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Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Machin Collectors Verses Steam Enthusiasts Updated


We are on the subject of prestige booklets again. 

More Machin collectors have woken up to the fact that Royal Mail were targeting them as cash cows with these and they have had a long run.. No longer though, as once loyal customer's they are now dumping their subscriptions in droves.  Royal Mail have also realised that over the past few years sales of these very expensive booklets had declined. The reason? From two or three a year we now have one nearly every other month. This is why they (R.M) have changed their tactics regarding the contents.

Looking for a new market after milking philatelists for years on end they are now targeting a different breed, of customer (collector), those being soap box addicts, people that collect comic books, music lovers, and such like.

The Flying Scotsman prestige booklet is aimed at steam enthusiasts and also the die hard philatelist but now these philatelists are not the original Machin collectors that used to grace these panes but those of special issues. I have to admit being a steam enthusiast myself  the booklet  is very colourful, full of special issues that would grace the contents of any album. However I personally stopped collecting commemoratives many years ago and I am not that much of an enthusiast that would actually go out of my way to acquire it. Good luck to those that do or have already though. 

A popular opinion:  The mixed Machin definitive pane is actually very boring with 1 x £2.00p stamp and 3 x 20p stamps. In fact they have been boring for some time now. Even more die hard collectors of this popular definitive from PB panes have said "enough is enough". They have decided they are no longer for them and stopped their subscriptions. Others who are still subscribing and have built up a large collection over the years have informed me "that as soon as Charles III stamps start to appear in them they are also cancelling their prestige booklet orders too". Many others are drawing a line under collecting new issues completely. 

Lots of questions:

What is you opinion of the future of philately on the whole? 

Are you still a die hard collector?

Will you or have you started a collection of the Charles III definitive?

Will you continue to acquire special issues? 

Are we a dying breed?

According to the experts the buying and selling of stamps is still very popular. The future of stamp collecting is good and the hobby is healthy and strong. In my experience dealers and collectors are liquidating stock via the trade in scheme and disposing of collections on auction sites many which go for well below face value, perhaps they are the ones that are busy. 

Another current  topic for conversation is : What will happen the catalogue values of stamps left on the market after this trade off finishes?  Literally hundreds of thousands of definitive stamps will be taken out of the market place to be replaced by hundreds of thousands of bits of modern wallpaper. 

I find this a very interesting question.? A subject to deal with in the future perhaps?


M said...

One question you haven't asked - do you use stamps?

I do. I write letters to penfriends around the world. Some of them like Harry Potter (although I am not a fan), but as this has been celebrated on stamps, I'll use those where/when I can on their letters. I try to use the stamps for postage I think my penfriend has an interest in. I'm not afraid to use individual stamps from miniature sheets, including from the Thunderbirds lenticular sheet. I try to use the commemorative stamps on their own, but have had to make up postage with Machin stamps.

I will go forth and buy the Flowers issue, the first of a new era and also one before a postage rate rise. But, will I be a bit more selective on what new issues I buy - yes.

As a stamp user, I do look for mint / postally unused stamps from dealers, and there is one up in Galashiels who has quite a customer base amongst us stamp users! I've bought a few times mainly stamps I can use with 1st class to make international postage rates (2 x 45p for the moment adds nicely to first, and many of those 45p are from the Millennium series). I've also bought mixed bags and one of last year's orders had quite a few Machin stamps - used all of them up. I still have a couple of country definitives to use up.

I do not like the new size of the definitive stamps with the datamatrix code. The stamps are far too big and barely leave any room on the envelope if using them to make up a postage rate.

Roy said...

Thanks for the comment.

Yes I use stamps on my eBay sales and personal correspondence. I also save used stamps from my incoming mail and pass them on to collectors. These a far fewer than in the past and also many are not cancelled. Sometimes the dreaded biro takes care of this.