Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Time for a RANT!

This is one of those occasional philatelic themed posts. I started collecting stamps as a schoolboy. I had the usual subscription to an 'approvals' supplier who would send me a selection of stamps plus the odd packet of 'Mixed Whole World' Stamps, to spend my pocket money on. Unlike most of my friends, I continued to have a fascination with stamps through into adult life by which time I had specialised my collecting to pre 1952, genuinely postally used stamps (not cancelled to order) and especially the Victorian, line engraved
Line engraved 1d Black
issues. Having started collecting first day covers as a kid, I had a good run by the time I was leaving home. I was not so interested in this side of the hobby, so my Father continued to collect mint commemorative stamps along with their First Day Covers (FDCs). This continued until his death in June 2011. As this collection was an almost complete run of Queen Elizabeth II covers I decided to keep it up. I took over his Royal Mail subscription and have kept the collection going. Recently this has become a ridiculously expensive venture. 

Royal mail have turned the service into a giant money spinner producing all sorts of variations on the stamps with booklets, mini sheets, Smilers (sponsored sheets) and all sorts of inane rubbish like mugs, framed sets, cast medallions and so on. None of which have anything to do with postage. The FDCs are not even sent through the post any more but ink-jet franked on a production like and then placed inside another cover to be send out. Not surprisingly these covers have very little resale value and I can understand why.

Too many - too much for me!
Yesterday the latest set of stamps and covers arrived. I only subscribe to the mint stamps, mini sheets and booklets plus the FDCs. In the past an issue might have a mini sheet and a few stamps or just a set of four or five stamps. Recently not only have the sets been getting bigger (eleven 1st class plus another 1st and four 2nd class in the mini sheet making 16 stamps different  stamps in this issue!) but the 'value' of each stamp has greatly increased due to last years postal charge increases. This is not stamp collecting, this is just subscribing to a 'collection' it could be wall plaques, die-cast models or any one of the manufactured collectables that are all over the Sunday supplements claiming to be 'limited editions' and the like. But the real rub is the bill. Take a look at this...

...and that is without any fancy stuff. That is it I am not playing this game any more. I will continue to buy the mint stamps as that is a genuine postal product but the rest they can keep - over £40.00 for just one issue is ludicrous. There will be people who will continue to buy them under the misapprehension that there will be some value in them at a later date or, like me, just wanted to keep a collection going. This was the final straw for me and the nail in the coffin came when I discovered that the Football Heroes miniature sheet will also be accompanied by a prestige booklet wrapped in a foil wrapper, reminiscent of the football cards of our youth. How tacky is that? - Will there be a wafer of pink bubble gum enclosed as well? And guess what? There are eleven stamps in the set as well - all first class.

What a real case of exploitation. You will not find me buying a pile of FDCs to support that sort of blatant profiteering - shame on you Royal Mail!


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