Are stamps legal tender?

From April 30th stamp prices will rise by almost 25%.

  • The price of a first-class stamp for a standard letter will go up from 46p to 60p
  • A second-class stamp for a standard letter will go up from 36p to 50p
  • A first-class stamp for a large letter weighing up to 100g will rise from 75p to 90p
  • A large letter sent second-class will cost 69p, rather than 58p
  • Parcels, franked mail, and recorded post will also be going up in price

We have seen lots of Tweets from people who intend to bulk buy stamps now, and many  have suggested that stamps are legal tender. This is not the case.

Legal tender has a specific meaning that we have described in  a previous blog post. While you are free to accept stamps as payment for a service or goods, there is no legal obligation for you to accept them when offered and you have no legal recourse if payment in stamps is refused!

Whether you can buy stamps now and resell at below face value in a few weeks time is a different matter entirely and one we cannot comment on…but we’d love to hear what you think!

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  • wayne

    Do away with all the money, let the banks have the colored paper, we all start using stamp yeah great idea, should have thought of it earlier. If banks dont want to accept our payments in stamps then our dept closed. SUCKERS!!

  • Leo

    I first heard about stamps as legal tender on the BBC comedy show The Office that aired some years ago. I just watched the show again and remembered this question that I’ve wanted to know about for a long time.

    So, thanks for a clear and concise overview – I now know that the character on the show was wrong when claiming that stamps are legal tender without qualification, and e.g. bus drivers must accept them as payment.

    Now, you wrote that one MAY accept them as payment for goods or services. How does that work in reality? How would the seller get their money in the end – can the stamps be exchanged for cash at the post office or elsewhere, or would the seller be stuck with them until someone else would accept them as payment for other goods or services?

    • jamesroyalmint

      You can accept anything you like as payment. I could agree to accept a potato in full payment for a carrot, for example :D

      So in answer to your question, you’re corrrect…you’d be stuck with your stamps (pun intended).

    • Becky

      Am watching that episode now and I googled it straight away to check.

  • Chris

    A bus driver would have to accept them as payment.

  • Dr Labyrinth

    Aww, i fucking missed my chance, i have a small ebay business and i would have benefited from buying stamps now to use later. =/ oh well, ill just carry getting raped by paypal and ebay and postage costs. Haha,

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