Thursday, October 29, 2015

Star Wars Stamps by Royal Mail - The Force is Strong!

I finally got hold of a presentation pack of Star Wars stamps by Royal Mail, thanks to a friend who order multiple copies of the pack! Online ordering is possible since a while ago, but the official date of issue is 20th October 2015. Royal Mail issues this set of collectible Star Wars stamps to commemorate the coming Star Wars movie "The Force Awakens" slated for release in Dec 2015. 

Being a Star Wars fan, this issue is of course a must have. :) Here's two shots of the presentation pack, set on top my Lego Millennium Falcon (7965) set. The pack contains 12 stamps of the different characters spanning across the different episodes, and a miniature sheet with the different space ships (including of course the Millennium Falcon, and 1 non-space ship, i.e. the AT-AT Walker). The pack also has a short summary of the Light and Dark sides of the force. The 3rd photo below is the back of the pack with the Dark side information.

Royal Mail - Star Wars with 12 characters

Royal Mail - Star Wars miniature sheet with space ships

Royal Mail - Dark side on the back of the pack
Looking at the stamps does bring back memories, and it is amazing to see how Star Wars have captured the interest, attention, and some say devotion of so many fans, spanning across nearly 4 decades. Episode 4, which is the 1st Star Wars movie, was released in 1977. Over the years there were many Star Wars stamps issued by various post authorities, and I guess this would not be the last one either (2 more movies to come).

Interested to know the background and see the printing of these stamps? Royal Mail provided a clip with interviews describing the design of these stamps, as well as another clip on the actual printing.

Now back to the stamps proper - there are secret symbols on the 12 characters! If you shine a UV light on these stamps, each character will reveal their respective symbols (Rey & Finn just show the "Star Wars" wordings I think). The symbols are made using phosphor inks, i.e. the same security feature on many stamps, except it is used to present the symbols in this case. I don't have a UV light on hand and so can't show any of these symbols on this blog post.

For those interested to grab a copy of Royal Mail's Star Wars collection, act fast before the stocks are out! The pre-sale of movie tickets for the premiere are sold out in US I think... and I wouldn't be surprised if it is the same soon for the Star Wars stamps collection. Act fast, and may the Force be with you!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Your New Postman - Drone by SingPost

It is sometimes remarkable to see new technology being applied to old school services, and in this case, an UAV aka drone delivering our letters. I guess hard-copy snail mail could be considered an old tech of communication in this world of instant messaging. So it is interesting to read about how SingPost successfully done a test trial to use drone to deliver letters (and a packet containing T-shirt) from Lorong Halus to Pulau Ubin.

I guess it is inevitable that technology will be used to improve productivity, and in this case, shortening the time needed to deliver mails and packets from the main island to Pulau Ubin. Via conventional methods, i.e. the postman taking a ferry, the actuakl delivery would take much longer compared to a 5 mins trip by this drone over 2.3km.

As a stamp collector, I am interested to know if special post marks, i.e. cancellation, would be used for such means of delivery? In the past, mails delivered via special means, e.g. hot air balloons, would have their own unique marks. It will be quite cool to have a drone shape cancellation mark on my envelopes.

For those interested to see how the entire process happened, with a special interview from SingPost, you could catch their video below (SingPost posted on YouTube):

Yes this is currently just a trial that was successfully conducted in the beginning of October 2015, where SingPost tested the idea with IDA, as well as with special approvals from the various authorities. Maybe in the not too distance future, this way of delivering letters would be common. I look forward to the day when a drone delivers letters to my house but hmm it is unlikely I guess, since I stayed in a HDB with the cluster of locked letterboxes.

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