High Value Packet and Bankers Special Packet Rates 1930-1998

1986: double BSP tag from Ballivanich, Isle of Benbecula, paying £12.39 rate

Banks needed to transfer new banknotes from the head office to the branches, and "retire" used notes to the head office for destruction. In addition, a number of national banks in Scotland, Northern Ireland and elsewhere had the right to issue their own notes. As these were accepted tender throughout the UK, used notes needed "repatriation" between receiving and issuing banks.

The High Value Packet (HVP) service was designed for this need (and so was only available to banks) and offered additional security in the registered post. It began in most of Great Britain on 16th June 1930, but as the Scottish banks refused to accept it was only extended to major Scottish cities late in 1960, and to the whole of Scotland from 1st March 1961. HVPs were carried at normal postage rates for the minimum registration fee until the introduction of an additional charge per pound in 1966, and were distinguished by a special red label with white text HVP.

The HVP service ended in most of the country in 1973, replaced by the use of security firms – except, ironically, in Scotland where the remoteness of Highland banks and long stretches of lonely road made security firm operation difficult. It continued there on an ad hoc basis while a new arrangement was worked out – this was the "Bankers Special Packet" (BSP) service, with a flat rate charge based on an assumed average weight of 7lb. The 1983 charge lasted until the registered post service was folded into the new special delivery service in 1998.

Reference: High Value Packets and Bankers Special Packets – the Post Office 'secret' services by Mike O'Hara, available from the downloads section.

High Value Packets, 1930-1975

The charges below were added to postage at the normal letter rate and the minimum registration fee.

Date Rate Date Rate Date Rate Date Rate
(16 Jun)
No special charge 1966
(10 Jan)
2s per lb 1969
(1 Jan)
4s 6d per lb 1971
(15 Feb)
22½p per lb
(31 Oct)
Last day (except in Scotland) 1975
(17 Aug)
Effective end date in Scotland

Bankers' Special Packets, 1975-1998

The charges below were a flat rate regardless of weight, with no additional fees payable.

Date Rate Date Rate Date Rate Date Rate Date Rate
(18 Aug)
£4.75 1976
(7 Jun)
£6.15 1977
(13 Jun)
£6.90 1979
(20 Aug)
£7.80 1980
(4 Mar)
(26 Jan)
£10.88 1982
(1 Feb)
£12.03 1983
(5 Apr)
£12.39 1998
(11 Oct)
Last day