1st class letter Faststamp with Machin head, Bristol issue.

Norvic Philatelics

Post and Go Machine Replacements, Autumn 2008

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 1st class Machin definitive issued in January 2000. 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.


Examples of new labels

Faststamps - with Machin head and two phosphor bands, printed service indicator, for use anytime.
1st class Large letter Faststamp with Machin head, Bristol issue. 20gramme Europe Faststamp with Machin head, Bristol issue. 20 gramme World Faststamp with Machin head, Bristol issue.

Post and Go labels - with service indicator and weight, inscribed POSTAGE PAID (value) UK, for posting no later than the day after issue.
1st class Large letter Post and Go label, Bristol issue. Airmail letter Post and Go label, Bristol 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.


Autumn 2008 Installation Schedule

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.

Installation reports:
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).


First Images - Bristol (The Galleries) and Ludgate Circus, London

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.
Bristol Faststamp cancelled with Bristol ink-jet postmark 13.10.08.

1st class Large Letter Faststamp from Bristol #1 machine with Bristol (Clifton bridge) day of issue handstamp
1st class Large Letter Faststamp with Bristol first day postmark.

2nd class 100g Post and Go label, 0.27, from Ludgate Circus. Dated 16 October indicating this was purchased on the first day of operation 15 October 2008. There is no cancellation even though this was posted in the ordinary mailstream; this is in line with the policy on Horizon labels.
2nd class Letter Post and Go label from Ludgate Circus on day of issue.

Strip of 5 Faststamps from Ludgate Circus on day of issue. 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.
1st class Letter Faststamp from Ludgate Circus on day of issue.

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.
Nixdorf Post and Go machine at Birmingham HPO 16 October 2008.


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

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Norvic Philatelics, PO Box 119, Dereham, NR20 3YN, GB. -- UK Phone: 08450 090939 -- Skype:ian.billings-norvic