Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Post and Go update

As readers will know there have been no new Post and Go stamps issued by Royal Mail, and none is in the programme for the current year.  Some agree with this, some would welcome more of these and fewer expensive stamp issues.

The British Postmark Society Journal report for April includes the following which may be of interest to those collectors still looking for Post and Go.  It is worth noting that if the reels are being used for the 'post an item' option, ie with a value on, use of old stock may produce something totally new, so it is worth looking in kiloware as well.  I was reminded of this by the receipt this morning of an eBay purchase with a MA16 1st class Machin with value, date, and weight shown - see picture.

No new designs appeared in the first quarter of 2019, but the Winter Greenery designs reintroduced on 1 November 2018 continued in use into the new year. Various older issues reappear as stock is used up – for example, on 10 April 2019 kiosk 68 at Chorley was issuing Symbolic Flowers (2014) for 1st class/international and Hibernating Animals (2016) for 2nd class.  Meanwhile, Winter Fur and Feathers (2015) was found at Camden High Street and undated Poppies were still being issued at South Norwood.
In a number of cases, rolls of Post & Go stamps are inserted in the wrong reel of a kiosk, either in error or because of a shortage of the correct stamps.  Two recent examples found were 1st class letter on 2nd class (blue) Machin stamps from Camden High Street and 1st class letter on 2nd (blue) Game of Thrones stamps from Slough.
I'm grateful to DP for sending some examples of various Post & Go stamps with old and new European postage rates:

Robin MA13 from Harrogate

Poppy R17YAL from St Albans

Poppy MA16

Machin M17YAL from Farnham

"It does raise the question do we collect the service type or the value of the label which echoes what someone wrote about the Post and Go Christmas tour a few years ago about receipts."

Receipts are especially useful for location confirmation as it is more and more difficult to keep track of where old machines have gone and more particularly where new machines are installed, sometimes without publicity if they are the smaller machines with a counter mini-terminal as well.

"I wanted to get examples from both Huddersfield offices, which was pointless as the Northumberland Street office’s three machines were switched off and the New Street office’s two were on but out of service. At New Street I was told that they didn’t have any stock for the machines. Otherwise they would have turned it on for me to get the collectors strip. Colchester and Ipswich both turned the machines on for me to get collectors strips. However Chesterfield wouldn’t. 

"From correspondence with the Post Office I’ve had questioning if the relocated Ealing branch would have SSKs, I was told that they don’t publicise that information and won’t be adding new location or amending existing branches."

I looked at the Post Office website Branch Finder page, and Post and Go is still listed in the filter selection and in Branch Details. If it is kept updated then that is good for collectors.

UPDATE 24 May:  JE of the British Postmark Society has made this very valid point about the Post Office Branch Finder, showing that their database is not accurate.  That may be what was meant in the last line in italics, just above.
The Branch Finder does not necessarily yield correct and up-to-date information.
Some locations shown as having Self-service Kiosks no longer have them - e.g. Dundee, which had SSKs in the old Head Post Office (Meadowside) lost them in February 2018 when the franchised replacement PO opened at 30 Whitehall St, but the new location appears as a Post & Go office on the Branch Finder.
Even more extreme - Southport's main PO in WHSmith, Chapel St, lost its SSKs in 2014, when the Wincor-Nixdorf machines were withdrawn!
Conversely, POs which have acquired SSKs more recently, such as Slough August 2016), Burnham (Slough)(Autumn 2017), South Norwood (august 2017) and Barkingside (2017), do not appear when the Post & Go filter is applied...
Anybody trying to maintain a complete and current list has an uphill task! 

UPDATE 9 July: According to the August edition of Stamp Magazine it is possible that some formats of Post and Go stamps are not being reprinted.  

"The Postal Museum and other sites with Royal Mail kiosks have been unable to replenish their stocks, including stamps which were digitally printed.

"Machin-head stamps with the year coded '18' are available from a few machines, but nothing more has been updated. Existing stocks are being used up, with a few oldies appearing among them."

As Don Staddon writes, "The situation will need to be resolved soon".

The implication is that Royal Mail are reprinting the stamps required for Post Office SSKs, but not for their own machines.  Strange.


