Thursday, 13 July 2017

300 years of Freemasonry Royal Mail Commemorative Sheet sold only by Isle of Man Post?

This year marks 300 years of Freemasonry in the United Kingdom, and although the national organisation approached Royal Mail a few years ago to have the anniversary marked in the 2017 stamp programme, this has not happened. 

So what do we have here?


It's a Royal Mail commemorative sheet containing 10 x 1st class Lion England Country Definitive stamps, with attached labels depicting the collar jewels of the senior officers inside the Lodge and geometric Masonic patterns, with coded references to places important in masonry and the charitable works supported by Freemasons.


So is this an addition to the Royal Mail programme?  Apparently not as it is only (so far) being sold by Isle of Man Post, and it is described on their website as
These special stamps can be used for mailing within the UK, but they are also the perfect way for a Mason to show how proud he is of his craft - they are beautifully designed and can be framed as a gift for special events, Installations, Ladies Nights or as a gift for visiting Lodges.
Each sheet is presented in a descriptive album containing a certificate of authenticity and includes a pristine set of Freemasonry 300 stamps with a detailed explanation of the many visible and hidden design elements contained within a stamp area of no more than 40mm square, a truly impressive Tercentenary 300 commemorative piece.

The folder - produced in a limited edition of 750 - contains a set of stamps* which can be used for postage in the Isle of Man, and a sheet of stamps which cannot.  Why did IoM Post not produce a commemorative sheet with their own stamps on?  Obviously because they thought that collectors of Great Britain commemorative sheets would want to have this one, even though they also get Isle of Man stamps as well, and the whole thing costs £45!  *These are also available separately.

As far as we know Royal Mail will not be selling this sheet at all.  Not one for me!

Update 25 July:
I received an email from Isle of Man stamps promoting this issue so questioned them as to why they didn't use their own stamps.  This was the reply:
We commissioned the sheet to allow us to offer a meaningful double cancel cover for the 300th anniversary. We have been working with The Masonic Philatelic Club.
So this has been inspired by the Club - whose members have paid dearly for it!  I hope they are all content.  It is very specialist so I suppose it would have sold quite well: similar ventures on behalf of non-specialist societies don't always achieve the desired results.

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