[Stamps] UK stamps, prices, Royal Mail & Post Office matters

Yay! Have been waiting for these!

Could someone please explain to me how I can obtain first day of issue cancellations for new Royal Mail stamp issues? I am after the nice, specially themed cancellations, not the boring round ones that say ‘First Day of Issue’.
I’d love to get some maxicards done. So, I buy stamps and PHQ cards at my post office, then what? Does someone have an address to which I can send my cards to get the special cancellation? How many days after the release of new stamps do I have to get the special cancellation?

Thank you in advance, it’s all a bit confusing for me.

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Hi Sabine,

You can submit your covers, postcards to one of the three RM Special Handstamp Centre’s buried within the Royal Mail Websites.
The addresses are within the monthly bulletin that they publish.


They Intially where offering Postmarks for all the issues since November last year due to Covid, but from the end of this month they will revert back to the 28 day rule from the issue date of the postmark.

I’ve only recently started submitting Maxicards for postmarking with the Paul McCartney stamps as a test.

They have strict rules for postmarking though, so leave your telephone number on a note with the requested postmark incase there is a problem and someone will get back to you.


Thank you, Mark, for this explanation! I’ll give this a try for one of the next stamp issues. I’ll let you know how I got on.

Thank you for this info Mark @Maddymail . As I’m a total novice to this whole process but very interested, and the RM bulletin sort of assumes some prior knowledge can you just confirm that this is how it works:
There are three groups of special stamps:
Sponsored, as for example on p5, on(from?) the date shown for each stamp (Just on the day? Longer?)
FDC on the day
General ones always available

For a maxicard with special handstamp: I send them the franked card before the official day of issue, stating the stamp I want. So for the wild coasts in July I have missed the boat? Or only if I was aiming for day of issue?
And I include the stamp information on the envelope? A separate piece of paper? I do understand about separate envelopes for different stamps.

If I leave the card/envelope unaddressed and include a return envelope they send them back. Presumably if I properly address them they send them on?

So if I have other items (or missed the deadline) I can send any time, presumably using any stamp (obvs using sufficient postage) and they forward or send back as requested? But only with the general stamps listed at the end of the bulletin? I will definitely be using this for special personal mail.

Sorry for many questions! As you can see I’m keen but wary of getting it wrong…

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*Might want to get a cup of tea or coffee before reading the following…

Hello Anja,

I’ve been obtaining postmarks from the RM handstamps centres for a little two years now and I am still learning. They have changed the postmarking rules a few time in that period, usually with stamp price increases and with the pandemic.

There are three types of postmarks available: First Day of Issue, Sponsored & Permanent

Based on the current rules:

First Day of Issue
First Day of Issue postmarks can only be applied to those New Issue Stamps, for example when the King Arthur Stamps came out in March, many collectors submitted stamps from the King Arthur stamp set from the 1980’s which where not eligible.
A 28 day submission rule applies for the First Day of Issue for example the Prince Philip stamps where issued on the 24.06.2021 however the PHQ cards and stamps where not delivered until the 3rd July, I wrote a small note requesting the Edinburgh Postmark along with the postmark number from the June Bulletin and posted back to Tallents House, and then two weeks later they where returned with the desired postmark,

Note Maxicards Must Be Supplied in a Return Envelope undercover

Sponsored Postmarks
These are postmarks created by Royal Mail for Private FDC producers for a fee, but as they are published in the stamp bulletin they are available to the public. Any stamp of any theme (post-1971 decimalisation) can be supplied providing it meets the Second Class (2nd) Stamp rate, again a 28 day rule applies from the date of issue.
Sponsored Postmarks and FDI postmarks may not be requested in advance of the issue date, but receipt within 28 days of the issue date

Permanent Philatelic Postmarks
Avaliable all year round, and can be obtained with any backdated date including Sundays, Public Holidays and Christmas, but covers must be submitted with a minimum First Class (1st) Stamp rate and to my knowledge will not accept multiple stamps made upto 1st class rate.

Postmarks on envelopes are fine as they bare an address and are returned in a clear glassine envelope to prevent further postmarking by the printers, however I initially submitted postcards unwritten and without addresses to be returned within an envelope, however the London SHC called me to inform that all items of mail requiring postmarks must contain an address, so suggested writing my address on a posted note that can peeled away once returned.

An example for a maxicard I am going to submit for a Channel Tunnel Postmark later this year.

As mentioned with Sabine’s reply, leave your telephone number on a letter/note with the requested postmark, someone from the team will get back to you if there is problem and offer an alternative or give guidance.

Disclaimer - The maxicards shown above are not available for swaps or trades. Please do not ask the Special Handstamp Centres to forward a large number of your postcards, they are extremely busy and will simply not do this and will forward postcards/mail via normal means even if it involves pen-cancellations. I do not work for Royal Mail and all the above is my own experience.


Prince Philip maxicards excellent :+1:

Thank you so much, very helpful. I knew there was more to it :grin: OK, 28 days… I can still make the wild coasts deadlines!

