Old style stamps will no longer be valid after the 31st of January 2023. If you have any kicking around use them up on your Christmas cards as you won’t be able to use them next year.
Royal Mail say that the barcodes will enable exciting new services by connecting physical stamps to the digital world through the Royal Mail app. Currently this is limited to enable you to watch and share exclusive Shaun the Sheep videos via the barcode itself, using the Royal Mail App. More importantly, unlike unbarcoded stamps, Royal Mail will be aware if a stamp has been reused and will also be able to scan at the doorstep for proof of delivery, although POD is not currently available to consumers or businesses.
It’s no surprise that Royal Mail are changing to barcoded stamps as they must use a fortune from the recycled stamp sale market. I’ve seen offers on various parts of the internet for large quantities of stamps which sellers say that they have conveniently removed from envelopes and helpfully re-gummed. Typically they sell for as little as 20% of the face value of a new stamp.
Sellers often extol the virtues of their work, for instance explaining that they’ll even adhere to poly mailing sacks. Some in a rare moment of honesty even warn that stamps that have been through the postal system are invalid for reuse while explaining exactly how good they are. Barcoded stamps will put an end to this trade.
Unbarcoded stamps swap out
Unbarcoded stamps can be exchanged for the new barcoded version through the Stamp Swap Out scheme. To swap out your stamps, simply complete one of Royal Mail’s Stamp Swap Out forms and send it back along with your non-barcoded stamps by addressing the envelope ‘Freepost SWAP OUT’ – no further address details or post code is needed.
If you have more than 200 stamps to swap out (and we’d suggest you make very sure they are legitimate) you need to use the Bulk Stamp Swap Out form and send to Royal Mail, Swap Out, Tallents House, 21 South Gyle Crescent, EDINBURGH, EH12 9PB.
Special Stamps with pictures on and Christmas Stamps without a barcode will continue to be valid and don’t need to be swapped out.