Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Royal Mail U-Turn - gold medal stamps for Paralympians!

Press Release 15 August 2012

A Gold Medal stamp for each ParalympicsGB individual or team win
  • Following the great success of TeamGB at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Royal Mail has announced it will produce a stamp for each individual or team ParalympicsGB gold medal win
  • This will be the first time ever any host country has issued Gold Medal stamps for their Paralympic winners since the movement was founded in 1948 at Stoke Mandeville Hospital by Dr Ludwig Guttmann
  • The stamps will be on sale at 518 dedicated Post Offices across the UK within five working days of each gold medal win and thereafter at a further 5,000 branches
  • The Gold Medal stamps will be presented for purchase as a sheet of two First Class stamps for £1.20. The sheet carries additional information on the winning athlete or athletes. The stamps can also be bought individually at Post Offices.
  • Royal Mail will also turn one of it historic post boxes gold in the hometown of every ParalympicsGB gold medallist just as it did for TeamGB winners during the Olympic Games
  • The main image of the stamp will, wherever possible, be a photograph of the ParalympicsGB athlete or team from their gold medal winning journey or following their win
  • Royal Mail has a proud history of commemorating the London Olympic Games, having issued 29 gold medal stamps for the London 2012 Olympic Games, as well as four stamps for the 1948 Games bearing the five Olympic Rings.

Royal Mail update  17 August 2012 1610
As advised the logistics of this makes it impossible replicate next morning stamps for so many winners, so instead we will have several issue dates throughout the games and issue the minisheets for all Gold Medal Winners up to that point. Precise details will be confirmed next week. Details will also be shared on early visuals, postmarking, etc.    

In the meantime I can confirm the minisheet size will be exactly half the length of the Olympic Gold Medal sheets i.e. 74mm (h) x 96mm (w) and will feature 2 x 1st class stamps with the margin to the left of the stamps listing the detail of the athlete’s achievement.

30 comments:

  1. Spoof I hope the only person congratulating its sucess is Royal Mail, is it self ! THEY ARE HOPLESS perhaps they should sort out this lot first still waiting 10 days for some A4 sheets which delays my whole production....... !

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    1. I think outside of the philatelic community these stamps have been widely hailed as a triumph. Athletes have mentioned them in BBC interviews, they have had spots in the commentary, and they have been favourably reviewed in papers.

      GB collectors may not like the additional expense, but they choose what they collect at the end of the day.

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  2. Presumably same printers & the same 500+ next day post offices

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  3. Oh great ... more cash to find! And with there be another Compendium (groan!).

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  4. These Olympics are going to get very expensive now. Are the 518 post offices going to be the same as the post offices for the olympic gold stamps?

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    1. No firm news apart from the press release.

      I think it's fair to assume that the distribution within 5 days will be to the same offices, and the later round to 5000-ish offices will also be the same ones.

      That said, given that some of those did not sell their initial allocation which was then redistributed to other offices which had sold out, there may be some re-jigging of the arrangements.

      What I'm more interested in is design, format, and how dealers are going to be supplied, as I am still waiting for two batches (the 2nd and the last) of Olympic stamps!

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  5. Stuart Woodhouse15 August 2012 at 22:46

    The Gb team had 42 gold medal winners in the Beijing Parylympics in 2008 and they are expecting more this time round. If they do achieve a 50% increase like our able bodied participants we could be possibly looking at 60+ miniature sheets at £1.20 each.

    I think the only reason for the Government agreeing to this is the imminant privatising of the Royal Mail. It will make the figures look good to prospective buyers.

    I also hope that the Royal Mail delivers the goods in a more timely manner and that their order packers at Tallents House have realised that 15 full sheets of miniature sheets dont fit into one black 'Smiler' folder. Of 435 sheets purchased I will be sending more than 40 back damaged due to negligent packaging.

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  6. If these are to be in sheets of two why could not the main olympics stamps have been sheets of two rather than six. The cost is prohibitive. For a collector to just get mint stamps and FDCs from Royal Mail for all the Olympics and Paralympics medallists will cost circa £450!
    I for one have decided only to get used singles of the stamps, if any will be available (I have not seen any as yet).
    I also believe this has set a presedent for RM. Look out for individual medal winners stamps for the Glasgow Commenwealth Games in 2014!

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  7. Hurray!!!. At last someone of a similar mind to me. A miniature sheet of two would have been more that addequate to celebrate the undoubted successes of our athletes, but no, RM had to over-egg the pudding and make it an expensive six. I have not bought the first day covers as I feel RM is exploiting the collector and public. I will not be buying the FDCs for the paralympics either for the same reason

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  8. Given that they will be released "within 5 days", collectors have to go to the post office everyday in the hope that a particular issue has arrived...?

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    1. I'm sure more precise information will be forthcoming. Given that this decision was apparently made at the top yesterday afternoon, I think the people at working level will have been working like fury to make it happen ever since!

      One PO branch has already told a customer that they have been told to expect three deliveries of these, presumably spaced about 5 days apart.

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  9. Are they selling FDC of these, if so what is the first day across the UK if they cannot be sure what day they will be on sale?

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  10. Paralympian's won 42 gold medals at Beijing, probably 50+ this time,that's £60.00 to add to the £104.40. I suppose it's helping the Royal mail, but's it's exploiting stamp collector's, they know we have to buy them or the collection won't be complete!!! Why could'nt they just sell single stamps? can you imagine how much the album supplement's will cost next year.

