The date your stamps will become invalid as Royal Mail changes design

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Royal Mail is anticipating a significant change to its stamp designs following Queen Elizabeth II’s death. Officials will soon have to replace the late monarch with her successor, King Charles III, with the Royal Mint also required to follow suit. But Royal Mail has another change on the cards before this that will leave people with invalid stamps.

Why is Royal Mail changing its stamps?

The Royal Mail has planned to introduce a company-wide change to its delivery systems.

Before the postal firm adopts the UK’s new royal figurehead on its stamps, it will add barcodes.

These will eventually replace the classic designs in perpetuity.

Royal Mail has tacked barcodes alongside the Queen’s frilled portrait to the right to allow workers to scan packages.

Customers can also use the stamps to create a digital footprint with the firm’s official app.

Post Offices and shops have now started selling the new versions, and in four months, they will become the only admissible kind.

The standard issue stamps of decades gone will cease to be valid by January 31, 2023.

Any items posted without a barcoded stamp after that date will fall within the Royal Mail’s insufficient postage rules.

In this case, mail senders may end up subject to additional charges.

The Royal Mail said the stamp change is part of the company’s “ongoing modernisation”.

A spokesman said: “The move is part of the company’s extensive and ongoing modernisation drive and will allow the unique barcodes to facilitate operational efficiencies, enable the introduction of added security features and pave the way for innovative services for customers.”

People with invalid stamps come January 2023 won’t have to buy a new supply.

The Royal Mail has opened a Stamp Swap Out scheme that allows people to swap older stamps for the newer barcoded ones.

The scheme requires people to fill out forms and send back their non-barcoded supplies.

Those who send their old stamps receive the equivalent-class newer versions in return.

When will the Royal Mail add King Charles III to stamps?

Royal Mail officials have confirmed that King Charles III will eventually appear on all British stamps, but they have not provided a date.

In a statement, a spokesman said: “His Majesty will appear on new first and second class definitive stamps, as well as all those of other values.

“All British stamps will eventually feature an image of King Charles III. Special Stamps will also feature a silhouette of the King.”

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