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There seems to be less and less news around these days so as an experiment I have reverted to an annual update.  Below is our 2019 edition providing an update on any Smilers related information, news snippets and anything else we think you might be interested in!  Full details of all new issues will appear under the New Issues menu option.

Earlier News Reports (e.g. Q1-18) are provided in Adobe Acrobat pdf file format and are generally available during the first couple of weeks following the preceding quarter. Click on this link News Archive to go to the Smilers News Archive page

News - 2020

  • Coronation Sheet! 

    Trade information relating to Royal Mail's Coronation Street issue planned for May continues to emerge and as a result I have had to update my predictions for the issue of collector/generic sheets for 2020, as published at the foot of this page.  

    I will leave you to draw your own conclusions but due to Royal Mail's stamp issue embargo, in place until 12th May 2020, I am sworn to secrecy! More later! (27/03)

  • VE Day PNC Collection from Westminster

    The Westminster Collection appear to have been quite busy with another coin cover collection just announced. Today they have announced a set of seven coin covers bearing Isle of Man 75th Anniversary of VE Day commemorative 50p coins and specially commissioned Red, White and Blue (Union Flag) Smilers stamps.

    This collection follows the same format of recent PNC/Smiler Cover collections released by Westminster Collection and is priced at £90 +pp from The Westminster Collection.  You can click on the above image to visit the Westminster Collection web-page. (24/03)

  • Rupert Bear PNC Collection from Westminster

    The Westminster Collection has announced today the availability of a new set of five coin covers bearing Isle of Man Rupert the Bear commemorative 50p coins and what looks like Northern Ireland Smilers stamps.

    This collection follows the format of similar PNC/Smiler Cover collections released by Westminster Collection over the past couple of years and is priced at £70 +pp from The Westminster Collection.  These covers are normally a sell out so, if this is your thing, better getting cracking. You can click on the above image to visit the Westminster Collection web-page. (09/03)

  • Keep Smiling and carry on!

    Whilst acknowledging the valiant efforts of all our emergency services in tackling the threat posed by the Coronovirus, I have to say that I am pretty miffed at all the panic, doom and gloom spouted by the news media in this country.  So, in an effort to lighten the tone just a smidgen I thought I would share this little ditty from the late, great Spike Milligan.

    SMILE by Spike Milligan

    Smiling is infectious, You can catch it like the flu

    When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too

    I walked around the corner, and someone saw me grin

    When he smiled I realised, I had passed it on to him

    I thought about the smile, and then realised its worth

    A single smile like mine, could travel round the earth

    So if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected

    Start an epidemic, and get the world infected.

    In other words, Keep Smiling!  (05/03)

  • Bicentenary of the Royal Astronomical Society

    Encouraged by the Royal Mail Visions of the Universe stamp issue earlier this month commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the Royal Astronomical Society, we at Ridgewood have been inspired to produce our own tribute in the form of a new Customised Smilers Pack which is now available from our web-store.

      

    BC-521

    We have produced a limited edition Customised Smilers Pack commemorating the Bicentenary of the Royal Astronomical Society featuring the stamps and labels that originally appeared on our 2009 International Year of Astronomy business sheet. Each sheet comes with an informative information card with historical details of the Society and its plans to  commemorate its Bicentennial year.

    The Customised Smilers Pack is available for immediate dispatch and is priced at £39.95 +pp and is available for purchase from our web-store. Just click on either of the above images to go to the appropriate web page at our Ridgewood Stamp Sheets web store. (28/02)

  • London 2020 - the Last Business Customised Stamp Sheet?

    In this, the 20th Anniversary year of advent of the Smilers stamp sheets, The Philatelic Traders Society (PTS), has unveiled what may prove to be the last ever Business Customised Stamp sheet due for issue at the London 2020 International Stamp Exhibition to be held at the Business Design Centre, London between 2-9 May 2020. 

    BC-522

    The sheet was commissioned in the months before the withdrawal of the Business Customised Stamp sheet service and at a time when Spring Stampex 2020 was still on the cards.  It is clear from the sheet design that the producers originally intended to make this sheet available at the Spring STAMPEX 2020 event, originally scheduled to be held this month.  This event was subsequently cancelled so the sheet has been held back until the London 2020 event.  Some of us mourn the demise of these business sheets, others may celebrate, but given the shows international appeal I hope they will generate renewed interest in these products and encourage Royal Mail to reintroduce some form of personalised postage in the years to come. (28/02)

  • The One That Got Away! 

