Posted inEurope - Variable value stamps - ATMs / United Kingdom UK

UNITED KINGDOM. 2023, the end of ‘Post & Go’

Introduction. Fifteen years of ‘Post & Go’ issues

Fifteen years ago, Royal Mail installed the first two Wincor Nixdorf ‘Post & Go’ kiosks at ‘The Galleries’ post office in Bristol on October 8th 2008. After a long wait, late in the afternoon, the first ‘Post & Go’ variable value stamps in the UK were printed (see article, also published in VARIABLE 11).

The ‘Post & Go’ project was further developed in the following years and expanded with the installation of hundreds of Wincor Nixdorf / Newvision kiosks in Post Office Ltd. branches across the country. Starting in 2014, these machines were replaced by the new SSK (Self-Service Kiosk) manufactured by NCR (see article, also published in VARIABLE 34).

This new type of stamp issue quickly attracted the interest of collectors, and consequently in 2011 Royal Mail installed Hytech Postalvision kiosks at the twice-yearly London Stampex philatelic event (see article, also published in VARIABLE 22).

A key date in 2014 when during the London Spring Stampex on the 19th February, Royal Mail introduced the new postal kiosks developed by the company Intelligent AR (see article, also published in VARIABLE 32).

The following four years were undoubtedly the most significant in the history of ‘Post & Go’ issues. Royal Mail gave this project a major boost, with the installation of new philatelic kiosks and the production of special thematic series. Many international postal administrations and philatelic services trialled the machines and several joined the ‘Post & Go’ family during this period. Interest in these issues was at its peak and many collectors queued up at these kiosks at philatelic events to obtain these stamps.

Significantly more issues and special imprints were released every year … hardly a sustainable situation this resulted in driving away many collectors. In 2018 Royal Mail decided to reduce its participation at London Stampex and did not install any of its IAR kiosks. In the same year they also released the last ‘Post & Go’ thematic series.

With the kiosks still in operation but with no new designs, ‘Post & Go’ issues in the UK continued to be available, albeit in the form of temporary special imprints on the various machines, using rolls of old stock labels. Clearly, without any new designs, interest in these issues declined year on year. Finally, in September 2023 Royal Mail announced the end of all ‘Post & Go’ issues and the withdrawal of IAR kiosks from service at the end of December 2023.

The ‘Post & Go’ history in the UK is well documented in the many articles published on our previous website and VARIABLE.

However, this decision only affects ‘philatelic’ issues from IAR kiosks in the UK. All other philatelic services and postal administrations using IAR kiosks are continuing with issues; among them, Spain, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Gibraltar, Jersey and Guernsey.

However, the hundreds of NCR SSK kiosks (no longer part of the ‘Post & Go’ initiative) remain in service in UK post offices, managed by Post Office Ltd. And we can possibly even foresee that new rolls of labels will be produced in 2024 with a definitive design depicting the new monarch, replacing the current Machin design used – with annual reprints – since 2008.

(English edition rewritten by J. Gareze, December 2023)