Royal Mail unveils new everyday stamps with barcodes with current designs to be phased out by January 31, 2023
Stamps are getting a new look - with unique barcodes to now sit alongside the The Queen's image.
Royal Mail says the current design of 'everyday' stamps featuring Her Majesty's profile will be phased out and a new design with each stamp featuring a unique code is being introduced.
The current design of first and second class stamps, which cost 85p and 66p respectively, have changed very little since being introduced in June 1967 and have become one of the most iconic pieces of artwork in the world having been reproduced 175 billion times.
The move to add a unique code to each stamp follows a successful national trial as the postal delivery service embarks on an 'extensive modernisation drive'.
Barcodes will enable the introduction of added security features and, says Royal Mail, 'pave the way for innovative services for customers'.
The barcodes will sit alongside the main body of the stamp, separated by a simulated perforation line. Each individual code will match the colour of the stamp they are sharing.
Non-barcoded stamps will steadily be phased out but will remain useable, says Royal Mail, until January 31, 2023.
To celebrate the arrival of the new design, recipients of mail using one of the new-look barcoded stamps can watch an exclusive video of Shaun the Sheep by scanning the stamps in the Royal Mail app.
The video has been created exclusively for Royal Mail by the multi- award-winning British animation studio Aardman and is the first of a series that will be released this year allowing customers sending stamped mail to choose which video the recipient sees when they get their letter or package.
Royal Mail is encouraging customers to search drawers and purses for any non-barcoded stamps they have at home so they can use them up. Unused non-barcoded stamps will also be exchangeable under a ‘Swap Out’ scheme which will open on March 31 - further details of which will be announced shortly.
Nick Landon, Royal Mail Chief Commercial Officer said: “Introducing unique barcodes on our postage stamps allows us to connect the physical letter with the digital world and opens up the possibilities for a range of new innovative services in future.”