Thursday 25 April 2019

British Engineering 2 May 2019 - set of 6 and miniature sheet

As mentioned before, the stamps and miniature sheet for the British Engineering issue (and the Queen Victoria issue ) are now available on cover producers' websites.  They are also on the Commonwealth Stamps Opinion blog.

But even if you hadn't seen those sites and were waiting for us or for them to be published officially, some special handstamps are already on the Royal Mail Postmarks page.

From these you can determine that the Harrier Jump Jet is one of the subjects, with five different handstamps so far, and there are others showing the Falkirk Wheel, the Crossrail tunnel-boring machine (unfortunate choice given the two?-year delay to this project), and so on.

Incidentally, one thing I hadn't appreciated for this page (and it may be a recent development) is that if you click on a single image then you can see that enlarged (as shown above).  This could be especially useful if you can't work out what the caption or date are, as happens on some of them.

UPDATE 26 April
The Postmark Bulletin with May handstamps has now been sent to dealers in pdf form so it should be on the Royal Mail website shortly.

No sooner had I posted the above than I had an email from MC saying that the stamps were now available to pre-order on Royal Mail's shop, so I have no problem in showing them here.

The designs are quite good, though most people will struggle to work out what they show - at least this set has captions on unlike so many in recent years.  (More details below)

1st class - Raspberry Pi microcomputer and The Falkirk Wheel
£1.55 - Catalytic Converter for cars and London Crossrail project
£1.60 - MRI and Synthetic bone-graft material

Miniature sheet: Harrier Jump Jet 50th Anniversary - 2 x 1st class, 2 x £1.55.

Royal Mail Data:

British innovation in engineering is world renowned. This stamp issue celebrates the projects and creations which showcase this, as well as demonstrating the extraordinary range of engineering disciplines that British engineers work in. From giant civil engineering projects to electronic engineering, chemical engineering and biomedical from the past 50 years.

Some of the innovations we celebrate have won the prestigious MacRobert Award bestowed by the Royal Academy of Engineering - the UK's most prestigious and longest running award for engineering innovation. The Award marks its 50th anniversary this year.

The issue Includes a limited-edition Medal Cover licensed by the MOD to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Harrier Jump Jet which was the first winner of the MacRobert Award and features an exclusive Harrier / Sea Harrier medal struck by The Royal Mint.

1st class - Raspberry Pi: At just the size of a credit card, the Raspberry Pi might be tiny, but with sales of over 20 million these microcomputers have revolutionised education in computer science and programming worldwide.
Falkirk Wheel: A collaboration of British engineers and architects produced the world’s first and only rotating boat lift, The Falkirk Wheel, joining two major Scottish canals for the first time in 70 years with a phenomenally beautiful structure.

£1.55 Catalytic Converter: We often hear about poor air quality in our urban centres, but today cars are far less polluting than they were 50 years ago, all thanks to three-way catalytic converters scrubbing car exhausts of harmful gases.
Crossrail: Connecting the suburbs across London in the Crossrail project required 13 miles (21km) of twin tunnels to be bored under the city, navigating existing sewers, Tube train tunnels and building foundations.

£1.60 MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) Scanner: In the hospital setting, MRI scanners, on which we now rely for routine imaging of our bodies, would not be possible without the work done with superconducting magnets by British engineers at Oxford Instruments.
Bone-graft: Finally, incredible engineered materials that encourage bone growth are used in complex orthopaedic surgeries and have improved the outcomes for hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide.

Design and illustrations: Common Curiosity, Martin Woodward

Printer, process and size: International Security Printers in litho, with PVA gum and phosphor bars. Size 35 x 37 mm, 3 se-tenant pairs, 60 stamps per sheet.

Acknowledgements: Raspberry Pi is a registered trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation and used under licence, photo by John Ross © Royal Mail Group Ltd; The Falkirk Wheel featured with kind permission of Scottish Canals, photo by Neale Smith © Royal Mail Group Ltd; the three-way catalytic converter featured with kind permission of Johnson Matthey Plc, photo © Johnson Matthey Plc; Crossrail featured with kind permission of Crossrail Limited, images © Crossrail Limited; Actifuse is a registered trademark of Baxter Healthcare and used under licence, photo © Dr Karin Hing.

The Harrier Jump Jet had its origins in the Hawker Siddeley P1127 and P1154 both of which, like a lot of British military aircraft projects, suffered from the whims of political parties (and changes in government) during the 1960s.  The history of these planes seems to be well covered by Wikipedia.

The left- and right-hand stamps on the sheet both appear to show vertical movement, evidenced by the downward exhaust thrusts.  The centre two stamps show the aircraft manouevering while flying.

Design: Turner Duckworth with photography by Richard Cooke.

Printing: International Security Printers in litho, with PVA gum and phosphor bars.  Stamps 37 x 27 mm, sheet 146 x 74 mm.  Following a question from Robert, I can confirm that the stamps are 40 x 30 and the sheet 193 x 74 mm.

Acknowledgements: The Hawker Siddeley Harrier was designed, manufactured and supported by BAE Systems and its predecessor companies. ‘Harrier’ is a registered trademark of BAE Systems. RAF logos are trademarks of the UK Secretary of State for Defence and used under licence. Blueprints for the Harrier GR3 featured on the miniature sheet border © BAE Systems.

Products available from Royal Mail:
Set of 6, miniature sheet, presentation pack, stamp cards, press sheet of 12 miniature sheets, medal cover.

Official first day of issue postmarks, as these are not shown on the Royal Mail special postmarks webpage (not to scale):


  1. Are the Harrier stamps not 41mm x 30mm?

    1. Thank you, yes. Our information from RM reads 27mm (h) x 37 mm (w). The sheet is, of course, not 146 x 74 but 193mm x 74mm excluding barcode margin.

  2. Full range of Queen Victoria Issue can be seen in the May edeition of Philatelic Bulletin.
    So much for no release of info. more than two weeks prior to issue date. However I queried with Tallents House why only one weeks notice was given for advance info. of Engineering stamps, and was told it was due to mess up by Royal Mail!

    1. Not quite the full range, which is why we can't show them here. The Bulletin only shows stamps cancelled on cover - apart from one 1st class which has already been publicised in December, and the £1.35 John Brown on the Bulletin cover (and the reduced images on the presentstion pack picture, there are no life-size pictures of the stamps or MS, so we are still snookered by embargos I think.

      But at least everybody can see the PSB now, so I shall do a write up on the issue today.


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