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Variable Rate Stamps of the Czech Republic


Miroslav Langhammer, Prague


Variable Rate Stamp with and without star
Stamp without star and with star

The first variable rate stamps of the Czech Republic were issued on 5 March 2000. Two French machines AMIEL SIMA 1351 were installed at the National Stamp Exhibition BRNO 2000. One of the machines was operated by the public while the other was behind the counter.

The variable rate stamps are self-adhesive (the first self-adhesive stamps of the Czech Republic). The picture of the Veveří castle above the Brno reservoir was designed by Antonín Odehnal. Stamps were printed in France in rolls of 1000. In total 3000 rolls were ordered. The machines print the selected face value in the left down corner of the stamp in black.

The issue of the variable rate stamps was published with the information that machines will sell stamps with values of CZK 5, 5.40, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13 and 14.40 corresponding to the most frequent postal rates. There was no asterisk in front of the face value (type I).

In fact, at BRNO 2000 two more face values of CZK 0.40 and 1 were sold which were programmed additionally.

For the issue of the variable rate stamps there was no official FDC. A commemorative sheet was on sale with a CZK 14.40 stamp where the face value is printed in violet.

The interest in the machines and in variable rate stamps at BRNO 2000 was very high. According to unofficial information, about 90 thousands stamps and 7710 commemorative sheets were sold. Imperfect function of the machine can be illustrated by stamps with multiple face values, absurd face values (e.g. CZK 980 or 995.40 Kč) or question marks replacing the face value.

After BRNO 2000 one of the machines was used in Postfila, Prague for printing of variable rate stamps for the new stamps service and for the stamp dealers.

This machine was installed in the Postfila shop for public use from 21 June 2000. It sold stamps of all the above mentioned face values but with an asterisk in front of the face value (type II). The other machine was installed in Brno for public use later.

At the beginning of 2001, some face values of the variable rate stamps were changed in connection with the change of some postal rates. The machines do not sell values intended for postcards (CZK 5, 7 and 8) any more. Values of CZK 11 and 13 for priority (airmail) post to the overseas were replaced by values of CZK 12 and 14. Moreover, six additional face values were programmed. This change was done in the machine in Brno on 8 January 2001 and in the machine in Prague on 18 January 2001.

At present, machines sell variable rate stamps in the values of CZK 0.40, 1, 2, 4, 5.40, 9, 12, 14, 14.40, 17, 23, 26 and 33 (type II).


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