Monday 11 December 2017

Royal Mail 'Employee Gift' stamps from a totally different printing!

Every year, Royal Mail employees receive a Christmas Card from the management, and a gift of 50 x 1st class Christmas stamps.  I had expected that they would get the equivalent of a whole sheet, ie 25 religious and 25 competition as shown in our earlier post, but the reality is a big surprise!

In fact, according to sales lists on eBay, the card shows the design of the 1st class competition winner stamps, and contains 50 of those stamps.  All of the sheets have either the left or right margin cut back so that the sheet fits in the card, but far from showing just the cylinder number and traffic lights as expected, some sheets also have a sale-by date and printing date and sheet number!

This means that they have been cut from sheets containing 50  x competition stamps, that is, a different printing to the ones sold to collectors and Post Office customers.

This is the sheet we showed earlier:

As you can see, the printing date and sheet number is in the top right selvedge.  The Sale Date is in the top left margin of these sheets, both being alongside the religious stamps.

This is what has been found on eBay, images cropped to show just one half-sheet.  First the lower parts:

And now the unexpected upper parts:


  1. Can you tell me whether the post office employees version has the matrix intact?

    1. To be pedantic, Post Office employees no longer get the free stamps.

      The sheets given to Royal Mail employees have the matrix intact - if you click on the images you can see that there is no backing paper showing, apart from on the top image.

  2. The Royal Mail do still give their employees 50 1st class stamps, however this year, 2021 and also 2013 had the matrix removed.

  3. Ian,
    2017 was the last of the ten years that I got these stamps as a Royal Mail employee and both of my panes of 25 stamps have “Sale Date 7-Nov-2017” along the left hand margin.
    We were given them each year on the understanding that they were only for our own personal use and not to be sold which reminds me of dealers getting the 95th Birthday mint panes last spring on the understanding that they were only 'for covers' and not to be sold mint.


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