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Paper Monitor

11:42 UK time, Tuesday, 10 April 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Paper Monitor is struck by the way the Royal Mail's latest issue of stamps is covered in today's papers.

That is because while the Daily Telegraph decides the collection, titled UK Landmarks A to Z, are worthy of four little pictures in its "In Brief" section, other papers seem go town on the subject.

The Daily Mail dedicates a double spread to snaps of the stamps, entitling it "A first class portrait of Britain".

But while it welcomes Manchester Town Hall - which it says is often used by film-makers as a setting for the Palace of Westminster - and Tyne Bridge, which it credits with being the largest single span bridge in the world when it opened in 1928, until Sydney Harbour Bridge stole the honour - as worthy entries, it thinks X is more problematic.

"The Royal Mail has delivered an intriguing solution - by using a picture of Bletchley Park, the top secret intelligence centre where the Nazi Enigma code was cracked during World War II", it says.

The reason it can get away with it, the paper discloses, is because it had a secret radio room known as Station X.

The Times takes a different angle, under the headline "Stamps of disapproval".

It reports that collectors are aghast with the glut of special issues, arguing it is pricing them out of the market.

"It's making Britain a laughing stock of the philatelic world", it cites Alec MacGuire, a stamp collector from Surrey, as saying.

John Baron, Chairman of the Association of British Philatelic Societies, goes further: "They've ruined it. They've killed the market," he says.

The paper goes on to report that a keen philatelist could have bought a set of stamps honouring Roald Dahl, a set depicting classic British comic books, another showing classic locomotives, as well as issues on the "Britons of Distinctions" or the "House of Windsor" this year alone. And that's before the Olympics or Jubilee has been factored in.

However according to Mr Baron, the villain is not the Royal Mail, but the pliant philatelists who continue to support the market. He laments that it means the young people of today cannot afford new issues.

With a first-class stamp set to rise from 46p to 60p from 30 April, Paper Monitor is glad it never started collecting stamps.

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