Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Are Post & Go Issues Postage Stamps?

I don't collect Post & Go issues, but I do read about them to keep up with what is happening. Some time ago I got frustrated by the fact that the hobby doesn't seem to know what they are! Some people (including Royal Mail) call them stamps, some call them labels, some call them postage labels, and so on. They are referred to in different ways within the same issue of Gibbons Stamp Monthly.

I decided to do a little investigation. I asked Royal Mail what they considered to be a postage stamp, and I also had some interesting correspondence with Hugh Jefferies, Catalogue Editor for Stanley Gibbons. I also posed the question in the journal of the Great Britain Collectors Club, and I received several interesting replies.

In the end, I decided that collectors, authors and catalog editors each have their own ideas of what makes up a postage stamp. I developed my own definition, and I decided that as far as I'm concerned, Post & Go issues are postage stamps.

Over on the Linn's Stamp News blog, I wrote a brief account of my experiences and I included my criteria for a postage stamp. You can read the blog entry here.

If you have thoughts on the matter, you can enter your comments here or on the Linn's blog.



White Knight said...

I like to divide Post and Go's into 2 categories - (1) true postage stamps which are generally available to the mail-sending public from kiosks situated in post offices and, perhaps, those items which are freely available to general collectors from the national Philatelic Bureau (2) exhibition and museum souvenir labels which have strictly limited availability in a single site and often for a very limited period of time. The items in this latter group do of course have validity for use as receipts for the pre-payment of postage, which is how I define a postage stamp, but the limited availability affects the status as true postage stamps and I tend to refer to these as "labels".

Ian - Norvic said...

And, in addition to White Knight's criteria, the Post and Go stamp should be available in the country for which it is designed to perform a postal service.

Thus the Royal Mail Union Flag stamps produced in a Post Office in Jersey, with the Broad Street inscription, don't qualify, and neither do the Gibraltar Post stamps produced in Gibraltar House, London.