Royal Mail’s historic next day Gold Medal stamps, which will recognise the achievements of every Team GB win at the London 2012 Olympic Games, are all set for production. (See earlier report and stamp design etc.)
Walsall Security Print has produced the self-adhesive base sheets for these extra special stamps ready for the London 2012 Games, held from 27th July to 12th August.
These show common details for all the stamps, but leave blank the space for the image of the athletes and text details including the name of the athlete and event.
The sheets will be distributed to six regional printers in secret locations, selected to ensure speedy distribution to the 500 Post Office branches which will have the stamps on sale by noon – on Sundays if necessary - following each gold medal win.
Royal Mail has teamed up with photo agency Getty - the Olympic Games’ Official Photographic Agency - who, when each Team GB athlete wins gold or team gold, will send a selection of the best images to Royal Mail’s design team.
The team will have just one hour to review all the images sent, locate the most fitting and atmospheric image, crop and if necessary refine the photo, add the name of the winning athlete or athletes and the event and then position it within the templated design of the six-stamp miniature sheet.
The border of each miniature sheet will also feature the athlete’s name as well as the date of medal win and the venue of the winning event.
Once the printers receive the artwork file from Royal Mail, they will then digitally overprint the athlete’s image, name and the winning event.
The finished sheets will be collected from the printers by a fleet of 90 Royal Mail vehicles for distribution to the Post Office branches the following morning. The stamps will be on sale by noon at these Post Offices. An additional 4500 Post Offices will receive the Gold Medal stamps within a week.
Details of the 500 Post Offices will be announced later this month.
Comment: when Royal Mail wrote that "they will then digitally overprint the athlete’s image" they referred to the way the image is transmitted; the base sheets, and the overprint are both litho printed.