Sunday, May 18, 2014

French catastrophe vs British smartness

The bar code is this multifunctional tool created alongside computering and automation during the second half of the twentieth century: sort the mail by address, quickly find the price of a miniature sheet , etc.

But in France, this has created graphical disasters. Little ones: barcode printed inside a blank rectangular in a minisheet corner, but the French philatelic service's President advocated last year they are too thin for the postal counter optic readers. Great ones: put in a blank rectangular ornated with something connected to the stamp topic, thus destroying the topic... Mrs President told that the Belgian Post hadn't find a solution either.

Because the solution was accross the Channel of course, like how to avoid a double strike on a philatelic cancelled item:
Royal Mail placed your item in a plastic bag with all first class necessities, but some may wonder if the commemorative enveloppe can be considered having travelled through the postal system.

Concerning bar code and minisheet, stamp dealer Ian Billings delivered on Tuesday May 15th Royal Mail's explanation. Because Post Office needs bar code for its commercial and accounting, Royal Mail was obliged to add it.

It began with Buckingham Palace interiors minisheet, issued April 15th, and continued with the Greater Post Office Film Unit of May 13th (some movies can be ordered on dvd to The British Postal Museum & Archives).

Instead to force the bar code into the sheet, the philatelic service adds it on the edge, as a white band that can be easily remove thank to a light serration.

Billings and his readers saw too that this margin can only be find on minisheets purchased at the Post Office, and not on those ordered to Royal Mail Tallents House shop. It is explained that the margin is systematically cut off at deliver by Royal Mail employeed "because it is not intended to be part of the collectable product".

A very good idea... but are there not two types of the same minisheet now? What if a new debate without end begin: "Should I collect one with and one without margin?" "Can I buy two at Post Office and cut one myself or is it legit only if a Royal Mail cut off?" and worse if Stanley Gibbons begins to quote the difference.

We will know if this British innovation find the French philatelic pond in June at the next French Associations' Congress and the next interview of the new philatelic service president.

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