Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Proactive methods to avoid surcharged or delayed mail

I recently found a cover from America with a label on the reverse which I showed in our regular blog.  It was applied to incoming mail to remind the UK recipient of the correct postage rates if they sent a reply.

Royal Mail rates reminder label, USA or Canada 2001

In that blog I asked if anybody had any others, and I am grateful to a couple of readers who sent me copies of other examples, which I will show in chronological order.  Remember these are always applied to the reverse of the cover.

From the website of the Great Britain Philatelic Society*

On 20th October 1986 a concessionary rate for members of the EEC (EU from 1993) had been introduced for all-up mail – the lowest weight step letter rate (up to 20g) became equal to the minimum inland first class rate. The distinction was retained for European airmail in 1991 but the rates became equal again in 1998.

This label was introduced as a reminder that the EU rate no longer applied and that the basic rate for all letters to Europe mail was 30p from 6 April 1998.

26p first class rate no longer valid to Europe (including the Republic of Ireland), the rate now being 30p.

One price of 30p for Europe up to 20g - this applies to the Republic of Ireland.


Rates changed twice in 1999 but we don't have any labels for that period.  The next change was from 27 April 2000 when another range of labels was put into use.  I don't know when these were introduced nor why there are two different styles

Replying to anywhere in Europe, including the Republic of Ireland, now 36p for 20g.

Replying to USA or Canada 10g 45p, 20g 65p  (from 27.4.2000).

Replying to Australia or New Zealand, now 65p for up to 20g (no mention of 45p for 10g).

A vertical format was used for some labels for the rate from 2 July 2001 and the label has a number - OE1060, but the previous "Don't guess it"style continued.

If replying, Airmail rates to the Republic of Ireland are 20g - 37p (from 2.7.2001)

If replying to the Republic of Ireland 20g 37p, 40g 52p (from 2.7.2001)

The rates were changed again from 4 July 2002 and the vertical format continued, form number OE1061.

If replying, airmail rates to US & Canada are 10g 47p, 20g 68p etc (from 4.7.2002)

My thanks to SC for the vertical Ireland label, and MM for the rest.  I think I have some somewhere, and if you have any of these or similar reminder labels, please send images to the address at top right.


* Postage rates and many other resources are available free on the website of the Great Britain Philatelic Society.  But there is much more available to members only, so why not join?

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