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British Philatelic Automation

Introduction

It was more than 50 years ago when the British Post Office started to use automation to assist with the preparation of items intended for sale to collectors and members of the public seeking a souvenir.

The 1957 Scout Jamboree was the first time that the GPO had offered FDC servicing. With orders estimated at two million by the stamp trade, it was essential to automate the process True orders were only 60,632 covers, rendering the custom-made equipment and coils unnecessary. It was a long time before further philatelic automation was considered again.

First Day Covers and Presentation Packs continued to be assembled by hand until Stephen Mayer International created viable stamp sheet 'bursters' and equipment that fed single stamps from hoppers onto the cover or into the pack. Walsall Security Printers now has a bureau that assembles items for a growing number of Post Office administrations, including Royal Mail.

'Smilers' (stamps with attached photo labels) are produced by mail order or in person at events, where a camera or scanner, PC software and colour printer automates the personalisation of images onto blank label sheets.

The introduction of self-adhesive stamps required new techniques and internal coils in unique formats unavailable to collectors are now often created by the stamp printers for Royal Mail Tallents House use. The first miniature sheet in a self-adhesive format resulted in dummy rolls for testing.

It is expected that future stamp formats will result in yet more specialised equipment and innovative solutions to assist with the processing of orders.


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Frame 1

  1. Title Page
  2. 1957 World Scout Jamboree: Testing Coil Cover Servicing
  3. 1957 World Scout Jamboree: Issued Coil Cover Servicing
  4. 1957 World Scout Jamboree: Mystery Testing Coil Label
  5. 1984 FDC Stamp Affixing by SMI: Philmec Brand
  6. 1984/1986 Presentation Pack Stamp Insertion by SMI: Philmec/Autopak Brands
  7. 1986 FDC Stamp Affixing by SMI: Autophix Brand
  8. 1989 Sunday Times Postcard: St Valentine's Day Promotion
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Frame 2

  1. 2000 Smilers Personalised Stamp Labels: The Background
  2. 2000 Smilers Personalised Stamp Labels: Testing Version
  3. 2000 Presentation Pack Stamp Insertion by SMI: Stampac Brand
  4. 2000 FDC Stamp Affixing by SMI: SAM21 Brand
  5. 2000 FDC Stamp Affixing by SMI: SAM21 Brand
  6. 2005 Presentation Pack Stamp Insertion by The Philatelic Bureau: New Year Greetings Pack
  7. 2007 Tallents House Self-Adhesive Cover Servicing: 'Act of Union' Coil Strip
  8. 2007 Tallents House Self-Adhesive Cover Servicing: Diamond Wedding Miniature Sheet