Tuesday, 1 March 2022

New Airmail and Make up stamps 4 April, with stability in most Airmail rates, Europe splits in 3, & 1st class goes through the roof!

Royal Mail have announced new airmail stamps to be issued on 4 April 2022. suggesting that postage rates will increase on 11 April. In fact the rates will change on the same day.

New barcoded international airmail stamps will be issued with values of £1.85, £2.55, £3.25, and £4.20.  The three higher values are the existing rates, but the £1.85 represents an increase from £1.70 for European letters to 100g, and Worldwide letters and postcards to 20g.

There is no indication that new country definitive stamps will be issued at the £1.85 rates.

I could mock-up some barcoded versions of these as I did the £1 above (which is why there is no printed perforation) but I'll let you use your own imaginations until the actual images arrive.

UPDATE 4 March 2022.  It is as well that I did not do any mock-ups as you will see: everything has changed!

Airmail stampsAs mentioned above, only the lowest of the four airmail rates for which there are single stamps will be changing.  But the colours of all the stamps will change with four new stamps being issued.

Four new Machin definitives for international postage rates, issued 4 April 2022

£1.85 DS1400A Wood Brown: 100g Letter Europe (zones 1,2,3) & 20g Letter World (zones 1,2,3)
£2.55 DS1400B Sapphire Blue: 100g Letter World (zones 1,2,3)
£3.25 DS1400C Purple: 100g Large Letter Europe (zones 1,2,3)
£4.20 DS1400D Light Green: 250g Large Letter Europe &, 100g Large Letter World (zones 1,2,3)

See details of new rates below.


Other stamps. As announced much earlier, the low and high-value stamps will also be re-issued with the datamatrix bar-codes.  But as with the three top values above, all the colours are changing, and the design has also been changed as well.

"The complete set of seven new barcoded ‘make up’ low value and three high value definitives available from 4th April 2022.  The iconic Machin design has been retained in the new design and the colour scheme has been reversed to depict the effigy in colour against a white background. The barcode is printed in a matching colour alongside, separated by a simulated perforation line.

Seven new low value Machin Definitives, issued 4 April 2022

Three new high-value Machin definitives, issued 4 April 2022 - note all these stamps are the same size.

Colours:   1p sapphire blue, 2p dark green, 5p purple heather, 10p aqua green, 20p light green, 50p slate grey, £1 wood brown, £2 bright blue, £3 purple, £5 spruce green.

Technical details.

The stamps are printed by Cartor Security Printers (the new company name) in gravure, in sheets of 25 on self-adhesive paper.  The size is 39mm x 30mm, and the perforations: 15 x 14½.

The total cost of the 14 stamps is £23.73.

The usual presentation packs and three first day covers will be produced by Royal Mail, and the stamps will be distributed to their standing order customers as usual. 

UPDATE: I omitted to say that there will be three first day covers and three presentation packs.

 

Postage rate changes

Press release: statement from Royal Mail

From 4th April 2022, the price of a 1st Class stamp will increase by 10p to 95p and the price of a 2nd Class stamp will increase by 2p to 68p.

Royal Mail has considered these pricing changes very carefully in light of the long term structural decline in letter usage and rising inflation. Letter volumes have declined by more than 60% since their peak in 2004/5, and around 20% since the start of the pandemic.  

Overall, these changes are broadly in line with inflation and are necessary to ensure the one-price-goes-anywhere Universal Service remains sustainable. The Universal Service Obligation (USO) requires Royal Mail to deliver letters to 31 million home and business addresses across the UK six days a week at the same price.

Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail said: “We understand that many companies and households are finding it hard in the current economic environment, and we will always keep our prices as affordable as possible.

“Whilst the number of letters our postmen and women deliver has declined from around 20 billion a year to around 7 billion since 2004/5, the number of addresses they have to deliver to has grown by around 3.5 million in the same period. We need to carefully balance our pricing against declining letter volumes and increasing costs of delivering to a growing number of addresses six days a week.

“As customer needs change and we see a greater shift from letters to parcels, it is vital that the Universal Service adapts to stay relevant and sustainable. These prices changes are necessary to ensure we can continue to maintain and invest in the one-price-goes-anywhere Universal Service for future generations.”

Inland

The 1st class letter rate rises from 85p to 95p, an increase of over 11% so well above the rate of inflation. The 2nd class rate rises from 66p to 68p, a regulated increase of 3%.  Increases for Signed For letters are the same (ie the Signed For premium is unchanged).

The rates for 100g Large Letters rise from 96p to £1.05 2nd class and £1.29 to £1.45 1st class, rises of 9.3% and 12.4%.  Again the Signed For premium is unchanged for the basic weight. 

Standard 1pm Special Delivery rates are unchanged at £6.85 for 100g and £7.65 for 500g.

A standard PO Box annual fee increases by £16.50 from £283.50 to £300 - so don't think that stamp dealers and other online sellers are making big money if their costs are increasing by this sort of figure, it's a rise of nearly 6%.

