Friday 30 April 2021

No new tariff, no new Machin definitive counter sheets.

As postage rates in general, especially international ones, were raised at the beginning of the year, there was no general review at the end of March as there usually is.  Hence there were no new tariff printings in mid-January for initial supplies, and no top-up printings later on in March have appeared as they sometimes do.

Many readers will be aware that Royal Mail provides dealers with a list of current stock of counter sheets, and refreshes it when new stock is received.  There has been no such list since the end of January this year.

Whilst the initial printings of the 1st & 2nd (and Large) stamps didn't appear until June last year, in some years most have appeared somewhere (either in Edinburgh or Post Offices) by April/May, and in some years other values have appeared as early as March.  

Apparently many Post Offices have large stocks of some stamps - and generally if you buy a supply of stamps from a PO you will be offered a booklet or business sheet depending on quantity needed.  It seems fewer people are buying online so less is posted with stamps, and non-prepaid-returns are also fewer as people can go into shops to buy their clothes rather than buying a selection online and returning all bar one!

But look out on your mail, and in your post office.  If you have a friendly sub-postmaster ask him if he expects to order any new stock of counter sheets and to let you know when it arrived.  You may have the kudos of reporting the first 2021 counter sheet printing!


  1. Some Post Offices do indeed have plenty of stamps. I called into a post office at Chiddingstone in Kent; a tourist hotspot ;in the hope of getting the Queen booklet, but they had none so I bought some 5p stamps which I needed to turn old £1.55ps into the £1.70 now needed for post abroad. Many people must be buying them for this reason so I was surprised to find out that the ones I bought were gummed Machins and so at least 20 years old!

    1. That's poor Lars!
      Actually I think you have a typo there because the self-adhesive low value stamps were only introduced in 2011 so only 10 years old. But you would have thought by now that the gummed ones would have long been used.

  2. Most online orders I make come with a prepaid returns label (or often a couple, giving the option of Royal Mail or Yodel or Hermes), or if I'm expected to pay for my own postage, the Post Office will print a Horizon label. Generally I find my local Post Offices will only give me stamps if I specifically ask for them.

  3. My local sub Post Office doesn't stock any make up values - and I've no idea how commonplace that is.
    Furthermore the December before last he had sold out of £1.35 stamps and the customer in front of me was overcharged by 5p when two First Class stamps (70p) were put on her card to Europe instead.


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