I am on a trip to Israel for work, the first time I have been on a business trip in 10 years. I arrived here Sunday evening (having left home on Saturday morning), and I leave here tonight (to arrive back home Friday morning). I took advantage of the trip to meet up with some of the people I have been buying stamps from for years. I found out about some intersting items that I had not heard about before. Apparently, there was a printing 1a for "The Israeli" booklet. It has the die cuts for the stamps inverted. The only way to see the difference is to look at the corner of the stamp, and see if it has a peak or a valley. This printing was released in October.
The next item I found out about was an even bigger surprise. The generic stamps that Israel has been issuing for the past few years have been the traditional lick and stick variety. Now, for some contest run in Israel starting in February, they are selling the same stamp in a self adhesive variety. There are 8 stamps, each with 5 different personalized stamps (I think it is 5, I might be wrong though). They come on a sheet with 1 stamp, 1 personalized label, and 3 stickers. The sheets are sold in a foil wrapped envelope, so when you buy them you don't know what stamp/label combo you are getting. Apparently, the first 10 people to collect a complete set win a PSP. At this point, there is no way to buy a set of these anywhere, and I have not seen any offered for sale (on E-bay or elsewhere) in the US. The only way I found out about it was talking to Zohar here in Israel. I went to the post office in jerusalem myself, and bought the few they had for available there. I only managed to get 4 of the 8 stamps, and no more than 2 different labels for each stamp. I did get a few duplicates, and I will probably be listing them on E-bay when I get home. This might turn out to be one of the rarest new issues from Israel in a long time, and one of the hardest sets to put together. Or, the postal service might decide to offer complete sets to collectors once the contest is over, and it will merely be an interesting variety. Only time will tell, I guess.
There is a second variety of the same stamps that were made available on June first of this year. It has the same self adhesive stamps, but just with the generic smiling face label attached. It is 1 stamp and 1 label per sheet. The sheets are the same format as the ones above, but the text on the sheet itself is completely different, since it is not part of the contest. I did get a set of 8 of these, but they didn't seem to be available at the post office (at least, the one I went to). I haven't seen these offered from the philatelic service yet. I will have to call them and see.
When I get back home, I will scan and post the items so everyone can see what I am talking about.