British Domestic Postal Rates
1966-2006

Originally compiled by Mark Robinson. Updated and modified by Larry Rosenblum.

Published in The Chronicle, the journal of the Great Britain Collectors Club. Reprinted by permission.

Domestic Pricing in Proportion Rates (2006-present)
Rates to U.S. (1968-2000)
International Rates (2000-present)

One of the challenges of the Machin series is interpreting covers from the period. The Machin series began in 1967, and from that time until today, there have been significant changes in rates, currency, wieghts and measures, and the kinds of postal services offered. Below is a summary of the key domestic rates in Great Britain from 1966 until the introduction of Pricing in Proportion in 2006. Please let me know of any errors.

    First Class Postcard Surcharge For
Beginning Ending 2 oz 4 oz Small Large Recorded Delivery Registered Special Delivery
May 17, 1965 Sep 15, 1968 4d 6d 3d 4d 6d 3/- 3/-
                 
        Second Class      
    4 oz 6 oz 4 oz 6 oz      
Sep 16, 1968
(Note 1)
Feb 14, 1971 5d 9d 4d 6d 9d 3/- 3/-
Feb 15, 1971
(Note 2)
Mar 5, 1972 3p 5p 2.5p 4.5p 4p 20p 20p
                 
    2 oz 4 oz 2 oz 4 oz      
Mar 6, 1972
(Note 3)
Sep 9, 1973 3p 4p 2.5p 3.5p 4p 20p 20p
Sep 10, 1973 Jun 23, 1974 3.5p 5p 3p 4p 4p 20p 20p
Jun 24, 1974 Mar 16, 1975 4.5p 6.5p 3.5p 5p 5p 25p 40p
Mar 17, 1975 Sep 28, 1975 7p 10p 5.5p 8p 7p 35p 40p
                 
    60g 100g 60g 100g      
Sep 29, 1975
(Note 4)
Jun 12, 1977 8.5p 11.5p 6.5p 9p (Note 5) 45p 60p
Jun 13, 1977 Aug 19, 1979 9p 12.5p 7p 9.5p 9p 60p 60p
Aug 20, 1979 Feb 3, 1980 10p 14p 8p 10p 10p 65p 80p
Feb 4, 1980 Jun 25, 1981 12p 17p 10p 13.5p 12p 75p £1.00
 Jan 26, 1981 Jan 31, 1982 14p 20p 11.5p 15.5p 15p 90p £1.25
Feb 1, 1982 Apr 4, 1983 15.5p 22p 12.5p 16.5p 18p £1.00 £1.25
Apr 5, 1983 Sep 2, 1984 16p 23p 12.5p 17p 20p £1.00 £1.50
Sep 3, 1984 Nov 3, 1985 17p 24p 13p 18p 21p £1.10 £1.50
Nov 4, 1985 Oct 19, 1986 17p 24p 12p 18p 22p £1.10 £1.50
Oct 20, 1986
(Note 6)
Sep 4, 1988 18p 26p 13p 20p 22p £1.20 £1.50
Sep 5, 1988 Oct 1, 1989 19p 28p 14p 22p 24p £1.40 £1.65
Oct 2, 1989 Sep 16, 1990 20p 30p 15p 24p 25p £1.55 £1.75
Sep 17, 1990 Sep 15, 1991 22p 33p 17p 27p 28p £1.75 £1.85
Sep 16, 1991 Oct 31, 1993 24p 36p 18p 28p 30p £1.90 £1.95
Nov 1, 1993 Jul 7, 1996 25p 38p 19p 29p 55p £3.00 £2.70
Jul 8, 1996 Jan 26, 1997 26p 39p 20p 31p 60p £3.00 £2.70
Jan 27, 1997 Oct 11, 1998 26p 39p 20p 31p 60p £3.50 £3.20
Oct 12, 1998 Apr 25, 1999 26p 39p 20p 31p 60p (Note 8) £3.20
(Note 7)
Apr 26, 1999 Apr 26, 2000 26p 39p 19p 31p 60p - £3.35
Apr 27, 2000 Jul 1, 2001 27p 41p 19p 33p 63p - £3.50
Jul 2, 2001 Jul 3, 2002 27p 41p 19p 33p 63p - £3.60
Jul 4, 2002 May 7, 2003 27p 41p 19p 33p 63p - £3.65
May 8, 2003
(Note 9)
Mar 31, 2004 28p 42p 20p 34p 64p
(Note 10)
- £3.75
Apr 1, 2004 Apr 6, 2005 28p 42p 21p 35p 65p - £3.75
Apr 7, 2005 Apr 2, 2006 30p 46p 21p 35p 66p - £3.85
Apr 3, 2006 Aug 20, 2006 32p 49p 23p 37p 68p - £4.10

Click here for rates after August 20, 2006.

Notes about the chart:

1. On September 16, 1968, Royal Mail eliminated the separate rate category for inland postcards and instead created the first and second class system which sorts mail by the quality of service desired by the sender, not by the nature of the mailed item. On the same day, they also adjusted the weight steps, making the first step 4 ounces rather than just 2oz.

2. On February 15, 1971, Great Britain adopted decimal currency. Previously, £1 = 20 shillings and 1 shilling = 12 pence. After the change, £1 = 100 (new) pence. On the same day, Royal Mail also increased domestic postage rates.

Pair of special delivery labels in use in 1997. Special Delivery Label
Special Delivery Label

3. On March 6, 1972, Royal Mail again changed rates steps, this time going back to 2oz as the first step.

4. On September 29, 1975, Royal Mail adapted the weight steps to the metric system, setting the first step at 60 grams (slightly more than 2oz) and the second at 100g.

5. Between September 29, 1975 and June 6, 1976, there was no surcharge for recorded delivery added to a first class letter. Between June 7, 1976 and June 12, 1977, the cost for a first class, recorded delivery inland letter was postage plus 8p. Between September 29, 1975 and June 12, 1977, the cost for a second class, recorded delivery letter was postage plus 8p.

Recorded Delivery Label
Recorded delivery label in use in 1980.

6. Between December 2, 1986 and December 24, 1986, the normal second class rate of 13p for a 60g letter was reduced to 12p.

7. On October 12, 1998, special delivery became a service that includes both postage for tranportation and compensation against loss rather than a fee added on top of postage. The minimum fee covered items weighing up to 100g and compensation up to £250. Effective April 7, 2005, the compensation for the minimum fee was increased to £500. Higher weights and higher compensation are available for an additional fee. The rates shown are for Special Delivery Next Day which promises delivery by 1pm the next afternoon. Also available (as of July 2006) are Special Delivery 9.00am, with delivery by that time the next morning, and Sameday, with delivery on the same day as mailed.

Registered mail was not included in the Pricing in Proportion scheme introduced on August 21, 2006.

8. Domestic registered and registered plus (compensation over £500) services were incorporated into the special delivery service on October 12, 1998.

9. Starting in January, 2004, Royal Mail compensates domestic customers whose mail is delayed three days or more beyond the due date. Compensation is 12 first-class stamps, or a check for £5 or £10 if the delay was substantial and additional evidence or proof of delay is presented. Compensation for the market value of valuable mailed items, up to £32, is available for loss of or damage to mail if the customer has obtained a free certificate of posting when the item was mailed.

10. The service was renamed “Recorded Signed For.”

Some information presented in the table was taken from “Great Britain Domestic and International Postal Rates and Fees” by Anthony S. Wawrukiewicz. For more information, visit Worldwide Postal Rates.



Last update: August 1, 2009   Macintosh!
Copyright © 2005 by Great Britain Collectors Club