Most governmental Post Offices and commercial package transporting companies discovered that calculating rates and placing stamps on packages are error-prone and time-consuming. These are functions better done by computers - put the package on the scale, key in the destination code, and, Voila! A label is created with the the proper rate, tracking information barcodes, ledger entries created to balance against the cash in the clerks drawer, credit cards debited if that option is selected, and many other features invisible to the mailer. Some of these include determining the amount of space needed on the flight to Wherever, the size of the truck needed to service Post Office X, among other options.
The Irish Postal Agency, An Post, initiated a new type of labels that first appeared in Dublin’s St. Andrew’s Street branch. This was a white self-adhesive with the postal information printed as needed. Initially, these were restricted to bulky or heavy items, however, they were also used for letters and packets. The label contains information on the type of service to be provided, the cost, and the total paid. Unlike previous systems, the name of the servicing office is not included, but a number, the GROF code, identifies the position to specific window position in a post office. It also prints a bar code that is linked to the Track and Trace system, which can provide tracking information to the customer for an additional fee. The labels are known in two formats; the scarce SDS, and more common Eire Post formats. Both formats have the words Postas and Iochta (Postage Paid) printed vertically on the sides of the label.
The glue used on the labels is tenacious, but collectors are equally determined. They can be loosened with repeated dosages of lighter fluid (Careful! - it’s flammable).
Are they stamps or labels? Call them as you wish, they exist, , and were used to show payment for postal services.Are they as pretty as a stamp? Not really, but “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”. The “Powers-That-Be” however were aware of this shortfall and the current generation “SOAR” labels are the result, giving some of the beauty of postage stamps along with the efficiency of the computer age. Can they be collected? Why, of course.
Check The Revealer for updates on what is happening with the postal services in Ireland. In addition, A searchable CD of the past 50 years of back issues is available from the Special Offers Chairperson so you can be informed on this and other postal matters.