Royal Mail stamps are being sold at a cheap rate by a company based in the Isle of Man, while retailers and sub-post offices on the mainland are forced to sell them at full price. The company is exploiting a little- known practice where the Post Office sells stamps to dealers at a discount.
Dealers buy the stamps ostensibly for other dealers and collectors and then sell them to the firm in the Isle of Man. Warwick Estates in Douglas, Isle of Man, has completed the peak Christmas period, selling 25p first-class and 19p second-class British Christmas stamps at 10 per cent off their face price. A mailshot from the company, sent to would-be customers on the mainland, boasts: "We now have the British 19p Christmas stamps in stock at our regular 10 per cent discount below face. The 19p is the most popular value for cards."
The company gives sample savings: 45p on 50 stamps; pounds 3.80 on 300; pounds 9.50 on 500; and pounds 19 on 1,000. Stamps for packages are available. Warwick guarantees: "All our stamps are in good condition with gum and normally supplied in full sheets. We obtain them from overstocked stamp dealers around the world, fire salvage, liquidations etc. They are perfectly valid and legal for use."
Graham Warwick of Warwick Estates refused to say how many British stamps he had sold this Christmas, except it was "thousands". He emphasised, though, that he did not sell cheap Royal Mail stamps just at Christmas.