UNITED KINGDOM. 2016, the Post&Go issues

The new Postal Museum

Created in 2004 as 'The British Postal Museum & Archive', the London Postal Museum is an independent charity organization, strongly linked to Royal Mail, which pays the museum, annually, for managing its archive.

In early 2017, the museum plans to move to a new building, very close to its current location. Visitors will also be offered a visit to the 'Mail Rail'. This underground railway was built by the Post Office to transport mail between sorting offices. It was the first electric driverless railway worldwide, and was in operation between 1927 and 2003.

As an advancement of this important new period in the history of the institution, on Monday February 1st 2016, 'The British Postal Museum & Archive' was renamed as 'The Postal Museum' and it unveiled its new logo.

Naturally, the 'Post & Go' kiosk, A001, installed in the lobby of the museum changed the permanent imprint on all the stamps it issued. Starting on February 1st 2016, the previous imprint 'The B.P.M.A.' was replaced by the new graphic museum logo and the text 'The Postal Museum'.
The receipts issued by the machine also include the new name of the museum (see image below).
From February 1st to 16th 2016, the kiosk issued 1st & 2nd Class stamps with the two 'Machin' definitive designs, using the 2013 and 2012 reprints respectively, as well as the 'Lion' and 'Union flag' designs.

The two 'Machin' designs, with more free space at the left side of the design, allow the printing of the logo and text on a single line. The format of the permanent impression is different from the other two designs, with a larger size logo and the name of the museum distributed in three lines.

This rebranding was also reflected in the museum's new permanent postmark.


During the first day of issue, the logo and the text printed on the stamps, issued with the two 'Machin' designs, was moved two spaces to the right, in relation to other printed information (pictures below, top row). However, a small software error caused the impression of a strange symbol on receipts before the values ​​(upper image).
Both issues were corrected shortly afterwards and, since then, the permanent block, printed on the 'Machin' designs, appears left aligned with the other stamp information (bottom row).

As usual, the museum sold special folders or 'presentation packs' with the two 'Collectors strips' of the 'Machin' designs, plus pictorial first day covers with the four designs.


Stampex, the largest national stamp exhibition in the UK, celebrates its Diamond anniversary, in 2016.

Organized by the Philatelic Traders' Society and the Junior Philatelic Society (now the National Philatelic Society), the first London Stampex was held from January 7th to 14th 1956 in the Central Hall, Westminster.
Sixty years later, this major philatelic fair is held twice a year, in February and September, at the Business Design Centre, in Islington. The event is organized by the Philatelic Traders' Society (PTS), a trade association created in 1929 for UK stamp dealers, in collaboration with Royal Mail.

The Spring Stampex was held from February 17th to 20th 2016.
The fair brought together more than 100 booths, distributed over the two levels of the central exhibition hall and the gallery bays, upstairs. The booths were mainly occupied by major international philatelic dealers, auction houses, and a few specialist publications.

The main attraction for most visitors was the large Royal Mail stand, located at the back of the exhibition hall, along with the national philatelic exhibition organized by The Association of British Philatelic Societies (ABPS). This year, the exhibition also included the Seven Nations Challenge, displaying some of the world's most renowned collections.

As in the earlier Stampex, the 'Post & Go' equipment was part of the Royal Mail stand. On the left, the philatelic products exhibition and sales area. On the right, the 'Post & Go Services', again with six Intelligent AR / Royal Mail Series II philatelic kiosks in service.

In the picture below, from left to right, the A008 and A009 kiosks of Royal Mail, JE01 of Jersey Post, GG01 of Guernsey Post, and GI01 kiosk of Royal Gibraltar Post Office.
In addition, a third Royal Mail machine (A006) was installed next to the sales counter area (left picture). Visitors could use the kiosk not only to print the 'Post & Go' issues, but also for payment of the various bar-coded philatelic products displayed on the stand.

Some of these kiosks already had the language selection option, depending on the needs of each event and / or postal administration. In particular, the A006 kiosk allowed users to select between four different languages; English, Arabic, Spanish, and Dutch (see images of the screens, below).

Next to the 'Post & Go Services', Royal Mail again arranged a booth for postmarking, with the different special postmarks released for the event.

