Wednesday 2 January 2019

2018 Special stamp issues update.

With apologies for the delays, we now have time to provide technical details and illustrations of the special stamp issues for 2018 which don't have pages on our website.  This information is straight from Royal Mail (subject to correcting any typos and other errors).

16 October 2018 - Harry Potter

(Embargoed until 27 September 2018)

A set of 10 stamps and a 5-stamp miniature sheet, all first class.

Reason and inspiration
The critically acclaimed Harry Potter films have attracted huge audiences worldwide, with the popularity still prevailing even though it is seven years since the last film was released.  Harry Potter remains one of the most popular and enduring themes worldwide and along with the Star Wars franchise has close to universal awareness in the UK. These unique stamps have been produced in association with Warner Bros and The Blair Partnership – an agency that represents J.K. Rowling - to celebrate the critically-acclaimed series of films.

The stamps not only feature some of the most popular characters including Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Neville Longbottom but there are also five Hogwarts professors contained on a Special Miniature Sheet. Also appearing on the stamps are selected portkeys as well as the most iconic modes of transport amongst them being the Hogwarts Express, the motor bike ridden by Hagrid, the Knight Bus and the Triwizard Cup. The stamps also use the official Harry Potter font denoting the “1st” class service.  Some Special Features on the stamps include the official Harry Potter font denoting the “1st” class service.  We’ve also added a little extra magic and intrigue to both the stamps and the Miniature Sheet which can be seen  under UV light.

Sheet stamps
Hermione Grainger, Hogwarts Express, Harry Potter, Flying Ford Anglia, Ron Weasley, Hagrid's Motorbike, Ginny Weasley, Triwizard Cup, Neville Longbottom, Knight Bus.

The miniature sheet shows characters Pomona Sprount, Horace Slighorn, Sybill Trelawney, Rebus Lupin, and Severus Snape, against a background of the Marauders Map.


Technical details
Set designed by True North with digital image enhancement by Smike & Mirros London.  Miniature sheet designed by The Chase.  
Acknowledgements: All characters, names, and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.  The WB SHIELD: © & ™ WBEI. WIZARDING WORLD trademark and logo © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing rights © JKR. (s18).
All stamps printed by International Security Printers in Lithography. 
Stamp Size: 37 x 35 mm in two guttered sheets of 50 with PVA gum, perf 14 x 14.5
Miniature sheet: 192 x 74 mm, and stamps 27 x 37 mm - self-adhesive, perf 14.
Phosphor: 2 bars.
Retail booklet printed by International Security Printers in Gravure,  More details here.
Collector (Generic) Sheet: self-adhesive sheet with all 10 stamps and attached labels, printed in litho by ISP.

Additional printing is revealed by an Ultra Violet lamp on both the set and the miniature sheet:


Presentation pack, first day covers, stamp cards, retail booklet, press sheet.
Other products aimed at Harry Potter fans and not stamp collectors included medal covers, enlarged prints of the 10 stamps, and framed stamp and miniature sheet products.  

A prestige book was issued 4 December - details here and here.
Pictures of other panes:


1 November 2018 - Christmas 

The set of 8 Christmas 2018 stamps highlights how ‘Royal Mail delivers Christmas’; showing scenes of everyday life involving a range of post boxes in different wintry settings, from towns to countryside.

The postboxes shown are from various reigns as follows: 2nd class Edward VII, 1st class Queen Elizabeth II, £1.25 George VI, £1.45 Queen Victoria, £1.55 Edward VIII, £2.25 - George V.

Technical Details
Designed by Royal Mail Group using illustrations by Andrew Davidson, printed in gravure by ISP.
Miniature sheet size 179 x74 mm; stamps 24 x 28mm and 34 x 28mm.  
Stamps self-adhesive, 50 stamps per sheet without gutter.   Generic Sheet self-adhesive.
Miniature sheet PVA gum.

(As always, click on the images for large ones.)

The generic sheet contains 8 each of 2nd class and 1st class and one each of the other values - which is why so many dealers do not stock them.  To get a set of these stamps, almost certainly printed by Cartor and not Walsall, there is £8.75 face value of 'left over' stamps to use for postage.

