Monday, 4 June 2007

Generic Versus Smilers

Before I start I have to admit I have never been an admirer of "Generic Smilers Sheets", not that some of the stamps are ugly or anything like that. I am a firm believer that the Royal Mail are just taking collectors for a ride with these products.

In fact if it were not for the 40th anniversary of the Machin and the proposed Generic Sheet they would not get a mention on this Blog.

What is the difference?

Generic Sheets are designed and issued along with the stamp program by Royal Mail to compliment every set of stamps and miniature sheet. Mentioned above, the latest to be issued comes out this week (6th June) it is the 40th anniversary of the Machin.

Right on its tail ( soon to follow) is The Harry Potter Generic Sheet. Several others were issued previously and more are planned for the rest of this year (at least one per month).

I am not saying to collectors do not buy these products (each to his own) but, if we as a body of collectors and customers complained more, perhaps Royal Mail would just issue the odd one or two a year.

Below is the Machin Anniversary Generic Sheet.

Personal and Business Smilers Sheets

These are basically the same product as above, it is just that the name has changed. Certain businesses can promote their companies with a logo or message on the attached label. Again this is just another method of extracting more cash from the collector via the back door.

Businesses, use them to design more and more (overpriced) limited edition first day covers.

Some labels even have reproductions (or facsimiles) of stamps that were issued in times past. These all look very nice, but I feel they are ruining the hobby to an extent.

Royal Mail says"Customised Sheets give businesses the freedom to create a unique stamp product, branded with your very own choice of label and background designs.

Businesses can choose from a wide range of stamp designs to use on the sheets adding your logo, sales message or image, to add valuable impact to a promotional event or to maintain your company’s day to day profile.

Special limited edition sequentially-numbered sheets are also available to mark special events or achievements".

Personal Smilers are also designed for Joe public, these are perhaps the only ones I may consider buying, If I wanted to send a personal photograph attached to a stamp.

These sheets them selves are not cheap for businesses or Joe Public to order, so with these inflated prices there is only one winner. Royal Mail. Collectors buy the covers from the dealer, so he/she ( the dealer) has a return on their investment, it is collector again that ends up with empty pockets.

Another new gimmick to attract Businesses is the new Generic Coil: Known as Customised stamp rolls

The Royal Mail website informs customers" Customised Stamp Rolls are the smart way to add to your businesses promotional and direct mail campaigns – providing an instant hit and lasting awareness in the marketplace.

With Customised Stamp Rolls the campaign starts the minute the mailing lands on the doormat thanks to the eye-catching combination of self-adhesive stamps and personalised labels.

Each label can feature a company’s logo or personalised message sitting alongside a 1st Class pictorial definitive stamp. Specially developed for bulk mailings the stamps and labels are provided on rolls of approximately 700 stamps".

I have been informed this information is incorrect, the rolls are in 7000 units, this has not been confirmed by Royal Mail at this time.

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