In 2 week's time on 20th, and just before postage rates increase on 26th March, Royal Mail is marking the Centenary of the Royal Air Force with a bumper issue consisting of a set of 6, a miniature sheet, a prestige stamp book, and two retail booklets.
The stamps will be issued on the same day as the new tariff stamps, which brings into question the point of the airmail rate stamps in this set. In earlier years, the special stamps issued just before the tariff change were usually a selection of 1st class, but in 2016 the British Humanitarians set consisted of 1st class and £1.33 stamps, which worked because the £1.33 Worldwide 20g rate remained unchanged. And in 2017 the David Bowie set included 1st class and £1.52 stamps - the European 100g rate rising to £1.57 just two weeks later, requiring a 5p stamp to be added to the Bowie stamps. That, at the time, was probably a record in modern GB.
Now we have RAF £1.40 and £1.57 stamps issued on the same day as their replacement Machin definitives! And although, as last year, a 5p stamp can be used to make up the £1.40 to the new £1.45 rate, the £1.57 European 100g rate drops to £1.55, meaning that the £1.57 RAF stamps cannot be easily used. Madness, or just further proof that the special stamps are not designed primarily for postage?
The £1.40 rate is for letters up to 20g worldwide outside Europe.
The £1.57 rate is for letters up to 100g to Europe.
If anybody is interested in these used to their correct destinations, and to share with others, let's see what we can do. I can't send everything for free, and it may be that collectors in Europe want a £1.40 rate for outside Europe and collectors in the rest of the world want a £1.57 sent to Europe.
Oh, and I would like at least one of each for my own collection
Oops, forgot the miniature sheet showing the Red Arrows display team - 2 x 1st class and 2 x £1.40.
Obviously use of these £1.40 on airmail letters would be philatelic rather than commercial, but they would serve to illustrate a collection or exhibit.
[I included this in the discussion on whether modern GB high values can be found used. It may be overlooked there. It's also not appropriate for the 'Giveaways' thread as I am not giving away everything, and it is not appropriate for the exchange thread as some exchanges could happen between members after they have the covers. It's also not appropriate for the 'For Sale' area as there is no way to predict what members might want to buy!]