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UNITED STATES. 2023, the seasonal issue and the new IMI code

Quioscos SSK en oficina USPS

USPS introduces the IMI code in its franking systems

The postal administration of the United States (USPS) has begun a process of replacing the codes printed on postage stamps generated by computer systems, both in post offices (counters and kiosks) and franking machines.

Thus, the IBI (Information Based Indicia) code used until now will be replaced by the Data Matrix IMI (Intelligent Mailing Indicia) code. This new code represents a significant improvement on the IBI, providing more security and guaranteeing better data management and control.

This change therefore affects the code printed on the stamps issued by the SSK, the self-service postal kiosks installed in US post offices. As can be seen in the images below, the new rectangular IBI code is visually larger than the previous code,  allowing the storage of more information. The stamps correspond to the ‘Holiday Elves’ design of 2022 (see article, also published in VARIABLE 67), issued in November 2022 and November 2023, respectively.

The seasonal issue ‘Snowman’

As in previous years, USPS has introduced a new label design depicting a snowman for use in its postal kiosks during the Christmas season.

The 2023 design depicts part of the illustration of one of the ‘traditional’ stamps which forms part of the ‘Snow Globes’ holidays set, issued as a booklet of 20 stamps on September 19th 2023. The designs in the series are by Gregory Manchess.

The SSK postal kiosks issue stamps with the ‘FOREVER‘ face value indicator only,  corresponding to the postage for domestic priority letters up to one ounce – approx. 28g.-, 66 cents in 2023. This ‘FOREVER’ value, similar to the ‘Tarifa A’ of the Spanish Correos, has an indefinite franking validity.

The labels are produced in sheets of ten self-adhesive thermal labels, fan folded and die-cut between sheets. The sheets come in five rows and two columns of labels. The kiosk guillotines the sheets horizontally, and if the customer requests an odd number of stamps, one of the labels is issued with the text ‘THIS BLOCK IS NOT VALID POSTAGE‘, indicating that it has no postal value.

With the collaboration of P. Elias

English edition rewritten by J. Gareze – December 2023

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