    A hitherto unidentified Business Smilers sheet was sold on eBay about two months ago  and was bought by a keen collector for c. £20!  He got a bargain in our view.  When we learned of this sheet we did a bit of digging to see if we could uncover the story and identify further examples. We have had it confirmed by the China Construction Bank (London) Ltd. that the sheet was indeed commissioned by them around August 2014 and was given away to invitees at the opening of the Bank's subsidiary in London in the Autumn of 2014.  

    BC-520

    The seller of the sheet was a former bank relationship manager who was invited to the opening of the London subsidiary of the China Construction Bank and this sheet was given out as a gift to all invitees. There were c. 200 people at the event so potentially 200 copies could have been printed at a guess. However, according to the seller, and in his opinion, most of the sheets would have been used or destroyed. They were apparently given out as part of a bundle of publicity material and many delegates may not even know they existed. That's life!  For the benefit of the lucky buyer of this sheet we have given it a reference number BC-520 but for everyone else, don't hold your breath. (28/02)

  • Royal Mail's Smilers Leaflets - Updated Listing 

    It has been a while since I mentioned Smilers Order Form/Publicity Leaflets, yet alone updated the list in my catalogue or the Smilers Note No. 6. For those not familiar with the term, Smilers Publicity Leaflets are those counter leaflets,  available from the Post Office/Royal Mail, setting out the range and cost of personalised Smilers sheets and providing details of how to order these by post. Initially with just a single stamp sheet design to choose from the need for an informative leaflet was not that great but as the issues increased so did the choice and with it the need for a process by which customers could select and order their chosen personalised stamp sheets. 

    The first of these Smiler Leaflets/order forms was issued in May 2002 although a few "special" forms pre-dated even this leaflet.  This was soon followed by an updated leaflet in September 2002 which now included the 2002 Christmas cracker stamp. 

           

    Two Smilers leaflets from 2002

    Since that date Royal Mail has updated these leaflets periodically including details of new personalised stamps as these became available and/or revising the tariffs as the cost of the personalised sheets changed.  

    The second edition of the Smilers Catalogue included an illustrated section covering these leaflets up to the time of publication in 2010 and Royal Mail continued to issue these leaflets up to about 2014 when they seemed to disappear. What you might not realise is that there are over 50 different versions of these leaflets to collect including Welsh language versions and these leaflets make an interesting addition to any Smilers collection. 

    As an aide to collectors I have had a go at updating my initial list of these leaflets and provide the following by way of an update.  

    I have also listed some of these for sale in my e-shop. If these are of interest to you please take a look at my e-shop Smilers Publicity Leaflets web page.

