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Monday, October 24, 2011

Plumbing New Depths

Having covered just about every railway line and steam engine imaginable during the past 10 years of Smilers, I was looking forward to a period of returning sanity as the various sheet producers refocused their attention on more meaningful subjects for future Smilers sheets.   You can therefore perhaps understand my reaction when the I learned that the next Benham sheet due in November will feature, wait for it, British Railway Tunnels, apparently the first in another long line of anarchical Smilers sheets!!

I suppose we should be thankful for small mercies in that the theme is limited to the British Isles - a series on European Tunnels could have kept their order books full until Spring 2020 at least - or am I being a tad cynical here? No, I don't think so! Why on earth does the 125th Anniversary of the Seven Tunnel warrant a souvenir Smilers sheet? But no doubt we will all buy one just to add to our growing room full of Smilers sheets. I started this website to encourage this branch of philately but this has much to do with philately as stale British Railways ham and cheese sandwich. Hang on, you have got me thinking now ....
What next? Why not have your say. Can you be as creative as a Smilers Sheet producer? I have added a Smilers blog entry so that you can have your say. Here's a few ideas to get you going. (24/10) 
  • British Railway Stations
  • British Railway Lavatories
  • British Railway Cafe's
  • British Railway Car Parks
  • British Railway Uniforms

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gulliver's Travels  

Last month I mentioned that Adrian Bradbury was considering a new direction for his Business Customised Stamp Sheets and at the time he very kindly provided me with a sneak preview of the future.  At STAMPEX Adrian gave me his permission to share this image with readers of this web site and we are delighted to be able to share this potential new sheet with you. We think its great but it would be great if you would take a minute and let us and Adrian know what you think. To this end I have set up a blog entry over at the Keep Smiling Blog to enable you to have your say.

Please let Adrian know what you think and help shape the future of our hobby. (09/03)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

....and now for something completely different!!

I note, with some disappointment, that Benham have continued to pursue the thematic Royalty and Railway subjects represented by their their latest two sheets. Given the vast possibilities available to sheet designers it never ceases to amaze at the sheer lack of imagination and originality that goes into the production of some sheets on the market.

There can be no doubt that popular thematic themes help broaden the appeal of these customised sheets so the subjects may, in part, be selected with one eye on profit. Nothing wrong with this. However, once in a while someone produces something fresh and imaginative and it stands out from the crowd. Planet Prints are distinctive in this area and are to be commended for their diverse range of sports and pastimes represented in their sheets.

Given this background I thought it was time to engage the Smilers collecting community in a debate on the direction of the hobby - content, frequency of issues, print runs, etc., etc., by way of feedback for to sheet producers such as ourselves.

Here's some statistics to think about. In 2008 64 new sheets were produced, this increased to 76 sheets in 2009 and dropped back to 61 sheets in 2010. At around 60 sheets a year this represents five new sheets a month - more than one a week at a minimum cost of around c. £150 per month. Is this sustainable?

To get you going here's just a few prompters...

- What are your ideas for new sheets for 2011/12?

- What do you want more of?

- What do you want less of?

- What is a sustainable annual production of of new sheets - 50, 60, 70 or something much smaller?

It's time to have your say!