By David Hartwig
On April 4, Britain’s Royal Mail issued 14 definitive stamps to meet the new postage rates that came into effect on that date (by Linn, April 4, page 42). Additionally, each stamp is barcoded as part of Royal Mail’s new policy of issuing definitive stamps with barcodes.
The April 4 issue includes four international rate stamps, seven low-denomination definitive stamps and three high-denomination definitive stamps.
The stamps feature the bas-relief portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Arnold Machin which has been used on UK definitive stamps since 1967. These definitives are known as Machins.
The international rate stamp denominations and colors are £1.85 wood brown, £2.55 sapphire blue, £3.25 purple and £4.20 light green.
The £1.85 stamp pays the rates for letters to Europe weighing up to 100 grams and for letters to other countries weighing up to 20 grams. The £2.55 stamp is for worldwide letters up to 100 grams. The other two stamps pay rates for large letters (up to 35.3 centimeters long, 25 cm wide and 2.5 cm thick) weighing up to 100 grams: £3.25 to Europe and £4.20 to the rest of the world.
The color scheme is reversed on low value Machins, with the queen’s portrait in color on a white background. The denominations and colors of low value Machins are 1p sapphire blue, 2p dark green, 5p heather purple, 10p aqua green, 20p light green, 50p slate gray and £1 wood brown.
High Value Machins have the same inverted color scheme. The denominations and colors are £2 bright blue, £3 purple and £5 spruce green.
Both low and high value Machin denominations can help customers meet new postage rates more easily when combined with previously issued stamps.
International Security Printers printed the stamps by gravure in sheets of 25. They have self-adhesive gum.
Each stamp is perforated 15 by 14.5 and measures 39 millimeters by 30 mm.
The barcode is printed in the same color as the stamp and separated by a simulated wavy line cutout. The barcode can be scanned with a smartphone.
Definitive stamps without barcodes will be valid until January 31, 2023, according to Royal Mail.
Stamps without barcodes can be swapped for the new barcoded stamps through what Royal Mail calls its “Swap Out” scheme, which was introduced on March 31. More information about the program is available online.
For the April 4 issue, Royal Mail is also offering various first day covers and three presentation packs (one for each series) in conjunction with these new stamps.
Stamps can be ordered from the Royal Mail webshop. Ordering information is also available from Royal Mail, Tallents House, 21 S. Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB, Scotland.
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