Royal Mail's 2013 tariff changed left basic letter rates unchanged but made major changes to packets, with the 1st class and 2nd class Packet rate being changed to 1st and 2nd Small and Medium Parcels.
The Small Parcel size was limited to 45 x 35 x 8cm, with an exception for 16cm cube parcels which would also go at the Small rate rather than Medium. Now the other dimensions of this 16cm 'deep' Small Parcel have been extended from 16 x 16cm to 35 x 25cm. The rates of £2.60 (2nd) and £3.00 (1st) for up to 1kg remain the same.
In April reaction to the new rates from customers in Post Offices was adverse. With the Medium Parcel rates being £5.20 and £5.65 for 2nd and 1st respectively, eBay sellers found that some of their shipping charges had more than doubled, with some courier services offering a better deal.
Now Royal Mail has moved to grab back some of the lost business, by extending the Small Parcel option to cover bulkier items, like trainers, and fashion accessories. For stamp collectors and dealers the news is good: the new size limits allow for a 32 page or 2 x 16 page stock-books, or similarly-sized albums, or a box of first day covers or postal history.
Collectors of modern postal history will find it difficult to display items which take advantage of the new sizes. But these things need to be recorded for future postal historians who might wonder why a box which cost £5.20 to post last week costs only £2.60 to post this week!
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