Thursday, April 4, 2013

Is Royal Mail Getting Too Greedy?

I have been following posts in the on-line Stamp Magazine Forums. One recurring theme is that new issues from the Royal Mail are becoming excessive with respect to quantity, price and all of the "must have! add ons.

The latest issue features a classic BBC TV science fiction show - Dr Who. There have been 11 (or 12) different actors who have played the lead character. The set of stamps illustrates 11 "cannon" Dr Whos missing out Peter Cushing who played the Doctor in 2 films in the 1960s. He will be appearing in a "Great Britons" set later in the year giving a link to the TV series. In addition, there is a miniature sheet and a prestige booklet with about a £3 premium. 

Looking over the last few years if releases, three things stand out - the increasing number of issues, the increasing number of stamps per issue and the increasing number of miniature sheets each year. Add to this the increase in postal rates, the cost of each new issue starts to get extortionate. How many of you remember the gold medal stamps from last year where only a limited number of offices had the stamps initially and it wasn't too clear whether they could sell individual stamps from the mini-sheets of 6 or not. Most went for the buy the six option.

Now dealers, RM and others always tell collectors to buy what one can afford and that is excellent advice but when it comes to selling, dealers always come up with excuses that one should have bought x instead of  what one did buy as there is no market for that. However, if one is buying a similar item, then the market is strong hence the premium price.

The Forum has had many collectors complaining about the excessive issue policy and the ever rising costs. Royal Mail claim that they have reduced the number of issues in 2013 but they seem intent in making up for the fewer issues by increasing the number of stamps per issue.

How about limiting issues to 10 per year including the Faststamp/Post and Go stamps? Stop the "special overprints" that can only be purchased at the show/fair or via chancers selling a extortionate prices? How about limiting set size to 4 stamps per issue OR a miniature sheet? How about doing what many other countries do and issue just second or first class rates?

Why not encourage people to post more by making the "specials" more available at the post office? On the first day of an issue, my closest post office runs out of the new issue by mid afternoon. If he received more, then more people would see the stamps and maybe there would be more collectors to buy issues! 

Surely it would be better to sell lots of basic rate stamps that attract people to buy than to issue lots of expensive issues than just upset people to the extent that they decide NOT to buy and collect your stamps?

Or maybe that is too "simples" for these highly paid marketing executives to grasp!

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