Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Machin Definitives with Datamatrix code: new design for Large Letter counter sheets, booklets & business sheets - 1 & 28 February 2022

As expected Royal Mail is extending the incorporation of Datamatrix barcodes to more definitives in 2022.  In February the 1st & 2nd class and Large booklets, counter sheets and business sheets will make an appearance.  Further details of the purpose and use of these stamps are awaited, and will be published as soon as we have them.

Readers/contributors are finding more and more information and adding it in 'Comments' quicker than I can sensibly edit the blog.  Please look there for additional information including the 4 April issue for tariff change.


1st class purple definitive
issued 1 February 2022
Details were sent to Post Office branches, via Branch Focus, on Christmas eve, not the best time to impart information that you want remembered, I would have thought.  Branches were told that the stamps were being enlarged, resulting in the quantity of stamps in the booklets changing, with more details to follow.  

The colours of all the stamps have been changed.  In part this is to distinguish between the stamps for standard and Large Letters which are now the same size, but we understand there are also (as yet unrevealed) technical reasons for not continuing with the red and blue on the basic letter stamps.

Coinciding with the Platinum Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II the colour of the 1st class stamp is changed to Plum Purple which is, strangely, also the current colour of the £4.20 which pays the 100g Large Letter rate outside Europe. (It was also used for the long-running £2.25 stamp.)

The 2nd class changes to Holly Green (last used for the 2020 £3.82, but also for the £1.28 used from 2012-14);

The 1st Large changes to Marine Turquoise which is also the current colour for the popular £1.70 stamp which pays for letters up to 100g to Europe and up to 20g for the rest of the world; 

The 2nd Large is changed to Dark Pine Green (last used for the 2019 £3.45).

The Large letter stamps continue to use a large(r) figure of denomination, but the word Large is now placed at the left foot of the stamp, sideways reading up.


All images are pre-issue publicity pictures with identical barcodes.


New Retail Booklets and Sheets 1 February 2022

Counter sheets of 50 x 2nd, 1st, 2nd Large and 1st Large stamps will be issued.  ALL the sheets are 193.5 x 467.5 mm, whereas existing sheets are 145 mm wide. This means that the 'Large' stamps will be the same size as the basic stamps, which in turn means a new design.

I think we can also expect to see sheets at counters being folded at random as these new ones are almost certainly too wide for counter books.

Booklets of 8 and 4 will replace booklets of 12 and 6 (which replaced booklets of 10 and 4 way back).  The booklets will be 93.2 x 68.6 mm compared with the existing 79 x 57 mm. They are larger still than the Christmas booklets (88.5 x 65 mm).  Large Letter stamp booklets will continue to be packed in 25's and standard stamp booklets will be in 50s.

Prices will be as shown below:

COUNTER SHEETS of 50: 2nd class, 1st class, 2nd Large, 1st Large.   The security code is M22L with no source code, ie MAIL.

BOOKLETS: 8 x 2nd (5.28), 8 x 1st (6.80), 4 x 1st (£3.40), 4 x 1st Large (£5.16), 4 x 2nd Large (£3.84).  Booklet covers will match the colours of the stamps, that is the red covers will be abandoned. The security code is M22L with MEIL for the books of 8, MFIL for the books of 4 as before.

Phosphor bands.  The 2nd class stamps have a single phosphor band placed centrally over the Machin part of the design.  All the remainder will have two phosphor bands placed on the die-cut perforations to the left, and the printed 'perforation' design, to the right.

 



All images above are pre-issue publicity images. Coloured highlights show position of phosphor bands, which will be transparent and colourless as usual.  These images show W cylinder numbers.


Technical

The 39 x 30 mm self-adhesive stamps are printed in 50-sheet stamps (two panes of 25) in gravure by Cartor Security Printers, the new name for International Security Printers.  Despite this, the booklet have W cylinder numbers.   

The first day cover insert has been changed to reflect the new size of the stamps, etc:


I understand that the stamps will not be available until the day of issue.  Because of this there will be a postmarking extension of 28 days at Special Handstamp Centres. The First Day Cover will be available to order until 1st March 2022.


