Robert Murray’s

British Philatelic Bureau, Edinburgh

Having run a service since 11 August 1999 through which we matched (and often bettered !) Royal Mail's service to stamp collectors, it is with an odd mixture of regret and relief that we decided to discontinue the service in October 2009. The letter we distributed at the time is reproduced below. Our "philatelic bureau" service now concentrates on the handling of British stamps on the secondary market - we buy and sell, we carry stocks in our shop, we have price lists of some online, we carry out valuations, and we run auctions. The one thing we therefore have stopped doing is simply getting the new issues as a matter of course from the Post Office.

 

Robert Murray
Stamp Shop

5 & 6 Inverleith Gardens, Ferry Road,
Edinburgh, EH3 5PU


Tel. 0131 552 1220 :: 0131 478 7021

0845 0500 886

www.stamp-shop.com  ::  murray@stamp-shop.com

 

15 October 2009

 I’ve been running a traditional stamp shop since 1977, always maintaining a stock of current UK stamps. For the past ten years we’ve run a special service, at minimal profit margin, trying to fill the gap felt by collectors when Royal Mail’s Philatelic Counters have either closed, or downgraded their quality of service. Over these years I have sometimes defended the Post Office’s new issue policy, at other times I have criticised it. I hope I have been fair and open-minded.

 These last few years have seen the number and cost of new British stamps rise and rise. The number and range of extra products has increased. The “inauthenticity” of products such as “press sheets” has been raised. In May 2009, during a Trade Forum hosted by Royal Mail at Tallents House, I expressed my concerns on various matters. I also at that time made proposals for a new scheme to allow stamp shops to offer Royal Mail products more productively. Tallents House and their London bosses have been unable to make use of any part of these proposals.

 Recent advertising publications from Royal Mail fill me with dismay for the future. Their wording has changed. It seems that we have now lost the style that came with a department of Royal Mail that served the collecting public. In its place we have an approach much more like the wording used by companies trying to talk people into buying collectors’ medallions, pewter spitfires and other “valued heirlooms”. I believe what will follow will most likely be a continuing decline in numbers of customers for UK new issues, further decreases in the market rates for modern mint stamps for postage (which reduces the value of my existing stock), and the increasing risk of adverse publicity. Adverse publicity, come the day that somebody in the mainstream media catches on to the story that most modern British stamps and first day covers lose much of their value as soon as you buy them, will severely effect Royal Mail, and have a knock-on effect on the stamp trade and the hobby in general.

 I’m getting off the sinking ship. To those still aboard; good luck. Like many others, I think I’ll stop trying to throw lifelines to Royal Mail. They just don’t seem to understand their own peril.

 The time and capital we save we will try to spend on traditional stocks, traditional business methods, and traditional service.

 
Robert Murray

 
[We will continue to service standing orders until the end of 2009. With immediate effect we are no longer keeping stocks of the new UK issues, but will handle them on the secondary market (i.e. we will buy, sell, and auction them second-hand).]


Robert Murray Stamp Shop
5 & 6 Inverleith Gardens
Edinburgh 
Scotland EH3 5PU
Tel. 0131 552 1220  ::  0131 478 7021
UK Local Rate number 0845 0500 886
Homepage; www.stamp-shop.com
Email; murray@stamp-shop.com
How to Order
Mail Orders are accepted by post, telephone, or email. We accept payments by cash, cheque, Visa/MasterCard, Switch/Delta, and some foreign currencies.
Basically, we charge [the advertised price of the goods] plus [the actual price of postage] plus [£1 per order handling charge]. 
Full details can be seen at our How to Order page.
Our Shop
is open five days each week, and customers are always, of course, welcome.
We carry very wide stocks of the whole world - much, much more than is listed on our website.
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