Saturday, 12 September 2015

The Force Awakens -- and brings you Star Wars stamps on 20 October 2015.

At long last we can plug the gap in this year's stamp programme and tell you that on October 20th a set of special stamps and miniature sheet are to be released to celebrate Star Wars ahead of the release of the latest movie.
 
The 18 stamps will include nine iconic characters from the previous films including Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Darth Vader.  Three characters from the seventh episode, Star Wars: The Force Awakens [Trailer], will also be featured on the stamps, which are due to be issued on October 20.





The stamps are illustrated by British artist Malcolm Tween, who has produced illustrations for Star Wars posters - see Tumblr

The font used to indicate the value, for example '1st', will replicate that of the iconic typeface used for the films.

Also being issued is a miniature sheet of six stamps featuring intricately detailed illustrations of six iconic Star Wars vehicles, brought together against a backdrop of the Death Star.

For further information, see www.royalmail.com/starwars

As we haven't had a prestige stamp book at Stampex it's possible that this issue may include one.
A Prestige Stamp Book will be issued on 17 December 2015 - more details awaited.


UPDATE:

Royal Mail have provided this information which may placate some of the critics who think that this is only about supporting a US film franchise.  I'm not arguing one war or another - although I do think that it is over the top in terms of quantity.

The series began in 1977 and so far there have been two trilogies of movies. December 2015 will see the theatrical release of the Episode 7 - The Force Awakens, which has been filmed at Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire, using British expertise in cast and crew, and the two further episodes in this final trilogy will be filmed in the UK.

The producers of the new movies decided to return to a British studio and crew whose expertise and
professionalism contributed to the success of the earlier films. The new film, The Force Awakens, will reunite the three US principle actors from the original trilogy, reprising their iconic roles, as well as the robots R2-D2 and C-3PO and the alien Chewbacca. New characters will be introduced, many of which are played by British actors and include Daisy Ridley and John Boyega (both cast as leads).


From the very beginning British talent has featured strongly among both the acting and production talent including David Prowse, Darth Vadar; Alec Guiness and Ewan McGregor, Obi Wan Kenobi; Anthony Daniels, C3PO; Kenny Baker, R2D2; Iain McDairmid, Emperor Palpatine; Christopher Lee, Count Doku; Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca; and many others including Liam Neeson, Peter Cushing and Terence Stamp. The British connection also extends behind the camera with world leading British talent and from Costume to Special Effects.


Disney’s decision to base production in the UK is a major contributor to the British Film Industry. Not only is it providing employment and exposure for British acting talent, it also employs the British technical expertise of Pinewood studios from set design and cinematography to costume design. In the field of digital special effects, London is already a world centre, and the effects for the new Star Wars film have been created by the London office of Industrial Light and Magic (Lucasfilm’s effects company).


The UK is the third largest market in the world for the Star Wars films, and the new stamps both reflect the passion of the British public for the movies, and celebrate the major British contribution to the film series and the global success of the British film industry.


All the stamps will be shown on our website - although you can see them at the Royal Mail link above.  Meanwhile here are some more images, in case their site crashes!


Additional Products include a Generic Smilers Sheet.  Each of the stamps also enters the Smilers programme and is available for personalisation.


The Prestige Book which I anticipated but did not know about, will be issued on December 17th and cost nearly £17.  More details on that when we have them.  As you see from the title - The Making of Star Wars The British Story - the emphasis is very much NOT on the USA!



28 comments:

  1. Come on Ian, we've had three prestige books already this year! Surely EIGHTEEN stamps are enough? Could this be the set that finally persuades hesitant collectors to throw in the towel?

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  2. Seriously? 18 stamps for a single American film franchise? If ever I needed confirmation that I did the right thing by ceasing to collect British stamps, this set is it. It represents nothing but pure greed on the part of Royal Mail. This week has seen an elegant intaglio issue for the longest reign of Queen Elizabeth and now this announcement!

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  3. Royal Mail has finally turned to the Dark Side. A blatant promotional issue with 12 (!) first class stamps and a mini-sheet with a further eight stamps. The Doctor Who tie-in at least marked a key anniversary. This is just a huge advert for the new film.

    Don't get me wrong, though. I actually like the design of the stamps. I just question the ethics of it, that's all ...

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  4. There is a prestige booklet on the RM website. Due for issue on 17 Dec to coincide with film release. Lots of tat to collect by the looks of it as the licencing rights will have to be milked to get some form of payback. RM is starting to rival the Trucial States!!

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    1. Are you sure about prestige booklet? I can't see it as a separate item, only as a part of Millenium Falcon Bundle which is bizarre £63.

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    2. Yes.

      The PSB will be available on 17 December as a separate item priced at just under £17.

      And the bundles all bring 10% discount on buying the items separately I believe.

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  5. I stopped collecting GB (everything) because of cost 2 years ago. I really like these so much so that I might start collecting (some) issues again. My son and grand kids will love them and they may just be the thing I have been looking for to get them to take an interest in stamps and collecting. We all have different tastes and reasons for collecting and as ever choice. Purchase is not compulsory so, if you don't like them or the reasons/ethics for issuing them, vote with your feet as I did 2 years ago, and don't buy them.May the Force be with You.

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  6. As with any issue there are those who will like them and others who don’t. Royal Mail is a commercial business, so the choice of Star Wars is not that surprising given the vast amount of involvement from companies around the UK.

