Saturday 3 September 2011

Security stamp usage observation

When the security definitives were first issued in 2009 the sheet stamps were issued on 17 February and booklets, business sheets and coils on 31 March - but that was just philatelic issue.  It took some months for the various different versions to percolate through Post Office Supplies Department and out to branches. 

Evidence from incoming business and social mail during 2009 was that most of the new stamps came from booklets.  And local post office branches were still using pre-security PIP stamps (especially 2nd Large, and 1st small) well into 2010.

Looking at similar mail this year - now that all the 2011 stamps from main sources have appeared - it is evident that many more counter sheet stamps are being used.  This includes 1st class despite the vast number of 1st class special stamps available.

For collectors of modern postal history - stamps on cover doing the right job - use of some versions of the 2009 stamps (the ones with no year code) in 2009 and early 2010 may be quite hard to find, especially the counter sheet versions.  I don't get many Large Letters with single LL stamps on, but I would say that 2009 counter sheets, and 2nd class 2010 business sheets will be difficult to find.  So far only one printing date for the latter has been discovered!

What's your experience?  Let us know by leaving a comment!


  1. A recent sorting of about 1200 2009s (half first, half second) gave almost equal numbers of B and T in the second with only one counter sheet (MAIL) and no others. Less dramatic differences in the first, with only C badly under-represented. Derek Burch

  2. I went to my local post office expecting to be able to get a set of security definitives with date codes and apart from small 1st class(without a year code)they were still selling non-security definitives. I wonder if there is a minimum order when they order sheets of stamps. They hadn't even heard of the small value self adhesive sheets.

  3. marcooni, that they are still selling pre-security definitives IS a surprise as you would have thought they had worked through all those by now - either their usage is very low or they had very high stocks in 2009!

    As for the self-adhesives, the low value definitives are not yet being sent to POs although they are believed to be available from Royal Mail Direct now. The higher values - 68p, 76p, £1.10 & £1.65 issued in March this year should be in stock. I wonder what they have for 50p upwards, adn what booklets they have?

  4. Update: two values of the low value definitives have arrived in Norwich, it is reported.


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