When Jessica Ennis won the Women's Heptathlon Gold Medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Royal Mail issued this stamp, one of 6 gold won on Super Saturday, 4 August 2012.
I kept this blog updated with the images as they were placed on Royal Mail's Image Library, usually within an hour of the medal being won. According to BBC Sport's website, the Modern Heptathlon was scheduled to finish around 21.02. The image above is from that library - it is still there, I have just looked at it again.
The images were made available to Royal Mail's six regional printers at about the same time, so that printing could commence as soon as possible. The stamps were printed and (as I reported at the time) available in selected post office branches by 11.30 am on Sunday morning.
How is it then that two panes (12 stamps) with a totally different image were "Purchased from a Post Office in the the Midlands", as reported by Brandon Auctions who are now offering this for £475 each:
This stamp uses an image from the Istanbul IAAF World Athletics Series earlier in the year.
If the stamp was indeed purchased at a Post Office there ought to be, as Brandon suggests, another 12 out there as they were printed in sheets of 24. And if one sheet was printed, then many others should have been. What seems more likely is that this is another trial, an example of "printers' waste" which should never have escaped from the factory. Conceivably such a sheet could have been mixed up with those printed overnight on 4/5 August, but it seems more likely that this has been hidden away for 18 months and that somebody is now trying to pass it off as having been legitimately sold at a post office.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM ROYAL MAIL
“This is not an
official Royal Mail stamp but was part of the testing done with printers
some months before the London Olympics. All printers were under
instruction to destroy such printed
items and we do not have any knowledge as to how the example came to be
on the auction site. However, as this example is Royal Mail property
and never intended for sale it has been removed from the auction site.”
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