  1. There are no undated poppy labels they are either MA14 (from Symbolic Flowers & solo rolls) MA15, MA16, R17YAL and R18YAL.

    The 1st class R18YAL Machin has surfaced in a number of post offices in Yorkshire, given the number of new ssk installations around the country due to the current spate of franchising, they may be more widely available.

    As for the ‘errors’ many will have their suspicions about these being done as a ‘favour’ from a conversation overheard in a Post Office yesterday, adds weight to that train of thought.

    There does need to be a degree of vigilance for collectors when buying these stamps at the moment. A Crown Office who has its last day today (15/05/19) had Robins MA13, Machin MA16 and undated Machins.

    So if you collect the OV stamps you have the opportunity to get the A/Lge Letter versions on Robin MA13 and undated Machin. The A/Lge Letter are rarely seen on internet auction sites, whether that’s down to cost, lack of awareness because they vend on items up to 9gr (some machines will vend up to 19g before they print as faux Horizon label) or they don’t mirror the collectors set; who knows.

  2. Every time I get a large letter stamp from the machines it comes out on the large size label, due to weight I’m guessing, as they say every day’s a school day.

    It took a while to comprehend the receipt comment (it also took q while to find the post https://blog.norphil.co.uk/2013/11/nomadic-pop-up-post-office-shop-now-you.html?showComment=1384713767603#c4140604619119419967) , which I think referred to the change of location of the mobile units in Newcastle upon Tyne over two days.

    The robin and poppy stamps do show the point which I’m guessing the comment below is supposed to illustrate. They inscribed at the worldwide zone 1 rate (left) and worldwide zone 2 rate (right). Do you really need both or just an example of the zone 1 stamp?

    Do you just content yourself with the European version as illustrated with the Farnham (Machin)?
    Do you get the OV stamps for the single image issue (Machin, Flag, Poppy, Robin Game of Thrones)?
    Europe rates (code ‘4’)
    2nd class, 2nd Large (£1.37 rates correct at 19/05/19)
    1st Class, 1st Large, Europe up to 20g, Europe up to 100g, Europe Large Letter (£7.51 rates correct at 19/05/19)
    Channel Islands and Worldwide (code ‘5’)
    2nd class, 2nd Large (£1.37 rates correct at 19/05/19)
    1st Class, 1st Large, Worldwide up to 10g, Worldwide up to 20g, Worldwide up to 100g, Worldwide large letter zone 1, Worldwide large letter zone 2 (£14.01 rates correct at 19/05/19)

    Do you get the OV stamps for the 6 stamp pictorial issues?
    Europe rates (code ‘4’) £45.06 rates correct at 19/05/19
    Worldwide (code ‘5’) £84.06 rates correct at 19/05/19

    Do you go for a set of stamps which mirror the comparable Machin definitive stamps?
    £0.70, £1.06, £1.35, £1.60, £2.30, £2.80, £3.45, £3.60 (£16.86 rates correct at 19/05/19)

    As ever, what one collects is down to the parameters we set for our collections, some will want all types, others will settle for specimen examples whilst others will have a collection which is representative of what is available.

    The above is for mint examples, you also have the Signed for, Special Delivery, Parcelforce and International services which are only readily available used. It also doesn’t take into account the large labels versions which are above the basic weight stamps.

    It’s nice to know there are some helpful WHSmith run post offices, most of the ones I’ve been to, you would not dare to ask if a machine could be turned on for you!

    The image of the Poppy MA16 stamps are from pre-WHSmith Fareham Crown Office.

    1. Thank you, you have summed up the situation very well.

      I made a point of selling single 1st class stamps in a single design, or strips of 6 x 1st for multiple designs. Many people just wanted the stamp, by design, rather than by value as they are listed in Gibbons' Concise catalogue, rather than spending money on multiple values.

      That said..... one of each of the available FIXED values, covering the various changes, makes a good selection. So the brown Machin has
      1st Large
      Europe 20g
      Europe 20g/World 10g
      Europe 60g
      Europe 100g
      Worldwide 10g
      Worldwide 20g
      Worldwide 40g
      Worldwide 60g
      Worldwide 100g

      And having one of each of these for each design is quite a task.

