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Here in the Smilers News section you will find a current update to our catalogue and listings, providing all the latest Smilers related information, news snippets and anything else we think you might be interested in relating to Smilers and associated label sheets issued by Royal Mail and others!  Full details of all new issues will appear under the New Issues menu option.

Earlier News Reports are provided in Adobe Acrobat pdf file format and are generally available during the first couple of weeks following the preceding period. Click on this link News Archive to go to the Smilers News Archive page.

 

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News - 2021

  • Music Giants V - Paul McCartney

    Royal Mail have announced their latest mega media issue, the latest in their Music Giants series which began back in 2010 with a stamp series featuring classic album covers. Then it was about the iconic designs of covers but today its all about the artist and their work.  The latest helping of pop and rock from Royal Mail is due out on 28th May 2021 and showcases the talent and work of Sir Paul McCartney. Royal Mail have issued this statement to coincide with this issue. 

    "Sir Paul McCartney is an icon of 20th century popular music and recognised by Guinness World Records as ‘The most successful songwriter of all time’ having written or co-written 188 charted records in the UK, of which 91 reached the top 10 and 33 to number one and having been awarded more than 60 gold discs. In the USA he has composed 32 number-one singles and is a 21-time Grammy winner.

    Over the course of nearly six decades, he has sold more records than any other artist.

    2021 is the 50th anniversary of the formation of solo album RAM and the formation of the band Wings which achieved huge success as among the biggest selling acts of the 70s with 27 US top 40 hits (beating Elton John’s 25) and five consecutive no 1 albums. The 1977 Wings single, Mull of Kintyre, remains the UK’s biggest selling non-charity single.

    Half a century after The Beatles’ split, McCartney remains a vital figure at the centre of rock and pop, an artist whose legacy is immense but whose work continues to generate attention and acclaim.

    In celebration of the UK’s most successful songwriter and greatest music legends, Royal Mail is releasing a new set of 8 stamps featuring some of the albums which spanned Paul McCartney’s career and a Miniature Sheet which reflects his passion for studio recording."

    What they failed to mention in the above statement is the plethora of other products that they are releasing. These include: a 6 x 1st Retail stamp booklet, a prestige stamp booklet featuring the 8 stamps new stamps from this issue, the four black and white stamps from the mini sheet and a Machin pane featuring new M21L Machin stamps.  At least three First Day covers with either the stamps, mini sheet or Machin Pane, oh and a cuddly toy!

    There is also a limited Edition Prestige Booklet, three fan sheets featuring these new stamps in various formats, Presentation packs for both the stamps and a separate one for the mini sheet, a souvenir folder with stamps affixed to unique illustrations of the artist at work, various framed products which include the stamps and mini sheets and (drum roll) by no means last (well alright I saved the best bit for last), a brand new collector sheet or as we like to call them - Generic Smilers sheet

    GS-134

    Oh, did I mention the framed version of this sheet from Royal Mail? No, well here it is, priced £29.99.

    We will, of course, be stocking this sheet and you can purchase this sheet by clicking on either of the above images.  I will not post them until 27th May 2021 earliest but you should receive them in the post on the first day of issue.  

      

      

    Talking of first date of issue, I have also produced a small quantity of First Day covers featuring these stamps/labels, the mini sheet and the retail booklet as illustrated above. Just click on the image to visit my eBay store and buy one (or more) before they all disappear!  

    Oh, and if you managed to get through all of the above you might be disappointed to learn that the bit about the "cuddly toy", well I put that in for fans of the Generation Game because it seemed RM had overlooked it, but in truth, sadly, there isn't one! (06/05)

  • 95th Birthday of Queen Elizabeth II - Part 2

    As I was about to post Part 1 of this news update, I received an e-mail from the Westminster Collection  advising of a brand new Coin cover featuring a brand new Smilers stamp/label.  It seems that the Westminster Collection have picked up where they left off ten years ago in commemorating the 95th Birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth II with this beautiful but perhaps ambitiously priced PNC cover at £95+pp.

    You can purchase this cover directly from The Westminster Collection by clicking on the image above which will take you to their website where you can purchase this wonderfully designed and presented collectible. (20/04)

  • 95th Birthday of Queen Elizabeth II - Part 1

    In 2011 the Westminster Collection commemorated the Queen's 85th and Prince Phillip's 90th Birthdays with the issue of a Business Customised stamp/label sheet under the banner title "Lifetime of Service".  Not quite a lifetime as it has turned out!  Sadly with the recent passing of Prince Phillip no such double celebration will be repeated this year.  

