Sunday 31 July 2022

Country definitive stamps with datamatrix codes - 12 new stamps 11 August 2022.

I now have these new stamps to hand so I am adding images here, but the discussion about them on the original post is extensive, so I have made this a no-comment post, with discussion continuing on the other one.

The stamps are self-adhesive as we have come to expect; there are no security cuts and no iridescent printing so Royal Mail are relying on the datamatrix code and nothing else for these.  It will be interesting to see how much - if at all - they are pushed at the countries' post offices now that they are self-adhesive. One would expect that the Scots and the Welsh, at least, might like to use these in preference to the Machins.

Scotland 2nd class definitive with datamatrix code, block of 10 showing cylinder numbers, colour dots, and printing date.

Scotland 1st, 2nd & £1.85 single stamps with datamatrix code.

England 1st, 2nd & £1.85 single stamps with datamatrix code.

Wales 1st, 2nd & £1.85 single stamps with datamatrix code.

Northern Ireland 1st, 2nd & £1.85 single stamps with datamatrix codes.

These are the first datamatrix-coded British stamps printed by litho in 4-colour process, and they demonstrate that the datamatrix code is printed by a separate unit, not in litho, in a single colour.

So whereas the code on the gravure-printed Machins matches (more or less) the ink colour of the stamps, these show only an approximation of (one of) the colours on the stamp.  

Thus the brown on the England 1st class stamp is probably the same as the brown on the Wales 2nd class.  Similarly the grey on the England 2nd class stamp is very like the colour on the Northern Ireland £1.85.

The plate grid indicates that each of the 12 stamps was printed on a separate plate of 4 panes, rather than any combination on a larger plate.  Whilst this doesn't give any information about the quantities printed, it does mean that a different quantity could have been printed of each of the 12 stamps based on expected demand - fewer for the airmail stamp, fewer for Northern Ireland, etc.

The England stamps show suggested printing printing dates of 25/04/22, the Scotland on 26/04/22, the Wales on 27/04/22, and the Northern Ireland on 28/04/22.  

The interpreted datamatrix code has what appears to be a date, in that the last four digits are 0422.  But the 'dates' are different for each stamp as follows:

120422 - England 1st
130422 - England 2nd
140422 - England £1.85
190422 - Scotland 1st
200422 - Scotland 2nd
210422 - Scotland £1.85
220422 - Wales 1st
250422 - Wales 2nd
260422 - Wales £1.85
270422 - N Ireland 1st
280422 - N Ireland 2nd
290422 - N Ireland £1.85 (if a date, it's after the indicated printing date.)

23 and 24 April were weekend dates.

For those collectors interested in the backing paper direction it is the same on all stamps except the Wales 2nd class.

As usual I will be interested in reports of any other printing or datamatrix code 'dates' and in availability.  As no comments are allowed on this post, please email details to

Reports on availability are also welcome and will be added to the original post.

UPDATE 28 October

My thanks to MM for taking time on his holiday in Scotland to send this set from the Isle of Mull.

Set of 3 Scotland barcoded stamps used October 2022.

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