Thursday 10 May 2012

Royal Mail Olympic Winners Bonanza.

Royal Mail has announced that to commemorate any British success that may occur at the London Olympic Games in July and August this year, a miniature sheet containing six identical self-adhesive, first class value (60p) stamps will be issued to celebrate every British gold medal winner. Royal Mail plans to have a stamp designed within an hour of a British victory occurring and then having one of 6 regional printers digitally overprint a basic design pre-printed in lithography by Walsall Security Printers with the appropriate image and inscription for the successful individual so that the stamps will be ready for issue less than 24 hours after the athlete's success. The Post Office estimates that there will be 19 British gold medal champions (as in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing) and that the cost of a complete set of 19 miniature sheets will therefore be £68.40p, or if ordered before 31 May, a 10% discount will be applied therefore costing the collector £61.56p.
You may wonder why a miniature sheet of six stamps has to be issued rather than a single first-class value stamp. A complete set of first-day covers will cost £91.20p (£82.08p with discount) in Britain or £76 (£68.40p with discount) if sold to overseas buyers who do not have to pay British Value Added Tax. So, Royal Mail who were only recently boasting how they listen to their (complaining) customers and consequently postponed one of this year's stamp issues to 2013 have more than compensated for any loss they make from the postponed set by planning an additional issue which they hope will cost more than £60 per set! Of course British sportsmen are notorious for under-performance, so it is possible that Royal Mail's greed may be thwarted by the Olympians themselves or we may be surprised and find that British athletes will do better in the competition than we have come to expect so that the bill to collectors may be even bigger than Royal Mail predicts. And one final thought, with six different regional printers involved in producing the stamps, is it possible that we will see six different varieties of the finished products? Suddenly, collectors would be chasing all over the place to obtain each variety and the bill would soar astronomically. I've got a bad feeling about this.

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