In 2016, Royal Mail celebrates the 500th anniversary of the establishment of a regular and organized postal service. In 1516, King Henry VIII appointed Sir Brian Tuke as Master of the Posts (maximum card). Tuke established a basic postal network across the nation to transport the royal letters, with different key cities connected by horseback riders. More than 100 years later, in 1635, King Charles I established the public postal service. After only 45 employees in 1665, Royal Mail is at present the largest employer in the UK, with more than 140,000 employees.
To commemorate this important anniversary, Royal Mail released some philatelic issues and produced various commemorative postmarks.
In addition, during the Spring Stampex 2016, five of the six 'Post & Go' kiosks issued stamps with special imprints - '500 Years of Royal Mail' in two of the Royal Mail machines, and '500 Years of Postal History' in the Jersey, Guernsey, and Gibraltar kiosks.

During the four days of Spring Stampex 2016, the Royal Mail A006 and A008 kiosks issued ATMs with the Machin definitive design and the special imprint

500 Years of Royal Mail

in one printer, and the new 'Royal Mail Heritage: Transport' (see next section) in the other (left screen, below).

The A009 kiosk issued stamps with the new 'Traveling Post Office, 1890s' design, with no special overprint, and the new 'Royal Mail Heritage: Transport' series (right screen, below).

'Travelling Post Office, 1890s' was originally issued as part of the six-designs thematic series 'Royal Mail Heritage: Transport', and was also issued on the same day. As on previous occasions, Royal Mail also decided to release this design alone, on label rolls with this unique image, printed with digitally. In comparison with the usual offset printing, this type of impression is fast and especially convenient for small print runs, such as with the very few rolls required for certain events or special issues.

The Jersey Post JE01 kiosk issued ATMs with the Jersey flag definitive design and the special imprint

500 Years of
Postal History

on one of the rolls, and the new thematic 'The Crest of Jersey' series with no special overprint on the other.

The stamps issued by this machine were sold with a 20% surcharge on the face value, because of the VAT on sales made by Jersey Post in the UK.

These issues are dealt with in more detail in the article dedicated to Jersey Post.

The Guernsey Post GG01 kiosk issued ATMs with the Guernsey flag definitive design and the special imprint

500 Years of
Postal History

on one of the reels, and the new thematic 'Bailiwick Life' series, with no special overprint, in the other printer

Just like the Jersey kiosk, the stamps issued by this equipment were also sold with a 20% VAT surcharge on the face value.

These issues are dealt with in more detail in the article dedicated to Guernsey Post.

The Royal Gibraltar Post Office GI01 kiosk issued ATMs with the Gibraltar flag definitive design and the special imprint

500 Years of
Postal History

on one of the reels, and the new 'Year of the Monkey' design on the other, but with no special overprint.

These issues are dealt with in more detail in the article dedicated to Royal Gibraltar Post Office.

The first block of the code at the bottom of all the stamps issued by the six philatelic kiosks installed at the Spring Stampex 2016, is B2GB16, followed by the machine code, transaction and stamp number.

In addition to these machines, large pre-orders of Collectors strips were printed by using the internal usage printers B001 (UK designs) and B002 (Jersey and Guernsey designs) and sold by their respective philatelic services.

Jersey and Guernsey Post philatelic services shared the booth at Spring Stampex 2016.

2016. Royal Mail Heritage: Transport

The first thematic 'Post & Go' series issued in 2016 was available from February 17th, coinciding with the opening of Spring Stampex 2016. This set is the first in an interesting series of 'Post & Go' issues that explore the history of Royal Mail, on the occasion of its 500th anniversary. The first series shows the evolution of mail transport systems throughout the centuries.

On the date of issue, the new series could be obtained at many of the NCR postal kiosks installed in post offices across the country, from the three Royal Mail Series II philatelic kiosks (A006, A008 & A009), installed at London Stampex, and in the permanent kiosk installed in the London postal museum (see next section). The large pre-orders were printed using internal-use equipment, code B001.
Royal Mail released its usual presentation pack with the six designs (right image), printed by the internal-use C002 printer.

The new series traces the evolution of the transportation of mail from the seventeenth century, showing the main means of transport used. The Post boys or horseback riders carrying messages between relay points, the mail coaches, the early packet ships based in Falmouth, the postal trains or Travelling Post Offices, the early airmail service, until the massive introduction of minivans, in the second half of the twentieth century.
The rolls of labels were manufactured by International Security Printers, and have identical characteristics to previous issues. The label design is by Howard Brown, from illustrations by Andrew Davidson.
During the Spring Stampex 2016, Royal Mail released about 50 special postmarks. The images show just some of the first day postmarks produced for the 'Post & Go' series

The images below show stamp strips with the different printing varieties and the face value indicators available for this set of designs, as issued by the equipment used on the date of issue. From left to right,
(1) the C002 printer, used for advance printing of the stamps included in the presentation packs,
(2) the Intelligent AR equipment (A006, A008 & A009), in service at Spring Stampex 2016, and B001 for internal use,
(3) the NCR postal kiosks. 

