Tuesday 27 March 2012

British Stamp collecting just got very expensive.....

... and the costs of mail order, including eBay auctions, will also hit small buyers.

Royal Mail have announced their 2012 price rises, to take effect from 30 April 2012.

Headline changes:

1st class letters rise from 46p to 60p
2nd class letters rise from 36p to 50p

1st class Large Letters up to 100g rise from 75p to 90p, while 2nd class rise from 58p to 69p;
the next step 101-250g rises from £1.09 to £1.20 1st and 92p to £1.10 2nd.

But a fundamental change comes in the restructuring of packet rates.  Currently as low as £1.58 and £1.33 for 1st & 2nd class under 100g (which would include very light electronic items in crush-proof boxes) the 100g, 250g & 500g steps have now been merged into a 750g minimum rate of £2.70 1st and £2.20 2nd.  The current 501-750g rate is thus reduced from £3.05 and £2.61, but all the other rates rise.

The recorded signed for premium rises from 77p to 95p.  Thus a 1st class RSF letter becomes £1.55 (from £1.23) and 2nd class £1.45 (from £1.13).

Special Delivery 1pm next day rises from £5.45 to £5.90 including postage.

Standard Parcels up to 2kg rise from £4.41 to £5.30.

Post Office Box users suffer a massive increase for the third year running, up this year from £170 to £185, now plus VAT at 20% making £222.

International rates: Airmail
The worldwide postcard, and European 20g letter rates rise from 68p to 87p. The Worldwide 10g letter (previously 76p) also becomes 87p.

The Worldwide Letter 20g rate rises from £1.10 to £1.28.

Small packets up to 100g rise from £1.49 to £2.70 Europe, and from £2.07 to £3.30 Worldwide.  This huge hike must be passed on to customers around the world who will see the costs of collecting rise.

Small Packets and Printer Papers over 100g change from 20g steps (to 300g, 100g steps thereafter) to steps for 101-150g, 151-200g and then 100g steps to 2kg.  As an example of the new prices 300g is up from £2.61 (E) and £4.26 (W) to £3.62 (E) and either £5.54 or £5.70 for World rates which are now resplit into two Zones.  Europe still includes all of the former USSR, right through to the Pacific, Zone 2 is Australasia, and Zone 1 is the rest of the world.

Surface Mail basic changes are 20g letters up from 66p to 77p,  100g small packets up from £1.12 to £2.20 (still cheaper than the airmail rates, but in future more expensive than current airmail rates.

International Signed For is up top from £4.95 to £5.15. Airsure rates are complicated by VAT so I'll look at them later.

A leaflet can be downloaded from Royal Mail's website.

Update: New Machin definitive stamps with values of 87p, £1.28 and £1.90 will be issued on 25 April 2012.   According to Doug Mayall the colours will be "87p Orange; £1.28 Emerald green; £1.90 Rhododendron (Amethyst)"  
I wonder if that 87p will be the same colour as the 9p that I am currently using with a 27p to make up the 2nd class rate?

We are awaiting any news of the previously announced and then cancelled 50p rust with one phosphor band, but have been told that instructions have been sent to branches to stop selling the current 50p grey (which has two phosphor bands of course).


  1. You know how I feel about this, as a personal user of RM services.... I do send less than half a dozen small packets a month, I guess I shall be enclosing personalised correspondence to send it airmail letter (under 100g to Europe! under 80g for worldwide)...

    1. You dont need to enclode a letter to send an item via 'letter rate' .. common misconception even by clerks..

  2. Anyone know what new values we will get yet?

    1. Thanks for reminding me that these need to be added :-)

      New stamps will definitive values 87p, £1.28 & £1.90 - no issue date announced but probably 24/15 April.

      The Large Jubilee stamp will be included in the presentation pack - no news either on whether they will persist in their original intention to include that stamp on the official FDC. I hope not as it will have been available in one form at POs for 6 weeks by then.

  3. What's the distinction between "airmail letters" and "small packets"? Does a letter have to be below a certain thickness? I sometimes send CDs to Europe that weigh less than 100g. Under the new price rules, they would be £2.70 as a small packet but only £2.21 as a letter. Under the current pricing, however, a 100g small packet is cheaper (£1.49) than a 100g "letter" (£1.73). Where is the logic in this?

  4. Looking at those large letter prices, many of them are actually getting cheaper if you stock up on the basic 1st and 2nd class stamps at current prices. Let me explain...

    Basic LL, 2nd class was 58p (1st class stamp + 12p), now 69p (1st class stamp + 9p). Save 3p

    LL 101-250g, 2nd class was 92p (2 x 1st class stamps), now £1.10 (1st class plus 2nd class stamp). Save 10p

    LL 251-500g, 1st class was £1.46 (4 x 2nd class stamps + 2p), now £1.60 (3 x 2nd class + 10p, or 2 x 2nd + 1 x 1st). Save 26p or 28p!

  5. "We can offer you a cheaper rate if you’re sending gifts, goods or commercial samples. When using this service, please write ‘SMALL PACKET’ in the top left corner on the front. You can also include a letter relating to the contents, but no other personalised correspondence." and
    "The same cheaper rate as for small packets also applies to sending books, magazines, newspapers, leaflets and pamphlets abroad. Additionally, you can send books and pamphlets weighing up to 5kg. You can include a letter relating to the contents, but no other personalised correspondence. When using this service, please write ‘PRINTED PAPERS’ in the top left corner on the front."

    In future, it won't matter what you are sending....?

  6. @M - I don't think this represents any change at all from the current position. Maybe some people don't know about Small Packet & Printed Papers?

    @Rob - thank you for pointing this out. I still haven't studied every nuance of the changes. The worldwide 100g rate is the same for letters and small packets, but as you say any stamp/FDC sendings up to 100g will in future go at the letter rate instead.

    Airmail letters > 100g in future will be considerably cheaper than before, now that the distinction between letters and other items has been abolished above this weight. I wonder how many people actually send *letters* weighing over 150g anyway?

  7. Wow. I remember when I lived in England & it was 19p to send a letter 2nd class.


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