Firstly Thanks to Michael Dodd CDD Stamps ( his link is above ) for the mention and sending some of his readers to Machin Mania. Please pay him a visit. He has a very infomative blog, that reaches into the bowels of philataly and more.
His musings at the moment are of Post boxes. You will find it interesting I assure you. Also do not forget to recommend us to all your pals and aquaintances.
Its a funny old game !
I am not referring to Jimmy Greaves ( soccer pundit ) but the amount of Machin oddities that can be found. If you are collector of Bar Code booklets you may be familiar with sample booklets. If not I will try to show you what is what.
These samples are empty bar-code booklet covers ( only ) front and back and contain no stamps. They were supplied to retailers by the Royal Mail to display on shop counters in place of normal booklets which were being pilfered by unscrupulous customers.
The sample booklets were a futile attempt to combat the theft of stamps which was becoming a big problem for small shops.
At the offset when shops and supermarkets started selling stamps, in order to publicise the service to the public, Royal Mail originally supplied stamp display racks and advised retailers to show them in a prominent position for self service. People helped them selves alright, but did not pay for the stamps.
Most Stock, now that the public have been educated to the fact that retailers sell stamps, are kept out of site under the counter. So sample booklets were not needed any longer. Stamp collectors, being collectors aquired some. They eventually found their way onto the Philatelic market via trades and sales.
There are several different types of Sample booklets to collect. Easy to spot, each booklet has "SAMPLE" printed in the yellow strip to the right.
Shown below are 4 x 1st class and 4 x 2nd class.
Other Sample Booklet Types
Christmas, Greetings, advertising booklets, such as WH Smith and Sainsbury's are available to collect, also in addition to the above, 10 x 1st class and 10 x 2nd class are available from certain quarters. Machin stamp dealers often have these on offer, they are also sometimes listed on eBay or Yahoo auctions.
These booklet covers are reasonably cheap to acquire and add a nice touch to a booklet or Machin collection. They show something that is a little different from the norm and will eventually become a (rare) important part of Postal History.
Get yours now whist the going is good.