Pink Floyd Issue - Another Brick In The Wall of Royal Mail Stamps
Once again I find myself looking at a basic set of six "special" stamps and a miniature sheet adding a further four stamp designs to the issue. Total cost £10.80. For the collector intent on buying more formats, we will have the usual offering of first day covers and presentation packs plus a limited edition (3,000) Syd Barrett souvenir cover at £24.99, a Dark Side of the Moon Maxi Sheet (limited to 10,000 sheets) at £12.95 plus framed gifts and convenient bundles of various products. And so it goes on.
Now, at this point, I find my brain becoming uncomfortably numb as my wife is packing a 112 year old postcard she has sold. A lovely card in good condition bearing a King Edward VII definitive cancelled by a fine example of a thimble postmark for a small Buckinghamshire hamlet I'd never heard of before. I would guess there are few comparable examples of local usage for this hamlet in existence, certainly a lot fewer than the planned issue of Syd Barrett covers. The new owner got this lovely card and the rare postmark it bears, for little more than a fiver including postage.
This side by side comparison has, quite simply, given me a momentary lapse of reason when it comes to the "value" in GB philately now. I love Pink Floyd and their music. I spent good money when I was younger to go and see them perform at Knebworth and I wasn't disappointed. I am a fan but, will I be buying these stamps? No. Not because I don't want them, I do.
It is now a matter of my sense of values and my collecting priorities because, as every child gets taught, you can't have everything. So, as it's the older items I can source from the aftermarket which easily represent far better value to me, new GB issues are all but overlooked now and will remain so until I feel some sense of value has returned.
For the same cost as the ten basic Pink Floyd stamp designs being issued in July, I can get an example of mail that was sent via one of the British Forces Field Post Offices operating during Operation Musketeer (The Suez Crisis). Or I can get an envelope written on Christmas Island in the middle of the Pacific at the time the UK was carrying out Nuclear weapons tests. If this tenuous justification to celebrate the existence of Pink Floyd truly justifies an outlay of more than £10 for ten mint stamps then am I really having a momentary lapse of reason to believe the alternative items I've mentioned represent real British philatelic history at a really cheap price?
In my opinion collecting new GB special stamp issues has long since become of questionable value, particularly when there's little significant, genuine history attached to justify collection. However, as this is only my opinion, you're quite entitled to ring the division bell and put an opposing view forward.
Please remember to come back and read this article again at the end of July as I don't intend to rewrite it almost word for word in celebration of the next set of special stamps from Royal Mail which will feature Beatrix Potter...
The lyrics of Ummagumma make perfect sense today.
Learn more and view more of the stamps at the Norphil Blog.
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