Saturday, 13 March 2010
The End of Make-Up Rate Machins
In recent years, Royal Mail has issued Machins to make-up the rates from one class of mail to another. For example, the current rates (from April 2009) are 30p for second class letters and 47p for second class large letters. Royal Mail issued a 17p Machin to make up the difference between these two rates.
In general, there were Machins to make up the difference between first class and second class letters, first class letters and large letters, and second class letters and large letters.
No longer. Starting with the 2010 rate increase, Royal Mail will apparently not issue stamps for those make-up rates, which would be 15p, 25p and 19p respectively.
In his announcement of the new rates and new Machins, Ian Billings notes that each of these make-up rates can be satisfied by two current Machins. The 15p is 5p + 10p, the 25p is 5p + 20p, and 19p is 9p + 10p.
The 5p, 10p, and 20p are permanent Machin values, so they will remain on sale. However, Royal Mail will not reprint the 9p after stocks are exhausted (see the March British Philatelic Bulletin, page 202). After the 9p is gone, the 19p make-up rate will require four permanent stamps, 10p + 5p + 2p + 2p.
I suspect this was done for cost reasons. For us collectors, it will mean fewer new Machins each year.
However, the introduction of a denominated Machin for the 40g worldwide airmail rate (to be £1.46 starting 6 April 2010) - and the expectation of a new stamp every year for that rate - will wind up costing collectors more in the long run.
While I'm always willing to point out that Royal Mail issues too many Machins aimed only at collectors (the upcoming souvenir sheet, for example), I'm willing to give Royal Mail the benefit of the doubt and assume that the decisions about the make-up rate stamps and, more importantly, the worldwide airmail stamp, were governed by operational requirements and not the opportunity to raid our wallets.