      The different machine types and years makes life over-complicated. The museum and show overprints are best left as just a single 1st class if one must have them!

    2. Even if you just go for the fixed NVIs, you still have the various colour changes to the 1st class Brown Machins. The original colour, the colour WSP decided to use, and the grey versions (R17YAL and R18YAL) which match the large labels and Horizon labels.

      The museum/events/exhibitions/conferences/Royal Mail/MOD locations are probably best ignored as are the UK stamps vended, as are those UK labels issues in Gibraltar, Guernsey and Jersey and other countries ISO codes in the data string.
      It could be argued that the above were the straw that broke the camels back when it comes to collecting P&G labels.

  3. AS someone who is trying to collect examples from all NCR equipped offices, it is certainly a challenge. Though with the combined use of advance rail tickets, rovers and rangers tickets and assorted bus journeys it’s not extremely difficult and you do get to see different parts of England, Wales and Scotland. I’ve given up on the ides of getting examples from Norther Ireland. At one time there were a more seller on that internet auction sight that’s based (for Europe) just over the river from me.

    Currently, I estimate that there are 308 offices with NCR machines. This includes those Post Offices which have closed due to franchising, leases on premises ending and branch closures for other reasons.

    I have just over 60 offices (including forthcoming franchises) to get, not to difficult, but with mental health issues and being the primary carer for an elderly mother with dementia, it’s slightly more complex.

    I know some would consider this lunacy and there are times I would concur, but is it any different in concept as someone who collect the various letter combinations on the Victorian stamps with letters in the corner of the stamps to rebuild a complete sheet? Plus I get to see parts of the country I would not have otherwise seen!

    1. One of our other readers has offered to help out with Belfast, the only NI P&G office.
      If you would like to email me I will send you his details and you can take it from there. (See details at top right unless on smartphone)

    2. I have a pair from Knutsford if it's required

  4. No, not lunacy at all. A very valid collecting interest and you may possibly become one of very few, if not the only, collector with a reference collection if you can complete the task. Good luck!

  5. If I may add to this subject and for the benefit of Anon above I to along with 3 other collectors I know also collect examples from all NCR offices and kiosks.
    I may not know all the offices but the figures I have are up to today
    301 offices open or closed with a further 16 opened / franchised so far this year giving a total of 317.
    As per consultations out to date there are a further 17 offices going to new premises (mostly WH Smith) and 1 new location so far announced dates are
    30th May Andover
    3rd June Ealing (possible) not mentioned on consultation as having NCR but there have been errors on these in the past and for reference wont open until 13:00 I will be going and will report back.
    6th June Wokingham and Wigan
    13th June Farnham, Grantham and Solihull
    20th June Trowbridge
    27th June Dartford and Chester
    4th July Bath
    5th July Huddersfield (still provisional)
    Those coming up during Summer and Autumn are Oldham, St Helens and Darlington.
    Worthing and Sutton are delayed was due to move last March and the new location is Pontefract when it moves to WH Smith.

    As per JE's comments above the most bizarre location I can think of that is still on the branch finder is 136 Southwark Bridge Road this is a small supermarket that never had SSK's but used to service the now closed Tudor Street Wincor's before control moved to Farringdon.
    Also what is not now published is details of the new franchisee (ZCO Ltd as an example) but the branch finder is still been updated with new offices (although not all) e.g. Strand is on there that took over from Trafalgar Square.

    If Anon would like to contact me for any help I can be acquiring him anything needed I am more than happy to help obviously I wont add my email address here but if Ian agrees I can pass my details to him for forwarding.

    1. Boston, Brent Park, Upper Holloway, St. Johns Wood, Newport all show as having SSK but its questionable if they do.
      Interestingly Haywards Heath’s SSK68 aside from it still having the old menu screens on the card receipts give the branch details for the Franchised Newport branch.
      A number of branches SSKs are also showing the details for YESpay International LTD instead of the branches details. The old Yeovil Crown Office’s ssk 67 was on doing this on its last week, so it could have been related to the removal of equipment for the new branch.