International

The basic table of letters up to 100g has only one change, the increase from £1.70 to £1.85 for the Europe 100g and Worldwide 20g rate.  The Worldwide 100g rate remains £2.55.

The Large Letter prices are unchanged at all weight steps, the maximum weight being 750 g.

When it comes to anything heavier, that is a Small Parcel, and here things get really complex.  The rates for Worldwide Small Parcels are unchanged.  But Europe is now divided into three Zones, with only Denmark, France, Germany, the Republic of Ireland, and Monaco being in the cheapest.

The cost of a 100g small parcel rises by 5p (Zone 1), 15p (Zone 2) and 50p (Zone 3).  But this is only because the first weight step is now 250g.  For this weight Zone 2 is unchanged, Zone 1 is 10p cheaper, and Zone 3 is up 35p.

Beyond that, the Zone 2 rates are largely in line with existing prices up to 1kg, with Zone 1 rates lower* and Zone 3 rates higher.

After that ut gets more complicated, although the charge for each additional 250g over 2kg is £.140 across the board, which is unchanged.

For full details download the new rate leaflet here.

Comment

A rate change was always likely as no changes have been made to rates for non-business account users since January 2021, but the scale of this change to the basic 1st class rate will see many people planning better and using 2nd class - after they have used up all the 1st class stamps they have traded in on the swap scheme and those that they have bought from dealers and collectors who have a surplus!

I rather like the white background on the make-up values.  It is a refreshing change, and reminds me of this label from the 'Gracious Accession' PSB in 2002.

Definitive pane from Gracious Accession prestige stamp book 2002 with Edmund Dulac profile of King George VI on white background.

Just to detail the costs for typical Machin collectors:

Cylinder block of 6 - £142.38, block of 10 - £237.30.

I think it will be not only letter volumes which will be falling, but sales of Machin definitives to collectors.

 

DISCUSSION ON INVALIDATION OF EARLIER STAMPS HERE PLEASE.

 


44 comments:

  1. I have just had an interesting call with TH I was told that although no date has been decided the new higher tariff country stamps will be issued at some time in the future!

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  2. This article has recently appeared on the BBC website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-60620378 - no indication in it of international rates though.

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  3. (Embarassed cough)... I should have checked the RM website before the previous post - all the new prices are listed on https://www.royalmail.com/prices2022

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  4. 68p basic Second Class rate must be the reason for the forthcoming barcoded 1p and 2p definitives.

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    Replies
    1. Err, no. The 2nd class NVI stamp increases in value as well as price.

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    2. Maybe I didn't make myself clear but I was meaning that the new 68p basic Second Class rate might be the only one ( and possibly basic Second Class Signed For ) that's not a multiple of 5p.
      If all rates were multiples of 5p there would presumably be no need for 1p and 2p stamps.

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  5. Given the white background of the 10 non-airmail stamps, I wonder how difficult it might be to see the date codes, if they are to continue with these.

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    1. I can confirm that the iridescent ink overlay is printed on all the new stamps with year code M22L and it can be seen quite easily if you get the angle of view and the light right.

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  6. Easiest job in the world - Royal Mail copywriter (almost literally copying-and-pasting from the previous year's self-serving press release, tweaking a few of the numbers).

    Funny (or not) how increases "broadly in line with inflation" invariably means "ABOVE inflation" price hikes.

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  7. Now seeing all eighteen barcoded definitives seems like the end of a long era that started in June 1970 when 10p, 20p and 50p were High Values.
    I. think the half century since then has seen 133 face values of Machin definitives, 122 in the usual small format, nine as both small and large and the £1.30 and £1.41 as only large.
    There were also fourteen NVIs

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  8. It will interesting to see if the Cylinder Number on the new stamps will be a 'C' or whether it will remain as a 'W', as with the NVI issue on 01/02/2022.

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  9. Out of interest does this mean there will be two presentation packs - make-up values and the airmail stamps? I really like the design of the make-up values. For me, the barcode stamps have opened up a new channel of collecting.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for raising this, there will be three FDCs and three presentation packs.

      I've now added that to the post.

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  10. Very reminiscent of the ‘Millennium’ Machin Definitives

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    Replies
    1. And the aerogrammes for many years.

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  11. The full range of eighteen barcoded Machins now marks the end of a half-century era that started with 10p, 20p and 5op being High Values in June 1970.
    Was it 133 denominated values and fourteen NVIs ?

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  12. If the 2D barcode is so good why do we need the other security features ?

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  13. Ian, do you have the official Royal Mail colours for the seven Low Value and three High Value Machin Barcode stamps?

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  14. My local sub post mistress has told me that only stamps with the datamatrix code are being supplied to post offices and furthermore stamps without the code will not be sold to the public (in post offices) from September.