New Business sheets - 28 February 2022

As with the trial 2nd class business sheet issued on 23 March 2021 the new stamps will all be in sheets of 50 and the same size (171.8 x 100.7 mm) as before.  2nd, 1st, 2nd Large and 1st Large will be available.

UPDATE 21 February 2022.

Here is an image of part of the four business sheet headers.

Parts of top panel for the four new business sheets 2nd, 1st, 2nd Large, 1st Large with the official issue date (we believe) of 28 February 2022.

The interpretation of the datamatrix codes showed these dates:

2nd class 29/11/21; 1st class 26/11/21; 2nd Large 08/11/21; 1st Large 05/11/21 (edited)

As with the 2nd class blue issued last March, there is no printing date or serial number on the reverse.


Philatelic supplies

Official first day covers, booklets, and counter sheet stamps as appropriate will be provided by Royal Mail to their standing order customers, on 1 February only.  Assuming the business sheet stamps have some sort of source coding, then it would be possible to obtain double-dated covers for all eight stamps.  


More details about printing dates etc now that we have samples to hand.

Collector and dealer interpretation of the datamatrix codes using a QR code reader app led us to believe that we had worked out printing dates.  However, examination of these stamps has revealed some oddities.  I'll be interested to know what others find.

 

Stamp

Sheet date

Datamtirx

2nd class

01/12/21

031221

1st class

01/12/21

011221

2nd Large

06/12/21

121121

1st Large

06/12/21

101121

2nd x 8 booklet

221121

1st x 8 booklet

171121

1st x 4 booklet

151121

2nd Large booklet

041121

1st Large booklet

031121


Scans of actual sheet stamps.

The sheets of 50 are divided into two panes of 25.  Cylinder numbers are W1 x3, showing colour, iridescent, and phosphor reading up.

As with the Christmas stamps, the printing is sideways. As the MBPC is treating this as just a change to the orientation of the stamps, most of the data is in the left margin.

The cylinder numbers are on row 9, the grid on row 8, and one barcode on row 7. A row of coloured squares is on row 6, consisting of one in the stamp colour and three black.  A further barcode is on row 4, with the FSC data on row 2, and the printing date on row 1.  As with Cartor-printed country definitives this is in black rather than in the colour of the stamps.  The lower selvedge is blank.

A further barcode is above column 5, with the product code above column 4, and the colour above column 3, all inverted.  The product code and colour are printed in colour.  Whilst the left and right selvedge are continuous, the information in the top margin is on labels 29.5 x 14 mm with rounded corners.

2nd class green datamatrix counter sheet upper and lower half-sheets.

Preliminary images of security codes
These are not as good as I hope to show later when I have other equipment. Click on the image for a larger view.  The 2nd class is M22L MEIL, and the 1st Large is M22L MFIL.



UPDATE AFTER NEWS RELEASE FROM ROYAL MAIL

Thank you for all the comments which were made on this blog readers by people who collected the news announcement in the early hours (eg 2 am while I was asleep).  I appreciate them all but not all have been accepted for publication because of duplication. 

Whilst the mainstream media have focussed on the video and tracking aspects of these stamps one of the most important things for collectors and the trade is this from Royal Mail's website.

Transition to Barcoded Stamps

Following a successful national trial we will now be adding unique barcodes to all our regular ‘everyday’ Definitive and Christmas stamps. Each barcoded stamp will have a digital twin and the two will be connected by the Royal Mail App. The unique barcodes will facilitate operational efficiencies, enable the introduction of added security features and pave the way for innovative services for our customers.

The barcodes match the stamp colour and sit alongside the main body of the stamp, separated by a simulated perforation line. The new barcode is an integral part of the stamp and must remain intact for the stamp to be valid.

Non-barcoded stamps will be phased out but will remain usable until 31 January 2023. Customers are encouraged to use their non-barcoded stamps before this date. Alternatively, non-barcoded stamps can be exchanged for the new barcoded version through Royal Mail’s ‘Swap Out’ scheme. 

The ‘Swap Out’ scheme will open on 31 March 2022. Forms will be available via a variety of channels, including local Customer Service Points; the Royal Mail website and via our Customer Experience team. Customers will be able to use a Freepost address. Further details will be announced shortly.