    2. Newport definitely does not now the PO has moved.

  6. Wokingham like Sutton has been delayed

    Other SSK offices
    Oakworth (co-op 1ssk)
    Saltash (Mcolls 1ssk)
    Summertown (co-op 1ssk)
    Camden, London (UOE 3ssk)
    Central Village, Liverpool
    Regent Street St. James's,London (Rymans 3ssk)
    West End, Glasgow (3ssk)

  7. Thank you for those additional branches and for Wokingham postponement that saves me a wasted trip !!!!!
    Update Camden has 4 ssk not 3 and as per the comment above some also used the old menu screens as did 1 kiosk at Reading.
    St Johns Wood I can confirm has no SSK, Brent Park I have not visited for a while to check current position, Boston was I am told considered for them some time ago but there is insufficient floor space I cannot confirm the others.
    I knew of Summertown according to staff has been operational since June 2018 and Camden 29th March 2019 do you know of the other start dates when kiosks were installed.


    1. Oakworth
      December 2018/January 2019 (session 3897 13/03/19)

      August +/- a month (Session 7108 9/5/19)
      Mcolls Retail Group publication (Half Yearly Report July 2018) ‘We are also trialling self-service units in a small number of our Post Offices’

      Central Village, Liverpool
      February/March 2019 (session 800 5/03/19)

      Regent Street St. James's, London (Rymans 3ssk)
      March I believe, to compensate for the closure of Trafalgar Square

      West End, Glasgow

      3ssk should have been ??? ssk, my predictive text decided I meant 3ssk

    2. Update from today
      Regent Street St James has 4 kiosks and kiosks went live 7th January 2019 (thank you to Nina very helpful member of staff)for reference code is 054011, stock probably came from Trafalgar Square as 2nd class is mixture of MA12 and MA13
      Blackfriars Road has finally had the 2 SSK removed although they were never used since the branch was franchised on 19th March 2018 and the promised refurb is yet to happen.
      Ealing has moved to its new location and has 3 SSK the branch code remains the same 139006 and the session number has not been reset.
      Comments on Google suggest Glasgow kiosk installed late 2018 with Liverpool early 2019.


    3. Apologies hit publish to early Sutton is now live as from the 23rd May


  8. 027026 Barkingside has two machines
    ssk 67 (Card only) - session 001999 on 3/06/19
    ssk 68 (card and cash) - didn’t check

    496420 Central Village (Liverpool) has one machine
    ssk67 (cash and card) - session 002850 on 4/06/19

    1. I can fill in more details on Barkingside
      k67 session 1760, k68 session 3811 both dated 21st May.
      Question here is did the present k67 replace an older cash kiosk or was it an addition at a later date.


  9. Wokingham’s new date for the closure of the Crown office is19 June 2019, Franchise opens 20 June 2019

    Pontefract Crown will close 31 July 2019, Franchise with 2 SSK opens 1 August 2019

  10. Can someone help me with an office code an example has been found in kilo ware.
    The code is 390460, the last 3 digits gives the area the branch is in therefore the 4 indicates the NW of England.
    It is a Machin50 stamp from k68 with a session number of 000373.
    First thought this may have been the new WH Smith branch at Wigan which should end with 406 and someone has entered this incorrectly but this is highly unlikely to have reached 373 in 7 days usage including the time to put it up on eBay.
    Does anyone have the new code for Wigan for reference as yet to visit there and also what is in the kiosks.
    Codes from yesterdays changes are
    Grantham 237210, Solihull 584246 and Farnham 148900 all are Machin except the 1st class at Grantham is greenery (using old stock from Crown branch)


    1. I saw a large label from SSK67 with 81 as the label number dated 7/06/19 with the same FAD, and thought the same, that it came from the new Wigan office.

  11. Whilst it could be an error in imputing the FAD code, two machines with the same code may suggest another possibility, ###458 & ###459 are non-geographical areas, so it would not be too difficult to imagine that ###460 is of the same ilk.

  12. Tried to do a bit of research into code on consultation hub, Hurst Green noted as 385458.
    Found branch at https://www.postofficeviews.co.uk/national-consultation-team/hurst-green-tn19-7pl-385458/

    As this as you say is a non geographic area this has got to be an error as well on the website as it does not follow the geographic number series.
    Am I right in assuming as k67 is the master kiosk and all others are slave units that anything such as the FAD code programmed into k67 would be replicated into the other kiosks.


