ROYAL MAIL MARKS HISTORIC MOMENTS WITH NATIONAL POSTMARKS
In the run up to festive period, Royal Mail will be printing special postmarks on letters and parcels (sic) to commemorate the 170th anniversaries of ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens and the first Christmas card ever sent. The first postmark will read
‘1843 – 2013 Celebrating 170 years of A Christmas Carol’.
‘A Christmas Carol’ was first published on Tuesday 17th December 1843. Set in Victorian London during the 19th Century and telling the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the book initially sold six thousand copies when it was first released.
This slogan will be used on mail delivered from 17 December, ie postmarked 16 December onwards. Examples are now to hand:
1. The test print shown by Royal Mail via twitter
2. Chester + N Wales 16 December, and Bath Bristol Taunton 17 December
3. SE Wales 16 December, North + West Yorkshire 17 December (they've stopped using the Christmas competition finalist at last!)
Used on a square card at South East Anglia, in reverse format:
A second slogan postmark will mark the 170th anniversary of the first Christmas Card.
The postmark, which will be printed on postmarked mail delivered from December 21st to December 24th, will read
‘1843-2013 Celebrating 170th anniversary of the first Christmas card sent’.
(Image from British Postal Museum and Archive ©)
In 1843, Sir Henry Cole, a lifelong civil servant, commissioned the first Christmas card. Three years earlier, he played a key role in helping introducing Royal Mail’s Penny Post service.
Only 1,000 of these cards were printed and sold for a shilling each – this meant that they were a luxury item and were not within the means of the working class.
Royal Mail will also be helping customers to post in time for Christmas with postmarks featuring this year’s last recommended posting dates. They are:
Second Class – Wednesday 18th December
First Class - Friday 20th December
Special Delivery - Monday 23rd December
Update 20 December: This one used at South East Anglia Mail Centre (12.12.13) shows 1st and 2nd class dates -
Later ones showed only 1st class date (Romford Mail Centre 18 December) -
But they were busy at SE Anglia as they also pressed this old machine and slogan into service: A card makes everyones Christmas (3 XII 2013)