    Seq.  PO /RM reference Description Issued
    1 01CA HGFEDC8 Christmas 2000 leaflet with reply paid envelope Nov-00
    2 02AAE  Smilers - a first class idea Jan-01
    3 N/A WH Smith / personalise your stamps Feb-01
    4 02CCAA  With Occasions from Royal Mail  May-01
    5 02 QVA Go Crackers with Smilers for Christmas  Nov-01
    6 V1/750k/MW/May02/03JCAA So what special story would you tell with your Smilers May-02
    7 V1/750k/MW/May02/03JDAA So what special story would you tell with your Smilers May-02
    8 V2/3.72m/MW/Sept02/03JAB Give Your Stamps a personal touch Sep-02
    9 V2/3.72m/MW/Sept02/03JAC Give Your Stamps a personal touch Sep-02
    10 03UMA 10/02 Smilers, make Christmas or any occasion special Oct-02
    11 V3/1.6m/MW/Dec02/03JAN Give Your Stamps that really personal touch Dec-02
    12 V3/1.6m/MW/Dec02/03JAU Give Your Stamps that really personal touch Dec-02
    13 V3/1.6m/MW/Dec02/03JAV Give Your Stamps that really personal touch Dec-02
    14 V4/605k/SE/Jun03   S&C324DL Put a Smiler on it May-03
    15 V5/1137k/SE/Sep03   S&C347DL Smilers - New Christmas Stamps Sep-03
    16 V5/950k/SE/Jan04   S&C357DL Put a Smiler on it Jan-04
    17 V6/950/TL/Jun04   RMMKG003DL Smilers- with us its personal Feb-04
    18 945/TL/September04. RMMKG020DL Smilers - Your image, Your Stamp Sep-04
    19 100/TL/March05. RMMKG074DL Smilers - Your favourite photo with real stamps Mar-05
    20 560/PJM/June05. RMMKH001DL Smilers - Your favourite photo with real stamps Apr-05
    21 560/PJM/June05. RMMKH002DL Smilers - Your favourite photo with real stamps (Welsh)  Apr-05
    22 924/PM/Nov05. RMMH053 06 GMA Smilers - Turn a Special Moment into a Special Stamp (red) Apr-05
    23 924/PM/Nov05. RMMH053 06 GJA Smilers - Turn a Special Moment into a Special Stamp (red) Apr-05
    24 924/PM/Nov05. RMMH054 Smilers - Turn a Special Moment into a Special Stamp (English/Welsh) Apr-05
    25 62/PM/Feb06, 06 JIA Smilers - Turn a Special Moment into a Special Stamp (white) Feb-06
    26 62/PM/Feb06, 06 JJA Smilers - Turn a Special Moment into a Special Stamp (white) Feb-06
    27 62/PM/Feb06, 06 JKA Smilers - Turn a Special Moment into a Special Stamp (white) Feb-06
    28 150/PM/May06, RMH092, 07 JCA Smilers - Turn a Special Moment into a Special Stamp (white + Robin) May-06
    29 150/PM/May06, RMH093, 07 JCA Smilers - Turn a Special Moment into a Special Stamp (white + Robin) (English/Welsh) May-06
    30 150/PM/Sept06, RMJ046DL, 07 JLA Smilers - Turn a Special Moment into a Special Stamp (Thanks stamp on front)  Sep-06
    31 150/PM/Sept06, RMJ046DL, 07 JNA Smilers - Turn a Special Moment into a Special Stamp (Thanks stamp on front)  Sep-06
    32 RMJ101DL 08JCA Smilers - Turn a Special Moment into a Special Stamp (Harry Potter Stamp)  May-07
    33 RMJ102DL  08JBA Smilers - Turn a Special Moment into a Special Stamp (Harry Potter Stamp) (Welsh) May-07
    34 RMJ117DL 08JLN Smilers - Share your Magical Christmas Moments with Smilers Oct-07
    35 RMJ118DL 08JLN Smilers - Share your Magical Christmas Moments with Smilers (Welsh) Oct-07
    36 RMP 005 DL  08JLN Smilers - Share a Special Moment Jun-08
    37 RMP 006 DL  08JLN Smilers - Share a Special Moment (Welsh) Jun-08
    38 RM116  09JAB Smilers - Starring You…. Oct-08
    39 RM509 DL  09JLN Smilers - Share a Special Moment May-09
    40 RM510 DL  09JLN Smilers - Share a Special Moment (Welsh) Jun-09
    41 RMX20 DL  10JAB Smilers - Let it Shine Oct-09
    42 RMX21 DL  10JAB Smilers - Let it Shine (Welsh) Oct-09
    43 RMSMIL01 10JBB Smilers - Share a Special Moment (Happy Birthday Stamp and Cut-out) Jan-10
    44 RMSMIL02 10JBB Smilers - Share a Special Moment (Happy Birthday Stamp and Cut-out) (Welsh) Jan-10
    45 RMSMIL03 10JBB Smilers - Share a Special Moment (Hello Stamp and Cut-out) May-10
    46 RMSMIL04 10JBB Smilers - Share a Special Moment (Hello Stamp and Cut-out) (Welsh) May-10
    47 RMSMIL2010 11JBB Smilers - Share a Special Moment (Walace and Gromit Stamp and Cut-out) Oct-10
    48 RMSMIL2010W 11JBB Smilers - Share a Special Moment (Walace and Gromit Stamp and Cut-out) (Welsh) Oct-10
    49 RMSMIL05 12JLN Smilers - Share a Special Moment (Hello Stamp and Cut-out) May-10
    50 RMSMIL2011 12JAB Smilers - Share a Special Moment (2011 Christmas Stamp and Cut-out) Oct-11
    51 RMSMIL2011W 12JAB Smilers - Share a Special Moment (2011 Christmas Stamp and Cut-out)  (Welsh) Oct-11
    52 RMSMIL2012 13JAB Smilers - Share a Special Moment (2012 Christmas Stamp and Cut-out) Oct-12
    53 NIL REF  14JAB Smilers - Sending smiles is easy - and now available for iphone and Android (Best Wishes) Oct-13
    54 NIL REF  Smilers - Sending smiles is easy - and now available for iphone and Android (LOVE) May-14
    55 NIL REF  Smilers - Sending smiles is easy - and now available for iphone and Android (Christmas 2014) Oct-14

    If anyone has others not listed and issued since 2002 please get in touch and if possible  provide a scan of the leaflet back and front. Also, I would particularly like to hear from anyone with a spare copy of Item 53 in the above list.

