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!


  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!