All the stamps included in the folders have the same face value '1st Class up to 100g', and the lower identification code is the same for all the stamps - In this case, B2GB16 C002-1840-022. In the first block, B is for 'philatelic' issue, 2 is for the month of issue (February), GB for the country, and 16 for the year of issue. In the second block, C002 is the code of the printer. Then follows 1840, the usual fictitious session number (year of issue of the Penny Black), and 022 indicates the number of the pictorial series, since the beginning of the 'Post & Go' issues
First day of issue receipt for the purchase of one 'Collectors strip', the set with the six values programmed, in the A009 postal kiosk

Intelligent AR
A006 - A008 - A009 - B001
postal kiosks

The 'Open value stamps' can be obtained from the NCR postal kiosks only, by selecting the 'Post an item' option from the main menu. These are variable value stamps, usually printed for immediate use, and include some details about the shipment type, postage rate, destination and weight of the item (see article, also published in VARIABLE 34). The stamp on the image (1L) corresponds to the first domestic priority or 1st Class rate.

First day cover with the six designs and the special Spring Stampex 2016 postmark.

The Royal Mail Heritage: Transport series at The Postal Museum

One of the things that upsets collectors is the exponential increase in 'Post & Go' issues. A Royal Mail spokesperson and The British Postal Museum & Archive staff have always said that the philatelic kiosk in the museum would not issue stamps with the annual thematic series, 'only' the single / definitive designs, with the exception of the special sets issued for the Christmas season. However, all this seems to have changed along the way with the museum rebranding (see article) ...

But, completely by surprise, The Postal Museum announced that, effective February 17th, coinciding with the opening of Spring Stampex 2016, its 'Post & Go +' kiosk equipped with four printers would also issue stamps with the new thematic 'Royal Mail Heritage: Transport' series, with the new permanent impression of the museum, which includes the graphic logo and the text 'The Postal Museum', - of course -.

However, given the expected adverse reaction of collectors, and presumably to make the issue more affordable, Royal Mail decided that the series could only be acquired with the first value of domestic mail programmed into the kiosks, '1st Class up to 100g'.
Really a rather strange decision ...

The new series replaced the 'Heraldic Lion' design.

The museum has found a great source of regular funding by producing and selling philatelic products associated with the different issues from its kiosk, mainly presentation packs and pictorial first day covers, with limited runs of a few hundred copies, which are usually sold out very quickly.

Swindon175 at STEAM - Museum of the Great Western Railway

In 1841, the then small town of Swindon, located in southwest England, was chosen by Sir Daniel Gooch, Superintendent of Great Western Railway (GWR), for the installation of the Railway Works, for the repair and maintenance of the new railway. A period of great expansion of the city began. Over the next 150 years, the railway complex grew, occupying over 120 hectares and employing over 12,000 people.

175 years later, Swindon celebrated this important anniversary with a programme of events that are taking place throughout the year.

Royal Mail, in collaboration with Swindon175 and STEAM – the Museum of the Great Western Railway, decided to join the celebrations with the introduction of the special imprint 'Swindon175' on the A010 kiosk, installed since August 2015, in the museum (see article, also published in VARIABLE 38).

In addition, and much more appealing and related to the commemoration and the railway museum, the reel with the 'Machin' definitive design was replaced by the new locomotive / 'Traveling Post Office, 1890s' design.

This design features a Dean Single locomotive, Achilles Class, built by GWR at Swindon between 1891 and 1899. The design is originally part of the six-designs series 'Royal Mail Heritage: Transport', launched just a few days before at the London Spring Stampex 2016, although -like other designs- Royal Mail also decided to produce rolls of labels with this unique image.

The new temporary imprint 'Swindon175', which is added to the permanent kiosk imprint 'STEAM GWR', appeared on all the stamps issued with the two rolls of labels used by the equipment, from February 25th 2016. On the same day, 175 years earlier, the GWR directors authorised the establishment of the railway works in Swindon.

This special imprint will be available from the kiosk until the end of the year.

Because of a delay in the receipt of the rolls with the locomotive design, the first stamps issued during the morning of the 25th were printed on labels with the 'Machin' definitive design. All these Machin stamps were later replaced by stamps with the new design.

Royal Mail also released a special postmark for the commemoration.

