If you are a veteran or descendant of the Merchant Navy? Royal Mail want your help celebrate their 200th anniversary! Click here for more.This stamp issue looks at 200 years of the British merchant fleet, from the age of sail to the modern bulk carrier and marks the contribution made by the Merchant service. Some famous ships are included such as the Cutty Sark and the Queen Elizabeth. Also featured are Royal Mail Ships, including the renowned Britannia, propelled by both steam and sail, it famously made inaugural voyage for the Cunard line which had the contract to convey the mail.
The stamps show:
1st class - East Indiaman Atlas 1813; Royal Mail Ship Britannia 1840; Tea Clipper Cutty Sark 1870
£1.28 - Cargo Liner Clan Matheson 1919; Royal Mail Ship Queen Elizabeth 1940; Bulk Carrier Lord Hinton 1986.
Update 19 August. We have been told by Royal Mail each stamp is, in fact, printed in separate sheets.
The miniature sheet, titled The Atlantic and Arctic Convoys, focuses on the Merchant Navy’s vital role and sacrifice during the Second World War, when military supplies, foodstuffs and people were transported in large convoys to avoid being sunk by the enemy.
Four black-and-white photographs offer a look at the daily life at sea during this time. 2013 is Year of the Convoys – noting the year when the Battle of the Atlantic reached its height and the German U-boat menace began to be defeated. The mini sheet will be a tribute to the courage of the personnel of the convoys and the harsh conditions and terrifying risks they faced.
The quote on the minisheet, from Winston Churchill, is a chilling reminder of these risks – The only thing ever that really frightened me during the war was the U Boat peril.
UPDATE 2 July
The four 1st class stamps depict:
- Escorting destroyer HMS Vanoc in an Atlantic convoy;
- merchant ship passing the Naval Control Base in the Thames Estuary;
- naval convoy of 24 merchant ships in the North Sea;
- sailors clearing the decks of HMS King George V in Arctic waters.
Stamps printed in lithograhy by Cartor Security Print, 41 x 30 mm in sheets of 60 (2 x 30)
MS by Joh Enschede in lithograhy, 115 x 89 mm with stamps 41 x 30 mm.
A prestige stamp book will be included in this issue. Click on the images to see much larger versions.
Pane 1 contains 4 x 50p and 4 x 5p Machin definitives - we don't know at this stage whether they will have conventional gum or be self-adhesive, but all panes are printed by Enschede, which will mean new stamps with security codes MA13 and MPIL
UPDATE 30 August:
Royal Mail have confirmed that FDCs will be accepted bearing just the 50p, or 5p and 50p stamps from the PSB. (See further down for scan of actual pane)
As you can see Pane 4 has the miniature sheet stamps but with a new background which means that these stamps should be listed individually in the catalogues - and preprinted albums.
There will also be a retail stamp booklet containing 4 x 1st class red Machin definitives, and the 1st class Cutty Sark stamp - and, for the first time, a stamp from a different stamp issue, the 1st class Postal Van from the British Auto Legends issue on 13 August
In case anybody hadn't noticed, this is Royal Mail's 2013 Europa stamp, so the self-adhesive version will be a must-have for all collectors of Europa/CEPT stamps!
Official first day of issue postmarks are available from Tallents House and Clydebank:
There will be many special postmarks for this issue, the first will be added to our webpage soon.
UPDATE 28 August 2013
We can now show details of the retail booklet and the Machin pane in the prestige stamp book. The colours of the Post Van stamp in the retail book are quite different to those on the original MS. As is not uncommon, colour registration on the Walsall-printed booklet is also a bit hit-and-miss!
Royal mail have confirmed that the error affects all production:
"Enschede made a late perforating equipment change – they have two different machines. However, each feeds the sheets in different ways i.e. 180 degrees in opposition. They didn’t consider the impact of the change on the product anddidn’t identify the error during subsequent checking operations. The only ‘fortunate’ part is that all production was affected in this way rather than a small volume."