I still find it amazing that private FDC producers exist and thrive in the UK at astronomical prices. I don't totally object to very limited print runs but Bradbury / Benham / Buckingham huge print runs just stun me.
Yes, I have always been surprised that on the one hand GB collectors are saying that there are too many stamp issues each with too many stamps with face values too high, but despite that the 3Bs still manage to sell in sufficient quantity and at such high prices to make it worthwhile. There are obviously several different sets of collectors out there.
I don't think the print runs are as long as they used to be, and I am more and more convinced that they make more money on their Business Smilers Sheets for Steam Trains, Kings and Queens, etc. Now they are what really surprise me!
But there are still some cover producers doing small runs of 100 or less. Phil Stamp has stopped. I stopped when I found I didn't have time because of the number of issues: it took the fun out of it if you (a) struggled to find a design that fitted round the copyright problems but still complimented the stamps, and (b) then had to rush everything through before the next set came out.
Phil Sheridan solved that problem by not doing every issue. I think Adrian Bradbury stopped doing PSBs. Cotswold/York still do all issues, generally cheaper than B/B/B I think, and they also do RM covers. One of the B's asked me to take on his RM cover and PHQ card clients a few years ago and I declined then
because it was too much work, even though Royal Mail covers with any other postmark are easy because we can buy the covers with stamps already affixed.
I'm not even doing normal sets/MS on RM covers now, though; the only FDCs I'm producing for stock are retail booklets, Machin security singles which can't always be obtained easily - try buying the Thunderbird book at your PO? - and maybe some PSB panes.
Philatelics GB stamps info: http://www.norphil.co.uk
- also /catalog for our ecommerce site, blog.norphil.co.uk, shop.norphil.co.uk and Ian_norvic on twitter