Thursday 2 November 2023

Amazing error on new Christmas stamps!

As we should all know after the invalidation period ended, the stamps which continue to be valid are all commemorative/special stamps, barcoded definitives, and Christmas stamps with and without barcodes.

But what about these?  Genuine 2nd class sheet stamps which somehow missed the stage of printing where the datamatrix barcode was added.   So now we have new Christmas stamps with no barcode - but an obvious space where one should be.

2023 2nd class Christmas stamps with no barcode

I was sent this image nearly a month ago: the stamps were included in a pack sent to a sub-post office.  Although I made efforts to find out what would happen to them, nothing was forthcoming from the third party who provided the information.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, perhaps, for Post Office Ltd and Royal Mail), the existence of these stamps was posted, somewhat naively, on a postmaster discussion forum which should soon have alerted Post Office management and appropriate action taken - or maybe not.  

It is quite likely that more than one sheet escaped inspection at the printers, by Royal Mail (do they ever inspect stocks sent direct to Post Office warehouses), and by the aforementioned Post Office warehouse checkers (if they exist), so keep on the look out and ask your postmaster.

This is the one issue which is supposed to be available at ALL post offices, even those which don't sell special stamps.


  1. The barcode area is blank.

  2. That magnitude of error shouldn't require checkers doing inspections, unless the counting and packing at both the printers and in Swindon is done solely by machines which I doubt.

  3. If stamps are not available at ALL post offices,( apart from regionals, )as far as I am concerned they are justappendix issues.

    1. Two aspects to this: franchise postmaster can choose whether to take special issues. My nearest PO which I use for posting sometimes doesn't have any because there was no demand. He was supplied automatically but then declined to take them.

      The smallest offices located as a single till within another shop generally don't have a large safe to accommodate all the larger sheets of special stamps, miniature sheets, presentation packs, PSBs, nor anywhere to advertise them. They are essentially village stores providing the most basic of Post Office services.

    2. As for the smallest offices providing the most basic of Post Office services it's probably not just the size of the safe. I doubt if many would have a demand for special stamps, let alone miniature sheets, presentation packs and PSBs. And I doubt if many would want the bother given how little they're paid, my nearest one saying the P O income only pays the electric bill.

    3. It can be a bit chicken and egg. If people ask - a good PO will offer to order in. But if people don't ask they may not bother. And if they don't have the posters or other advertising out on show as a prompt, people may not even think to ask.

      A few years ago I was using a subPO at the back of a stationery shop near the office and after I'd asked a few times, they started to recognise me and ordered a few extra. No longer work there so I don't know if they carried on.


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