    Royal Mail will no doubt view this as a money spinner; they have taken a sensible approach in splitting the date of issue of the set/Miniature sheet/Smilers sheet, and the various single value packs which they are advertising on the link above, from that of the Prestige Book by nearly two months.

    The cynic may say that they have done that for the Christmas sales, and there must be some truth to that. However this like the Doctor Who stamps will have an appeal beyond the philatelic community greater than most issues, and introduce them to the hobby that we have chosen, can you remember the set that sparked your interest?

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  7. So, they gave up doing Europa this year for the film!?

    Surely, the film/stamps should have been released on May the Fourth (be with you)

    As for collecting - encourage penfriendship and correspondence - without post/snailmail there'd be no new stamps. Some people might think mint stamp collecting is just glorified sticker collecting.

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    1. There is a loose connection with this year Europa with images on the stamps and the action figure from the films

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  8. The Prestige Book label pane looks interesting with four Union flag, 2x2nd class and 2x1st class (shown as being red)
    http://shop.royalmail.com/star-wars/star-wars-book-standard-first-day-cover-for-uk-addresses/invt/20150425

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    1. I like the Union Jack stamp included in the Star Wars context. The Empire Strikes Back?

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  9. Like I say a good many times GB Commemoratives are not worth the paper there printed on. Collect if you like , But for investment purposes not worth it. Commems from years ago used in everyday postage from dealers. Presentation packs split up and gastly fdc's cut up and presented in bundles at stamp fairs.
    Royal Mail Money Misers.

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  10. I see that Jeremy Corbyn already has a stamp to himself. Didn't take long. Curiously, the post office seems to refer to him as Obi-wan Kenobe. (OK, this only works with the small blurry image on the Norphil website and is less convincing with the better resolution image on the post office website)

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    1. I was tempted to disallow this as too political but having looked again at the picture I concede you have a point!

      Better images are on the website > http://www.norphil.co.uk/2015/10a_Star_Wars_Stamps.htm

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  11. 18 First Class stamps. Not a second class stamp to be seen. The Royal Mail have stated in the past that they would include more 2nd Class stamps in new issues. Surely this was an ideal opportunity.Also if there is a 2nd class stamp in the new issue it can be used to obtain the sponsored postmark (s) that are issued when new stamps are released. This would have at least kept this postmark collectors costs down. Any comment Royal Mail re 'No 2nd class stamp(s)' Geoff www.gbcovercollector.co.uk

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  12. Re the prestige book: if it contains all 18 1st-class stamps plus the mixed definitive pane of 6 x 1st + 2 x 2nd + the usual 95p psb surcharge, that comes to £17.15. RM advertises the book at £16.99 - does this mean they are giving us a discount on the premium to keep the price down under the psychological £17 barrier?

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    1. Interesting question - I hadn't done the maths. I'll know more tomorrow.

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  13. This issue is nothing more than a crass attempt to get money from non-collectors. Whatever happened to British stamps commemorating British events? The Doctor Who issue was excessive and clearly aimed at the non-collector - but at least Doctor Who is British. Star Wars is American and should have no place on British stamps. Some of the actors, etc. that are mentioned may be worthy of commemoration - but do so for their entire body of work, not for a set of American films.

    How is it that Her Majesty is only worthy of one miniature sheet - and this gets a larger miniature sheet and a set of 10 stamps?

    Bill in Canada

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    1. Thanks for your comment Bill, I'm sure the people at Royal Mail will be interested in comments made despite the clear statement of rationale up there (in italics). Not just the actors - unlike Canada we don't honour them until they are dead - but the whole body of film-making.

      One of my contacts at Royal Mail read these comments with interest, and remarked how diverse they are from "Royal Mail has finally turned to the Dark Side. A blatant promotional issue " to "I stopped collecting GB because of cost.... I really like these so ... I might start collecting (some) issues again. "

      And it's a MS and 12 stamps. When people make simple mistakes like this I wonder whether they have really read everything before bursting into comment? (Something I've been guilty of in the past.)

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  14. Just seen these in the flesh briefly in my local PO as the counter clerk was sorting them out (and of course going into the safe for another 3 weeks). Two sheets of each of the 1st class sheets of 30, plus 1(!) MS. I'd expect them all to go inside the first day and be back to issuing Machins by the day after.

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  15. I was just perusing the ‘Star Wars’ edition of First, on page 10 there I reference to a limited edition collectors Prestige stamp book in addition to the previously announced one.

    No doubt something for the pitchfork brigade to get up in arms about, I wonder what surprises this one will hold, now where did I leave my pitchfork.

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    1. At £120, I can do without it
      http://shop.royalmail.com/star-wars/star-wars-prestige-stamp-book-limited-edition/invt/20150414

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  16. Hopefully there's no chance that the £120 "Prestige Stamp Book - Limited Edition" will include different stamp designs or eg technical differences eg perfs or gum?

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    1. Not as such, although the miniature sheet stamps are split over 2 panes, so they area very different printing. Otherwise I believe the technical details are all the same.

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  17. Thanks Ian. Let's hope Lighthouse don't find any reason to include them then!!

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  18. I think it is interesting that no-one has made a comment about the foreign currency earnings potential of this issue.Call me cynical if you like, but I bet that this aspect has not passed by the Royal Mail bean-counters, and might have had some influence on the choice of subject !

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  19. This might be a bit late to the party, but of interest
    http://www.royalmail.com/starwars-video-2

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