Use Old Postage Stamps Soon as Replaced By Barcode Stamps

Published / Last Updated on 06/05/2022

It is time to check your office desk, your purse or wallet, your drawers and your car for stamps that bear the Queen’s head.

Stamps with the Queen’s head on them are being replaced with stamps that also include a barcode.  In simple terms, you need to use up your stocks of older style stamps or replace them before 31st January 2023.

31/01/2022 – Royal Mail confirmed that any 1st or 2nd class stamp with the Queen’s head on it would be discontinued.  These would be replaced, and indeed bar-coded stamps are already in circulation.

04/02/2022 – Announcement that you cannot use Christmas stamps or other ‘Special Cover’ stamps after 31/01/2023 given many people e.g., save their unused Christmas stamps and use them during the next festive season.

If you use stamps without a bar code after this date, the recipient will face a surcharge penalty.

Since the announcement, Royal Mail has made a ‘U-Turn’ and confirmed that you will still be able to use Christmas season and other ‘Special Cover’ stamps without a barcode after the 31/01/2023.

In addition, it will be all stamps with the Queen’s head and not just 1st and 2nd class that become obsolete and either be used before 31/01/23 or swapped and replaced by Royal Mail.

Swapping Old Stamps

It has also been confirmed that you can swap or exchange old stamps from 31/03/2022.  That said, Royal Mail have not made this easy.  You can swap your stamps:

  • Complete a ‘swap form’ online and post your stamps to Royal Mail (currently no form online).
  • Collect a ‘swap form’ from your local delivery office and post your stamps to Royal Mail.
  • You currently cannot exchange your stamps at Post Offices but we assume this will be available by 31/01/2023.

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