RED letter boxes are seen as a beloved British cultural icon.
And some people are only just realising what the GR and ER symbols that are commonly printed on the base mean.
Post boxes have always featured a subtle nod to the Queen or Monarch of the time, and it’s all down to the letters found on the front of the post box.
The letters are called the “Royal Cypher” and they give any eagle-eyed onlookers a subtle clue as to when the post box was erected.
If you find a postbox that has the letters “ER” on then you can usually tell it is from within the past 70 years.
The Queen took to the throne in 1952 so any new post boxes will have been installed with these initials.
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They stand for Elizabeth, Regina which was the late monarch’s name as well as the word “Queen” in Latin.
Similarly, you can tell that a “GR” post box was put up during the era of King George V, from 1910 to 1936, while “GR VI” boxes were from the reign of George VI, from 1936 to 1952.
The G stands for George, and the R stands for Rex, which is King in Latin.
So if the post box in your village sports these letters you know that it’s been standing proudly since before the 1950s.
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Royal fans who have just learned of the news have said their minds are blown.
One wrote on Facebook: “My youngest was absolutely fascinated by this and we've been out spotting them.
“We have a Victorian one that we are going to go visit.”
Another added: “Really interesting – thank you! I think this has to be the best post I have ever seen on here!”
Letter boxes have been in use since 1852, around 12 years after the first stamps were in circulation.
Red became the standard colour in 1874, although it would take a decade before they could fully repaint every existing box.
But what will happen now King Charles III is on the throne?
Now the Queen has passed, stamps and coins with her image are being replaced – but the same can't be said for post boxes.
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That’s because they’ve stood the test of time, despite monarchs coming and going throughout the years.
So unlike notes, coins or stamps, it doesn’t matter that King Charles has now taken over – the existing post boxes won’t be replaced.
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