Machin Greetings Card Sheets
IntroductionAn innovative approach to stamp retailing
Greetings card sheets were introduced initially in 1994 by the British retail firm of Boots the Chemist, following extensive research into the best approach. This had been a new stamp product concept that has yet to be replicated by any other stamp issuing country.
Boots wanted to promote sales of their own-brand greetings cards and to offer postage at the same time as the card was purchased, all in an attractive package. Ideas such as pre-paid stamped envelopes (later adopted for trials by Marks and Spencer) and stamps in glassine bags were each considered, but were eventually rejected.
The so-called 'Boots Label' was created by adapting technology already used in the greetings card industry that wraps a piece of printed paper around the top right-hand corner of a card (a 'flash') prior to shrink-wrapping.
Boots Labels went through reprints before later appearing without branding on them, possibly due to complaints from competitors. Woolworths, Comet, MVC, B&Q and Superdrug used unbranded sheets on gift vouchers at Christmas time in later years. Sheets fell into disuse after five years and the concept seems unlikely to ever be resurrected, unless a new sponsor can be found.
Sheets were sold to collectors in packs of 100 or as singles at the prevailing first class postage rate. They were printed offset and perforated 15x14 on cream (first printing) or white (subsequent printings) OFNP/PVA paper. The sheet size was 85mm x 43mm (first printing) or 85mm x 42mm (all subsequent printings).