Here is my latest collection of stamps from Philatelink


A postage question. I have been sending all my postcards that go outside the U.K. with £1.70 stamps. Is that the current cheapest rate? It looks like the original post at the very top of this thread May be from last year, so I’m not sure.
If I can send them cheaper I will, as I have been doing tonnes of forum swaps and tags and I am scared to total up what I’ve spent on stamps the past month! :joy:

Hello Claire,

International Economy at £1.45 can also be used to send postcards worldwide, except to Europe,

It’s been discussed amongst the UK postcrossers quite alot on the forum,
See my post in the link below…

That is going to save me a LOT of money!!! Thank you!!

£1.70 to Europe
£1.45 to anywhere else outside! Thank you thank you!

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Hi all, I have been approached by a few for more information about Maxicards, and how to go about sending them to RM for postmarking.

Here is some literature that one of the Special Handstamp Centres sent me when they couldn’t postmark an item mail I had submitted.

Also below I have included screenshots from the July Postmark Bulletin which has the addresses of the Handstamp Centre’s

Please feel free to message me, I will try and help you where I can.


@Maddymail Thanks for this info, it’s really helpful!

If I wanted to send a maxicard abroad but it only had a first class stamp on it, would I have to send it in an envelope with the full £1.45/£1.70 postage? It mentions that you can’t affix stamps to both the front and back side of the card so I assume I can’t put another stamp on the back to make it up to the full amount?

So when you submitt the Maxicards/postcards for postmarking they should only have a matching stamp to the postcard subject on the front and they should have (your) address on the reverse (if you don’t want your address permanently, put it on a removable label such as a posted note, see above demonstration).
No other stamps.
Supply an envelope with your address so that they can return your postmarked maxicards (you don’t need to put any postage on as the stamps on the maxicards have now paid for your return envelope) you then have your produced maxicards.

Don’t fully write your postcards and ask them to forward to an International address, I have the feeling they don’t like doing this,

Leave your telephone number on a letter or note, someone will contact you if something is not correct and will give you further guidance.

When you get your maxicards back, the stamps are no longer valid as they have been cancelled with a philatelic postmark of a particular date and as stated above are not valid for transmission through RMs network, because of their pure philatelic purpose.

Although both @Bayrisches-Madl & @AnjuschkaC have sent me Maxicards in the Round-Robins with postage on both sides.

For the Paul McCartney and Northern Ireland Maxicards that I have, I have sent all except one undercover in a envelope with New Full postage.

Yes this postcard below cost me a total of £4.36 to send.
(£1.70 Paul McCartney stamp on the front, 2nd Class Large Letter stamp to post five PHQ cards and return envelope to the SHC and then another £1.70 machin stamp on the reverse of the fully written postcard uncovered to Germany)

Pfff its turning into an expensive hobby, I wish Royal Mail would be like Australia Post and produce ‘off the shelf’ prepaid worldwide maxicards regardless of the value of the stamp.

I’ve not tried it, but some countries such as Norway, the stamp on the front although cancelled, is still valid for posting and you simply write ‘Postage Paid’ on the address side like this.
But that might be asking for expired postcards :unamused:


I can add my experience of posting maxicards: I got into sending ‘vintage’ maxicards by accident, the first ones I got were in a mixed pile of 'unwritten ’ cards I bought, so treated them like normal postcards and they arrived. In some cases they had a philatelic cancellation stamp already on the written side so I added a new full postage next to it and these arrived too. So far I have not yet created my own maxicards by sending them to the postmarking service, but would certainly follow @Maddymail’s description and have them sent back to me first. And I buy older designs ready-made off ebay for example.
Edited to show two examples. Photos taken just before posting)

Resulted in:


Thank you for explaining it so clearly, it makes a lot more sense now!

I have found such a lack of information about maxicards online. Most info says what to do e.g. ‘send to a special handstamp centre’ but not exactly how to do it and I always came away with more questions than answers.

It seems there are lots of little caveats to the process (you need it to have an address on, you don’t need to stamp the envelope etc) that I would have never otherwise known.

I think I’ll send them in an envelope to be safe. I really don’t want them getting lost in the post, especially since I never put a return address on my postcards.

I’ve ordered a few sets of old PHQ maxicards from eBay in the meantime whilst I wait for the upcoming stamp issues, so I will see how it goes with those.

Thanks again for all your help @Maddymail!

Industrial Revolutions stamps are available for pre-order on the Royal Mail Shop: https://shop.royalmail.com/special-stamp-issues/industrial-revolutions

At the time of writing, I’m getting “404 not found” when clicking on some of the pages, which I’m sure the Royal Mail team looking after the shop will fix next week.


I’ve been postcrossing since April and have so far either used a £1.70 stamp or 2x 1st class. However I’m always thrilled when I get cards with multiple stamps on them and would like to start doing this for people I send to. I’ve seen various websites that sell mixed picture stamps of various denominations but before I start spending more money, what mix of stamps do you all use?

Yes I love to do that too, but the mix really depends on availability. Right now I’m working through a collection of 64p+63p+(43p or 44p), as seen here:

But those are all quite big stamps so you end up covering a lot of the cards space. To take a break from that I have just ordered a mixed set of (E) stamps to make life easier, but generally I’ll aim for a combination two stamps, and not necessarily first class ones.

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