Royal Mail’s new definitives
By Denise McCarty
Royal Mail issued 14 definitive stamps March 19 to meet new postal rates that went into effect March 25.
Six of 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 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.
The denominations of the six new Machins and their colors are £1.35 orchid mauve, £1.60, amber yellow; £2.30 gooseberry green, £2.80 spruce green, £3.45 dark pine green, and £3.60 bright orange.
The stamps pay various rates. For example, the £1.35 pays the rates for letters to Europe weighing up to 20 grams and for letters to other countries weighing up to 10 grams.
The £1.60 stamp is for letters to Europe up to 100 grams, and the £2.30 is for worldwide letters up to 100 grams.
The other three stamps pay rates for large letters (up to 35.3 centimeters long, 25cm wide and 2.5cm wide) weighing up to 100 grams: £2.80 to Europe, £3.45 to countries world zone 1, and £3.60, world zone 2. (The United States is included in world zone 1).
Four of the new country definitives are denominated £1.35. The other four are denominated £1.55, the rate for letters to Europe up to 20 grams.
Like the Machins, the country stamps show designs that have been used for several years.
For the £1.35 stamps, the designs are an oak tree (England), linen (Northern Ireland), thistle (Scotland) and daffodil (Wales).
The £1.55 stamps depict the Tudor rose (England), Parian china (Northern Ireland), tartan (Scotland) and Prince of Wales feathers (Wales).
International Security Printers printed the self-adhesive Machin stamps by gravure, and the country stamps with traditional gum by lithography.
Each stamp is perforated 15 by 14 and measures 20 millimeters by 24mm.
Royal Mail is offering various first-day covers and two presentation packs (one for the Machins and one for the country stamps) in conjunction with the 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.
Royal Mail’s agency in the United States is Interpost, Box 400, Hewlett, NY 11557.
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