Royal Mail issues Machin definitives to meet new postal rates
By David Hartwig
On April 4, Great Britain’s Royal Mail issued 14 definitive stamps to meet new postal rates that went into effect on that date (Linn’s, April 4, page 42). Additionally, each stamp features a barcode as part of Royal Mail’s new policy to issue definitive stamps with barcodes.
Included in the April 4 issue are four international-rate stamps, seven low-value definitives and three high-value definitives.
The stamps depict the bas-relief portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Arnold Machin that has been used on Britain’s definitive stamps since 1967. These definitives are known as Machins.
The denominations and colors of the international-rate stamps are £1.85 wood brown, £2.55 sapphire blue, £3.25 purple and £4.20 light green.
The £1.85 stamp pays the rates for letters to Europe weighing up to 100 grams and for letters to other countries weighing up to 20 grams. The £2.55 stamp is for worldwide letters up to 100 grams. The other two stamps pay rates for large letters (up to 35.3 centimeters long, 25cm wide and 2.5cm thick) weighing up to 100 grams: £3.25 to Europe and £4.20 to the rest of the world.
The color scheme is reversed on the low-value Machins, with the portrait of the queen in color against a white background. The denominations and colors of the low-value Machins are 1p sapphire blue, 2p dark green, 5p purple heather, 10p aqua green, 20p light green, 50p slate gray and £1 wood brown.
The high-value Machins have the same reversed color scheme. The denominations and colors are £2 bright blue, £3 purple and £5 spruce green.
The denominations of the low- and high-value Machins may help make it more convenient for customers to meet the new postal rates when combined with previously issued stamps.
International Security Printers printed the stamps by gravure in sheets of 25. They have self-adhesive gum.
Each stamp is perforated 15 by 14.5 and measures 39 millimeters by 30mm.
The barcode is printed in the same color as the stamp and separated by a simulated wavy-line die cut. The barcode can be scanned with a smartphone.
Definitive stamps without a barcode will be valid until Jan. 31, 2023, according to Royal Mail.
Stamps without barcodes can be exchanged for the new stamps with barcodes through what Royal Mail calls its “Swap Out” scheme, which was introduced March 31. More information on the scheme is available online.
For the April 4 issue, Royal Mail is also offering various first-day covers and three presentation packs (one for each set) in conjunction with these new stamps.
The stamps can be ordered from Royal Mail’s online shop. Ordering information also is available from Royal Mail, Tallents House, 21 S. Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB, Scotland.
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