Tuesday 10 November 2015

Royal Mail's 2016 Stamp Programme Announced At Last

Some six weeks later than usual, Royal Mail have today announced their stamp issue programme for 2016. It includes a Major Royal event is the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and a Royal Mail Anniversary which will have some collectors puzzled - but all will be revealed in due course!

You may notice some changes from what was originally listed here.  That is because we were incorrectly told that all the information, including working titles for two issues, was for public release when in fact those two working titles were not for release.  I have agreed, therefore, to remove the references from the list, and from the comments.  This means that some comments by other people have been edited: this can only be with a new timestamp when the change is made, so some of those comments may now appear out of sequence, or not at all.  I apologise to the readers effected, and assure you that these are the only circumstances in which I would change something that somebody else has left as a comment.

Now edited according to the actual printed programme that has been distributed to customers and dealers.  Royal Mail have apologised for giving us incorrect information originally. 
Re-edited to reflect changes made since the printed programme was 'finalised'.

2016 Programme

7 January
Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition

12 January
Duke of Ediinburgh Awards 60th Ann
Com Sheet (date changed)
17 February
Royal Mail 500 set and MS

Post+Go Royal Mail Heritage
18 February
175th Ann of Penny Red Generic Sheet and Royal Mail Heritage PSB
and 1d red Retail booklet
15 March
British Humanitarians
Mix of values
New definitives for tariff change

5 April
William Shakespeare (400th Ann of his Death)
10 x 1st class
21 April
HM The Queen's 90th Birthday
including MS, PSB & RB
25 April
ANZAC - World War I
Commemorative Sheet
17 May
Animail MS
(not a typo, actual title)
28 May
New York 2016 FIP Exhibition
Exhibition sheet
21 June
First World War - 1916
Including PSB
7 July
Music Giants: Pink Floyd

28 July
Beatrix Potter
including PSB & RB
16 August
Landscape Gardens
includes 2nd class
2 September
Great Fire of London

14 September
Post+Go Ladybirds

15 September
Agatha Christie

14 October
Battle of Hastings 950 years
Commemorative Sheet
20 October

8 November

14 November
Post+Go Hibernating Animals
Likely to be 4 designs only
15 November
Lunar New Year of the Rooster
Generic Sheet

Yes there are some familiar faces there, with all the literary notables - Shakespeare, Potter and Christie - having been the subject of previous stamp issues or prestige books. 

Royal Mail 500 marks the creation of the original Royal Mail.  The 'The King’s Posts' - the first national postal service - was set up by King Henry VIII in 1516.   Readers will recall that 1985 marked the 350th anniversary of the Royal Mail Public Postal Service (SG 1290-3), and before that one of the earliest commemoratives of the present reign in 1960 marked the Tercentenary of the General Letter Office.  So in the space of 56 years we have marked the 300th, 350th, and 500th anniversaries!


  1. What ever happened to the promise from the Royal Mail of only one set up stamps per month?

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Humanitarians must include Nicholas Winton - that stamp has already been agreed by Royal Mail, subject to discussion with any interested parties (eg family).

  3. Do you think the theme for 2016 Europa "Ecology in Europe - Think Green" could be sneaked into Landscape Gardens. I was disappointed there was no Europa issue this year.

    1. When the winning design for next year was announced (see http://blog.norphil.co.uk/2015/05/will-this-be-design-of-royal-mails-2016.html) I showed it to Royal Mail managers at Stampex and the response was that there was no way that THAT design will feature as one of Royal Mail's stamps.

      In some ways I am pleased that Royal Mail have stopped issuing Europa stamps. Most of them in recent years had such a tenuous connection to the PostEurop subject that it can only be good that they stopped!

    2. I remember the discussion here about the musical instruments theme and it appearing in the seaside architecture issue with a band in a bandstand! For 2017-8, there is plenty of choice in the UK for castles and bridges - perhaps there's a significant anniversary associated with them (or their architects/owners...) for them to easily appear.
      My main interest in stamps is for postage (yes, I still write & send letters mostly to overseas), but I do have a stamp collection of sorts. When I said to my now retired sub-postmaster about collecting themes I am interested in anyway, he said it was better to go for Europa (perhaps easier to sell a Europa collection than stamps on a theme).

  4. I'm ending my main new GB issue collection with 2015. Yes the 2016 programme is far too much again and confirms the decision for me! Costs far too much money now to be viable or sensible. Sticking to prestige books, generic smilers and pictorial post & gos from now on.

  5. Re: number of comments, I thought that with Norvic''s last post on Post and Gos - no comments. Personally I blame the military museums for the P& G situation becoming untenable

    1. I don't believe it is the initiative of the Museums, there can't be that much profit in it for them. Royal Mail will make far more money especially if they are never used for postage. I think Royal Mail needs to have more individually relevant issues rather than a new stamp across all the museums. In any event Trafalgar and Poppy will not be new issues next year unless they change the stamps.

      John embrey

  6. Just received a letter from Jersey Post, detailing next year’s issue. Their autumn Stampex issue is entitled beetles, linking to Royal Mail’s Ladybirds will Guernsey & Gibraltar follow suit with a similar issue? The Spring Stampex issue is the Jersey Crest.

    1. The issue is identified as Lady Birds. Two discrete words which leads me to believe that the issue is nothing to do with beetles.

  7. Bit overkill with the 2016 programme, nothing exiting sticks out apart from the Great Fire of London. I reckon 2 of those issues are just a miniature sheet cover a) Royal Mail 500 Years and b) probably The Great Fire of London since August/September are looking pretty busy. The October issue could be Star Trek been 50 years in the making next year, than again its not exactly British. Animail could be interesting unless its an error it should read Animal.

