non profit-seacoast stamp.(coil). Now,,I'm sure there are a lot of non profit organizations --reuseing uncanceled n-p stamps.At least that's the impression I'm getting on this one.Is USPS saying something,without saying it out loud.
TOM

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Bob Ingraham (Bobstamp)
17 Nov 2008
12:33:13pm
re: Royal Mail introducing new security features and a discussion of moustache mugs, what else?

This morning, I went up to the attic, dusted off my crystal ball, and gazed deeply into it. Here's the image that appeared:

Postage stamps will soon be mostly curious oddities of the past. New stamps will be produced only for their potential to create revenue and perhaps to make political/corporate statements. However, bureaucracies being bureaucracies and corporations being corporations, that potential for revenue generation ignores us collectors: The ultimate products will be largely useless as postal artifacts — expensive, difficult to display in either used or mint condition and impossible to remove from paper if they've been used, designed by committees working at the behest of politicians and corporate lobbies, printed by methods calculated to keep costs (and quality) as low as possible, and finally sold by drones who are utterly ignorant of philately. Collectors who used to faithfully buy new issues will cease buying them; potential collectors will not be encouraged to start.

All is not lost. Tucked away in storage somewhere in the attic is a moustache cup used by my great-grandfather, similar to this one:

cup

There are apparently quite a few collectors of moustache cups — a google search turned up 90,300 hits. No doubt moustache cups are still being made, perhaps sold as reproductions, perhaps as real antiques.

The point I wish to make is that the moustache cups that our ancestors used have not been manufactured since the 1930s, after enjoying a period of use of about a century, during which hirsute male upper lips were the norm.

The demise of the moustache and moustache cups didn't stop collectors: A google search of "moustache cup collector" turned up 90,300 hits. My crystal ball tells me that the production of postage stamps could stop today, and our hobby would continue to thrive in a small segment of the population.

Bob

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David Teisler (Teisler)
18 Nov 2008
09:37:39am
re: Royal Mail introducing new security features and a discussion of moustache mugs, what else?

Actually, moustach cups are alive and well, or at least as much as postage stamps, and like stamps do double duty: sitting in cupboards and protecting our furry upper lips from the insult of those black or brown liquids. I have a nice collection of left-handed moustache mugs (in their own way, the inverted Jennies of porcelaine), all of which see duty.

As to the philatelic aspects of that crystal ball, I suspect you will be proven accurate.

David

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