Wednesday, 22 April 2009

30th April Smilers for Kids

Ian - Norvic wrote:

"This isn't a new Royal Mail issue, it's simply Earl Shilton scouts climbing on the Smilers bandwagon to raise funds for their very worthwhile cause. I sold bankrupt goods to help our troop, somebody has come up with a different idea. If stamp collectors wish to buy what are actually personalised Smilers sheets that is up to them."

OK Ian I see your point and will digress a little. But, and this is a big but! I get so angry at Royal Mail for allowing these issues in the first instance. At the end of the day this is all about R.M profit and in my humble opinion is helping to ruin this great hobby (once called philately) now jokingly called confetti collecting.

I have to say something even if its just on this blog . I know I am not alone in my opinions. I also know that any letter to powers that be would fall on deaf ears. So I will not waste my time writing to them direct.

So even if we let private smiler sheets off the hook, what about these?

30 April 2009 Smilers for Kids - 4 x generic sheets . Big Ears, Wild Cherry Flower Fairies, Jeremy Fisher , Little Miss Sunshine.

All these sheets contain 20 x 1st class stamps and labels. Why on earth call these smilers for kids? Royal Mails claim "They are trying to encourage more youngsters to collect British stamps."

If this was the case they could format these to a set of 4 on a miniature sheet which at face would cost less than £2.00 How much pay does a child get these days from running a paper round? These sheets retail at £8.50 each, times this by four equates to a whacking £34.00.

I don't know about you and your kids, but how on earth can parents or children afford to collect these. This is a hell of a lot of pocket money for a kid to spend on a few bits of sticky paper on one day.

My last word on the subject!

Wise up Royal Mail make these issues more affordable to children or risk losing the collectors you have managed to convert already! The word "Con" should be highlighted !

NEXT POST: We get Back to Machins.


Ian - Norvic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ian - Norvic said...

Oh I do agree with the general tone of what you were writing, Royal Mail was just the wrong target.

"I get so angry at Royal Mail for allowing these issues in the first instance. At the end of the day this is all about R.M profit."In the beginning there was the (Australian) personalised stamp, and others quickly followed including Royal Mail in 2000. These were essentially for individuals to personalise their social correspondence, albeit at a considerable premium over face value. But it was a novelty and very popular too.

In 2001 RM targetted the commercial market with the Business Smilers Sheet, and Eagle Coaches of Bristol used the Cartoons and the Hallmarks greetings stamps to promote their company - which was what Royal Mail had intended. But very few other companies have done this.

The next products were those involving football clubs, produced by Victory Cards in association with Benhams. Manchester Utd, Norwich City, Arsenal, and others were produced and sold, framed, through club shops at quite a premium. There were profits to be made - by the co-producers, the framers, and the clubs. Prices rose. Some were also used on covers, and some mint sheets were made available to the trade and to collectors.

Next came the PTS with the first Stampex Sheet, followed by Rushstamps for their 45th anniversary.

Do you see a pattern? It is not just Royal Mail making a profit, and it is not even businesses using these as RM intended. It is the philatelic trade which has pushed these, marketing them as (non-philatelic) collectables to sports fans and later to Dr Who, Elvis etc fans. In 2006 Fiat motors promoted the Grande Punto with sheets sold for considerably less than those produced by the stamp trade.

If you look through the Smilers Catalogue you will see the parties involved. From the outset collecters have been able to say NO, and to collect only the generic sheets produced and sold direct by Royal Mail.

Despite the fact that over 60 stamps have been available for this service (although far fewer are available now), the same members of the trade have pressed RM to make new stamps available, and RM are considering this suggestion seriously. See the designs proposed by Adrian Bradbury here.

But as Adrian also notes, having totally new stamps available for the Business Customised service (or even the social personalised service) is only part of the story:
"New stamp designs cannot be exclusive to the Business Customised Sheet range and must be made available to the general public."The implications are obvious.I'm sorry, I've sort of hijacked your blog with a comment worthy of an entry of its own. But some people may not be aware of the whole background. If you want to buy highly-priced collectables from B, B & B (& others), do so. But don't blame RM, and don't blame others for climbing on the bandwagon.

Here's one I made earlier as a fund-raiser!

Ian - Norvic said...

I deleted my earlier comment because the formatting went wrong after previewing; and now it has happened to the replacement, after previewing. But I hope the meaning is clear.

Machin Man said...

Thanks Ian,

Your comments are always welcome, and I might add you speak a lot of sense when describing your veiws.

It all adds to the debate :-)