I admit I am not a big fan of “Stamps on a Roll”. But I could become a fan.
We have now had five series of Definitive Stamps on A Roll. Eight new stamps…Irish Animals and Marine Life…. every year since 2010. Forty stamps. And of course each year, two Christmas SOAR stamps are issued.
SOAR stamps are essentially labels printed by a window clerk in a post office. They can be issued in any denomination. It depends on the destination and weight of the item being sent. A straightforward letter to anywhere in Ireland (including of course North of Ireland)costs 68 cents. A letter anywhere else in the world costs €1.
But if I go into a post office with just (say) 60cents postage (the domestic rate until earlier this year) the clerk will print out a stamp with a face value of just 8 cents. So theoretically a collection can form round any amount from 1cent to €1 or indeed higher. SOAR stamps are in a roll of (I think 300) and the eight designs on the roll appear alternately. There is also a number for each stamp on the roll and a unique computerised number for each transaction. The first three digits of the unique number refers to the Post Office where the stamp was sold.
The Philatelic Bureau sells the SOAR definitives in strips of four. Numbered 1 to 4 and 5 to 8 and bearing the first three digits of the computerised number is the Philatelic Bureaus code. The stamps show the domestic rate of postage at the time of issue. Therefore the 2013 stamps show 60 cents and the 2014 stamps show 68 cents.
There is, I think a downside to SOAR. Some post offices (not always small offices) dont sell commemorative stamps. For example, three months ago, I was in County Galway,when the Cats set was issued. I could not get these stamps in one of the bigger towns but managed to get the set in an isolated village.
Christmas SOAR. There are two designs alternating in the roll. A roll number and the unique transaction number. But the Bureau sells them as a “pair”, one stamp as domestic rate and the other as international rate. Today in Philatelic Bureau I noticed they now have strips of four in each design.
There is scope for a little fun in getting together as many SOAR denominations as possible. Earlier today I posted ten Christmas cards to United States. All had older stamps on the envelope and were topped up with a nice assortment of SOAR Christmas stamps.