Watch our exclusive Shaun the Sheep video

The new barcoded stamps enable you to watch and share an exclusive Shaun the Sheep video via the barcode itself using the Royal Mail App. You or the recipient can watch the video just by scanning the stamp barcode using our App. More videos will be added over the coming months.

FAQ: What happens if I use a non barcoded stamp after 31 January 2023?

If you post an item with a non-barcoded stamp after 31 January 2023 it will be liable to surcharge — as it will be the equivalent of it having no postage. So please either use up any non-barcoded stamps you have — or swap them out.

 
Post Offices will not be involved.  Swap-out forms will not be available and POs will not do the swapping.  Royal Mail Customer Service Points will handle them, and I suspect they may have a small stock of stamps for exchange.  This is interesting because a lot of CSPs in delivery offices used to sell stamps but they were withdrawn over security issues.
 
UPDATE 8.30 pm
Again, thank you to everybody who has commented on this dramatic and controversial news.  
 
I've added a couple of paragraphs to the Royal Mail statement above which clarifies that this only applies to definitive and Christmas stamps.  Special issues, commemoratives, whatever you call them, are unaffected, which means that the older ones from 1971 will remain valid.  
 
It is unclear whether the exchange scheme will apply only to today's stamps (and those issued in April - see below) or if stamps with a face value are included.  If they are - as they should be - one wonders how the exchange will be facilitated.  It's doubtful if customers will be able to request specific stamps and I suspect that a £1.25 stamp traded-in will be exchanged for three - £1, 20p, 5p.  Similarly all definitives must be included including gummed ones, and NVIs of any colour.  (How many colours of 1st class stamp can you remember?)

The benefits to Royal Mail are enormous - the pallet-loads of forgeries coming in to the country from the east will lose their usability at a stroke, and anybody to exchange them will almost certainly be questioned as to where they obtained them, and told that they will not be accepted.   
 
Similarly the task of Revenue Protection officers will be eased - no longer will they have to check whether the landscape orange 1st class self-adhesive stamp, or the 1st class black with imperforate edges are genuine.  All these will be removed from postal duty.  [There will undoubtedly be a short period where people continue to use old stamps when they cease to be valid - if only Postage Due stamps were still used that might be worthwhile, but little pf postal history worth will come from this!]
 
The costs, however, are high.  If they intend to exchange everything sent in by collectors, businesses, and dealers who are holding older stamps for use/sale as postage the manpower involved in checking every application and all the stamps included with the application will be huge.  Rather than sacking 700 middle managers Royal Mail should keep them on as they will need people to deal with this exercise.

However, there is also no clarity on Country Definitives, those 2nd class, 1st class and airmail stamps in designs appropriate to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - by coincidence the order of this listing just about matches the reported availability in the territories concerned. - very sparse in many areas.   As these are printed on gummed paper in litho it seems unlikely that the barcoding will extend to them.  I don't think it will be politically acceptable to deny the smaller countries their own stamps, so I see those continuing, albeit in a small way.

The videos.  What really surprised me when I read about this in the early hours of another night interrupted by my long-running non-Covid cold, was the way the press release was picked up by the popular press, with headlines focusing on the fact that with these stamps you could watch a Shaun the Sheep video.  By now these stories have been overwhelmed by other Google results as the story gains wider traction in regional, national, and specialist newspapers and magazines, and on other websites.

It occurred to me that with so many parts of the country having experienced delivery delays, with mail from before Christmas being delivered 2-3 weeks after posting in many parts of the country, the last thing readers of those newspapers wanted was to know that in future they would be able to watch Shaun the Sheep or other videos when their letters were delivered.  

MORE TO COME
Not for the first time our readers tell us something that our contacts in Royal Mail Stamps and Collectables have not.  According to the Royal Mail "First" publicity leaflet received today by one or our readers, the roll out plan will be the 4th April for 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, £2. £3, and £5 stamps in sheet format.  Note that it says that the dates are provisional.
Extract from 'First' Royal Mail's new stamps publicity leaflet about barcoded definitives.

If there is to be a tariff change in April, one would expect to see airmail-rate stamps included but the rates for these, and any changes to the basic inland rates are never announced until a month before the change.

Prestige stamp book definitive panes
Logically the inclusion of Machin definitives in PSBs after April would seem unlikely.  The new size makes this difficult.  Of course they could include the unchanged country definitives but the market for these is low, so fewer collectors would feel compelled to buy them.

