World Stamps

Royal Mail includes barcodes on new country definitive stamps

Aug 4, 2022, 11 AM
Twelve country, or regional, definitives in an Aug. 11 issue from Great Britain’s Royal Mail feature old designs with added barcodes.

By David Hartwig

An Aug. 11 stamp issue from Great Britain’s Royal Mail features bar-coded versions of 12 country, or regional, definitive stamps for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

While these stamps represent a specific country of the United Kingdom, they are valid for postage throughout the United Kingdom.

Each stamp has a barcode printed in the same color as the stamp and separated by a simulated perforation line. The barcode can be scanned with a smartphone. Royal Mail says that the barcode “technology signifies a major leap in service flexibility.”

Royal Mail offers the country definitive stamps valued at the first-class rate (currently 95 pence), the second-class rate (currently 68p), and denominated at £1.85 (the rate for letters to Europe up to 100 grams and worldwide up to 20 grams).

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

The four first-class stamps show a crowned lion (England), farm fields (Northern Ireland), lion rampant (Scotland) and dragon (Wales).

The four second-class stamps depict three lions (England), the Giant’s Causeway (Northern Ireland), the flag of Scotland (Scotland) and a leek (Wales).

Illustrated on the four £1.85 stamps are an oak tree (England), linen (Northern Ireland), thistle (Scotland) and a daffodil (Wales).

Royal Mail issued its first definitive with a barcode, a nondenominated second-class Queen Elizabeth II Machin stamp, on March 23, 2021 (Scott MH498). Additional Machin definitives with barcodes were issued Feb. 1 and April 4 of this year (Linn’s Stamp News, Feb. 21 and April 25).

Definitive stamps without a barcode will be valid until Jan. 31, 2023, according to Royal Mail. While Britain’s Christmas stamps also will include barcodes, they will remain valid without barcodes as well.

Stamps without barcodes can be exchanged for the new stamps with barcodes through what Royal Mail calls its “Swap Out” scheme. More information on the scheme is available from Royal Mail.

Cartor Security Printers printed the new country definitive stamps by lithography in 12 different sheets of 25 (one sheet for each new stamp).

The stamps are self-adhesive. They are perforated 15 by 14.5 and measure 39 millimeters by 30mm each.

A presentation pack with all 12 stamps and more details about the designs is also available.

In addition to the stamps and presentation pack, Royal Mail offers a first-day cover for each country. The FDCs can be canceled with a Tallents House postmark or with postmarks from the capital city of each country: London, England; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Edinburgh, Scotland; and Cardiff, Wales.

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

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