The Mail coach issue at The Postal Museum

Following the decision to issue the thematic 'Royal Mail Heritage: Transport' series at the 'Post & Go +' kiosk installed in the museum, to coincide with the opening of Spring Stampex 2016 (see article, also published in VARIABLE 40), the Postal Museum announced another issue, starting on April 1st 2016. In this case, the A001 kiosk would issue variable value stamps printed on labels using only one of the series designs - 'Mail coach'.
The rolls with this unique design, printed by digital printing, replaced the six design set.

Unlike the full set, which could only be obtained with the first value of domestic mail, '1st Class up to 100g', the 'Mail coach' design was available with the usual six face value indicators or 'Collectors Strip'.
The stamps issued by this machine include the new permanent impression of the museum, with the graphic logo and the text 'The Postal Museum'.
The London postal museum produced and sold a special presentation pack.

The Perth's 87th Scottish Congress, a peculiar issue

For the fifth consecutive year, Royal Mail participated in the annual meeting of the Association of Scottish Philatelic Societies, by installing its 'Post & Go' equipment.

In 2016, the 87th Congress was held on Friday April 15th and Saturday 16th, in its usual location at the Dewars Centre, in Perth, north of Edinburgh. This year, the congress was hosted by the Caledonian Philatelic Society, which celebrated the 110th anniversary of its foundation. As usual, this major annual event in Scotland also included a philatelic & postcard exhibition and an important fair.

See articles dedicated to Perth 2012, also published in VARIABLE 27, Perth 2013 in VARIABLE 29, Perth 2014 in VARIABLE 33, and Perth 2015 in VARIABLE 37).

As in previous years, Royal Mail moved three postal kiosks to Scotland. Two Royal Mail machines (A011 and A012), and the JE01 kiosk of Jersey Post (left).
It is noted that these two Royal Mail units were presented, for the first time, in Perth.

The A011 and A012 kiosks (right), along with the kiosk launched a few days later in Madrid, Spain (see article and VARIABLE 41), belong to a new batch of kiosks that can be easily recognized by the smaller rectangular base, the same width as the kiosk, as can be seen in the image.
Photos: R. Nordbruch

Once again, Royal Mail decided to programme its kiosks with a special commemorative imprint, related to the philatelic event. Over the two days, all stamps issued by the three kiosks would include the special imprint

87th Scottish
Congress 2016

A011 and A012 would issue stamps with the 'Machin' and Union flag' definitive designs, plus the 'Heraldic Lion' design, whilst the Jersey Post kiosk would issue stamps with the 'Jersey flag' definitive design, and the new 'The Crest of Jersey' thematic series, first launched in February, at the Spring Stampex.

Even after passing all the relevant tests, staff failed to put into service the new Royal Mail kiosks, on the morning of April 15th. So to overcome this, they chose a somewhat surprising solution. They decided to use the Jersey Post kiosk to issue all the Jersey stamps, then when all the visitors had acquired the stamps of this postal administration, they transferred the software from the A011 kiosk to JE01, and replaced the rolls of labels of the Jersey designs, with the corresponding 'Machin' and 'Heraldic Lion' Royal Mail designs. A couple of hours later, when everyone had printed their orders, they repeated the procedure using A012, while changing the roll of 'Heraldic Lion' design with 'Union flag' (upper left image)

The staff finally succeeded in putting kiosk A011 into service, on Saturday 16th, but A012, stayed inactive throughout the congress.

This peculiar issue is well documented by analysing the session numbers of the stamps and receipts, as well as the time of issue printed on receipts (images).

The code at the bottom of the stamps, issued during this philatelic event, is B4GB16 A011- & B4GB16 A012- for the Royal Mail stamps, and B4GB16 JE01- for the Jersey Post issues (see article dedicated to Jersey Post).

Sets of stamps were also printed in advance by Royal Mail using the B001 internal printer, to meet the demands of dealers. But, as happened in 2015, this issue also had an error. Whilst in 2015, they 'forgot' to include the year at the end of the special imprint (see article and VARIABLE 37), on this occasion, the error was found in the face value indicator. The weight is missing in the first line of the third stamp of the set - 'Euro  World 10g', instead of the usual indication 'Euro 20g  World 10g '.
Furthermore, unlike the stamps issued in Perth, 'Machin' stamps issued with the B001 printer are from the original edition - undated.

The Caledonian Philatelic Society, as the association hosting the event, produced a commemorative cover and card for the Congress. The special postmark features a thistle, the national flower and symbol of Scotland.

UNITED KINGDOM. 2016, the Post&Go issues (Continuation) >

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This page was created in March 2016 and last updated: 06.12.16 . English edition last rewritten by S. Goodman (26.07.2016)