Thursday 14 May 2020

May 2020 Slogan Postmarks

I had expected that we would start May as we started April, with the 'Stay at Home' pandemic slogan.  But in fact despite Captain Tom Moore's birthday being 30 April, the slogan postmark marking the event continued beyond that date.

I've had reports of Captain Tom postmarks on 1st May, 4th May and this less than ideal one from Birmingham Mail Centre dated 06/05/2020.

Several readers also sent examples of a new slogan which combines the original Pandemic slogan with a segment marking the 75th Anniversary of VE Day.

This example from Greenford/Windsor Mail Centre dated 07/05/2020 has been applied incorrectly on an envelope with a postage paid impression 2nd class Machin.  The image is slightly distorted from reproduction.  A second one from Medway Mail Centre on 11-02-2020 is in the other format.

The VE Day element is one of several banners produced for websites: you may have noticed a variant on our Twitter account on Friday last.



UPDATE 19 May.
A friend's birthday has produced a better example of this layout from Norwich Mail Centre on 07-05-2020, but sadly those from Peterborough are very poor. They may be 'normal' and therefore a good example for a collection, but they certainly aren't something that I would want to keep.

It will be interesting to see if this is changed in the light of the government's changed message to 'Stay Alert / Control the Virus/ Save Lives', and what will happen in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland where the devolved administrations are continuing to use the original guidance.

More collectors outside the UK have asked me to get examples of the pandemic and Captain Tom postmarked covers.  If you have any to spare I will pass them on for free: I'll probably wait until later in the year for others to appear.  We have three variants already: I expect there to be more.

Today's (14th May) post brought this from Cornwall Mail Centre. Being on a Post and Go stamp the impression is smudged almost beyond recognition but it is obviously this one.

Royal Mail
supporting youth
mental health with

This slogan remind us of Royal Mail's corporate charity for the last year or so, and is the normal default postmark - when there is nothing else to mark.  So I was surprised to see it the day after the Medway dual-purpose one above.  Is this an aberration, or the new normal (to coin an overworked phrase!).

Even if there was no variant to reflect the latest version of the UK Government's lockdown slogan, I would have expected something pandemic-related, even if it was the first one re-used.

What have readers found on their letters this week?

Well, nobody has sent any more slogans, so I presume the Action for Children default continues.  With the different pandemic advice from the four nations, and mixed messages from Downing Street I suppose it would be difficult for Royal Mail to come up with anything logical.

Meanwhile, thanks to JG for sending this very clear example of the Cornwall Universal postmark used this week, 22 May 2020, die 2.  Who knows why?  It can't be due to the volume of letter post but it could be a change in working practices at Plymoouth/Cornwall's Mail Centre for 2 metre distancing.

More slogans, and examples of other interesting postmarks, will be posted here. Thanks to everybody who is sending material to show. We aren't getting much post at all at present.


  1. I posted a large number of stamped envelopes to friends and family, within the time period stipulated for the Tom Moore postmark. Every single one of them, without exception, did NOT have the postmark applied. I think this, along with the call to send birthday cards to Tom, was just a scam by Royal Mail to get people to spend money on stamps. As far as my experience suggests, the special postmark never even existed.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Pamela, that is unfortunate and you are not alone in finding, as collectors do, that not every piece of mail gets postmarked, and if it does, not necessarily in the way you wanted.

      The Capt Tom postmark was widely used. You didn't tell us where you posted them, when you posted them, when they were delivered or how they were stamped & postmarked. Such information is useful in working out the pattern or early and late use. As you will see here, Birmingham mail centre was still using the postmark on 6 May, a week after the birthday, and the April post shows several examples of different dates and places.

      As for it being a scam by Royal Mail I hope you realise how silly this sounds. It wasn't done to encourage you to send more letters; even the birthday card campaign wasn't started by RM.

  2. Postmark slogans are used in other countries too.

    Canada 2 lines, bilingual - Personnel soignant, merci / Thanks healthcare workers

    Postmarked in April, from Australia - Secure your dog for safe delivery

    Postmarked in April from US - Celebrating 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

    I can confirm I had a few letters postmarked with the now Colonel's slogan, and am still receiving post with the Action for Children slogan this month.


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