Monday 19 November 2012

Gold Medal Winners Stamps, the printers revealed

From a Royal Mail press release:


"The base sheets had been pre-printed by Walsall Security Printers* and all printing facilities were managed by St Ives Management Services. The six printers utilised included:

  • Aquatint bsc, Wimbledon, London
  • Acorn Press, Swindon, Wiltshire
  • Breckland Print (Colchester Print Group), Attleborough, Norfolk
  • Crescent Press, Solihull, West Midlands
  • Allander Print, Edinburgh
  • B and D Print Services Limited, Leyland, Lancashire**

"Following their production, a fleet of almost one hundred Royal Mail Sameday vehicles were ready and waiting to deliver them to the thousands of staff at more than 500 Post Offices, along with additional assistance from A to Z Couriers. The Post offices also opened on Sundays to sell stamps from Saturday’s medal wins.

"A memorable aspect of the Gold Medal Stamps programme was the presentation of special enlargements of the stamps to the respective gold medal winning athletes. This was made possible by a team of staff working around the clock at Indusfoto, London, Loxley Colour in Glasgow and Freshwater UK in Cardiff."

* As previously stated litho printing for Walsall is undertaken by their French subsdiary, Cartor. 
** Identified on the stamp sheets as 'Preston'.


  1. Regarding Ian's first * item, I may need to clarify a potential mistake in a posting that I made a few weeks ago, although I have struggled to find the posting in question.

    In 2009, Walsall's MD told me that they no longer had SHEET FED litho capacity, only WEB litho capacity. I believe that I may have stated that WSP currently has NO litho capacity. If so, then I was momentarily confused!

    The MDs precise wording, as seen and approved by him prior to publication in the British Philatelic Bulletin in 2009, read: "Until recently, work was allocated between plants on the basis of capacity, whereas now Cartor will undertake sheet-fed litho work (the smaller print runs), and WSP the web-fed gravure and web litho orders. A reallocation of presses reflects this strategic change within the Group."

    Regular readers to this Blog will recall that one of the previously "secret" printers wrote here that they had received their stock of base sheets from France. That entry has subsequently been removed at the request of its author. So, purely on that (removed) Blog entry alone it is clear that Cartor did indeed print the base stock using sheet fed litho and that Walsall did not use its web litho capacity.

    As the overprinting was all destined to be printed on sheet-fed litho presses (see the Royal Mail imagery released to the press at the time of the Games to prove this), I guess that it would make sense to have the base stock printed on a sheet fed press as well.

    1. Thanks for the clarification, Glenn.

      In a sense that makes it more difficult, doesn't it. Although many of us can tell the difference between modern litho and gravure, identifying sheet-fed from web-fed on the finished, trimmed product is a lot more diffuclt.

      I guess we will just have to accept it when Royal Mail tell us that printing was by Cartor, or Walsall - unless you know otherwise!

    2. Indeed, Ian, especially as modern sheet-fed paper starts its life as a roll at the paper converters! Alternatively, where a web roll is used on press it is automatically sheeted at the delivery end of the press. My knowledge does not extend to knowing if verification either way is feasible simply by examining the purchased counter sheet.

      In this particular instance, I imagine that Royal Mail would be especially loathed to state publicly that the TeamGB and ParalympicsGB stamps appear to have started their lives in France!

    3. Glenn, so many of our stamps have been printed in France that the Daily M--- would have a field day if they knew. Weren't some of the remembrance stamps printed in France ?


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