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Post & Go (Faststamps) were introduced in October
2008 with the design utilising a version of the Millennium Head and introducing
a repeating wavyline 'ROYAL MAIL'
text as a background pattern. As with the Millennium Head version, the Post
and Go stamps are printed in a brownish olive colour.
In an attempt to address problems with the reuse of stamps
that had already been through the postal system and not been cancelled a raft
of additional security features were introduced on 17th February 2009 and would
become the new standard for all future printings. Initially, these were applied
to the 2nd and 1st class NVI, 2nd and 1st Large NVI, 50p, £1, £1.50,
£2, £3, and £5 sheet printings. Booklets and Business Sheets
were the next to be reprinted with these additional security features and overtime
the full range has been brought into align. This introduction has seen the move
to using self adhesive paper as the standard across for the Royal Mail product
range. The additional security features include :-
As a means of identifying the source of a stamp, a hidden
code letter has been applied to printings that do NOT come from counter sheets.
These hidden source code identification letters occur in just one position per
stamp and are :-
The iridescent ink appears to be printed as a solid layer
with the wavyline 'ROYAL MAIL'
text engraved as part of that layer. Thus, any problems in synchronisation will
throw up a new range of insets, etc. The diagrams below show the iridescent
layer as a pale grey.
The first issue to carry the hidden source code letter
was the British Design Classic 1 booklet (issued 10th March 2009). These booklets
yield two variants from those of the basic counter sheets printings of 17th
February 2009. The iridescent wavyline 'ROYAL
MAIL' text has the hidden source code letter - "C"
(indicating the stamp comes from a Customised booklet printing) changing the
word 'MAIL' to 'MCIL'.
This change occurs on just the word in the top right corner - above the diadem.
Additional, 'U' shaped die cuts have a bridge at base of U unlike their De La
Rue counterparts that are continuous.
The setting or positioning of the Hidden Source Code
within the wavyline 'ROYAL MAIL'
text pattern produces five types (note : the 'Large' NVI values have a different
phasing of wavyline design) :-
A secondary hidden code was introduced into the iridescent
wavyline text from 2010 and designated the year the printing was made for. As
with the hidden source codes the year code occurs in only one set position.
Interestingly, the iridescent cylinder numbers have not changed with the advent
of the secondary year codes although replacement cylinders must have been engraved.
Currently, the three years of printings so far have provided :-
As with the Hidden Source Codes the Year Codes have various
settings, namely :-
Three iridescent ink formulations have been used, two
standard and one special :-
To mark the Queens Jubilee a new 1st Class NVI colour
was introduced - this replacing the 'Gold' colour. The colour is called 'Diamond
Blue' and is similar to the colour used for the £5. In conjunction
with this a new iridescent overprint was introduced with the text 'DIAMOND JUBILEE'.
However, unlike the standard overlay (where the wavyline text is iridescent)
the iridescent is reversed out so that the wavyline text is not printed but
the surrounding background layer is. The same Hidden Source Code letters are
used but there are no Year Codes.
To mark The Queen becoming the longest reigning monarch
on the 9th September 2015 a number of products were issued to celebrate this
event including 1st class Machin counter sheets, booklets and a minisheet. The
1st class Machin stamp was issued in a new colour namely 'Amethyst
Purple' and the iridescent overprint text carries the legend 'LONG TO
REIGN OVER US' with a hidden year code 'OI5R'.
As with the Diamond Jubilee issue the iridescent layer is reversed out
so that the wavyline text is not printed but the surrounding background layer