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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!