Whatever, Machin collectors will be divided between those who are pleased that they no longer need to spend around £20 to get between 1 and 4 stamps unavailable elsewhere, and those who feel cheated that there are no longer Machins in PSBs.  I'm thinking most will fall into the first category, especially after the £11.88 (plus airmail stamps) cost of the April issue, following on so closely from today's issue and the business sheets at the end of the month.

This story isn't over yet, so come back from time to time, and remember to check on the latest comments.


94 comments:

  1. It will be interesting to see what they do with commemorative booklets. Presumably these will also be made larger and have bar-coded "MCIL" stamps; though they may instead allow the survival of the smaller red 1st class stamps with "M22L". Let's wait and see!
    Ian, Co. Durham

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think there will be any, unless there are two specials on one page and two Machins on the other (similar to Extreme Endeavours)

      Delete
  2. Wow, that'll put the cat amongst the pigeons. From the Royal Mail website:
    "Non-barcoded stamps will be phased out but will remain usable until 31 January 2023."

    "Alternatively, non-barcoded stamps can be exchanged for the new barcoded version through Royal Mail’s ‘Swap Out’ scheme."

    If they're getting rid of the idea of being able to use the last 50+ years worth of stamps, which are currently perfectly legal to use, they'd better run a massive publicity campaign - I'm sure there are plenty of people who have a book of stamps which hardly gets used.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really don't see how Royal Mail should be allowed to get away with this unchallenged. You buy a stamp with no pre-conditions of purchase, and then you are subsequently told that it cannot be used.

      Delete
  3. The full Royal Mail release goes on to say that all non barcode definitives will be invalid from 31st January next year. However there will be a scheme to swap existing stamps for the new ones.

    One thing I don’t understand is if the barcode is an integral part of the stamp, why have a simulated perforation? Someone is bound to “cut along the dotted line” and remove the code.

    ReplyDelete
  4. There are articles about these in the Metro and the Mail today. Among a number of rather vaguely stated advantages, the articles state the barcode allows you to access a "Sean the Sheep" video via a barcode scanner! More alarmingly, the articles state the the non-barcoded stamps "remain valid until 31/03/23". Hmm ... some of us Machin collectors have rather a lot of the old ones ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is the advantage of be able to access the "Sean the Sheep" video via a barcode scanner?

      Delete
    2. Long term it seems to be that you will have a choice of greetings videos to link to your stamp for your recipient to see via the app. (As long as it's not a Nigel Farage greeting we should be ok.) Ultimately I can see this being extended to recording your own short video through the app. Time will tell.

      Delete
  5. Thnx Ian lots of interesting info there, now we wait until 28th for the business sheet stamps. I did read on Commonwealth opinion blog that RM have said that non barcoded definitive & Christmas stamps will be valid for postage until January 2023?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Will be 65 this year and was contemplating retirement. This may well have pushed me over the edge, how will Royal Mail cope with £65,000 + stock through Royal Mail’s ‘Swap Out’ scheme?
    Some deep thought is needed here.
    Chris H.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The Royal Mail website says:
    "All Definitive stamps are being barcoded — including Christmas stamps. Definitive stamps are the regular ‘everyday’ stamps featuring the profile of HM The Queen created by the sculptor Arnold Machin. We aren't barcoding special issue stamps — which are printed as a one off to commemorate a person/event and to celebrate the best of the UK’s contribution to the world."

    So commemorative stamps won't be barcoded, but non-barcoded stamps are treated as not valid postage. So what will the point be of commemorative stamps? Nice stickers with frilly edges? I feel like either something's not been thought through, or not being communicated correctly. Do you have any contacts at Royal Mail who might be able to clarify this?

    ReplyDelete
  8. What is going to happen to the Post & Go stamps that I know a lot of collectors and dealers have stocks of?

    ReplyDelete
  9. "All non bar coded" - presume this includes ALL definitives such as the low values 1p, 2p etc and all the higher values (i.e. not just the NVIs)? Does this imply that there will no year code 2022 of such stamps as those values will become bar coded as printing and demand dictates? Stamp collectors will have to be alert. It could be that 2022 versions (non bar coded) could enter the supply chain only to be short lived prior to withdrawal. E.G. I only managed to get the counter sheet of the 2p which came in a delivery to a local PO in November 2021. Doug (Enfield)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's certainly the implication, Doug.
      So that means 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, £1 - but what about airmail?

