Stamp collector slams plans for Olympic stamps on sale within 24 hours
A STAMP collector has slammed Royal Mail plans to sell Olympic stamps featuring British winners within 24 hours of them striking gold.
Chairman elector of Sidcup Philatelic Society, Cliff Gregory, 77, says Royal Mail is using stamp collectors as a "cash cow" in its production of millions of Olympic stamps.
Erith Post Office in Erith High Street is just one of 17 in south-east London chosen to sell the stamps and will be open seven days a week during the Games to allow customers to buy them.
After each Team GB win, picture editors, printers and drivers will be all hands on deck to get stamps on sale by lunchtime the next day.
They will be available to purchase individually at the standard 60p first class price or in sets of six stamps for £3.60, as well as being available online at royalmail.com
Mr Gregory, who has been collecting stamps for 25 years, said: "The Olympic stamps will be treated with a certain amount of suspicion by collectors.
"Royal Mail has a reputation for issuing far too many.
"It is using the philatelic world as a cash cow and a lot of the stamps are never used.
"Lots of people will buy them and find their value has reduced and they will never get their money back.
"I don’t collect them because they are far too commemorative.
"When the supply is great, there is not as much demand so it’s a poor investment.
"There’s no chance I’ll buy one- it’s a waste of money."
What Royal Mail has to say
Royal Mail spokesperson Valerie Antoine said: “The Olympics being held in the UK is a once in a lifetime event as it may not come back for decades.
As Royal Mail’s stamps exist to mark the most significant events, we wanted to create a truly great souvenir of each and every Team GB Gold Medal win.
"We will only issue as many Gold Medal stamps as there are Team GB Gold Medal wins, and each set will cost £3.60.
"The stamps are at the first class postal rate and of course all can be used for the mail. We do not comment on the investment potential of stamps, but we are creating this series to contribute to the nation’s pride at the potential medal wins.
“On the wider issue of our special stamps programme, we had already decided to reduce the number of special stamp issues after talking to the philatelic community and we wrote to them in April to inform them of our decision.
"For more than 50 years, Royal Mail’s Special Stamp programme has commemorated and celebrated events and anniversaries pertinent to UK heritage and life.
"Today, there are an estimated 2.5 million stamp collectors and gifters in the UK and millions more worldwide. We try to cater for all kinds of collectors, from those who want to celebrate specific events and anniversaries, to themed ideas e.g. wildlife and transport.
“We conduct a great deal of research with our customers and we listen carefully to their comments. We recognise that 2012 is a busy year for us with special stamp issues.”