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January 2019



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No, Royal Mail, I will not be buying your Olympics stamps

Here’s something you rarely see: a letter with a so-called special stamp on it and a legible postmark. When’s the last time you received one? Almost every letter posted has a gold 1st Class or blue 2nd Class stamp on it, while packets and parcels have computerized labels. In spite of this, every year Royal Mail brings out several sets of special stamps (which I still think of as commemoratives) in order to exploit unfortunate collectors whose ambition is to have a copy of every British stamp ever issued. What’s worse, they claim that these stamps are highly collectable and will become heirlooms. Oh yeah? Like those ‘heirloom’ Millenium stamps everyone hated? Don’t they realize that as soon as an object is described as a collectable it ceases to be one? If only we all knew which ephemera we’re throwing away now would indeed be collectable one day!

I gave up collecting these stamps long ago and now buy only new definitive stamps and save postally-used commems when I’m lucky enough to get any. This booklet dropped into my letter box this week.

If you can read the print, note the use of the weasel word ‘products’. Since when did stamps become products? What earthly use to anyone is a cover with a coin attached to it? We are offered the Olympics stamps in every possible variation of sheet, any number of different covers, postcards, miniature sheets, booklets; you name it. With the help of a calculator I worked out that to buy every item on offer would set you back £834.11 . For that money you could buy a decent collection of British stamps or even blow the lot on one rarity. In the latter case you would have a thing of beauty which would probably increase in value, unlike these worthless Olympics products. Of course, if you really love these new stamps or are a collector of sports issues, go ahead and buy. You can see some of them here.
Otherwise, what a waste of money! I much prefer these:

and they’re cheap as chips.


The wife of my boss when I worked at Southampton Solent Uni collected stamps and bought every single issue. I also think it's a waste of money. I prefer old postcards. You can never make out postmarks on letters these days, must be shoddy machinery.
I also know someone who buys everything, several times over, but he deals in stamps as a sideline.

Our splodged postmarks are a disgrace. Swiss and German ones are always perfect.
I so agree with you. I cancelled my subscription to British stamps several years ago.

I still have a subscription to Dutch stamps, but this year they commemorate 60 years of television in the Netherlands with a series of 36 stamps. Only two of them are issued normally, the rest are only available to subscribers (at extra cost). No, thank you. Those are not 'real' to me.
Those are not 'real' to me.

Exactly! I'd say if they're not to be postally used, they aren't stamps at all but labels.