      Here's a novel idea, stop issuing airmail Machins and just use commemorative/special stamps!

      Delete
  10. Non-barcoded stamps will be phased out but will remain usable until 31 January 2023. Do they mean all stamps, or all Machin stamps (make-up values, high values as well ?) or only the 1st, 1st large, 2nd, 2nd large definitives ?
    Etienne Peremans, Brussels

    ReplyDelete
  11. Will you still be able to use commemoratives going back to 1971 in the future, once 31/3/2023 has passed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have lots of unused with gum commemoratives also unused self adhesives.Will I be able to use them after 2023 and will a;ll special issues now be issued with barcides

      Delete
    2. And what will happen to post and go stamps?

      Delete
    3. As with country definitives we are awaiting clarification.

      However as all pertinent data is printed on the P&G/SSK stamps at the time of purchase, I think it unlikely that these will not be valid. There is no way to get the 'digital twin' into the database before the stamp is used, in my view.

      Delete
    4. You will still be able to use commemoratives from 1971 on. I have started using early 1st class gold stamps from mixed books (Hello!) leaving the specials for next year.

      Delete
  12. 10 Years Older than the Pyramids1 February 2022 at 11:26

    Seems like a case of reinventing the wheel just as everyone gets a personal jetpack for transportation, since consumers are increasingly driven towards 'online [paid] postage' (wherever printed).

    As for the retirement of non-barcoded definitives, is this an admission of the experience of many, that Revenue Protection 'bods' are incapable of recognising the validity of real stamps (or even whether a stamp is genuine or fake)?

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am a little confused here (probably because of my age). Royal Mail say that all definitive stamps are being barcoded and old ones are being phased out, but it seems to me that what they are referring to are all the NVI's. Does it mean that all the definitive Machins which have an actual monetary value printed on them will also become invalid?

    ReplyDelete
  14. New Definitive Booklets ? - Attended the dedicated Philatelic Counters at the Broadway and King William IV Street in London in an attempt to obtain cylinder booklets. Neither Post Office had been sent any of the new booklets. They had asked for them, but the Post Office supplies are not sending them any. Rang Stamps & Collectibles who were under the impression that the main Post Offices were selling them on the day of issue like any other issue. There appears to be a complete breakdown of communication between Royal Mail and the Post Office.

    On the matter of the Platinum Issue on 04/02/2022 PSB's had still not been received by the Post Offices in question. RM confirmed that the PSB will be issued on 04/02/2022. But were unable to state the price or contents of the presumed definitive pane due to the embargo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PSBs only received in TH yesterday, I understand, and supplies expected to get to dealers within a couple of days. Meanwhile a nice slogan postmark now available for use on FDCs.

      Delete
    2. Post Office should have had them, no matter what they say. Dereham crown office had supplies, Broadway and KW IV should have.

      Delete
  15. Having spoken to a very helpful RM chap today I can 99% report that the business class stamps being issued on 28th Feb will NOT be issued to customers with accounts as a single stamp.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I shall have some spares, and whilst it goes against what I wrote about not dealing in Machins from M19L I shall want to dispose of at least 30 of each. Watch this space.

      Delete
  16. Royal Mail's First publication indicates that 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, £2, £3 and £5 stamps will be replaced with barcoded stamps on the 4th of April 2022.

    ReplyDelete
  17. From the Royal Mail "First" publicity leaflet received today it says the roll out plan will be the 4th April for 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, £2. £3, and £5 stamps in sheet format.
    Nothing mentioned about the actual specific air mail rate stamps eg £3.25 and £4.20 but I would suspect that when reissued for the inevatable rate rise any new values will be barcoded anyway.
    Are therefore post and go stamps classed as definitive under this change and therefore need an updated printing to include a barcode as part of the label.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Will there be a class action against Royal Mail by the PTS for reputational damage. And surely it should be reasonably expected that no future definitive stamps should now be issued from this announcement including any in the Friday issue (mention of a PSB in thread) or RM will be at least of guilty incompetence and probably a lot more .You will be lucky to get a 1/2p for a 50+ year-old mint Chichester yet they cost over 5 times the letter rate of the time . Stamp Collectors and Dealers deserve much better.

