🇮🇲🇮🇪 Illustrations of the upcoming "variable value" stamps which will be issued by the Isle Of Man postal service (see Blog 878) show that they are similar to An Post's SOAR (stamps on a roll) labels which have been used since 22 July 2010 when 4 stamps from the Irish wildflowers series were sold in that format.
An Post issued its Irish animals and marine life series on 8 September 2010 and on that date 8 designs from the series were released followed by another 8 designs on 21 July 2011. This issue gave way to the Easter Rising series of 16 stamps which was issued on 21 January 2016 and these were replaced by the issue of 8 new stamps in the "History of Ireland in 100 objects" series which made its debut on 12 January 2017 (see Blog 897).
It therefore seems that Isle Of Man Post Office's new Variable Value stamps (perhaps we should call them "V.V.s") have nothing to do with Royal Mail/Intelligent AR's Post and Go stamps but originate from the same source as Ireland's SOAR stamps - they are printed by HP Indigo high resolution digital print in strips of 4 by CCL Label Ltd Ireland on Raflatac Thermal P200 paper.
The designs are very attractive and depict the Trinacria which is the basis of Isle Of Man's arms and national flag in varying interpretations of the traditional and historic emblem. This is the start of a new era in Isle Of Man stamps. Let us hope we do not see numerous issues with additional inscriptions in the future as we have seen coming out of the philatelic services of Jersey, Guernsey and Gibraltar and, of course, Royal Mail itself with their "Post and Go" labels. The Isle Of Man postal service has been wise to choose Ireland's Variable Value stamp format rather than Royal Mail Post and Go types which have been largely discredited by excessive issues. Rating:- *****.
Post scriptum - 17 January 2017. Now published on Isle Of Man Philatelic Bureau site - the stamps were designed by EJC Design with text by Richard West. The printing is in lithography and the printer is CCL Label Ireland which confirms the above suggestion. The stamps are produced in coils of 600 and 2000.