    British TV sitcoms didn't even get a look in for 2016 with the 50th anniversary of Dad's Army, that would have been a great stamp set with some great classics, Steptoe & Son, Are You Been Served, Porridge thrown in, etc etc etc the list is endless.

  8. Ooh er! As most stamp collectors are old people Royal Mail will have to rely on our increasing short-term memory loss in the hope that we will forget what we know. I can't remember a thing already.

    But are we allowed to speculate?

    1. Oh, of course: we can speculate on which Musical Greats might be included in the summer issue, and what film, etc, will be the subject of the October issue. I decided it can't be a book because there are just too many literary subjects in 2016 already!

    2. Since we had albums as the focus of the last music set, perhaps the 2016 one will be based on singles. You could have the following British acts featured as number ones from 1966 (50 year anniversary) Spencer Davis Group, Dusty Springfield, Manfred Mann, Kinks, Small Faces, Tom Jones) or 1991 (25 year annivesary) Iron Maiden, Queen, KLF, George Michael, Chesney Hawkes, Vic Reeves & Wonder Stuff. Okay, perhaps not the last two!

  9. Apparently if I delete a comment, then replies to that comment are also affected (at least if I judge things correctly). So this reinstates some of the comments affected.

    Comment by me
    I noticed (in the Radio Times) that the Harry Potter spin-off "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" is due for release in November 2016

    Comment by M, 7 November
    Out of curiosity, how long ago did you find out about the 2016 programme?
    reply by me
    Some indication was given at Stampex on Sept 17th but dates have changed from what was first suggested, and the whole programme has been firmed up a lot more. The version shown here (now edited) was only released to coincide with when it would be added to Royal Mail's website, although I can't find it there.

    Comment by Rob, 8 November
    Another possibility for October is the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek, and the release of a new film. However, unlike Star Wars, Star Trek has very little British input at all so a GB stamp issue would be even more dubious than the other 'cash-in' issues of recent years.


    Anonymous comment 8 Nov
    Let's not forget that the Olympic Games are taking place next year, so could October be something to honour the medalists?
    Reply by Martin Grech
    Royal Mail are hardly going to cover the Games every 4 years until they are held in this country. The October issue sounds more likely to link to a movie.


  10. Oh good, I'm glad we can speculate. I think that it's been too long since Pink Floyd were featured on a British stamp issue and I speculate that they will be featured in the Musical Icons set.

    As regards the TBA issue, I speculate that the subject of the issue will be the enormous and significant British contribution to the computer games industry where much money is made and that different British computer games will be featured on each of the 12 stamps in the set with Grand Theft Auto featuring on the 5 stamps of the miniature sheet (I think that's the name of the game and I think it's British and I know it's made an enormous amount of money - up there with Harry Potter and Star Wars).

    It's fun to speculate.

    1. 2010 for Pink Floyd in the Classic Album Covers issue with Division Bell. I wonder if there are other bands with significant anniversaries

  11. If I were a betting man, I would say 'Games of Thrones' for October. It bears many things in common with Star wars - American origin but made largely in Britain (essentially Northern Ireland) with a British crew and very large number of British actors and it is another worldwide success. Does there need to be some anniversary for a set of special stamps these days?

  12. I remember seeing a weblink for people to suggest issues to the Irish postal authority. Somewhere, I have the address to send in suggestions to Royal Mail - I even sent in some suggestions (would have been for this year/next, I think) but they aren't issued yet! I presume plans for 2017 are already in the pipeline, so would Royal Mail need ideas for 2018?
    RM don't seem to be doing Europa these days, and they didn't seem to do anything for World Post Day, whereas in Japan, there is a stamp series issued on that day for International Letter Writing Week. The designs for this don't seem to be strongly connected with correspondence, although could well be subject matter of letters!

  13. i have just recived the Christmas 15 magazine from Royal Mail in it your list for Special stamps is the same, Post & Go are

    Ladybirds (one word)
    Hibernation Animals for Christmas

    1. Thanks. We got an email with the mini-calendar as a pdf. No magazine yet.

  14. The 2016 stamp calendar has been added to Royal Mail’s website

    They should also be available in Post Offices as well, so something to ask for on Monday when getting the new P&G stamps.

  15. That Animail set could be stamps shaped as Animals, for example Elephant, Monkey, Tiger, Giraffe, he list is endless could be a set of 10-12 first class stamps.

  16. Page 35 December edition of Gibbons Stamp Monthly states that the July issue is "Music icons" (Pink Floyd) - perhaps the editor I just speculating.

  17. The usual lithographed thematic rubbish will be issued mainly to commemmorate trivia

  18. Animail set is to be released as a Miniature Sheet cover only according to Buckingham covers, which looks about right considering they usually release a Miniature Sheet cover only once a year.

    1. Ha... I saw this coming, pretty much bang on with Animal shapes as postage stamps.

  19. On a separate note Buckingham Covers have released the stamps for the Royal Mail 500 along with Miniature Sheet stamps for the cover. They are actually looking good and the £1.52 stamp shows my local sorting office Medway Mail Centre, who would have thought I see my local sorting office featured on a stamp.

    I'm not sure if web links are allowed, otherwise remove.


  20. it would appear that the plans have changed!

  21. Royal Mail have created a website for the 500 years celebrations

  22. I see that RM have finally got round to updating the Post & Go news, well for Stampex issues any way

    Reading between the lines the solo locomotive design roll is no doubt being produced for sale at Steam.

    No news though of any of the machines being out and about despite the teaser on the IAR site about M001


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