“POST AND GO” MACHINES
A number of initiatives aimed at reducing queues at Post Offices with
self-service facilities more versatile than traditional stamp-vending machines
have taken place in recent years. In
2004, “Weigh & Pay” machines were introduced in a few locations; these
dispensed white postage labels similar to those produced by the “Horizon”
equipment at PO counters.
In January 2007, machines manufactured by Pitney Bowes and Fujitsu and
named "Post and Go" were instelled in Birmingham,
Belfast and Maidstone. Again, plain white labels were dispensed for
all categories of mail. Later in 2007,
further self service machines were installed in Clapham Common (London SW4),
The Galleries (Bristol), Gorton (Manchester), Doncaster, Sunderland and South
From October 2008, Wincor Nixdorf “Post & Go” machines replaced the earlier
trial machines, and have since then been installed at a large number of Post
Office branches. The machines currently
in use produce postage labels in two formats - black and white labels for "on the spot" use, and stamp-like versions bearing a Machin Queen's Head design for
immediate use or for retention and use later. The latter were initially called Fast Stamps, but this term has been replaced by Post & Go Stamps. The first, Post & Go labels had smooth
edges on all sides (Type 1A), but later examples have simulated perforations at
top and bottom (Type 1B). More
illustrations and the latest information on installation sites can be found at
the weblog UK ATM Philately.
On 5th June 2009, a new font for Post & Go labels (Type 2) was introduced
at North Finchley PO and several other offices. However, on 30th June yet
another version (Type 3) came into use at Clapham High Street PO and several
other locations. This has a similar service indicator to online SmartStamps,
and is now in general use at Post & Go locations.
Post & Go Stamps were initially produced in only 5 varieties – 1st Class
Letter, 1st Class Large Letter up to 100g, Europe Letter up to 20g,
Worldwide Letter up to 10g and Worldwide Letter up to 20g. All second class items and other weight
categories must be prepaid with labels, which are only valid for posting by
the next day.
On 17th September 2010, the first pictorial Post & Go Stamps were issued
from machines at 30 locations across the UK, the Queen's head being replaced
by colour illustrations of garden birds. There are 6 different designs; as
P&G stamps are printed in strips with a maximum length of 5 stamps, the
possible permutations of se-tenant design and denominations are numerous! The
designs and launch Post Office branches are shown on the UK ATM Philately site,
as well as in the philatelic press.
However, in the run-up to 17th September, the format of Post
& Go stamps had to be adjusted, to allow for the larger printed area of the
bird designs. For a few days, Queen’s
Head labels will have been dispensed with a larger white area to the left.
With the third series of bird designs, their issue has been extended to all 146 Post Office branches with Post & Go machines, on 19th May 2011. However, this required the size and spacing of the wording to be changed to avoid printing over the picture, so "Queen's Head" Post & Go stamps exist with smaller lettering. Conversely, in a few cases the large lettering appears on "Birds" Post & Go stamps, overlapping the design. A fourth series of birds issued on 16th September 2011 - from both the Wincor Nixdorf machines in Post Office branches and from Hytech PostalVision machines at Autumn Stampex. The latter also issued a 'Machin Centenary' version of the Queen' Head design on 14th September. It should be noted that the pre-printed versions of Post & Go stamps supplied by Royal Mail from Edinburgh by mail-order are different from those printed by both types of self-service machine.
On 14th October, a new version of Post & Go was introduced at Broadway PO, London SW1. This provides additional facilities by issuing Worldwide 'up to 40g' Post & Go Stamps, postage labels for Special Delivery and Recorded Signed For items, and a collectors' strip of the 6 different 'Post & Go' Stamp denominations.
Page updated 26th October 2011