UNITED KINGDOM. 2018, the 'Post & Go' issues

The 'Game of Thrones' issues

In a clear effort to capture the attention and interest of collectors and, in general, of the millions of fans of the series around the world, Royal Mail kicked off 2018 with a special philatelic edition dedicated to the 'Game of Thrones'.
Whilst 'Game of Thrones' is an American television series, most of the filming takes place in studios and locations in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland and the cast is mainly composed of British actors.

The special edition issued on January 23rd 2018, includes a set of ten stamps and a collectors sheet with five stamps dedicated to the characters and motifs of the series, as well as stamp booklets, postcards, covers, presentation packs and other associated products. In addition, for the first time, Royal Mail produced a set of two 'Post & Go' designs dedicated to the same theme.

Both designs show the 'Iron Throne', the throne of the King of the Seven Kingdoms forged with the swords of vanquished enemies. It is also the theme of a self-adhesive 'traditional' stamp (upper cover) and one of the special pictorial first day postmarks (right). The labels with a blue background, dedicated to the theme of ice and with images of Night King, are used for the printing of '2nd Class' mail stamps, as denoted in the continuous text of the background printing. The labels with a yellow background, dedicated to the theme of fire and illustrated with dragons, will be used for priority mail'1st Class' stamps.

Royal Mail produced a pictorial information card with two stamps with the basic values ​​of domestic economy and priority mail (2nd Class & 1st Class up to 100g, respectively), printed on the back office equipment C001.
Both stamps have the same lower identifier code, B1GB18 C001-1840-028. It is the 28th series, since the beginning of the 'Post & Go' issues.

Starting from January 23rd and for a month, the two 'Post & Go - Game of Thrones' designs were available from the Intelligent AR kiosks installed in the Royal Mail Enquiry Offices (with machine codes beginning with the letter 'M') and at the London Postal Museum (with the museum's permanent identifier), as well as from many NCR - SSK postal kiosks installed in post offices across the country.

On the date of issue, the Intelligent AR kiosks installed in the United Kingdom were issuing stamps with eight different face value indicators, grouped into two Collectors Strips, one with two stamps for economy mail (2nd Class), and another with six stamps for priority mail (1st Class).
Receipts for the purchase of the two Collectors Strips issued by the A001 kiosk, at the London Postal Museum

IAR kiosks
Royal Mail Enquiry Offices
IAR kiosk
Postal Museum - A001
NCR / SSK kiosks

In addition to the eight basic face value indicators, the users of the NCR-SSK postal kiosks can also obtain the so-called 'open value stamps', variable value stamps for immediate use. These stamps include specific information about the shipment type (2L or 1L in the images), as well as the destination and weight of the postal item, and the postage tariff paid (see article, also published in VARIABLE 34).

The 'Post & Go' issues at SPRING STAMPEX 2018

In 2018, the spring fair of the new "Stampex International", the new name for this major philatelic event, was held from Wednesday February 14th to Saturday 17th, at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London.

The fair once again brought together more than a hundred international philatelic dealers, auction houses, specialist publishers and an ever decreasing number of philatelic services. These were distributed over the two levels of the central exhibition hall and the gallery bays, upstairs. As usual in recent years, at the back of the large exhibition hall, the organizers had arranged the national philatelic exhibition organized by The Association of British Philatelic Societies (ABPS), and the Royal Mail stand.

In 2018, Royal Mail decided to significantly reduce its presence at the Spring Stampex, by way of a small stand selling philatelic products, with no postmarking counter and, (as far as our field of study is concerned), without the usual 'Post & Go' zone.
Indeed, for the first time since the London 2010 Festival of Stamps, when Royal Mail installed the first 'Post & Go' kiosk at a philatelic fair, Royal Mail decided not to install any philatelic kiosk at this year's event.

However, the Guernsey and Jersey philatelic services, and Royal Gibraltar Post Office, decided to continue participating in the fair, and installed its three philatelic kiosks on a stand at the end of the gallery bays on the second level, next to the zone dedicated to the promotion of youth philately.
In the images, from left to right, the GI01 kiosk of Royal Gibraltar Post Office, JE01 of Jersey Post, and GG01 of Guernsey Post.

The software of these kiosks was updated with a new maintenance menu, with new options that improve the control of the equipment and management of the reels.

The opening of the Spring Stampex 2018, on February 14th, coincided with the celebration of Valentine's Day, so the three postal administrations decided to include a commemorative text on the stamps issued by its kiosks.

On one of the rolls the GI01 kiosk of the Royal Gibraltar Post Office issued stamps with the 'Freemasonry in Gibraltar' series (first issued in September 2017) and the special imprint

Happy Valentine's
Spring Stampex 2018

going through a graphic design in the shape of a heart and the new 'Year of the Dog' design on the other roll, with no special imprint.

These issues are dealt with in more detail in the article dedicated to Royal Gibraltar Post Office.

On one of the rolls the Jersey Post JE01 kiosk issued stamps with 'The Crest of Jersey' series and the special imprint

Be My Valentine
Spring Stampex 2018

and a graphic design with two hearts and the new 'Visiting Naval Vessels' thematic series, with no special imprint, on the other.

These issues are dealt with in more detail in the article dedicated to Jersey Post.

Finally, the Guernsey Post GG01 kiosk issued stamps on one of the rolls with the 'Guernsey flag' definitive design and the special imprint

From Me to You
Spring Stampex 2019

inside a graphic in the shape of hearts and the new 'Guernsey Bailiwick Flowers' thematic series, with no special imprint, on the other.

These issues are dealt with in more detail in the article dedicated to Guernsey Post.

