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Thread: Stamp Vending Machines

  1. #1
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    Default Stamp Vending Machines

    Stamp vending machines, attached to the side of pillar boxes or inset into the wall outside of post offices, were once commonplace during the 20th century but seemed to disappear shortly after 2000.

    I can remember a mechanical SVM attached to a pillar box on a local housing estate in 1999/2000. I think it was still working then but it has since been removed. Around the same time there were also electronic SVMs inset into walls outside post offices.

    In London I have encountered a few post boxes with inbuilt SVMs at the back. None of them were functioning even back in the 1990s.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Stamp Vending Machines

    I heard the stamp machines in phone boxes weren't popular because they were hard to waterproof & often the stamps ended up gummed together.

    Also the noise from the dispensing mechanism could be heard inside the box, distracting anyone making a call.
    The Trickster On The Roof

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Stamp Vending Machines

    I very rarely used them, but I assume that it was a lot more useful to buy them when the Post Office was closed and not having to wait for them to open. Some might have offered single stamps as well.

    As I said in the other thread, they were in books of four with a more glossy cover than now (probably because they are made on recyclable paper these days). Some books had a plastic "window" so you could see the "top right" stamp inside the book, while later ones had a diagonal line at the bottom right of the Queen's picture so it cannot be used as a stamp itself, even though the glossiness of it would make it more than apparent that it wasn't one of the actual stamps.

    At least modern stamps can be peeled off backing paper and not have to lick them - I wouldn't want to lick some stamps that were years old.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Stamp Vending Machines

    A detailed history of stamp vending machines

    http://www.stampprinters.info/v13%20...%20History.pdf

    How many of them do you remember?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Stamp Vending Machines

    My mother can remember the G3 SVMs back in the 1970s and the (very similar) H and J SVMs in the 1980s and 1990s.

    The G3 took 10p coins and dispensed a mixed value strip of 5 stamps. According to the article, they were 6p, 2p, 1p, p, p which covered the 8 p first class and 6 p second class rates. The machines were a bit fiddly to use as users had to lift the outlet flap before inserting the coin.

    The H and J took 50p coins and dispensed mixed value books of stamps. Users had to pull a knob to release the stamps after inserting the coin. As postage rates increased, later versions took 2 50p coins and dispensed a 1 book of stamps.

    I can remember seeing FMJ type SVMs around in the 1990s that took 1 coins and dispensed a 1 book of stamps but they were located in places other than post offices such as shops, hospitals, leisure centres.

    The P1 and P4 electronic SVMs were often seen inset into walls outside post offices in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

    Some larger post offices had electronic SVMs that dispensed individual stamps, like the 1712T, VSS1, and DC22, inside them in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I used to think they were quite handy to avoid waiting in queues.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Stamp Vending Machines

    I would prefer to wait and get stamps from a shop instead of getting them from a machine that does not give change.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Stamp Vending Machines

    The SVMs that dispensed books of stamps gave change in the form of a few low value stamps. The philatelic community will probably have the details of the exact composition of each book of stamps issued over the years.

    I'm sure that the electronic SVMs inside post offices that dispensed individual stamps gave change as they accepted all coins.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Stamp Vending Machines

    I would have thought that it would be like using a payphone and putting coins into the machine - or like Nottingham City Transport bus fares (says he, who has had a pass for over 20 years). They would prefer you to "overpay" and not give change if you didn't have the correct amount.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Stamp Vending Machines

    In 1973 first class cost 3 p and second class cost 3p
    A 5p strip of stamps consisted of 2p, 1p, 1p, p, p

    In 1977 first class cost 8 p or 9p and second class cost 6 p or 7p
    A 10p strip of stamps consisted of 6p, 2p, 1p, p, p
    A 50p book of stamps consisted of 9p, 9p, 9p, 7p, 7p, 7p, 1p, 1p

    In 1982 first class cost 15 p and second class cost 12 p
    A 50p book of stamps consisted of 12 p, 12 p, 12 p, 3p, 3p, 3p, 3p, p

    In 1987 first class cost 18p and second class cost 13p
    A 50p book of stamps consisted of 18p, 18p, 13p, 1p or 13p, 13p, 13p, 5p, 5p, 1p
    A 1 book of stamps consisted of 18p, 18p, 18p, 18p, 18p, 13p worth 1.03

    In 1992 first class cost 24p and second class cost 18p
    A 50p book of stamps consisted of 24p, 24p, 1p, 1p
    A 1 book of stamps consisted of 24p, 24p, 24p, 24p, 2p, 2p

    In 1995 first class cost 25p and second class cost 19p
    A 50p book of stamps consisted of 25p, 25p
    A 1 book of stamps consisted of 25p, 25p, 25p, 25p

    In 1998 first class cost 26p and second class cost 20p
    A 1 book of stamps consisted of 26p, 26p, 26p, 20p, 1p, 1p

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Stamp Vending Machines

    I would have thought that even in 1973 never mind 1977 or 1982, there would be very little use for a p stamp.

    I thought that the cost of a first class stamp would roughly be the same price as a tabloid newspaper back then - I know that around 1987-1988, the 18p stamp was a dark green colour - was the second class stamp a light blue colour back then?
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

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