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New date set for old stamps to become unusable

The Royal Mail has set a new date for old stamps to be retired, after which they will no longer work if you stick them to letters and parcels. The old stamps were to cease to be valid from today, January 31, but the deadline has now been extended.

The change affects ordinary stamps featuring Queen Elizabeth II, which must be used before the deadline. The postal service previously launched a stamp swap scheme for people to exchange their old stamps for new ones.

Special stamps with pictures on and Christmas stamps without a barcode will continue to be valid and don’t need to be swapped out. New barcoded stamps were introduced in February last year as part of a move to modernise the service, and to allow enhanced security features, Royal Mail said.

It also said barcodes will “enable exciting new services by connecting physical stamps to the digital world”, such as exclusive videos available by scanning the codes in an app.

To exchange old stamps for new ones, people must send their nonbarcoded stamps to Royal Mail, along with an exchange form which can be printed or requested via an online form.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “We’ve added barcodes to all our regular stamps. Regular stamps without a barcode will no longer be valid after July 31, 2023. This follows the introduction of a six-month grace period from the initial January 31 deadline. You can either use up your non-barcoded stamps before this new deadline or swap them for the new barcoded ones.

How to get a ‘Stamp Swap Out’ form

You can also pick up a ‘Swap Out’ form from your local Post Office along with a free post envelope – but the Post Office won’t be able to actually swap your stamps for barcoded ones.

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