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  19. Wow, this is all going to take a while to get my head around! Hopefully RM will provide some clear clarification/guidance on the various queries/issues raised here!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Nothing in Swindon WHS today, they've been told to use up all old stock first which ties in with comments re withdrawal?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh sorry I forgot to mention the very helpful RM chap also let slip that there is a planned tariff change due in April, the stamps being issued on 4th April

    ReplyDelete
  22. Tried both the post offices here in Hastings and St Leonards this morning and neither had received any stocks of any of these, either booklets or counter sheets

    ReplyDelete
  23. 10 Years Older than the Pyramids1 February 2022 at 13:50

    No mention of Country Definitives - will this be Royal Mail's much-desired excuse for moving to a 'one stamp to rule them all' with Machin-only definitives throughout the UK?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And the Smilers definitives from booklets and Smilers sheets?

      Delete
    2. I reckon Smilers definitives from Greetings booklets and sheet should be ok.

      Delete
    3. What about Christmas smilers - would they have to be exchanged?

      Delete
  24. If all the low values are to barcoded, does that mean the end of Machin panes in prestige books? The stamps are 30mm high. A prestige book pane is about 96mm high. It might just be possible, but with only a very narrow border at top and bottom. And the barcodes would make for an extremely ugly pane.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope so. Some Machin collectors will be upset if there are no more.

      Others will be delighted that they no longer have to pay £20 for three stamps worth less than £2!

      Delete
  25. Will this also invalidate the Machins within prestige booklet panes. Seems a really good way for RM to create a vast profit from millions of unused stamps. ( well larger than normal with no comeback)
    Vic in Manitoba

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think everything that is invalidated should be replaced. Wait and see!

      Delete
  26. Not delivered to the main post office in Croydon today - so much about keeping things under wraps until the day of issue.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I started collecting RM stamps in 1992 and have amassed a huge collection of Machin stamps from sheets, coils, booklets etc. as part of that - several thousand GBP I would think. These will have no postal value anymore next year. Judging by similar examples from other countries (e.g. the vast majority of MNH Germany stamps prior to the introduction of the Euro are now almost worthless - just one example: https://www.ebay.de/itm/275146816059), will my Machin collection suffer the same fate? Current prices for most Machin stamps, booklets etc. are based on their current postal value at least, but once that is gone these are essentially just stickers. Some advice would be much appreciated about what to do. I could exchange them all, but I have no use for postage as I now no longer live in the UK. I could also keep them, knowing that I could potentially buy them all again a few years down the road for a fraction of what I paid.
    I have one clarity though - this decision made me quit collecting new RM products. So much for 30 years of loyalty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think in the long term (10+ years) it will increase the value of the stamps.

      Delete
    2. This could well be right, Charles. Much will depend on how dealers cope with this change, and what arrangements Royal Mail offer.

      For example, I have stocks of old gummed booklets - they all have an intrinsic value currently, which means at the very least I can sell them for postage. I could sell them for much less than 85p each for first class, and still be on top. Or I could trade them in, if they are accepted, and then I will be even more on top.

      But before that I have 19p orange booklets - only ever worth £1.90. If I trade these in, them they are gone. Likewise the 15p, 35p, 46p, etc from ages ago, all good stock items (sold some the other day!). And what about all the odd values from PSBs, that were left over when sets were made? There's another one tomorrow!

      At my age I don't look like selling them all to collectors and was thinking about selling them to other dealers (as if they don't have enough stock already). But if dealers don't want them and are offloading on the exchange scheme, then these will be gone for ever.

      They will be more 'gone' than mint 1d blacks.

      Delete
    3. It is just as likely to be exchanged by Tallents House then to reappear , the back door has been left open before ...

      Delete
  28. Wonder how long it will be for the first forgeries to appear?.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It took six weeks to overcome the previous security features (iridescent overprint, security slits & elliptical perforations) so let's see...

      I think the new barcodes will be difficult to overcome but they can hack anything.

