Thursday 10 January 2019

New Issue: Leonardo da Vinci stamps and PSB on February 13th 2019

As readers of Royal Mail's Philatelic Bulletin will know, the second stamp issue this year will feature the work of Leonardo da Vinci.  To many this will be a puzzling subject for 12 x 1st class stamps and a prestige stamp book.

2019 marks the 500th anniversary of his death and what many people will not know is that one of the largest collections of his work is owned by Her Majesty the Queen.   According to The Guardian
Arguably the greatest collection of Leonardo da Vinci drawings in the world, owned by the Queen and normally kept away from public view at Windsor Castle, is to have its biggest public display.
The Royal Collection has announced details of a Leonardo event in 2019 to mark the 500th anniversary of his death.
There will be 12 simultaneous exhibitions of 12 drawings in cities across the UK in February. The following May, more than 200 drawings will go on display at Buckingham Palace, the biggest show for more than 60 years. In November 2019, 80 drawings will go on display at Holyroodhouse, the largest number shown in Scotland.
The 12 UK venues are in Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton, and Sunderland.
The work shown on the stamps obviously forms part of this Royal Collection and Royal Mail have collaborated with the trustees of the Royal Collection Trust to choose 12 stamps, matching the 12 venues.

The prestige stamp book will contain three panes of four da Vinci stamps and a pane of definitives consisting of 2 x 5p, 4 x 10p and 2 x £1.55 so making two sets for Machin collectors.

UPDATE 28 January.
The astute among readers will have worked out the face value of the PSB stamps as £11.64.  Those who have their standing order advices will be struggling to work out what the total bill represents.  It's easier if you know that the current pricing of the PSB is £13.10, a massive premium of £1.46 which I have queried.

UPDATE 20 January.
In my absence last week, the PSB arrived and I can confirm that the 5p 10p and £1.55 stamps are year-coded M18L.  This means that we will be stocking them.  They will be listed as 4155p.8 for the set of three.  The stamps will be listed in our Checklist as 4005P.8a, 4010P.8 and 4155p.8.


Full details and more images will be published in due course, ahead of Spring Stampex, with which this issue coincides.  Meanwhile if you really can't wait to see the stamp pictures they are shown, taken from a first day cover producer's website, on the Commonwealth Stamps Opinion blog.


  1. I find the subject very disappointing though not entirely surprising - it was one of the choices put forward in the 2017 survey of collectors' opinions of what should be in the 2019 programme.

    I appreciate that the issue is to be released in connection with the exhibition being put on and no doubt this is seen as an opportunity to link the issue to what may be a popular cultural event and therefore cash in on it. But there are many, many British cultural icons who deserve to be commemorated philatelically and frankly I'd leave commemorating Da Vinci to the Italians, who according to recent news are thoroughly annoyed with the French at present because of what they see as France's appropriation of the artist.

    And why Da Vinci should get 12 stamps plus a prestige booklet is beyond me.

    1. Maybe Da Vinci is British after all, and the history books are all wrong! I agree that 12 stamps and a prestige book is excessive.

  2. I just had another thought - didn't the recent publicity say that this year's issues were about "The Best of British"? - no wonder they didn't mention this issue.

  3. As far I can recollect Leonardo Da Vinci is Italian, this seems like an odd release and does it really need 12 stamps. I must admit this stamp set does not really appeal to me, "Best of British" my foot. They could have celebrated Sir David Attenborough with 40 years of Life On Earth instead. Sir David Attenborough is a British Legend should be celebrated for his remarkable work of Natural History, how can RM miss such an opportunity with 12 great stamps instead of Leonardo Da Vinci, I arrest my case.

  4. Royal Mail do seem to be going towards some of the thematic obsessed philatelic agencies.
    Royal Mail (ow was iy Post Office) did the same thing with the 1972 anniversaries issue; admittedly it was a set of the, the 3p was linked to the Tutankhamun exhibition.
    Ah those were the days.

    1. On the other hand the stamps are likely to be pretty. I should rather look at them than the Royal Vic issue for example. And they are all just useful 1st class: so you can put them on letters and; with a change of monarch coming up - the coin portrait was finalised last year so the stamp one must be in hand at least - they are likely to hold their worth.

  5. The Royal Mail website is showing the calendar for 2019. In September there is another 'Music Giant' - Classical, Jazz ? Don't hold your breath. October AND November TBA.
    I am quite happy with the Leonardo stamps - they are from the royal collection, but if there were to be a David Attenborough set that would please me. I have just read that he has been with the BBC for 50 years. His programmes are made in conjunction with the Open University which is 50 this year.
    No set to commemorate the event which took place on 16th August 1819 in St Peter's Field Manchester and which eventually led to an extension of the franchise. Sadly the peaceful protest led to the slaughter of many innocent people. What can we expect in October and November ? Game of Thrones II ?

  6. Music Giants set could be an issue like the David Bowie set, could be celebrating George Michael, or individual music artists that have passed away recently.

    October has to be the final Star Wars set. November could be a connection with the Royal Family, and there is no stamp set for March.

    Just holding out for a David Attenborough to be honest in November.

  7. I just caught a glimpse of the Leonardo da Vinci stamps on, to be honest they do look bloody awful, nothing eye catching about them.

  8. My Order Advice Note states that the cost of my da Vinci set will be £34.69. I get two PSBs.
    The stamp set will be £8.04. The stamps in the book £11.64 plus premium of 55p say = £12.19 x 2 = £24.38. I am thinking that post and packing could rise to 50p (a new stocklist due in February ?) According to my calculation the total cost will perhaps be £8.04 + £24.38 + 50p = £32.92. The Order Advice Note states £34.69, so minus £32.92 = £1.77. Does this mean that NVC customers will also be issued with the Walsall printed 'Signed For Standard' on 13th February ?

    1. The price of the Da Vinci PSB has been advised as £13.10, a premium of £1.46 for some reason. I'll put that in the blog.
      Tallents House have no news about the Signed For 1st class delayed from December.

  9. Many thanks for the info Ian. I initially worked out the £1.46 and thought NO ! that must be the highest premium ever for a PSB. The £1.77 was included on the Order Advice Note for the Harry Potter PSB/NVCs, and of course it wasn't subsequently issued on the due date. When I did my calculation I was also thinking that Tallents House would want to issue the £1.77 NVC before the tariff increases in March.


Thank you for reading the blog and commenting: please use an identity (name or pseudonym) rather than being Anonymous; it helps us to know which 'anonymous' comments are from the same person to avoid confusion. Comments are moderated to avoid spam, but will be published as soon as possible.