On 3 January the colour of the 1st Class Definitive will change to the official ‘Royal Mail’ Red. This is part of a large revision of all the colours used for the UK Definitive stamp in 2013.
According to Royal Mail:
"We periodically revise the colours of the Definitives due to operational changes and technological changes in print, although we have not done this for many years. In the current colour palette certain colours produced similar readings when scanned in our Mail Processing Centres and some colours also caused difficulties in reading the phosphor bars."
The new colours are £1 (Wood Brown) and the 50p (Slate Grey), 1st and 1st Large (Royal Mail Red).
The colours of the other values remain unchanged though the Royal Mail iridescent overprint is added on all values, which means that the 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p (first issued as self-adhesive on 8 March 2011) will be new stamps.
Given that the earlier 1st class stamp was described by Royal Mail as 'flame', I think we can assume that this will be a different colour - although the picture provided doesn't actually prove that!
Other 1st class changes:
• 1st Class Business Sheet (100)
• 1st Class Large Business Sheet (50)
• 6 x 1st, 12 x 1st and 4 x 1st Large Retail booklets
• 1st Class Business Rolls -
Only 10k rolls will be produced, following a review of use of 500 and 1000 stamp coils
both of these varieties will be discontinued
The 2nd class values remain unchanged. The remaining stamps in the range will have new colours introduced at the next tariff change.
UPDATE 20 October: I see from an entry on the MachinMania blog that these new stamps were printed in September and have the M12L year code, except for the Large Letter stamps which are MA12.
There has really been very little consistency regarding whether the year code indicates the year of printing or the year of issue, with some 'year' codes being printed as late as October of the previous year, whilst on occasion printings in January and February have had the previous year's code. It's not helpful!
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