Getting ready for 1963

As anyone at Buckingham Covers will tell you I have the most untidy desk in the office and have just discovered this 1963 leaflet from the GPO about doing First Day Covers for the COMPAC issue. Before you ask, no, it has not been on my desk for the last 55 years.

So Leaflet WP.2972 gives the 1963 collector in you all the information you need to have your covers postmarked, and today makes interesting reading.

Under preparation of your covers it states where the address must be and it must be in ink, unaddressed Covers would not be accepted, which gives an answer of why these are much harder to find today. As the leaflet is just from the bureau I assume this was the only postmark offered, but can’t see this stated anywhere.

The second point is that covers had to be sealed and have an insert card, but how did they check this and would this not just mean that later collectors would just open them up, some badly?

The GPO must have added the stamps for you as they said if you wanted the phosphor stamp you had to put a P (in pencil this time) in the bottom right hand corner, but orders for both ordinary and phosphor stamps on the same cover would not be accepted. So does anyone have a Bureau postmark with both stamps on, did anyone sneak a cover in?

Finally if doing quantities of covers were being sent in they had to be packed in ‘stout’ boxes and had to be received 5 days before the issue.

This was the first issue that the Philatelic Bureau (then in London) postmark was offered and you could stay the start of the GPO taking First Day Covers seriously, though of course the first GPO cover was not till the following year and the Shakespeare issue.

All the best


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