Thursday, 13 August 2020

This ship has sailed, so we will get the Enterprise instead: a missed opportunity.

In 2020 Royal Mail will NOT issue a stamp marking the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Pilgrim Fathers on the Mayflower.    

The Mayflower set sail on 16th September 1620 from Plymouth, UK, to voyage to America.   Its passengers were in search of a new life – some seeking religious freedom, others a fresh start in a different land. They would go on to be known as the Pilgrims and influence the future of the United States of America and hence the world in ways they could never have imagined.

Arriving in November, they had to survive unprepared through a harsh winter. As a result, only half of the original Pilgrims survived the first winter at Plymouth. Without the help of local Indigenous peoples to teach them food gathering and other survival skills, all of the colonists may have perished. The following winter, they celebrated the colony's first harvest along with the Indigenous people, which became the first Thanksgiving.


Previous commemorations

In 1920 the United States Post Office issued a set of three stamps to mark the 300th anniversary.  Oddly the Postmaster General at the time asserted that the omission of the name of their country was 'not a mistake'.


In 1970 the General Post Office in this country thought it appropriate to issue a stamp to mark the 350th anniversary.


Now with nothing appearing in this country the United States Postal Service is issuing a single stamp in a pane of 20 (the stamps cannot be sold singly, a common situation in America due to the die-cut peforations, which interlink). 

The watercolor, gouache, and acrylic painting of the Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor was digitally refined to convey a scene of desolate beauty at the end of the Pilgrims‘ harrowing journey to an unfamiliar world. The stamp also features a stylized hawthorn flower printed in intaglio.  Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp with original art by Greg Harlin.

The stamp will be issued on (Monday) 17 September, the anniversary of the sailing being a Sunday, rather than on a date closer to the arrival in North America.

Had there been an association between the two postal administrations, there might have been a joint issue, with or without identical stamps.   This mock-up of a 1st class stamp incorporates the logo of the United Kingdom Mayflower 400 organisation.



Instead we will have a stamp issue depicting another American creation, the United Space Ship Enterprise, with the Star Trek issue on 13 November, just after the anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower in what became Plymouth Colony.  Have Royal Mail totally lost sight of important events of the UK's past which had such an impact in the world?




17 comments:

  1. I suspect that this is a manifestation of Royal Mail’s desire not to upset anyone and the Pilgrim Fathers are viewed as a ‘bad thing’ because of the negative impact their arrival and settlement had on the indigenous North Americans. By extension you could say that Star Trek is also a ‘bad thing‘ because of the negative impact the crew of the starship Enterprise often had on indigenous alien species. In fact ‘The Federation’ appears to be just another form of ‘Imperialism’. With this in mind plans to celebrate Star Trek with a stamp issue should be cancelled immediately.

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  2. If it is trivia like Star Wars or Gruffalo there will be stamos minisheet all litho printed abroad.Whereas important anniversaries like Vera Lynn(a national icon) 100th birthday had no stamps issued because they could not stretch it to an issue of 10 stamps plus minisheet plus special booklet

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  3. Well done USA and shame on you Royal Mail, these brave English people should have had an issue for this 400th anniversary. I find it disgusting!

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    1. For the record, I think some were Dutch as well.

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  4. The date 16 September 1620 is an incorrect statement as it should be 6 September 1620 in accordance with the Julian calendar that was in use in England at the time.

    The Julian Calendar was replaced by the Gregorian Calendar in 1752, changing the formula for calculating leap years. Eleven days were dropped from the month of September 1752. September 2 was followed by September 14.

    Roy

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  5. "Have Royal Mail totally lost sight of important events of the UK's past which had such an impact in the world?"
    In one word ..... YES

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  6. The Royal Mint has released a £2 Mayflower coin.

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  7. Sorry to go all geeky on you but the USS in such vessels as USS Enterprise actually stands for United Space Ship and not United States Ship as you implied, Ian. The pilot episode actually referred to the Enterprise as United Star Ship.

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  8. I don’t think Royal Mail has lost sight of important national occasions or anniversaries but the sad truth is they don’t sell. Star Wars/Trek, James Bond and Harry Potter all big films or TV series will gain more interest from Generally more people, sad really.

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  9. Speaking as a Trekker - you're right Ian. It would have been a great opportunity for a joint issue and I would have been buying them to go on letters to friends in Massachusetts.

    The Trek issue marks 44 years and 3 months since the first episode aired so clearly a significant anniversary and not at all an attempt to cash in :-)

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    1. Oh - dear no-one picked up on the typo - it's 54 years and 3 months (Sept 1966) or 51 years and 5 months (July 1969) for the first UK showing.

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    2. Thus misinformation is spread! Never mind Neil, it just shows you are more of a Trekkie than the rest of us.

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  10. The other anniversary that Royal Mail has missed is the official language of this country being made English in 1420. Admittedly it might be hard to think of images to put on stamps: letters like ð which have gone out of use, or Henry V who ordered it with a quill in his hand for example, but think how dreadful it would be if we had to read this blog in French!

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    1. Mais oui! But you can, if you want to - use the box near the top right, just above the advertisement (if you are on a desktop machine) and you can select any language.

      However, because the blog often contains technical and colloquial terms, Google translate may not be totally accurate!

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    2. Would it be better in Welsh? Do you want any Post Awyr labels, Ian?

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    3. Well, M, you can try it out in Welsh. It wouldn't be any better for me, but I shall have to put a new blog post to show that it IS possible to read it in any language.

      I do like using Post Awyr labels occasionally, though for the present I have a stack of English ones that I am not using until the shop reopens. I often pick them up when I'm in Shropshire - nipping over to what used to be Harry Tuffins at Church Stoke.

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  11. I'm disappointed that Royal Mail are not marking the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower. If anything it shows how different cultures at the time cooperated with one another. I have bought some Mayflower 400 postcards and will send them to my American friends with the special postmarks that are available.
    At least the Sherlock, Rupert and Palace of Westminster are promoting the UK - although the Sherlock stamps are really just another TV version of stamps

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