      Delete
    2. Gerrard,
      I fear you are right.
      To be saleable over the internet the forgers will only need to add a barcode to each stamp, NOT a unique barcode to each stamp.
      That those duplicate barcodes are likely to be detected in the postal system might not be of much concern to the crooks.

      Delete
    3. I think it's an attempt to do away with all those millions of uncancelled on/off paper NVIs that are sold on eBay.

      Delete
  29. Do I need to use up my stash of Christmas stamps then this year? I have some Wallace & Gromit (97p pudding, £1.46 oversized jumper), a Madonna & Child £1.88, some 87p snowman/penguin, £1.90 cat&mouse with tree, 2nd class large pantomime, £1.45 postbox, and 2nd class postbox stamps?

    I did start to worry about the other commemoratives, but presumably will have a year's notice to use up (or do the exchange... assuming they'll run one for them).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Commems - keep them for next year.
      Christmas - old ones should be ok next year as they are like commemoratives, but the definitive-sized ones like W&G will be exchangeable.

      Delete
  30. I'm curious as to what will happen with post and go issues, whether they will remain valid. I have a large amount of them, and the NVI booklets for Europe and Worldwide in the Machin style. Still, eventually it is hoped that RM will come up with a list of what is REALLY still going to be valid, or not, as the case may be......

    ReplyDelete
  31. Are all Christmas stamps from 1971 to date going to be invalidated, or just recent small-size ones? Many past issues, such as the stained-glass windows in 1971, roof bosses in 1974 and English embroidery in 1976, bear no reference to Christmas at all, and the 1999 and 2000 sets were incorporated in the Millennium Countdown series. How can you tell these issues apart from other commemoratives?

    ReplyDelete
  32. The “further details” of the ‘Swap Out’ scheme must be eagerly awaited.
    Can all of the vast quantities of mint decimal Machin definitives accumulated by thousands of collectors over fifty years really be swapped for up to date stamps ?
    If each “non-barcoded stamp” is “exchanged for the new barcoded version” does that mean it’s limited to about one tenth of the face values issued since 1971, the four new NVIs, the ten denominated stamps from 1p to £5 in April and a couple of overseas rates in the spring ?
    For practical reasons might there be a minimum number of each stamp that will be accepted commensurate with whatever fraction of a sheet of pre-decimal stamps it was in 1971 ?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi Ian, I guess the postponed booklet is the Penny Black Anniversary stamps with barcodes? Just had a cover magazine turn up showing them. Is this so the booklets of Penny Black stamps without barcodes can be invalidated after Jan 2023? Will we see the red and blue versions as well? Cheers, Steve

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know whether they will want to invalidate those commemorative definitives which are mainly used by collectors and dealers on special covers (yes, some were used for correspondence as well).

      We will see. But if the blacks are out, then so are the 1d red and 2d blue.

      Delete
  34. Received a Buckingham Covers catalogue this morning. It included a FDC with 'Penny Black Special Edition' Retail booklet pane (depicting Penny Blacks) on it - all the stamps have barcodes on them. FDI marked 01.02.2022. Can't find the booklet for sale anywhere though which is odd. Also no announcement that I can find from RM saying it's been issued.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dave H - any chance of a scan?

      Delete
    2. I won't publish it, I already have a picture so I don't need Dave's. It doesn't seem to be on their website.

      Delete
  35. The Penny Black barcoded book has been postponed for undisclosed reasons. Customers with a standing order from Edinburgh have had their credit card payment refunded.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Has the reason for the postponement of the book of four Penny Black Barcoded stamps been disclosed yet, and is there any suggestion of when it might be issued ?

      Delete
  36. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Are the platinum stamps on embargo until midnight if so why are Royal Mail showing them on its website at 2.30pm today?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you have a link? Can't see them now. Thanks.

      Delete
    2. Royal Mail seems to be a total mess lately with the way they do/don't show upcoming releases. Someone must have published/updated the special stamps section by mistake.

      Delete
  38. I have been using old decimal machin definitives and commemoratives for the last 20 years to make up 2nd class stamp values from 2 or more stamps (including those with 1/2p) for use by my family. There is an implied contract that, when purchased, they would be accepted for postal use. The vast majority of people using postal services just want stick a stamp on and get the letter/package delivered.

