World Stamps

Great Britain’s April 4 King Charles definitives include a fifth stamp

Mar 24, 2023, 8 AM
An April 4 issue from Great Britain’s Royal Mail includes five definitive stamps featuring the image of King Charles III. Four nondenominated stamps are issued as a set, with an additional £2.20 stamp for a new international rate taking effect April 3.

By David Hartwig

Great Britain’s Royal Mail has added an international-rate stamp to its April 4 issue of its first definitive stamps featuring the image of King Charles III.

This dark green stamp meets the new £2.20 international rate for letters.

As reported on the front page of the Feb. 27 Linn’s, Royal Mail’s April 4 King Charles III definitive issue also includes a set of four nondenominated stamps that retain the colors from the Queen Elizabeth II Machin definitives.

The new first-class stamp is plum purple (£1.10 at the time of issue), second-class is holly green (75p), first-class large is marine turquoise (£1.60), and the second-class large is dark pine green (£1.15).

The £2.20 stamp covers all standard letters weighing up to 100 grams sent worldwide.

As reported in the March 27 issue of Linn’s, Royal Mail’s new postage rates take effect April 3.

Each stamp has a barcode printed in a matching color and separated by a simulated wavy-line die cut. The barcode can be scanned with a smartphone.

The self-adhesive stamps were printed by Cartor Security Printers by gravure and measure 39 millimeters by 30mm each with perforations gauge 15 by 14.5.

Royal Mail adapted the image showing the new monarch facing to the left from a portrait created by Martin Jennings for new coinage from the Royal Mint.

“The new coin effigy was carefully adjusted and digitally re-lit to make it suitable for use on definitive stamps, with the aim of creating a worthy successor to Arnold Machin’s classic image of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth,” Royal Mail said in the Feb. 8 press release announcing the set of four nondenominated definitives.

As reported in the Feb. 27 issue of Linn’s, retailers will be supplied with the new stamps when existing stocks of Machins have been exhausted. Existing stocks of Machins will be distributed and issued as planned to minimize environmental and financial impacts.

Royal Mail also offers a royal succession commemorative cover with the four King Charles III stamps above the preceding stamps bearing the Machin portrait of Queen Elizabeth. The individually numbered covers were printed in a limited run of 20,000.

A presentation pack contains the set of four nondenominated stamps along with a fold-out pack exploring the close association between British coins and definitive stamps since the creation of the world’s first adhesive postage stamp, the Penny Black, in 1840.

Other items included in the April 4 issue are first-day covers for both the set of four nondenominated stamps and the £2.20 stamp with postmarks from either Tallents House or Windsor.

The nondenominated stamps can be purchased as a set of four, in booklets of four or eight for the first-class stamps, in booklets of eight for the second-class stamps, and in booklets of four for both the first-class and second-class large stamps.

The King Charles III definitive stamps and related products can be ordered from Royal Mail’s website. Ordering information also is available from Royal Mail, Tallents House, 21 S. Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB, Scotland.

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