    Although I have a digital image of this leaflet I do not have a physical copy and it would be great to complete my collection of these interesting Smilers ephemera! (22/02)

  • New James Bond Stamp issue announced 

    The 25th James Bond film is due for release in April 2020. To mark this event Royal Mail has announced another mega media issue in the guise of new James Bond stamps and collectibles. The basic stamp issue comprises a set of six stamps - 3 x 1st and 3 x £1.60. In addition to this there is a plethora of other goodies on offer including:  a mini sheet; a retail booklet; a presentation pack; a prestige stamp booklet; a limited edition prestige booklet, various framed incarnations of the foregoing and an A4 landscape collector/smiler sheet comprising 10 of Royal Mail’s new James Bond stamps,  surprisingly in a gummed paper format, accompanied by an attached label featuring an iconic moment and vehicle from across the films. 

     

     

    GS-124

    The collector/smiler sheet includes: 3 x 1st Daniel Craig stamps, 3 x £1.60 Sean Connery stamps, 1 x 1st Pierce Brosnan stamp, 1 x 1st Timothy Dalton stamp, 1 x £1.60 Roger Moore stamp and 1 x £1.60 George Lazenby stamp The background is taken from the opening title sequence of Casino Royale and has the official 007 logo. 

    We will of course be stocking the collector/smilers sheet priced £19.95 plus p+p and can also offer a set of four First Day Covers bearing all 10 smilers stamps/labels priced at £24.95 +p+p. To pre-order any of the foregoing products please e-mail me and advise your requirements or alternatively to buy the Smilers sheet now please click on the collector sheet image to visit our e-shop where this product is available on-line. (18/02)

  • 20th Anniversary of Royal Mail Smilers  

    With London 2020 fast approaching, it is perhaps timely to note that the Post Office, as it was back then,  introduced the Smilers personalised stamp sheets 20 years ago this year! Can it really be that long?  

    Despite their recent demise (I am still hopefully they will back a comeback at some point in the future) they are still avidly collected by a small but keen band of dedicated collectors who perhaps delight in their difference and quirkiness.  Less staid perhaps than their Victorian and Edwardian predecessors and for sure more bulky to house and collect.  It was perhaps their popularity that was the cause of their demise!  At the peak of collector interest the volume and frequency that these collectible Smilers sheets were being produced was probably what caused their ultimate downfall, proving that you can have too much of a good thing! 

    But enough of the past, looking to the present, the issue for us now was how to mark the 20th Anniversary of Smilers when Royal Mail have ceased production!  Well we at Ridgewood love a challenge and have produced a limited edition (20) Smilers Presentation packs containing an overprinted "Smiles" sheet (GS005) with additional border printing. We have also included an information card providing details of the Smilers Story to date, all individually numbered on the sheet and on the A4 card, and protected in a cellophane sleeve.

       

    To find out more,  or to buy this sheet,  please click on either of the above images to go directly to our web shop. This Smilers Stamp Pack is priced at £49.95 - not bad when you think an ordinary GS005 sheet is catalogued by Gibbons at £160! Until Royal Mail bring back the personalised Smilers may I suggest you Keep Smiling! (12/02)   

  • London 2020 

    As you know later this year the PTS will be hosting the London 2020 International Stamp Exhibition at the Business Design Centre in London. Consequently there will be no Spring Stampex 2020 this month to tempt us out of our self imposed winter hibernation.  Instead, for those of us suffering from a taste of the winter blues I hope the following news will brighten your day.

    I have produced a limited edition Themed Smilers sheet celebrating the impending arrival of London 2020 and can now offer these for sale priced £39.95. Each sheet is individually numbered and features a London 2020 label, also reproduced in the margin.

    The Smilers stamps are also available in a limited edition Smilers Presentation pack priced £9.95 and both items are available to buy on-line now by clicking on the images above. 

