Tuesday 21 September 2010

It's going to be a Cracking Christmas, Gromit!

We can now reveal the worst kept secret, the subject of this year's Christmas stamps!  (Readers of Royal Mail's Philatelic Bulletin may already know the subject, but here are the pictures)

The seven stamps are self-adhesive as usual, with the 1st & 2nd also being available in booklets of 12.

The miniature sheet is conventionally gummed, and also depicts children's favourite, Shaun the Sheep, so good he has his own tv series.

There will also be the usual Smilers Sheet, this time featuring Wallace’s Stamp-O-Matic machine.  To see this, visit our website.

Extract from our webpage to answer Ian's comment:
Royal Mail worked closely with creator Nick Park and the team at Aardman Animations in the genesis of the designs. The approach to the stamps was similar to how Aardman create a film.  First Nick Park drew scenes and visual jokes involving the characters, refi ning the designs to work in miniature. After many such roughs a core of scenes was agreed upon.  When he and Royal Mail were satisfi ed they would reproduce in a very small format, Nick Park created coloured versions of the illustrations which were reduced to stamp size.

Then the Aardman model-makers were brought in to make the illustrations come to life, with Nick Park overseeing production. Each stamp was created like a scene from a film, with models, props and background sets especially constructed. For example, in the 2nd Class stamp design, the lights in the background of the lamp (and on the Christmas tree in the Large 2nd Class design) are real light sources, and the envelope being posted on the 1st Class stamp features a Wallace and Gromit 1st Class stamp.

The scenes were then photographed and Royal Mail formatted the images into stamp designs. 

So what do you think of these? A big seller for Royal Mail, for sure, I would say! Let us know using the Comment link below.


  1. These are smashing!

    Yes likely a huge seller, and I'll have to get the retail books as well I think.

    They would have been better in a proper commemorative size though, rather than the titchy definitive size (which I also think look a bit scraggy in the album on their backing sheet!)

  2. Sorry just an addenum on the last post - I think the last four issues have been really nice by Royal Mail --> railways, medical breakthroughs, pooh and Christmas - lets hope the good work continues into 2011!

  3. Given the volumes printed, it makes sense to produce Christmas stamps - at least the 1st & 2nd class and the Large equivalents - in normal definitive size.

    It also means that the booklets are the same size as normal, which cuts down on production costs and means that they can be displayed at the usual retail outlets like supermarkets.

    But I suppose the airmail values could have been larger.

  4. One of the few saving graces of Royal Mail's ever-more-prolific stamp issuing policy was that it had not stooped so low as to feature cartoon characters, as the USPS has for many years.

    No longer.


  5. Well Larry, we had 'Father Christmas' by Raymond Briggs in 2004, on Children's TV (1996) we had Stingray & Muffin the Mule (puppets), the Clangers*, Dangermouse (cartoon), Sooty (glove puppet).

    The joint issue with the US had book illustrations some of which had also made it to animation (Paddington Bear), and of course we have Winnie-the-Pooh next month.

    * Like W & G, The Clangers were a stop motion animated children's television show.

    Actually, I think you can say that virtually anything that RM comes up with - whether subject or process - they have done it before. I say 'virtualy' because next year there will be at least one more innovation, at least as far as GB stamps are concerned.

  6. Speaking of innovation, what did you think of the "intelligent" feature of the Great British Railway stamps? I was underwhelmed, but it might be just a first step to something more rewarding.


  7. Well Larry, I don;t have a smartphone, but they seem to be the way of the future.

    There is nothing on or sold with the stamps to indicate that the image-recognition app would generate a video, so I'm not sure how anybody finding one of these stamps would know about it.

    For those who don't know what we're referring to, You can see it here - 'RBIT Limited and junaio team-up to create the “Intelligent Stamp” for UK’s Royal Mail' - http://tinyurl.com/38oyyfa

  8. Point taken re: volumes.

    I think that given how moribund Christmas stamps can be, for me this set is exciting.

  9. These would do really well as Christmas cards ...

  10. They're nice but a bit lazy. It can't take much effort to just take existing W&G images and make them postage stamp sized.

  11. As for the Intelligent Stamps thing, I think they must have given up on it already, because I downloaded the junaio app to my iphone and tried it with the appropriate stamps, but nothing happens, and there's no mention of it on the developer's site as far as I can see.

  12. @Ian I'm fairly sure they are specially commissioned scenes for the designs, rather than existing images.

  13. @Ian - John I correct, see extract from our webpage now added above in blue.


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