    Click on above image to "buy-it-now"

    The Queen is remarkable in many ways for her many achievements and accomplishments but her fortitude and Lifetime of Service to this country and other realms will set her apart as perhaps our greatest Monarch. It is fitting, therefore, that Royal Mail and others mark her 95th Birthday with muted celebration this year, just days after the passing of Prince Phillip.   

    Royal Mail are issuing a commemorative coin cover (PNC) featuring a pane of eight stamps and central label, all of which have been issued before, with the exception of 1st class Machin head which bears the iridescent year code M21L. It will no doubt appear in Prestige Booklets to be issued later this year so will no doubt be readily available to collectors, but as it stands to date it is the only source of this new variety.

     

    I have produced a very few special hand-stamp covers featuring this pane and these are now available for purchase through my eBay shop. Just click on the image below to access the buy-it-now page. 

    Sympathetically designed to acknowledge the recent passing of Prince Phillip the cover picks up on the theme from ten years ago, a celebrates a lifetime of service of both the Queen and Prince Phillip.

    I have also produced two other collectibles featuring the Smilers stamps/labels from Westminster's sheet of 10 years ago.  These are also available for purchase through my eBay shop and further details of each are featured on the buy-it-now pages for each of these items, which can be accessed by clicking on the images below. (20/04)

    Commemorative cover featuring Royal Mail hand-stamp dated 21st April 2021

Customised Stamp Presentation Pack

  • 50th Anniversary of Decimalisation - Part 2 

    Following the airing of Part 1 of this article, see below, I was contacted by a keen Smilers collector/contributor lamenting the inability of marking this event with a new Smilers sheet and suggested I might like to overprint one of the 40th Anniversary sheet instead. I think I resisted for about 10 minutes and later that day was able to post out an overprinted version to him.  I have put a few of these on eBay and if interested you can buy one now by clicking on the image below. Keep Smiling! (06/04)

    BC-428a

  • 50th Anniversary of Decimalisation - Part 1   

    It is fifty years since Britain gave up its £ s d for £ p and as one of the last generation taught to add up in £ s d I am glad we did!

    Ten years ago The Westminster Collection produced a Royal Mail Business Customised Stamp sheet commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Britain's Decimalisation and used this stamp/label on a series of commemorative coin covers.  

    In 2014 I secured a quantity of these sheets, left over from the cover production, and have made them available since them through this website and my eBay store - click on the above image if interested.

    You may imagine my surprise, therefore, when I spotted a set of these coin covers for sale on  eBay recently!  Having the good fortune to secure these, I thought you might like to see what they looked like.   

     

     

      

     

    The set comprised seven covers, each bearing a pre-decimal coin and the equivalent of pre-decimal stamps, in addition to the Smilers stamp/label tied to the cover with a special hand-stamp dated 15 February 2011.

    For the 50th Anniversary, The Westminster Collection revived this design and issued a commemorative cover featuring the newly minted 50p commemorative coin, sadly minus the Smilers stamp/label. 

    This seems to have been a sell out, as recently I have noted an alternate design available featuring a Guernsey £5 coin, similarly priced at £25 per cover with a more expensive option available with a sterling silver coin priced at £95.

    It seemed to me to be a missed opportunity that a Smilers stamp was not featured as part of this years 50th anniversary commemoration so I decided to produce a pair of commemorative covers featuring both the old 2 1/2p postcard rate and the 3p letter rate prevailing on 15th February 1976, together with a Smilers stamp taken from the above 40th Anniversary Business Customised Stamp sheet.

    These are illustrated below and are available for immediate purchase through m eBay web store, priced at a more modest £4.95 per cover +pp.  If these are of interest to you just click on either of the images below to visit my eBay store!  Enjoy!  (27/03)  

          

  • Charles Dickens £2 Coin Cover Collection    

    The Westminster Collection have released their latest Smilers PNC Cover collection in the guise of commemorating the 150th anniversary of the death of Charles Dickens. The  Charles Dickens Complete £2 Coin Cover Collection combines all five official Charles Dickens £2 coins issued by Jersey covering the great man himself and some of his most famous novels: Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and A Christmas Carol together with specially commissioned Royal Mail Charles Dickens Smilers stamps/labels.

