Thursday, February 21, 2013

Stampex 20 February 2013

Spring Stampex 2013 was held between the 20-23 February at the Design Centre in Islington, London, NW10.

Royal Mail, once more, had a presence. They had two stands – a main stand allowing collectors to catch up on issues at the back of the hall and another at the front for the Hytech kiosks.

There were three Hytech kiosks - A3, A4 an A2 from left to right. In addition there was a stand alone colour printer for Smiler’s sheets.  As in the last three shows, kiosks B1 and B2 were reportedly round the back to fill dealers’ orders.

The initial menu has three columns. The first column refers to the services available for stamps on reel A, the middle column for reel B and the third column for Collector Strips. The fifth button down in the third column allows the purchase of Smiler Sheets. These are NOT printed by the Hytech but by a separate process. One pays for the service on these kiosks then a staff member takes your photograph on a special App on an i-pad which is then transmitted to the printer. The process takes about a minute to complete.
Receipts produced were in the same format as the previous Stampex shows. Each Collector’s strip received its own receipt. In addition, a card receipt was also produced for the purchase.

Two values – second class up to 100g and second class large up to 100g. Background print is in blue with one phosphor bar. First day was 20 February 2013 at the Spring Stampex Exhibition at The Business Design Centre, London on 20 February 2013.

It is expected that the second class stamps will appear at offices with more than one Wincor-Nixdorf machine but not immediately. The suggestion is that this will occur over the summer of 2013. Both stamps are 56mm x 25mm in size and printed by Walsall Security Printer. The background print is a turquoise colour. This means that the only examples of these stamps, initially, will be from Tallent’s House or the kiosks at Stampex (and other stamp fairs). Presentation packs were available from the first day. They contained both of the new values.

The datastring used on these was A2GB13 C2-051840-10 or 11. This coding suggests that C2 is now located in Britain. The cattle packs from 2012 used the code A2NL12 and kiosk ident C2 suggesting that the printer was located in the Netherlands. Transaction number for the second class stamp is 10 and for the second large this number is 11. Stock from C1 was used to produce stock for the stamps used on first day covers from Tallents House. C1 prints stock from a roll while C2 prints sheets for presentation packs.

If one takes the time to compare the presentation pack stamps with the kiosk Hytechs at Stampex one can see that there are slight differences in the font size. In addition the second line of text is indented by 1-2mm.

Therefore all of the earliest second class stamps will be Hytech versions. I would welcome reports of Wincor versions appearing throughout the country.

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