ISLE OF MAN. ATM issues 2019

Isle of Man wildlife

After the Triskelion definitives (see article, also published in VARIABLE 44 & 46), the 125th anniversary of the Manx Electric Railway (article and VARIABLE 50), and the Beano issues (article and VARIABLE 51), the fourth series of variable value stamps from the Isle of Man depicts the diversity of wildlife on the island.

As with the two series issued in 2018, this new one complements a set of 'traditional' stamps with the same designs and issued on the same date, February 12th 2019. But unlike the previous cases, the new series of variable value stamps includes the ... ten designs! of the 'traditional' stamp series.

The photographs chosen for this series are by the Manx photographer Brian Liggins, showing different wild animals that inhabit the island; the hare, common blue butterfly, gannet, kingfisher, common lizard, stonechat (design chosen for the EUROPA 2019 series), wallaby, hedgehog, crimson and gold moth & the field mouse.
The case of the wallaby is really curious. This is a marsupial or small kangaroo native to Australia and New Guinea, whose presence on the island dates back to the '60s, when several animals escaped from a zoo. At present there are over 150 wild wallabies on the Isle of Man, the largest population of this species in the northern hemisphere.

Therefore, in addition to presentation packs, first day covers, sheets and booklets of 'traditional' stamps, the Isle of Man Post Office also required the manufacture of rolls of labels with the ten designs, to be used in the different machines issuing variable value stamps; the aCon printers used by the philatelic service, the 'Pay & Post' postal kiosks, and the printers installed in post offices. Each machine issues stamps with a different printing variety.

The rolls of 1,800 thermal self-adhesive labels with the ten consecutive designs were manufactured by the Irish CCL Label Ireland Ltd company, with the same characteristics as in the previous series.

Preprinted stamps & aCon variable value stamps

Preprinted stamps Variable value stamps
aCon printers
  Isle of Man Stamps & Coins has produced strips of ten self-adhesive stamps (left image) that include all the information preprinted in offset, reproducing that printed by the small aCon desktop printers in use at the philatelic service. This is a very particular printing, as the face value appears within a box.
On these strips of preprinted stamps, all stamps have the same face value, £0.52, corresponding to the basic domestic postal rate on the date of issue, the date of the first day of issue in ordinal format (19043 = February 12th 2019), and the same fictitious code IOM01973 at the bottom edge of the stamp, corresponding to the year in which the Isle of Man Post Office Authority became an independent postal administration.
Normally these preprinted stamps have the sequential upright numbering at the lower right hand corner beginning with 1; in this case however, the same sequential numbering, as per the rolls, was printed in error.

The font size of the thermal printing of the aCon printers used by the philatelic service and also used at some philatelic events (e.g. London Stampex) is smaller than that reproduced on preprinted stamps. The date under the chosen face value is variable, depending on the actual date of issue (in the image, it is also the first day, 19043), and the lower code corresponds to the printer reference (IOM01507, in the image).
All stamps have a small sequential upright number at the lower right hand corner, preprinted along with the design.

Pictorial first day cover

'Pay&Post' kiosks & Post offices

On the first day of issue, the new series of variable value stamps was available from at least one of the counters at the Douglas and Ramsey post offices, as well as from the post office in the postal company's headquarters, in an industrial park, west of Douglas. On that day however, due to technical problems, only the postal kiosk installed in the company's headquarters was able to issue the new series (image below).

During the following weeks and months the new series progressively became available from other postal kiosks and post offices, as previous rolls of labels started to run out.

'Pay&Post' postal kiosks Post offices   The postal kiosks and computer systems installed in the various post offices use the same rolls of labels, consisting of the image and a preprinted small sequential upright number in the lower right corner, and print the same information on the stamps, although in very different print fonts.
Below the face value, the machines print the date of issue in ordinal format YYDDD (19043, in the images), and a unique lower code for each stamp. The first four digits show the postal kiosk number or post office code, and then the session or stamp number.

On the date of issue, by selecting the 'Touch to Buy Stamp Labels' option, the postal kiosks offered customers the direct purchase of variable value stamps with four basic postal rates £0.52 - £0.52 - £0.83 - £1.40 (see screen below), corresponding to the current rates for letters up to 100g for domestic, United Kingdom and Channel Island mail, and letters up to 20g for Europe and the rest of the world, respectively. Other franking values are obtainable by selecting the 'Touch to Post an Item' option, placing the mail item on the scales provided, and selecting the shipment destination and type.

The basic postal tariffs in Isle of Man (2016 - ...)

  Isle of Man UK and
Channel Islands
Europe Rest of the world
Up to 100g Up to 100g Up to 20g. Up to 100g. Up to 20g.
25.04.2016 £0.45 £0.45 £0.77 £1.86 £1.24
15.05.2017 £0.47 £0.47 £0.80 £1.86 £1.30
3.04.2018 £0.52 £0.52 £0.83 £1.93 £1.40
8.04.2019 £0.57 £0.57 £0.90 £2.05 £1.50

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This page was created in April 2019 and last updated: 30.04.19 . English edition last rewritten by J. Gareze (30.04.2019)