The first block of the code at the bottom of all the stamps issued by the three 'Post & Go' philatelic kiosks installed at Spring Stampex 2018, is B2GB18, followed by the machine code, then the transaction number and finally the stamp number. As usual, in addition to these machines, Guernsey and Jersey Post philatelic services sold Collectors Strips printed on the back office equipment B002.

2018. Royal Mail Heritage: Mail by Sea

Although for financial reasons Royal Mail did not install any philatelic kiosk at Spring Stampex 2018, they decided to continue with the production of the 'Post & Go' thematic series and, in fact, the launching of the next series was again scheduled to coincide with the opening of the philatelic fair.

After the series 'Royal Mail Heritage: Transport' (see article and VARIABLE 40), 'Royal Mail Heritage: Mail by Rail' (article and VARIABLE 44), and 'Royal Mail Heritage: Mail by Air' (article and VARIABLE 46), the fourth thematic series, showing the evolution of mail transport systems throughout the centuries, is dedicated to mail by ship.

As on previous occasions, on the date of issue, the new series could be obtained at many of the NCR / SSK postal kiosks installed in post offices, from the IAR series 'M' kiosks installed in the Royal Mail Enquiry Offices, and from the A001 kiosk installed in The London Postal Museum (see next section).

Royal Mail released the usual information card or presentation pack with the six designs (right image) printed with the back office equipment (C001) code. All the stamps have the same face value '1st Class up to 100g', and the same lower identification code. In this case, B2GB18 C001-1840-029, as it is the 29th series, since the beginning of the 'Post & Go' issues.

The series 'Royal Mail Heritage: Mail by Sea' is illustrated with images of six ships used to transport mail throughout history. In the seventeenth century, mail to continental Europe was dispatched by vessels called 'packets'. The steamships were used from the beginning of the 19th century, allowing the establishment of regular and safer transport routes. From 1840, Royal Mail contracted several ships for the transportation of official mail; the Royal Mail Ships (RMS). Throughout the 20th century, international mail was
increasingly being transported by plane. RMS St Helena was the last cargo ship that Royal Mail used for regular mail delivery.

The rolls of labels were manufactured by International Security Printers, and have identical characteristics to previous issues. The illustrations are by Andrew Davidson.
First day special postmarks.
Although Royal Mail did not install any 'Post & Go' kiosks at Spring Stampex 2018, the usual special postmark for this series was available

Back office printer
IAR kiosks
Royal Mail Enquiry Offices
NCR / SSK kiosks
Post offices

This series could also be obtained from the NCR - SSK kiosks with the 'open value stamps' format. The six 'open value stamps' below correspond to the six face value indicators programmed in the set or 'Collectors Strip'. Right, a test imprint produced by the NCR postal kiosks.

The 'Royal Mail Heritage: Mail by Sea' series at The Postal Museum

The new thematic series was also available, from February 14th 2018, from the A001 'Post & Go+' kiosk at the London Postal Museum. The stamps issued by this machine include the permanent identifier 'The Postal Museum'.

As can be seen in the screen image below, on that date, the philatelic kiosk was still printing stamps with the two designs of the 'Game of Thrones' series (see previous article), in addition to 'Post Office (London) Railway' and 'Mail coach' designs.

The new thematic series could only be purchased with the first value / rate of domestic mail programmed into the kiosks, '1st Class up to 100g'.

Cartor & Stamp Active at Spring Stampex 2018

Stamp Active is an organization formed by volunteers, dedicated to the promotion of stamp collecting for young people in the UK. Among its different initiatives, Stamp Active organizes the 'Kids Corner', an area at the two annual London Stampex fairs where young people can discover the world of philately through different activities.

During Spring Stampex 2018, Cartor Security Printing decided to collaborate with this organization by installing its CSP1 test kiosk, using rolls of special self-adhesive cinderella labels illustrated with a motif dedicated to Stamp Active.

The machine was installed at the 'Post & Go' stand, next to the Kids Corner of Stamp Active. The main menu allowed one to obtain labels with the predefined 'Stamp Active Spring Stampex 2018' text ...

... or the user could customize the text printed on the labels, even adding an emoji (images below).
Children and young people had free access to the kiosk, while interested adults had to pay GBP 10 for a strip of cinderellas; a donation to finance the group's promotional activities.

Like the sample labels manufactured for the CICE 2017 exhibition in Nanjing (see article, also published in VARIABLE 46), the Stamp Active labels are not produced on the usual yellow silicone coated backing paper but on a transparent release liner (film), which looks very attractive. 
The use of this type of thinner backing paper enables the manufacture of rolls with a larger number of labels in the same volume.

'Voices from the Deep' at The Postal Museum

On February 16th 1941, the British steam merchant ship SS Gairsoppa was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland. The wreck site was located in 2011 and its cargo was recovered in 2013.
The new 'Voices from the Deep' temporary exhibition at the brand new London Postal Museum displays a selection of over 700 personal letters and other objects carried by the ship, and perfectly preserved at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for over 70 years in an airlock formed within the steam boat.
Coinciding with the opening of the exhibition, on March 29th 2018, the 'Post & Go +' A001 kiosk installed in the museum shop was programmed with the special temporary imprint

Voices from the Deep The Postal Museum

his printing will be available until the beginning of September, and only on stamps issued with the 'Royal Mail Heritage: Mail by Sea' series and available only with the first rate of domestic mail, '1st Class up to 100g'.

On one of the strips of stamps issued with this special imprint we have discovered this curious error. Because of a software glitch, the smaller font configured for the printing of the first line of text, 'Voices from the Deep', was replaced, in only one of the six stamps, by the default font used in the second line of the imprint.

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This page was created in March 2018 and last updated: 30.06.18 . English edition last rewritten by J. Gareze (29.06.2018)