    In addition, I can reveal that Royal Mail are planning the issue of a new  exhibition/ Smilers generic sheet to coincide with the show in a similar format and design to previous Royal mail exhibition souvenir sheets. The sheet design contains the show logo and 20 x First Class ‘Hello’ stamps with adjoining labels featuring images of Mail Rail, the Post Office Underground Railway and set against a background of the same. The sheet is A4 size.  

    GS-125

    Issue date is assumed to be 2nd May 2020 but this has yet to be confirmed. Our price for this sheet is likely to be c. £22.95 +pp ( a Royal mail tariff price rise is expected at the end of March and this may affect our price slightly) and any reader wishing to reserve a copy of this sheet for their collection should contact me by e-mail . Just click on the link provided in the first instance and advise your requirements. (01/02)

  • Shaken not stirred! 

    Information relating to Royal Mail's mega March issue (James Bond) continues to emerge and as a result I have had to update my predictions for the issue of collector/generic sheets at the foot of the page.  I will leave you to draw whatever conclusions you might wish to make until the lifting of Royal Mail's information embargo date of 18th February 2020! More later! (01/02)

  • Tomb Raider Generic Sheet 

    Royal Mail's first issue for 2020 celebrates classic Video Games! Honestly!

    Clearly nothing of significant interest happened in history to fire Royal Mail's imagination sufficiently so they have adopted yet another pop-culture theme for their first issue of 2020,  presumably in the hope that this will add to their bottom line rather than perhaps the birth bicentenary of Florence Nightingale or Beethoven, not to mention artist Sir John Tenniel, original illustrator of Alice in Wonderland!  Casting even further back 2020 is the 500th anniversary of the birth of Renaissance Master, Raphael. 

    According to Royal Mail ....

    "The roots of Britain’s £4 billion video game industry can be traced back to the very early 1980s. In this stamp issue we look at some of the best loved games, many of which were worldwide successes, and mark the UK contribution to ‘gaming’ during the 80’s and 90’s and up to the modern day. This classic video games issue will evoke nostalgia and celebrate the joy of gaming through landmark UK-designed games."

    It's yet another expensive issue for the GB collector and I think you will be lucky to see any of the stamps and other products in use on mail.  There is the usual multi- denominational stamp issue, mini sheet, presentation pack and retail booklet and a collector/generic sheet based on the stamps only available in the mini sheet.  

    The collector/generic sheet is based on the Tomb Raider theme and contains 10 of the miniature sheet stamps and 10 labels. The labels all feature Tomb Raiders main character Lara Croft in different scenes from the video game.  The sheet is produced as a self-adhesive sheet printed in Litho by ISP/Cartor making these stamps different varieties to the mini-sheet gummed issue but Gibbons will not list them as they are sold at a premium over face value.  I wouldn't mind if Gibbons were consistent but they are not on this point.   Yet another example of Neanderthal thinking imposed by Gibbons on the British collecting pubic.  Royal Mail are moving towards more and more premium products whilst Gibbons refuse to list them - how daft! 

    GS-123

    Whilst I am sure this foray into pop-culture by Royal Mail is not sustainable or even desirable, it is nevertheless a collectible stamp sheet and as such we can supply this from stock priced at £19.95 plus p+p. Please click on the above image to go to you web-store to purchase this sheet. (07/01) 

  • Royal Mail Stamp Programme 2020   

    Royal Mail have announced details of their proposed 2020 stamp issue programme as follows. 

    • Video Games - 21/01/20 
    • Visions of the Universe - 11/02/20 
    • James Bond - 17/03/20 
    • The Romantic Poets - 07/04/20 
    • End of the Second World War - 08/05/20 
    • London 2020 - 08/05/20 
    • Coronation Street - 28/05/20 
    • Roman Britain - 18/06/20 
    • Queen - 09/07/20 
    • The Palace of Westminster - 30/07/20 
    • Sherlock - 18/08/20 
    • Rupert Bear - 03/09/20 
    • Brilliant Bugs - 01/10/20 
    • Christmas - 03/11/20
    • Star Trek - 13/11/20 
    • Lunar New Year Generic Sheet - Year of the Ox (not officially acknowledged at time of writing but likely in my view)

    Other 2020 Exhibition products include; London2020 mini-sheet plus a Declaration of Arbroath mini-sheet but apparently neither of these will contain new stamps. 

    The issues highlighted in bold are those with possible interest for Smilers Collectors - my guess and not an official confirmation.  No further details exist so we shall all have to wait and see what 2020 brings! (07/01)

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Keep Smiling!

 
                                    Last updated: March 28, 2020