World Stamps

Great Britain to issue new definitives for March 23 rate change

Mar 3, 2020, 11 AM

By Denise McCarty

Great Britain’s Royal Mail will issue 15 definitive stamps March 17 to meet new postage rates that go into effect March 23.

On that date, the first-class domestic rate increases 6 pence, from 70p to 76p; and a the second-class rate increases 4p, from 61p to 65p.

In the Feb. 21 announcement from Royal Mail about the rate increases, Stephen Agar, managing director of letters at Royal Mail, said: “We are operating in a tough market at present, under the threat of making a loss by 2021. These price increases will help us maintain the quality of service that is expected by our customers, while supporting the Universal Service.”

As almost all of Royal Mail’s first- and second-class stamps are nondenominated, the new stamps are for other rates, including five stamps each for the £1.42 rate for mail to Europe up to 20 grams and international mail up to 10 grams, and the £1.63 rate for international mail up to 20 grams.

One stamp for each of these rates is a Queen Elizabeth II definitive, often referred to as a Machin or a Machin head because it is based on Arnold Machin’s bas-relief portrait of the queen. The new £1.42 stamp is garnet red, and the £1.63 stamp is sunset red, according to Royal Mail.

The other eight stamps are country, or regional, definitives. While they are issued with specific designs related to England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, they are valid for postage throughout the United Kingdom.

In addition to these 10 stamps, Royal Mail issued five new Machin definitives.

The denominations, colors and rates paid by these new Machins are £1.68 tarragon green, mail to Europe up to 100 grams; £2.42 purple heather, international mail up to 100 grams; £2.97 rose pink, large letters to Europe up to 100 grams; £3.66 harvest gold, large letters to world zone 1 up to 100 grams; and £3.82 holly green, large letters to world zone 2 up to 100 grams.

According to Royal Mail’s specifications, large letters can be up to 35.3 centimeters long, 25cm wide and 2.5cm thick. World zone 1 generally includes North America, South America, Africa, the Middle East, the Far East and Southeast Asia. World zone 2 includes Laos, Macau, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific island nations and Antarctic territories.

The Machin stamps are self-adhesive. International Security printed them by gravure in sheets of 25. Each stamp is 20 millimeters by 24mm and perforated gauge 14 by 14.

The country stamps feature designs that Royal Mail has used for several years.

The four £1.42 stamps show an oak tree (England), linen (Northern Ireland), thistle (Scotland) and daffodil (Wales).

The £1.63 stamps depict a Tudor rose (England), Parian china (Northern Ireland), tartan (Scotland) and Prince of Wales feathers (Wales).

International Security Printers printed the country stamps, which have traditional gum, by lithography in sheets of 25. These stamps are the same size and perforation gauge as the Machin stamps.

For ordering information about the stamps, as well as first-day covers, a presentation pack for the Machins and other related items, visit the Royal Mail online shop. Ordering information also is available from Royal Mail, Tallents House, 21 S. Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB, Scotland. Royal Mail’s agency in the United States is Interpost, Box 400, Hewlett, NY 11557.

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