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    Replies
    1. If your PO normally gets special stamps then they will continue to receive special stamps. But if she is only referring to stamps with the Machin head on, this is information that we have known for some weeks.

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  15. 14 new values to come + the four existing NVIs = 18 definitives. France manages to get by with just 8 definitives.

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  16. Any idea why Royal mail have withdrawn the Xmas 2021 stamps from sale? Is it something to do with the barcode / Christmas stamps now not being withdrawn?

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    1. Withdrawing the non-barcoded Xmas 2021 stamps has some logic, given that they become invalid in less than 11 months. However, RM seem also to have withdrawn the sheets, which were barcoded. This suggests to me that all Xmas stamps will become invalid on 31 January 2023, even the barcoded ones - something else for clarification?

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    2. Actually, this is from the Royal Mail website:
      "Following our announcement on 1st Feb, and subsequent discussions with key stakeholders, including feedback from our customers, we have removed Christmas stamps from our Swap Out scheme. We are still adding a barcode to Christmas stamps, but non-barcoded Christmas stamps will remain valid so can continue to be used after 31 January 2023 and therefore there is no requirement to swap them out."

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    3. So we come back to th eoriginal question - if they are to remain valid, why withdraw them from sale?

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    4. Because they did not want people to buy lots of the 2021 stamps at the 85p per stamp before the new price came in at 95p which would of cost them a lot of money, which is what i did for all of my family.

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    5. Indeed, that doesn't make much sense. On an unrelated matter, the "Heroes of the Covid pandemic" issue is now available on the RM website.

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    6. I have just spoken to a lady at Royal Mail and in passing asked about the Christmas 2021 stamps. I asked if they are still available and she said no they have been permanently removed from sale. Unfortunately she didn't disclose why.

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    7. Scooby Doo, we can still buy ANY 1st class stamp at 85p. Have all 1st class been withdrawn? I don't think so. If it was true then we would surely have been seeing this on previous tariff changes as well.

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    8. Sorry Mike, I meant the Retail booklets of 1st and 2nd class Christmas stamps which did not have the bar code on them, as a family we had always bought the previous years issue before the annual price increase.

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  17. Lets not forget that the growth in premises visited is due to a lot of advertising material popping through our letter boxes. My postman visits every property in the road and my postcode area on a Monday and I receive the biggest mail drop of the week, with rarely a letter to be seen !! Are junk mail rates going up on the 4th April as well ?

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    Replies
    1. I was a postie up until 4 years ago. The rules may well have changed since then, but we had all week in which to deliver the door2doors (junk mail!), so you generally only had to deliver them when you had other mail for that address - the rest of the time they stayed in your sorting frame. However if you weren't careful, come Saturday you often had to make many door2door-only visits. Posties themselves obviously hate D2Ds, but RM are very strict in ensuring that they are delivered in full.

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    2. Peter,
      Yes, that's very much as I remember it when I was a postie up until five years ago.

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  18. Mike,
    We don't like those advertising leaflets but they're a very big earner for Royal Mail and without them we'd expect even higher stamp prices or loss of the six day universal delivery

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    1. So! We can now use Xmas stamps forever as well as the other commemoratives. All we need to know now is shall we definitely be able to use country stamps forever too. If so then it is only Machins which are to be forbidden to use after January.

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    2. Lars,
      If the country stamps haven't been forged to any extent they probably won't be withdrawn.

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    3. Thank you Mudgie, you are helping me to look on the bright side. I have seen 63p English stamps which were forgeries, but most unconvincing, but no others. We shall probably not get new country stamps though: I cannot imagine that a QR code would work in Welsh...Or as a tartan pattern.

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    4. Until Royal Mail actually give the information, everything is just speculation....or wishful thinking!

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    5. True Jackson: an optimist is someone that has not been told all the facts yet, but I remain one as we should have been told by now if they were going to withdraw the country definitives. After all, the barcode stamps are out shortly & they have already backed down over the Xmas stamps. But I am using my English stamps up quickly just in case...

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    6. One day to go! "Everything is being readied for the full announcement tomorrow. "

      They clearly want to do this in one go, rather than have the trade providing information that they want to release with a fanfare.

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  19. BUT NOW: THIS is the post for further discussions on invalidation please:

    https://blog.norphil.co.uk/2022/02/thoughts-on-royal-mails-invalidation-of.html

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  20. Saphire blue is both the 1p and the £1.55,
    Light green is both the 20p and the £4.20,
    Wood brown is both the £1 and the £1.85 and
    Purple is both the £3 and the £3.25
    and yet cunningly they those look like eight different colours.

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  21. I tried to get some of the barcoded stamps at my local sub-post-office this afternoon. They are usually very reliable and always have commemoratives. However they only had 2nd class barcoded and books of 4 of the 1st class. Anyone buying a single 1st class stamp across the counter is given a commemorative (Covid Heroes or Migratory Birds).

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  22. All the above in stock in Swindon WHS today

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