If you’ve seen a PNC or a PMC on The Royal Mint or Royal Mail websites from time to time I’m sure you will have admired them. However, if you’re anything like me, you may not know much about these attractive and interesting products. So, I’ve spoken to my colleagues here and our partners at Royal Mail to gather some background for you to put that right. I hope filling in some of the gaps about what a PNC or a PMC is will add to your enjoyment and appreciation of them.
The starting point has to be to explain what PNC and PMC stand for, which is:
a PNC = Philatelic Numismatic Cover
a PMC = Philatelic Medallic Cover
Philatelic referring to the collection of stamps and Numismatic the collection of coins. Sometimes ‘Postal’ is used instead of ‘Philatelic’ in both cases. The obvious difference between them is that:
a PNC contains a coin
a PMC contains a medal
Coins and medals are differentiated by whether the royal effigy appears on the front (obverse) or not – if it does not, it’s a medal. And, obviously, only coins are legal tender.
Basically, both PNC’s and PMC’s have been produced in a partnership over many years between The Royal Mint and Royal Mail which, apart from the similarity of our names, is always a good fit! A combination of an envelope, stamp sets and a commemorative coin or medal, they are created by our specialists here working with their counterparts at Royal Mail on a programme of themes and events.
The envelope is printed with an image of the theme or event, with the relevant stamps attached and the coin or medal inserted into the pack. A dated handstamp cancels the stamps, tying them uniquely to the ‘cover’ (envelope) and making a PNC or a PMC a stunning souvenir and marker in time.
The most striking features of the PNC’s and PMC’s I’ve seen recently are their colourful designs and the broad range of people they would appeal to. Covering themes such as history, royalty, sport, the arts and children, this variety can be seen in currently available items – the First World War PNC, Buckingham Palace PMC, the 2014 Ryder Cup PMC, the composer Benjamin Britten PNC, Classic Children’s TV PMC and even a Dinosaurs PMC!
They are issued in numbered, limited editions, with special edition stamps. PNC packs contain varying qualities of coins, from Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) to Proof, which is reflected in the price of the pack. A PNC containing a BU coin will be available at a widely affordable price, whereas the inclusion of a Gold or Silver Proof coin for a particularly special event/anniversary makes it a higher premium item. The Glasgow 2014 PNC currently available from Royal Mail is a good example – the BU version costs £17.50 with the Silver Proof version costing £50. Either way, they make ideal gifts for the collector in many of us – coin collectors or stamp collectors – as well as enthusiasts of particular themes or those wishing to mark a particular event.
A cautionary note – you may come across private issue PNC’s developed by eBay sellers. The items included may not be of any particular significance or value but, if they appeal to you, just beware of what you are buying.