We are pleased to bring you exciting news concerning some new machine-vended labels which first appeared at
The Galleries, Bristol Post Office branch, and which are being installed in many locations
over the next few weeks.
The labels are in two types, one of which has the Machin Head in a very similar style to the Millennium Definitive stamps. (below right)
In April 2004, Royal Mail and Post Office Ltd ran trials of Weigh and Vend machines in three selected Post Offices around the country. The machines catered for a range of different mail categories, but it seems that many people were deterred by their complexity and relative slowness.
Successor Post and Go machines from three suppliers (IBM, Fujitsu, and Pitney-Bowes) were subject to a short trial (with little advance notice) apparently to determine a supplier for national roll-out. In October 2007 machines were installed in 9 locations for what appears to have been a final trial. A year later we now know that these machines are being replaced by Nixdorf machines, some in the same locations, before a roll-out of 700 machines nationwide.
Faststamps - with Machin head and two phosphor bands, printed service indicator, for use anytime.
Post and Go labels - with service indicator and weight, inscribed POSTAGE PAID (value) UK,
for posting no later than the day after issue.
We've been told that no Post and Go labels were printed at Bristol on the first day (8th), and that the first day's labels are therefore dated 10th as the 'post by' date.
The first Nixdorf machines are to be installed in The Galleries PO Bristol on 8 October 2008, followed by Sunderland and South Shields POs on 10 October. Maidstone, Doncaster, and Clapham Common London SW4 follow on 14 October; Birmingham, Belfast City, and Ludgate Circus London EC on 15 October, and Old Hastings (Premier) on 16 October. The full list is on the new Postage Labels UK website.
Belfast (011704) - the machine was installed 15th October, but the labels were printed from 16th.
South Shields (021329) went live on 13th (scheduled for 10th)
Maidstone (012941) went live on 15th (scheduled for 14th)
Doncaster (007311) went live on 14th (as scheduled).
The first new label I received was posted in the Bristol area. It happens to be on a definitive first day cover,
although it was actually posted on 13 October. From this it is clear that the
glossy surface of the Faststamp is not really suitable for the ink-jet postmark.
1st class Large Letter Faststamp from Bristol #1 machine with Bristol (Clifton bridge) day of issue handstamp
Below: 1st class letter Faststamp from Ludgate Circus, London with poorly inked Mount Pleasant machine postmark 15 October,
the first day of use at that office.
Right: I haven't had confirmation of this yet, but it seems that Faststamps are dispensed in no more than strips of 5, ie the roll is guillotined after the 5th stamp is printed. But such a strip can comprise 5 stamps of the same type or 5 different. Could this count as a coil stamp!?
The machines at Birmingham were functioning more or less properly on 16th October - see picture below. (Click on the
image for a larger one.
We are interested in receiving copies of these from other locations, and copies used on ordinary mail for our overseas clients. If you have any, or are in any of the areas about to have the machines installed, or for any other questions please email Norvic Philatelics .
This page updated 18 October 2008