    ReplyDelete
  39. There's a new entry on the FAQ on the Royal Mail website:

    What if I do not want to use barcoded stamps? What are my options?
    Until 31 January 2023 all non-barcoded Definitive stamps remain valid for use. Thereafter it will remain possible to use Royal Mail Special Stamps which will not be barcoded.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Glasgow West Nile St had presentation packs on sale today. No individual stamps

    ReplyDelete
  41. Livingston had one pres pack supplied which they sold yesterday! Nothing individual again

    ReplyDelete
  42. There are two features of the new stamps that I have not seen mentioned. The printing of the bar codes is in a much shinier ink than that on the stamps. A colleague has pointed out that this is the same for the similar stamps issued in Germany. Is there a technical reason for this?
    Also, the backing paper on the sheet stamps is printed sideways whilst that on the booklets is the same as for previous issues

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The security printing on the backing paper is not printed sideways, the stamps are - see sheet picture above.

      The printing of the barcodes was examined in microscopic detail - literally - last year. Follow the link in the New Business sheets paragraph above

      Delete
  43. Has anyone noticed the rounded corners on the blank labels on the top row. I would guess this is to stop them getting caught and flicking off if they were ordinary square corners which might cause all sorts of problems.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're probably right; but I hadn't thought of that when I mentioned them in the description of the sheet.

      Delete
  44. Is there an app to check if a stamp has been used before , so I can check that stamps have not been put into empty booklets and then sold to me at the corner shop

    ReplyDelete
  45. We've had all the intelligent philatelic observations about barcoded stamps. Now to lower the tone with a piece of absolute trivia ...

    I just scanned one of the earlier barcoded Christmas 2nd stamps, and also scanned one of last year's blue barcoded 2nd class Machins from the Viking-direct style business sheets. Both gave me the Sean the Sheep video. So, nothing new there then ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What has our great hobby come to, watching Sean the Sheep video.

      Delete
  46. To answer Ian's query about dates in the blog, all the stamps I've checked (sheet and booklet) have the same dates encoded as in the table.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In case any is interested, the (supposed) dates I see encoded in the Business Sheet stamps are: 2nd 291121, 1st 261121, 2nd Large 081121 and 1st Large 051121

      Delete
  47. Are stamps such as the 2015 Smilers issued in presentation pack M23 classed as definitives?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We don't yet know. I would hope not, but many matters are being clarified with Royal Mail.

      Delete
  48. One vendor on a certain auction site seems to have jumped the gun and is offering singles from the business sheets already. The scans show M22L and MBIL as expected. According to the vendor, the encoded dates are 2nd: 29/11/21, 1st: 26/11/21, 2nd Large: 08/11/21 and 1st Large: 05/11/21.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Has anyone found any stock out there yet? I notice the Machin values below 50p have all been removed from the RM Shop

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sheets of all except the 1p seem to be there this morning.

      Delete
    2. Made the mistake of looking in the Machin Definitive category rather than Make up Values where they actually are! Suppose the categories need to cater for non philatelists!

      Delete
    3. Finding some items on the RM website continues to be a pain. My comment above referred to the Stamps Sheets section under Postage and Packaging, where the 1p sheet is not listed, but 2p and above sheets are available. As you rightly point out, follow Make up Values (only available via the drop-down menu) and all low values are listed.

      I hope for the day when someone in RM sorts this mess out (but I won't be holding my breath).

      Delete
  50. My local sub-post office had the new barcoded 2nd, 2nd Large and 1st Large today but no 1st yet...

    ReplyDelete
  51. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ian, this post doesn't look legit to me.

      Delete
    2. Thank you Frank; I must have let that one through in error. I can allow comments remotely (or disallow them) but I can't squash ones which are already there, unfortunately.

      Delete
  52. I have been collecting "Machins" from the beginning. I wish to say that the Royal Mail has ruined a simply classic stamp, Arnold Machin must be turning in his grave. ! I think I shall not be spending any more money collecting these "Ugly" stamps. I somehow do not think I am the only collector who thinks this way. Why could they not "just leave it alone". In the name of "Progress" I believe they have destroyed what was a absolutely classically simply beautiful design for a stamp.
    From Canada.

    ReplyDelete

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