Sunday, January 13, 2013

Canadian ATM Stamp Vending Kiosks : 2012 - 2013

On December 12, 2012, Canada Post began operating Wincor Nixdorf stamp vending kiosks in Vancouver, London and  at three Toronto corporate post offices in the financial district on a trial basis. Kiosks were subsequently  introduced at over 20 locations from Vancouver to Montreal. The trial ended in August, 2013.

The machine dispensed self-adhesive label stamps for the basic letter rates, domestic, U.S. and international, as well as stamps for oversize letters and parcel labels. The kiosk system calculated the postage for letters and parcels with the integrated scale in the side car.

Wincor Nixdorf stamp dispensed from self-serve kiosk 
Denomination and bar code printed on pre-printed label with artwork

Similar machines have been in use world-wide for several years. Collectors commonly refer to these label stamps as  ATM stamps for the German abbreviation "Automatenmarken", and not for Automated Teller Machine.

Station B, Toronto, kiosk installed late January, 2013
The original kiosk at Station B, Toronto, was replaced by this model in late January, 2013.

The following notice was published by Canada Post on its Facebook page on January 15, 2013:
Did you know—Canada Post is introducing self-serve kiosks throughout Canada. Users can purchase pre-printed stamps and choose their rate of postage (domestic, U.S., oversized and International). The stamp image, shown here, is pre-printed with secure fluorescent ink on label stock, with the kiosk printing a 2D barcode and a postage amount that can be read by Canada Post cancelling and sorting equipment. Currently, kiosks can be found in Toronto at the Adelaide Post office, 31 Adelaide St E; Station B, 119 Spadina Ave; and The Toronto Dominion Building, 52B - 66 Wellington St W. Find them in London at 387 Wellington Rd. and in Vancouver at 349 West Georgia St. (Main); The Bentall Centre, 595 Burrard Street, and in London Drug Stores at 710 Granville St. and 525 West Broadway. Watch this page for news of more to come as well as details on the OFDC.


a) December 12, 2012 -January 13, 2013

Stamps shown below were purchased at the Toronto-Dominion Centre post office, Friday, January 10, 2013.


100g ≤ 200g domestic letter $2.10

400g ≤ 500g domestic letter $3.65

A total of nine different denominations was available.


First Day Cover

On March 5, 2013, Canada Post released its Kiosk postage label Official First Day Cover, priced at $1.61 each. The 61 cent domestic letter rate denomination was the only label affixed to the cover.



 Unique 2D Bar Code Identifier 

The Bar Code identifier may be the most significant aspect of the kiosk stamp label trials. Canada Post is the owner of a patent  issued on April 22, 2008, involving bar code identifiers on postage stamps (Unique identifier bar code on stamps and apparatus and method for monitoring stamp usage with identifier bar codes ) . 

According to the patent, the embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
 A postage stamp for general circulation comprising;

a first area containing postage stamp artwork; and
a second area containing a unique identifier bar code allowing individual identification of the postage stamp. 

Patent Drawings

Canada Post has not revealed the information embodied in the bar codes but it can be assumed that it includes an identification number for the stamp, date and location of printing, and denomination.

Kiosk stamp 2D Bar Code Identifier


On Friday  January 10, 2012, I deposited four covers stamped with the kiosk labels in the mail box next to the kiosk at the Toronto-Dominion Corporate Station. The results were disappointing especially when the original basic set of three stamps is selling for $100+ on eBay.

The resulting markings or lack thereof are likely related to the 2D bar code information.

Canada Rate

Neither cover was machined-cancelled. Postal employees marked the labels with a pen stroke (Cover 1) and a porelon cancel (Cover 2).

Cover 1

The only indication that Cover 1 was handled by Canada Post is the stroke of the ball point pen on the label. Unfortunately there are no other markings.

Canada Post ball-point pen marking

Cover 2  was culled and a postal employee used a porelon roller to mark the label. The back of  Cover 2 was sprayed with the familiar Visual Encoder System (VES) orange bars above the base of  the envelopes. The VES  keeps track of envelopes as it makes their way through the processing equipment. 

Cover 2

Porelon cancel

 VES bars on the back of Cover 2

Unfortunately the VES bars were not applied at the Toronto Mail Processing Plant on January 10, the date of mailing, but on Monday January 14, the day domestic letter rates had increased to 63 cents.

JA 14 M
VES bar code date

U.S. Rate

To show this rate I mailed a letter (Cover 3) to General Delivery, San Juan, Puerto Rico, a destination to  which the U.S. letter rate of $1.05 applied.

 A dated machine cancellation was not applied. Instead, the letter was culled and a porelon roller was used to mark the kiosk label

Cover 3

However there was a bit of success. The Toronto Mail Processing Plant VES bar code date on the back was applied on Saturday, January 11, when the rate was still $1.05.

JA 11 M
VES bar code date (traced over)

International Rate

My fourth cover was addressed to Poste Restante, Brussels, Belgium and was returned in July, 2013. An ink-jet cancel was sprayed-on the Kiosk stamp but it is not possible to male out the date. The cancel may have been applied when the letter was returned to Canada.

Cover 4

 The VES bar code was date January 11, 2013, the day I mailed the letter.

My objective in mailing the covers on January 11 was to have evidence that the four Kiosk-label franked letters were cancelled before letter rates increased on Monday, January 14, 2013. I was only partially successful.

b) From January 14, 2013

Labels with new denominations were printed starting January 14, 2013 when the letter rates increased.

Basic Letter Rates
 63c Domestic Letter Rate

 $1.10 U.S. Letter Rate

 $1.85 International Letter Rate

Parcel Label

Th machine prints a standard parcel label which is the same as a label printed at a counter.

1.36 kg Toronto local parcel

The label indicates that it was printed at Kiosk V1.6

Parcel Label Receipt

Strips March, 2013

At first, individual labels were printed but in March 2013 multiples were printed in strip format.

a) Same Denomination

b) Different Denominations


The Mailomat

The 2012-2013 Wincor Nixdorf machine trials is not the first time the Canadian post office has looked into self-serve kiosks. In 1938, Canada Post Office introduced a coin-operated postage meter machine for public use manufactured by the Pitney-Bowes Postage Meter Company. The "Mailomat"  was first introduced in Canada, on an experimental basis, in the lobby of the Toronto post office in 1938.

The Mailomat made one operation of purchasing postage and mailing letters. The customer simply dropped money in the coin slot, dialed the correct postage denomination, and inserted the letter in a slot. The machine printed a meter stamp containing the date of the mailing, and held the letter until it was collected by postal workers.

Toronto 1938

First Day of Operation

Toronto to Stamford, September 21, 1938
3 cents U.S. surface letter rate

Ottawa 1944

The next experimental operation was at the Ottawa Station B post office.

(The Billboard, February 26, 1944)

First Day

Ottawa to Kansas City, February 3, 1944
4 cents surface letter rate to the United States



A second Ottawa cover:

Ottawa to Memphis, February 26, 1944
4 cents surface letter rate to the United States

Toronto CNE 1947

A Mailomat machine was operated at Toronto's 1947 CNE.

Toronto to Rochester, September 2, 1947
3 cents surface post card rate to the United States

Front of Post Card made available to patrons

Canadian Postage Meters Ltd. envelope
Toronto to Hamilton, August 26, 1943