When do stamps expire and how are they exchanged?

1st Class Royal Mail Stamps

A change is coming to Royal Mail stamps (Image: Getty)

There’s a big change coming for UK postage stamps – and no, we’re not just saying that the portrait of the Queen will be replaced by that of King Charles and his cipher.

A new system of digitizing postage stamps will be introduced, meaning many people’s old postage stamps will no longer be valid.

But before you despair of your mountain of first-class books, there is a way to exchange them.

Find out when the old stamps expire and how to exchange them…

When do stamps expire?

Traditional postage stamps are no longer valid January 31, 2023.

After this date, normal stamps can no longer be used without the new digital barcode.

The stamps that need changing are the ones that many will be familiar with – it’s any stamp that shows a profile of the late Queen Elizabeth against a solid color background.

Letters with second class stamps

No barcode, no valid stamp – don’t send anything important! (Image: Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

That is, any stamp that does not also contain a scannable barcode.

The barcodes will be added to the stamps in the future to enable new digital services.

The only stamps you don’t need to exchange are commemoratives – these are often commemorative or feature artwork of a famous person or place. like the recent Iron Maiden release. These remain valid even without a barcode.

How to exchange your old stamps

Your non-barcoded stamps can be exchanged for the new barcoded version through the Stamp Swap Out program.

The new Royal Mail barcode stamps

The new stamps will have a scannable barcode (Image: Royal Mail)

To exchange your stamps, simply fill out a Stamp Exchange Form and send it to Royal Mail with your stamps without a barcode.

If you have a printer, you can exchange up to £200 worth of barcoded stamps by printing this out and filling it in stamp exchange form.

You can send this back to us together with your stamps free of charge by writing on the envelope Freepost SWAP OUT. No further address data or postcodes are required.

If you have a printer and more than £200 worth of stamps that you would like to exchange, use the bulk stamp exchange form.

This must be sent to the following address: Royal Mail, Swap Out, Tallents House, 21 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB.

If you do not have access to a printer, you can request a stamp exchange form to be mailed to you by completing this form.

Stamp exchange forms are also available from the customer service point of your local delivery offices.

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Will Queen’s postage stamps still be valid if they have a barcode?

Another question you might be wondering is, even with the barcodes, will stamps featuring the Queen be valid once the King Charles stamps come into circulation?

The answer is yes. Ultimately, only stamps featuring Charles’s portrait will be sold, so of course stamps of the late Queen will fall out of circulation.

But by that point in the next few years, it’s inevitable that we’ll see two monarchs on our mail using both QEII and KCIII stamps, something that hasn’t been seen in many years.

This use of stamps is known as “mixed franking” or in this case “mixed dominions” and was previously used for the stamps of Edward VII and George V in 1911-13, George V and George VI in 1937-39 and George used VI and Elizabeth II between 1952 and 1955.

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https://metro.co.uk/2023/01/08/when-do-stamps-expire-and-how-to-swap-them-18057901/ When do stamps expire and how are they exchanged?

Justin Scacco

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