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    1. What part of this did you not read?

      "The Gold Medal stamps will be presented for purchase as a sheet of two First Class stamps for £1.20. The sheet carries additional information on the winning athlete or athletes. The stamps can also be bought individually at Post Offices."

      I've said for a long time that collecting according to pre-printed albums is not only restricting what you collect but doubling the cost - but that is up to collectors.

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  11. Well it's not easy to stop housing your stamp collection in the same pre-printed album that you've used for the last 30 years.And who is to know if Lighthouse will have spaces for the sheet or the single stamp or both?

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    1. Well we already know what Lighthouse are doing for the Olympics, they are giving you the option to influence what they do!

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  12. One Stop Stamp Shop17 August 2012 at 13:51

    Whilst I'm not normally one to defend RM's actions where stamps are concerned, in this case I will do. Reading between the lines it is pretty clear that RM do not actually *want* to do this, but they have had their hand forced by huge pressure from the Political Correctness lobby. It is a huge ask to get these issued, especially as they don't have the same timeframe to plan for this as they did for the Olympic gold medal stamps, and also it's a different format - more sensible yes, but they can't just adapt the template easily.

    In this case I'm afraid, the over-commercialising angle just won't wash - realistically these stamps are unlikely to be anywhere near as popular with the public.

    It's Tessa Jowell, the public and most of all the disabled lobby *want* this, not Royal Mail or stamp collectors! Just remember that you don't have to buy everything that's issued, and again, if you do it will be very easy to obtain sets of singles from dealers such as Ian and myself.

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    1. Thanks, Rob, for this statement. You could add, as well as "not Royal Mail or stamp collectors!" 'not dealers'.

      I'm still waiting for two batches of OGMW stamps from Royal Mail, so it's unlikely that I shall have cut these up for sale as singles before the Paralympic ones arrive. Doh!

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  13. A further statement from Royal Mail has been added to this post.

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  14. Hi Ian, do you know if these will be self adhesive & printed in A4 sheets again??

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    1. Given today's Royal mail statement, I think we can assume there will be 8 of these to an A4 self-adhesive sheet overprinted at least at Swindon and possibly at the other 5 printers.

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  15. Swindon and Edinburgh only would be my guess..

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  16. Lots of RM-bashing here but it's pretty clear that they didn't want to issue all these extra stamps. I had a look at their Facebook page prior to the decision and there were literally hundreds of postings by people saying how "outrageous", "discusting (sic)" etc it was that they weren't honouring the Paralympic winners. The Mumsnet crew love a good bandwagon to jump on so they can feel good about themselves!

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  17. What next -famous conkers champions and cheese rolling winners?

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  18. This year will no doubt go down as the lowest lowpoint (and there have been many) of cynical stamp exploitation by the revenue raisers in RM. Look out for future series of 'Dramatic Episodes of Coronation Street' (series of 10 plus miniature sheet) and 'Famous Fag Packets of History' (with special limited-edition souvenir booklet)

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    1. Nor you. Who do you think is being exploited? If you think that because you feel you have to buy them then YOU are being exploited, then you are extremely foolish. If you bought a new model of your favourite make of car, would you then say you were being exploited because Ford/Vauxhall/Nissan had changed the model? No.

      If you don't like them, don't buy them. If there have been that many low points I am surprised that you are still reading about British stamps, let alone buying them!

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  19. I guess the new issue policy makers at Royal Mail come from the same generation that is obsessed with trivia/celebrity issues coupled with a chronic short attention span that motivates them to rush out new, mostly meaningless 'commemorative' stamps in large overblown sets every couple of weeks or so. I can imagine them scouring the pages of Hello and Now magazines for new ideas. The way things are going we'll have had about as many new issues in this one year as over the first hundred years of GB stamps. And you really can't see a problem here?

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    1. It's a one-off, or a two-off if you like. But, yes, they will probably do it again next time for Rio.

      Your imagination is running riot if you think that Royal Mail will look for inspiration in Hello magazine. I don't even know what 'NOW' is, so I assume you must be a reader or know one?

      Do I see a problem? Yes. I am seriously sympathetic with long-term collectors who have collected every new stamp issued by Royal Mail, because this has been an expensive year. But look out for some good news re the Paralympics on Wednesday. Anybody who wants to can collect just a single stamp of each gold medal winner, buying the miniature sheet is not necessary. But then some people collect every variation of Post & Go (Faststamps), which means buying sets of 36 (6 pictures x 6 values) at £36.12 - and there are at least 3 sets of those this year.

      On the other hand, I do know that the Olympic Gold Medal issue has sparked the interest of some younger people not only in sport but in the stamps. Just how many of those go on to have a life-long interest in stamps is unknown but even a few will be helpful - they will be there when you and I want to sell our collections!

      Some older ex-collectors may also be tempted to take their collections out of retirement. That, too, would be a good thing.

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  20. I very much agree with Ian here. I came back to collecting about 10 years ago after a 15 year break, and yes, very quickly, I realised the cost of collecting all new UK issues would be prohibitive. Therefore, I didn't and have since focused on s/a booklets only. The number of new issues, and particularly the number of stamps and the value of those stamps per issue, is excessive and RM should be very careful in my view or they will alienate ever more collectors.

    However, for me at least, the Olympics stamps are different. It's an exceptional event, it's had a real impact on the mood of the country - and for our hobby, can you remember the last time stamps were so in the news in such a positive way? We should make the most of it.

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