Letters and Packets
Other Classes of Mail
Priority Services Rates 1993-1998
The registration and Special Delivery services were combined beginning from 28th June 1993, at a much increased fee. Although compensation had previously only been available with registered post, and guaranteed delivery times only available with Special Delivery, the two services had in fact been very similar in the practical aspects of handling the actual letters. At first the services were kept nominally distinct with their own suitably inscribed labels, but from 12th October 1998 they were all combined into a single service under the Special Delivery banner.
First Day of the new combined service
This represented Royal Mail's first pass at combining the services, and gave rise to some short lived methods of handling the mail. Initially "Registered" and "Special Delivery" used similar labels inscribed "Guaranteed Delivery", and for both with only £2.70 (+ postage) worth of stamps (or meter franking) placed on the cover itself. The stamp for the additional 30p "compensation premium" for the Registered service was affixed to the back of the certificate of posting. The "Registered Plus" service had its own labels. From 1996 there were separate labels for each type of mail and the full fee (+ postage) was placed on the cover regardless.
(To determine which service was actually used for a given cover, check the 4th and 5th bars from the left on the barcoded label on the back: for Registered the 4th bar is thicker, for Special Delivery the 5th.)
The compensation limits throughout were £500 for Registered, £1500 and £2200 for Registered Plus. £50 compensation is mentioned for Special Delivery in 1997. Initially the maximum weight was advertised as 2kg, although later there were also single rates inclusive of postage for any item between 2kg and 10kg, and later still a per-kg additional rate for weights up to 30kg. The dates shown in the table below are the printing dates of the leaflet (actually specific priority services leaflets rather than the general rates leaflets) in which they first appear. From 1997 rates were quoted inclusive of postage in broad weight bands.
All services offered a guaranteed delivery time, usually 12.30pm or noon on the next working day for most destinations in the UK (although for some remote Scottish locations it was 5.30pm one, two, or even three days later).
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