Do stamps in your country expire? 🤔

In Finland we can use all our Euro valued stamps, and all 1st and 2nd class stamps. even from the time we had different currency.

Only stamps that show the value in Markka, are not good anymore.

I am very curious about what’s the rationale behind this 10-year expiry? has it always been like this in Portugal or it was just announced recently? Portugal Post can’t just make such a big change without any justification (regardless it’s reasonable or not) :thinking:

In Germany we can use all stamps with Euro value (since 2002).
But there was a time in West-Germany when stamps expired after 2 years. These were in the years 1949 - 1968. Here is the translation from this website:

"Today, the stamps of the German Federal Post Office are valid for an unlimited period of time. But that was not always the case.

After the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany and thus also of the German Federal Post Office, stamps were initially only valid for a limited period. Usually for about one and a half to two years. The reason for this restriction was the concern that stamps could endanger currency stability. Postage stamps have exactly the monetary value indicated on them. When the Federal Republic of Germany was reestablished, it seemed too risky to those responsible to grant stamps unlimited validity. The stamps could thus have become objects of speculation."

Translated with DeepL Translate: The world's most accurate translator (free version)


I completely agree, we have regularly paid for them.
In Italy :it: at the moment there’s not an expire date for stamps in Euro, while old stamps in Lire are still usable if issued from 1967 (I don’t know why this specific year).


In Czech Republic they don’t expire either, you can buy stamps from 1996 for example, though I think they just ran out of stock and there are not as many of them from older years you can buy

In my country Slovakia :slovakia: we can use every stamp until year 2009 (few stamps made in 2008 or 2007 can be usable with euro and Slovak crowns (koruny) at the same time [for example stamp T2 50g = 0,75€ but in Slovak crowns you can use it only on letter until weight 50 g]) when Slovakia became part of Eurozone.
First Euro stamp:

Last Slovak crown stamp: from 2008

Oldest usable stamp: from 2007
T2 50g = 0,75€

A little bit incorrect.

Indonesian stamps was valid for sale up to 3 years after the release date.
They are valid for postage used up to 5 years after the release date.

Please check picture below from a stamp pack.

However, this rule was changed in 2012 (or 2013?). The new appointed CEO of PT Pos Indonesia made a new rule that Indonesia stamps can be sold and used as postage rate forever. It is also applied to all the stamps issued before 2012 (or 2013?)


In Russia all Soviet stamps expired obviously, but the Russian stamps issued before ruble denomination (1000:1 times in 1998) still can be used with their price counted as divided by 1000. Some people though even manage to use them at full printed price, exploiting the unawareness of postal clerks.


In the UK we can use any postage stamp from 1971 after decimalisation.

However from January 2023 older machin definitive stamps (Normal stamps with a side portrait of the Queen) without data matrix barcodes cannot be used.
Doesn’t effect special commerative stamps.

I understand why this annoys some postal administrations.

In the UK we have had ‘Non Value Indicator’ (NVI) stamps since the 1980’s, I.e. 1st & 2nd Class stamps with no monetary value shown.
So when the price rises, they are still valid for the service shown without having to add additional stamps.

So a 1st class stamp purchased in 1989 at 20p is now worth 95p today.
So effectively I’ve paid 20p for a 95p service.

So I can understand why some postal services don’t like old stamps.

Bank notes in the UK are usually in circulation for 10 to 15 years, from September old paper £20 & £50 will no longer be valid, only certain banks and the central bank will swap them out.

The only time in the future that stamps and banknotes will change in the UK will be when a new sovereign is on the throne or the dissolution of the UK as a country.


This is an excellent question. I’m not sure for how long it has been like this (maybe @Geminiscp knows), but article 17 of our “postal law” (from 1985, I believe) states:

“Os CTT podem retirar da circulação os selos pastais quando estejam quase consumidas as suas existências em armazém e sempre que se verifique que as taxas não correspondem ao tarifário em vigor, podendo o correio manter para venda, após a retirada da circulação, exclusivamente com fins filatélicos, séries completas destas emissões.”

Super rough translation:

CTT (the Portuguese Post) can remove from circulation the stamps whose stocks are almost finished, or in case their values don’t correspond to the current postage prices, while keeping some for sale exclusively for philatelic purposes.

Article 18 then goes on to state some conditions for the exchange of these no longer valid stamps for valid ones.

So… there’s no reason given actually. If the post is running out of certain stamps, they can stop selling them of course — but why do previously sold stamps suddenly become invalid? :woman_shrugging:

All stamps issued in Denmark since 1933 are still valid :slight_smile:

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It’s interesting to hear that the same thing was happening in Indonesia, but that this has since been reversed. Are there maybe news articles I could check about the reversal of this law?

Is there a reason why stamps from 2000-2005 are not valid now? Did something change in your currency or economy, perhaps?

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I don’t think so. I noticed that the stamps on the list have a much greater collector value than their “real” price. However, I don’t know much about philately. I usually buy stamps which I find pretty. Their uniqueness does not matter that much to me (the number of printed stamps of that kind). On the list there are also stamps with letter markings (like “A” or “B”). They do not have a printed price. Currently, these markings are slightly different, so that is why the older ones are invalid. I guess that makes sense.

In fact, there’s not a 10-year expiry specific rule. it’s worse, they can take the stamps off circulation when they wish. Usually stamps are taken from circulation around 9 or 7 years.

It has been like this for at least the last 25 years (when I begun to collect stamps more seriously). The explanation they tell me is that the machines can’t handle such big amount of stamps to control (bear in mind they issue more than 100 stamps per year).

In the Netherlands, stamps don’t expire, you can use old stamps as long as their currency is in euro’s, so the oldest are from late 2001. The ones from the gulden area are invalide.

Nowadays all the stamps have the service on the stamp rather then the rate, just like the forever stamps.

The only exception are the December stamps, which can only be used from half November up to early January, if you want to use them outside of this time frame you have to add 5 cents in postage.

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Italian stamps do not expire, I still use even the ones in Lire (converting the value from Lire to Euro, of course). Just the stamps made before 1967 are not valid anymore.

This is really sad. If you happen to like to buy older stamps through philately sites under the face value, you can’t do it anymore in the UK. :frowning:

Expiring stamps, interesting, I have never thought stamps could expire on the other grounds than the change of currency. So in some countries you had better not to hoard a massive stock of stamps. :smiley:

Prior to my trip to Copenhagen last summer I bought older Danish stamps under their face value through an auction site, and some of the Queen Margarethe II stamps I bought were from the 1970’s & 1980’s. I was a bit worried if they are valid, but all of my cards arrived to their destinations. :slight_smile: As much as I like our fix rate stamp system, it was fun to mix and match different (licky) stamps. :heart:

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There is no expiration date in Japan. However, stamps issued from Okinawa during the period of U.S. occupation after the war cannot be used now.


They never expire in Switzerland, since 1960. :grinning: