Tuesday 23 June 2020

Music Giants IV: Queen mega-pack issued 9 July 2020

Royal Mail make their fourth foray into the British music industry with a massive package celebrating the band Queen, "one of the UK’s greatest music legends on the 50th anniversary of its formation".

As usual the stamp issue consists of a set of stamps, a miniature sheet, a prestige stamp book, a retail booklet, first day covers, stamp cards, press sheet, collector sheet and numerous products framed and otherwise aimed squarely at fans of the group.

The band's lead singer, Freddie Mercury, previously appeared on a 19p stamp in the 1999 Entertainers' Tale set in the Millennium Series (pictured left).

Queen formed in 1970 (though John Deacon didn’t join until 1971) and signed their first recording contract for EMI in 1973, releasing their first album, Queen, the same year. In 1974 they released Queen II and made their first UK headlining tour. They also went on their first US tour the same year and released Sheer Heart Attack in November which was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

The following year the band released A Night At The Opera which was their first platinum album, and which included the single, Bohemian Rhapsody. The latter remained number one in the UK charts for nine weeks and became one of the most popular singles of all time.

As usual the stamp set features album covers, and the miniature sheet shows scenes from live performances.  Unusually this MS also includes a definitive-sized 1st class stamp, which would be ideal for the retail booklet, but it isn't included!

Set of 8 stamps

1st class - Queen II – 1974: Building on its predecessor, Queen II was an assured album that upped the theatrics – and the expectations for the future.
Sheer Heart Attack – 1974: That all-important breakthrough, Sheer Heart Attack refined the band’s earlier sound into something more directly calibrated for the charts.
A Night at the Opera – 1975: The moment where it all came together: ambition, vision and the public’s desire for more.
News of the World – 1977:  The punk movement may have grabbed the headlines, but ‘We Are the Champions’ ensured Queen’s place at rock’s top table.

£1.63 - The Game – 1980:  Using synths for the very first time, The Game kept up with the changing trends of a new decade.
Greatest Hits – 1981: Featuring the band’s biggest hits since its first chart appearance in 1974 including Seven Seas of Rhye, Another One Bites the Dust, Killer Queen and We Will Rock You.
The Works – 1984:  As its title suggests, The Works had it all: modern rock with a pop sensibility, as exemplified in ‘Radio GaGa’.
Innuendo – 1991: The final Queen album released during Freddie Mercury’s lifetime, Innuendo closed with the poignant ballad, ‘The Show Must Go On’.

Minisheet of 5 stamps


1st Class:  Freddie Mercury, Magic Tour, Wembley Stadium 1986; Roger Taylor, Hyde Park 1976;
1st Definitive Queen, 1974;
£1.63:  John Deacon, A Night at the Opera Tour, Hammersmith Odeon 1975; Brian May, Magic Tour, Népstadion, Budapest 1986.

Technical Details
The stamps and miniature sheet are printed by International Security Printers in litho, with PVA gum.
The sheet stamps, designed by Royal Mail Group based on an original design by Studio Dempsey, are 38 x 31 mm in two sheets of 48, se-tenant strips of 4, perforation 14 x 14.
The stamps in the 192 x 74 mm miniature sheet are 35 mm square with perforations 14.5 x 14.5 except for the central stamp which is 20 x 24 mm, and perf 15 x 14 as are most definitives. Design is by Royal Mail Group Ltd and Baxter & Bailey.

Album covers © 2020 Queen Productions Limited, under license from Bravado International Group.
All rights reserved. Photography of vinyl records by Geoff Dann.

Freddie Mercury, Wembley Stadium 1986, photograph © Denis O’Regan/Getty Images;
Roger Taylor, Hyde Park 1976, photograph © 2020 Queen Productions Limited, under license from Bravado International Group. All rights reserved;
Queen, Primrose Hill, London 1974, photograph by Johnny Dewe Mathews © 2020, Queen Productions Limited, under license from Bravado International Group. All rights reserved;
John Deacon, Hammersmith Odeon 1975, photograph © Steve Emberton, Camera Press London;
Brian May, Népstadion, Budapest 1986, photograph © Denis O’Regan/Getty Images.

Retail booklet
The self-adhesive retail booklet contains 4 x 1st class Machin definitives which should be coded M20L MCIL, and self-adhesive versions of the Queen II and A Night at the Opera stamps.


Prestige Stamp Book

This is of most interest to Machin collectors, who will be disappointed by the lack of variety, as the definitive pane contains 4 x 1p Machin definitives and 4 x Queen definitive-sized stamps. The coding is, predictably, MPIL M20L - no missing letters.  But watch this space for a surprising variety when I am able to add it.




The price of the PSB is £19.10. 

The front cover features the band’s crest as designed by Freddie Mercury before the release of their debut album. The crest illustrates the zodiac signs of the four band members as well as a phoenix on the top to represent immortality.  It contains a profile of each member and a feature on the other albums released by the band as well as their iconic videos.  It also touches on Queen’s legacy after the death of Freddie Mercury and the band’s enduring popularity.

Products available
Set of 8 - miniature sheet - presentation pack - first day covers (set, miniature sheet and PSB pane) -
stamp cards - press sheet of 15 MS.

Queen Album Cover Collector Sheet
A self-adhesive A4 sheet containing the album covers set of 10, printed in litho, with attached labels. Product code AT117, price £13.15.

Queen Live Collector Sheet
A self-adhesive A4 sheet containing 10 x copies of the definitive-size stamp from the miniature sheet, printed in litho, with attached labels. Product code AT118, price £8.80.

Fan Sheets featuring Album Art (gummed stamps) 
a. Album cover collection - limited to 5,000 - product code S1014 - £10.20
b. A Night At the Opera - limited to 5,000 - product code S1013 - £7.50

Other products
Coin covers (Uncirculated, silver proof and gold proof) with the miniature sheet.
Souvenir packs containing various stamps.
Framed:  sets, enlargements of the stamps, Covers collectors sheet.

As before, we have stopped stocking these products as they will be readily available from Royal Mail's website.


  1. A Machin collectors dream PSB!!!

    1. A bit on the expensive side at £19.10 for the Machin collector.

  2. Nice stamps but surely a rip off. Why so many £1.63's? I use my stamps for postcrossing and can't afford to throw away 21p every time I put high values like these on a postcard.

  3. On the subject of commemorative issues, I am surprised that Royal Mail has not recognised the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's voyage to the new world from Plymouth in 1620, once again history ignored.

    1. History is being rewritten at the moment so the RM is struggling as to whether this was an invasion of native Indian territory or the escape of the persecuted. You do make a most valid point though.

    2. Stamp releases are planned months if not a year or more in advance so no "struggling" is necessary. But it's not revisionist history to note that in a generally devout era the "persecuted" were actually the fundamentalist bigots of their day. Back on topic, if you're a completist collector this is going to cost you around £80 - plus postage from the RM store! Thank [deity of your choice, or none] I'm not one of those.

    3. Postage is free on orders over £50, but your point is otherwise valid.

  4. Much cheaper to buy the actual albums !

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. One thing I find very puzzling is that having gone to the time and trouble of producing a First Class Queen Definitive stamp, why weren't four of them included in the 6 x 1st Class Retail Book? Is there some reason why this wouldn't have been possible?

    1. Good question! They did it for Game of Thrones.

    2. I think "watch this space" might be appropriate here.

      Remember that some issues in the past have had more than one retail booklet associated with them, issued on a staggered basis.

    3. And the Dr Who issue. 4 TARDIS stamps plus the 2 commemoratives.

      I really think the time has come to call it a day with new issues. I don't mind a mega issue of lots of stamps for aba worthwhile subject, buttbut are just too many issues a year now. Plus they are hardly used for postage any more.

    4. Are you using them for postage?

  7. A total waste of time, how much did the image right's for this lot cost? given the news today of redundancies and revenue dropping again. RM could save a whole lot more by stop printing these pop groups, films etc, also send out your own mail in larger envelopes instead of 1 item only in each envelope (less packaging save the environment). Why do we need such large issues so quickly after Roman Britain (sure the ink is still wet) and another large issue again on the 30th July,even though RM says not everybody buys from all the issues released you could still only need 6 issues a year, or if you persist in chucking out so much garbage take the queens head off all commemorative issues leaving definitive's for postal use only, that's if RM survives.

  8. I wonder if this issue will actually get me to the post office. I haven't been since Bond. Having said that, visited the post office many many times in previous years and overindulged.

    1. Indeed I did get to the post office. Relieved them of all their miniature sheets (two in total), 24 firsts and 12 £1.63. Slightly disappointed with the actual quality. I think the firsts would have looked better as self-adhesive and shaped (like Elton John's and David Bowie's stamps).

  9. Did the disc really come out the top of the cover on the Queen II and News of the World albums rather than the side? Otherwise, from a design point of view, it makes the set of stamps look rather awkward...

  10. Music Giants ! Have the Royal Mail any plans for a mini sheet to commemorate Dame Vera Lynn ?

  11. Away from Queen though, my order advice note for the Westminster issue is for the stamp set & Mini sheet only so I suppose no retail booklet? There usually is one.

  12. Nice publicity image of the Queen MS FDC on the RM website, BUT the real item is a very big disappointment. The Postmark is allegedly in gold, but due to the ink used and dark background of the MS, the Tallents House & Knebworth postmarks are unreadable. Clearly no one at RM checked how the postmark would look on the real FDC or they would have had second thoughts I think. Am awaiting a comment from Stamps and Collectibles


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