  13. An update to the FAD codes of the last few weeks gives these
    Wigan 390460 this is now confirmed by visit both kiosks Machin50
    Wokingham 269939 both kiosks Poppy
    Trowbridge 348504 Machin although only k67 card only kiosk is working, k68 and k69 OOS due to comms problem
    Oakworth above is confirmed as 309306 and is Machin.


  14. Another location is Scotland

    371832 Clydebank
    Unit 27 Clydebank Shopping Centre, Sylvania Way, Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, G81 2RR

    1. Thank you DP was not aware of this location would I be right in assuming 1 kiosk only and do you know what stamps are in the kiosk.
      Looking on Google it is a Premier store.
      Filling in the codes for recent transfers I have
      Dartford 175014 (Machin50) I do not know the details of Chester as yet to visit does anyone know this.
      Firm dates recently announced are St Helens 25th July and Worthing 22nd August.
      Huddersfield should be tomorrow as the usual date is a Thursday although the local paper has it down as Wednesday the 4th ????? can anyone confirm.
      Also new to the list are Exeter and Walsall both due October time.


  15. Sorry, only saw the receipt on an internet sales site that was posted as proof of postage, so I’m unaware of what was loaded in the machine. Given that lack of info provided by Post Office, this may be the only way a truer list of locations is established and how far these machines have spread. I’ve seen many more NCR receipts from Post Office SSKs that I’ve not been able to establish their location due to either no postcode or very incomplete postcode being visible.

    As you saw in the list I posted above, a location was known, and as no reference was made about the others, I’m guessing that they weren’t known (I’ve had trouble phrasing that sentence so that it’s general and not aimed directly at any individual, if I’ve still phrased it wrongly and caused offence, I apologises), so an exchange of information is beneficial to those who are still interested in these machines and what they produce.

    And on that subject Worthing now has a date set, with the Crown closing 21/08/19 with the Franchise opening on 22/8/19 (assuming they have the staff, two offices in Surrey are using WHSmith staff who have rudimentary training on how to use the machines to oversee them. Ashford has a button on ssk68 to summon staff for assistance)

    I remember back to when the NCR machines were being installed into Crown offices there were one or to comments with false information, I certainly don’t want to do that.

    Its Ian’s blog and our comments are approved at his discretion. It may be that a monthly round up post with comments, as with the slogan machine cancels is the way forward, or we have to send proof to Ian before he will approve a comment with a new location.


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks DP.

      One problem is that this is a level that is not of primary interest to me, but I know that it interests others. There are a number of out-of-date lists on the web - the Modern British Philatelic Circle has one in their Members' area but it is (acknowledged to be) over a year behind because of lack of reliable information.

      The other point is that information on closed/previous locations should not be removed simply to provide a CURRENT list. A current list would not help people looking at Post and Go - and indeed Horizon* - labels/covers from previous years. (* Of course Horizon would be a much bigger list!)

      It obviously needs some sort of collaborative effort, probably on Google Sheets or suchlike, that the owner (say me) would allow obviously knowledgeable people (say you! and a few others) to update, thus meaning that currency was not reliant on one person. It would need to show


      Happy to consider this sometime, and any other solutions. It could be linked from the blog in the menus on the right.

    3. Thanks DP for your much appreciated reply and help, for info it has now been confirmed there is 1 kiosk at Clydebank this been installed about 2 months ago but not the kiosks contents.
      Just to clarify I was not speculating on Chester this moved to WH Smith, 5-7 Foregate Street with the same 2 kiosks on the 27th June I was only asking if anyone knew the new FAD code for our list as it has not been visited as yet.
      I totally agree with you about giving out false information and it was me who appealed on that previous thread for it to stop after a wasted trip to Lyndhurst IIRC.
      Would much appreciate any help Ian could be on hosting a list of offices both old and new that could be properly updated as an historical record this type of list always needs to be a collaborative effort to keep the record as up to date as possible.


  16. A new type of machine or changes to SSKs and Horizon?