The Madonna & Child books from 2017 were available for retailers if the postbox supplies were exhausted.

Of course when this information was supplied to us back in August 2018, Royal Mail did not know that some 2nd class and 1st class stamps were printed with the 2017 Madonna stamps on the upper part of the sheet, as described here.

14 November 2018: 70th Birthday of HRH Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.

(Embargoed until 14 November)

A miniature sheet of three 1st class and three x £1.55 stamps in a self-adhesive sheet.

Reason and inspiration
On 14th November, we celebrate the 70th birthday of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

The stamp issue includes a brand new and unseen portrait of Prince Charles taken in 2018 with his two sons in full military uniform and the product range includes 3 limited edition coin covers issued in collaboration with the Royal Mint featuring the new official Prince Charles 70th Birthday £5 Coin.

HRH The Prince of Wales is the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II. The Heir Apparent to the Thrones of the United Kingdom and 15 other realms, he is also the future Head of the Commonwealth. The firstborn child of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Charles Philip Arthur George was born on 14 November 1948. Aged three, he became Heir Apparent, and Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay, following his mother’s accession to the Throne. He is the longest-serving Heir Apparent in history.

Since leaving the Armed Forces, the Prince has played a pivotal role as an ambassador for the Monarchy, the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and through his extensive network of charities at home and abroad. The Prince has stamped a unique mark on public life at home and overseas. He is known as a keen champion of the traditional – be it hedge-laying or the Book of Common Prayer – but also as a pioneer. He was promoting issues like organic farming and better corporate care for the environment long before these became mainstream. His work has received many international awards.

The stamps show:
Portrait of HRH The Prince of Wales; HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall; HRH The Prince of Wales with HRH The Duke of Cambridge and HRH The Duke of Sussex.
£1.55 HRH The Prince of Wales and his sons share a joke at Cirencester Park Polo Club; The Prince of Wales at the Castle of Mey; HRH The Prince of Wales greets school children during a visit to Llancaiach Fawr Manor

Technical details:  192 x 74 mm self-adhesive miniature sheet with stamps 41 x 30 mm, printed in web offset lithography by ISP with all over phosphor.

Image acknowledgements:  Royal Mail Group Ltd / Davies Maude Portrait of HRH The Prince of Wales © Hugo Burnand; HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall © Clarence House; HRH The Prince of Wales with HRH The Duke of Cambridge and HRH The Duke of Sussex © Chris Jackson/Getty Images; HRH The Prince of Wales and his sons share a joke at Cirencester Park Polo Club © Barry Batchelor/PA Archive/PA Images; The Prince of Wales at the Castle of Mey © John Paul; HRH The Prince of Wales greets school children during a visit to Llancaiach Fawr Manor © Camera Press London

Products:  miniature sheet, stamp cards, presentation pack, first day cover, press sheet*, medal covers.
* contains 12 miniature sheets, 4 with barcode for retail sale and 8 without for first day covers and miniature sheet.

15 November 2018 - Lunar New Year of the Pig

For the record, though I don't know anybody who buys these 'same old same old' sheets anymore.

Issued on Thursday, 15th November, this is the eighth edition to be launched in the Lunar New Year Generic Sheet series.  The ‘Year of the Pig’ runs from 5th February 2019 to 24th January 2020. The labels are designed by hat-trick design and feature paper cut-outs both on the bright red background of the sheet and the labels representing the five elements of Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth. The pictorial labels depict Lunar New Year festivities taking place in five UK locations and the remainder show five generic images related to the Lunar New Year. All the labels are complemented by the Fireworks definitive stamp.

The Pig is the last of the 12 animals featured in the Lunar New Year with 2019 being the “Year of the Earth Pig,” and purports to be a year of fortune and luck also a year of friendship and love for all the zodiac signs; an auspicious year because the Pig attracts success in all the spheres of life.

No technical details provided, so we must assume that this A4 self-adhesive sheet is printed as usual by ISP/Cartor.

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