Monday 30 September 2019

Postage value of old NVI stamps - updated.

If you think you've seen this before, it is an updated version of a September 2018 post.  The same question has been asked of Royal Mail again recently. See end of post.

It is over five years since we first had to consider the change in letter weight steps and the question of stamps pre-printed with obsolete weights.  A reader asked the question on the latest Revenue Protection post last month [2018], and so I'll give this important subject it's own entry on the blog.

The question was:
There is another issue, as touched on, in that what postage rate do some of the perfectly legal NVIs and earlier Post & Go stamps now pay. A number of the original rates no longer exist.
I assume an "E" value will probably still pay the Europe rate of up 20g. Where is this set out, either for the public or the Royal Mail staff?
We have Overseas booklet stamps showing Worldwide postcard rate? Originally apparently 43p. What does that pay for today? Ditto Europe up to 40g - no longer a published postage rate. Worldwide up to 40g & 60g likewise both as booklet stamps and/or Post & Go values. Europe up to 60g and so on.
Does anyone know whether the answer set out anywhere or where the contact point is to enquire?
The answer is buried deep in a blogpost of April 2014, so I'll repeat and expand on it here.
UPDATE 10 April 2014
Regarding the future value of obsolete Post and Go stamps Royal Mail have advised:

Existing P&G stamps for WW 10g and WW40g and other previously issued NVI’s for which there is no current postage value e.g. WW Postcard, will continue to be valid for the next applicable weight step up from its stated value i.e. WW 10g stamp will be valid at the WW 20g value and the WW 40g stamp will be valid at the new WW 60g value.
Although they were asked specifically about Post and Go stamps, the reply covers the self-adhesive booklet stamps, including the airmail postcard rate stamp, which is the same rate as the Europe 20g/World 10g. The following year the 60g step was replaced by the 100g step and the same principle applied.  In other words, the stamps showing 40g are now valid for 100g.  The 10g and 20g stamps are still valid for the weights shown, as before.

Users of Stanley Gibbons' Great Britain Concise catalogue will know that the introduction includes some tables of postage rates.  One which is missing is this table which, apart from indicating the original selling price of some of the stamps, explains why certain definitive stamps were issued and, in the case of the £2.25, re-issued after being replaced.

Europe 20g
World 10g
World 20g
World 40g
April 2009
April 2010
April 2011
April 2012
April 2013

E20/ W10
Europe 60g
World 20g
World 60g
April 2014

E20/ W10
Europe 100g
World 20g
World 100g
April 2015
April 2016
April 2017
April 2018
April 2019

I hope readers find this useful.  It is probably worth reminding everybody that these are also all valid at the rates shown for inland postage, just as the 2nd, 1st, Large, Signed For, and Special Delivery stamps are all valid for services other than those shown and on inland and international mail.

Update 19 October.
I've compiled this table which I believe to be correct.  Note that some of the rates were in effect before the stamps were issued, and some new stamps were issued at old rates before tariff increases. (If you see this before I adjust the columns, apologies - copy and paste never works first time for tables!)

Stamps Issued* or Rates Effective
1st Signed For 100g
1st Large Signed For 100g
100g Special Delivery
500g Special Delivery
17 November 2009 *
6 April 2010
26 October 2010 *

20 April 2011
30 April 2012
2 April 2013 §
31 March 2014
30 March 2015
29 March 2016

27 March 2017

26 March 2018
25 March 2019

* Royal Mail Signed For stamps were issued 27 March 2013, replacing Recorded Signed For, but were sold at old rates until 2 April.

The latest reply from Royal Mail, forwarded by Rushstamps, stated:
I have been advised the NVI stamps which have the E on can be used for both inland and Europe postings and the value of the stamp would be the current cost of an International Standard to Europe, which at this time would be £1.35.  NVI stamps do not have an expiry date and are valid at the current rate of postage, as long as they are unused stamps.
I believe the issue is that the Post Office Counter staff were not aware of this and is why they were refusing to accept these stamps.


  1. It is all very well Royal Mail saying what is valid for postage etc. but trying telling that to the members of staff at the Post Office counter when they will not except an item for postage, mainly because they have never seen some of the stamps and have no idea what they are.
    Also what about all the problems with older 1st and 2nd class stamped letters being surcharged by Royal Mail because in their opinion anything that is a different colour to the current stamps or does not have ellipitcal perforations is a forgery.

  2. I have just had a similar experience, but it isn't just post office counter staff who don't understand. I sent a package bearing an "E" stamp (among others) to someone who had bought something from me on Ebay. The chap at our local post office accepted it but then it was held up at some regional Royal Mail centre until my customer coughed up a £3 penalty. When I complained to Royal Mail I was told I had to send them a photo of the package (which of course I couldn't do) as the post office "is a separate company and has nothing to do with us". I tried to argue that the counter staff, as RM's agent, had accepted the package and so RM should take it up with them, but the person on the phone would have none of it. Luckily the customer was very understanding, but I was out of pocket as I had to compensate them for their inconvenience. To compound the problem, RM also neglected to update the tracking information online, but accepted this was their fault, so sent me a book of 6 1st class stamps. I would recommend anyone using these NVI stamps to take a photo before sending the item, just to be on the safe side.

    1. You make some very valid points, which I also made when discussing this with Rushstamps. When I have a half-hour I will compose a reply to ask Royal Mail's Chief Executive team to consider them.

  3. One tip that may help - write the cost of the service AND the value of the stamps attached on the front of the envelope/package close to the stamps. A pain I know, but it shows you know what you are doing even if counter staff/delivery offices don't. I've done this and PO counter staff have looked closely as if they weren't sure, but were probably too embarrassed to challenge.

  4. should the 70g not be 60g

  5. A problem that will only become more common, I expect, as post offices are replaced by counters in convenience stores, staffed by people with minimal training.

  6. A ‘local’ near me won’t accept the Country stamps, as they have “never seen them before, so they aren’t valid”.

  7. Perhaps this should be reported to Royal Mail. I'm sure they would like to know that products they have sold are not considered fit for purpose!


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