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King Charles III stamps revealed

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

The Royal Mail has unveiled the image of King Charles III which will feature on stamps in April.

The definitive stamp – which consists of the monarch’s head and value on the stamp on a plain coloured background – will be available from 4 April 2023.

The King’s effigy appears alongside a barcode on the stamp printed in matching colour alongside the main body of the stamp, separated by a perforated line.

Stamps will have different colours depending on the values:

  • 1st Class – Plum Purple
  • 2nd Class – Holly Green
  • 1st Class Large – Marine Turquoise
  • 2nd Class Large – Dark Pine Green

King Charles III is pictured facing left without a crown, and was personally approved by the monarch.

While it goes on sale in April, retailers will continue to sell their existing stock of stamps featuring the late Majesty Queen Elizabeth, until existing stocks have run out, “to minimise the environmental and financial impact of the change of monarch”.

The image of the King is an adapted version of the portrait created by Martin Jennings for the Royal Mint for the new UK coinage.

The use of the coin image is a continuation of a long tradition dating back to the launch of the Penny Black in 1840. King Charles III becomes the seventh monarch to appear on a definitive (everyday stamp).

Simon Thompson, CEO, Royal Mail said: “Ever since the Penny Black was issued in the reign of Queen Victoria, British stamps have carried the image of the reigning monarch. The Definitive stamp has become a recognisable symbol of each reign.

“Uniquely, British stamps do not have the country of origin printed on them as the image of the monarch is sufficient. So today is a hugely important milestone for Royal Mail and the country as we reveal the image of the new King Charles Definitive.”

Stamp swap scheme

Anyone with old non-barcoded stamps needs to use them or swap them by 31 July 2023.

After this date, mail posted with non-barcoded stamps will be liable to a surcharge if they are used to post letters or parcels.

See YourMoney.com’s stamp swap article to find out more.