    Priced at £95 per set of five covers, the collection is not cheap but they do appear to sell well and if this is of interest to you then an early purchase from the Westminster Collection will avoid disappointment. (22/02)

  • Quelle Surprise!  Only Fools and Horses    

    Oh mon dieu!  Another mega media bundle on the horizon from Royal Mail - due out in two weeks!  Lovely Jubbly I can hear some say - others may not be so keen.  Whatever your feelings are about Royal Mail's recent "nice little earners" stamp issues you cannot help but love their latest subject - Only Fools and Horses is truly a British icon and this year it celebrates its 40th anniversary. To mark the occasion Royal Mail will be releasing a variety of stamps and collectibles to tempt us from our furlough payments -  this time next year they'll be millionaires!

    Due out on 16th February 2021, Royal Mail's code-name for this issue was "Project Dave" which is worthy of the subject and brought a smile to my lips when I first heard about it.  

    Trigger is just one of the many characters appearing in this issue of eight new stamps and a mini sheet, as above.  Also included are a presentation pack, various first day covers, retail, prestige and limited edition prestige booklets, coin covers,  framed collectibles, and a stack of knocked-off brief cases apparently.  And of course, no such issue would be complete without a Smilers event ....

     

    GS-133

    Featuring two of the four new stamps from the above mini sheet, this latest collector/Smilers sheet from Royal Mail comprises 10 x 1st class stamps and labels and in my view captures the essence of the show perfectly.  I am sure it will prove to be popular with both stamp sheet collectors and OFAH fans alike. 

    We have managed to get hold of few "cushty" stamp sheets and you can buy them now on-line from our eBay store for delivery from 16th February by clicking on the above sheet image. They are priced at £14.95 + pp - you know it makes sense! 

    Finally an apology to all the non-Brits reading this missive, the innuendos and catch phrases will, I am sure, be totally lost on most of you, some of which are captured in the stamp artwork - what a "plonker" Rodney!! (02/02) 

  • Soroptimist International Centenary   

    A little known organisation celebrates its centenary this year - Soroptimist International - an international charity organisation with a UK base in Stockport. It is a worldwide volunteer service organisation for women who work for peace, and in particular to improve the lives of women and girls.  

    Two themed Smilers sheets have been produced recently to mark this event, together with two souvenir Smilers covers bearing the Smiler stamps and what appears to be a special event hand-stamp dated 1st January 2021. 

    TS-587

    TS-587-COV

    TS-588

    TS-588-COV

    The hand-stamp does not appear in the Royal Mail January Postmarks bulletin nor does it appear on the Royal Mail postmarks website so it is questionable whether this is an official hand stamp of a laser printed facsimile.

    The stamp sheets and covers have been produced my Anne Rogers, who is John Chapman's partner (John Chapman ex: Bletchley Park Post Office). Anne, who supports the Charity, contacted me recently and confirmed that with John's help and his talented designer Simon, Anne had produced the stamp sheets and envelopes to commemorate the occasion. 

    We will not be holding stocks of these sheets but if you would like to order any of the above collectibles then may I suggest you contact Anne Rogers directly on the e-mail link provided above. 

    A great start to the New Year and helping us to keep smiling into 2021!  (07/01)   

  • Royal Mail Stamp Programme 2021   

    Royal Mail have announced details of their proposed 2021 stamp issue programme as follows. 

    • National Parks - 14/01/21 
    • United Kingdom: A Celebration - 26/01/21 
    • Only Fools and Horses - 16/02/21 
    • The Legend of King Arthur - 16/03/21 
    • Classic Science Fiction - 15/04/21 
    • The Wars of the Roses - 04/05/21 
    • Musical Giants - Paul McCartney 26/05/21 
    • Dennis and Gnasher - 01/07/21 
    • Wild Coasts - 22/07/21 
    • Industrial Revolutions - 12/08/21 
    • British Army Vehicles - 02/09/21 
    • To Be Announced - 17/09/21 
    • Rugby Union - 19/10/21 
    • Christmas - 02/11/21
    • Lunar New Year Generic Sheet - Year of the Tiger (not officially acknowledged at time of writing but likely in my view)

    Other 2021 Smilers sheets may include a London 2021 generic sheet, if the planned event goes ahead. Also, the European Cup and Olympics are scheduled to be held in 2021 (Covid-19 willing) so these may also generate additional issues. 

    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 2021 brings! (07/01)

  • 2020 News Archive    

    I have now archived the 2020 Smilers News and you may now download this in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format by clicking on the above link. Keep Smiling in 2021! 

    I have also updated  details of all generic, collector, themed and business customised stamp sheets issued during 2020 and hopefully have not made too many mistakes!  You can find these updated listed under the New Issues menu item at top left.  (07/01)

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                                    Last updated: May 06, 2021