Thursday 1 July 2021

More Comic Relief from Royal Mail - Dennis & Gnasher - 1 July 2021.

Knock! Knock! Who's there? Royal Mail, knocking for more of your hard-earned cash to honour what is said to be "the iconic, much-loved character of Dennis (and his dog Gnasher)". 

"This stamp issue celebrates the anniversary with six special stamps looking back at Dennis through the ages; from his first ever black and white comic strip in 1951, to important events in his life since; meeting his baby sister Bea, adopting Gnasher and even finding out that his dad is a grown up version of Dennis from the 80’s."

Dennis's cheeky smile appeared in Britain's first Greetings stamp booklet back in 1990, when the basic stamp (shown above in Smilers sheet LS9) was 20p and was one of 10 showing smiling characters from Stan Laurel to the Mona Lisa, via the Cheshire Cat.

The same stamp was also included in Royal Mail's very first Smilers sheet produced at the Stamp Show 2000.  So what brings him back to your collection choices now?  Well, 2021 is the 70th anniversary of the comic strip, and 70 seems to be the magic number beyond which there is likely to be a drop-off in the number of people who remember the character from the start, and who might just buy some of the stamps. I suppose that is why waiting until the centenary would be too risky for Royal Mail.

As well as a set of 6 stamps, the issue includes a four-stamp miniature sheet exclusively illustrated by current Dennis artist, Nigel Parkinson, to wish Dennis a Happy Birthday! The sheet concludes the story from the specially designed comic strip in the presentation pack.

Set of 6 stamps (3 x 1st class and 3 x £1.70) featuring detail from Dennis & Gnasher cartoon strips, issued 1 July 2021.

Miniature sheet with an original Dennis & Gnasher cartoon strip, issued 1 July 2021.

Retail Booklet

Dennis & Gnasher 6 x 1st retail booklet with two 1st class stamps from the miniature sheet and 4 x 1st class Machin security definitives coded M21L MCIL

Unfolded Dennis & Gnasher booklet.

Technical Details

The stamps are designed by The Chase (Acknowledgements: A Beano Studios Product   DC Thomson Ltd 2021; licensed by Rocket Licensing Ltd.) and printed by International Security Printers in litho.  They are gummed, size 50mm(w) x 30mm(h) in sheets of 60, se tenant strips of 3 and all over phosphor.
Perforations are said to be 14mm x 14mm, but I think we know what they mean!

The miniature sheet is also printed by International Security Printers in litho, and is self-adhesive with all over phosphor. Sizes and perforations are £1.70 Minnie the Minx: 27mm x 37mm portrait (14 x 14); 1st Class Dennis, 1st class Gnasher, and £1.70 Dennis with Bea and parents: 35mm x 35mm square (14.5 x 14.5).  The overall sheet size is 192mm x 74mm.

Product range

Set of 6, miniature sheet, retail booklet, presentation pack, first day covers (2), stamp cards, press sheet of 18 miniature sheets.

Additional Products

Collectors Sheet, framed uncancelled stamps or miniature sheet on illustrated mount (not FDC), framed collectors sheet, limited edition framed miniature sheet signed by the artist Nigel Parkinson £69.99).

Dennis & Gnasher Collectors Sheet thankfully only containing 10 x 1st class stamps from the miniature sheet and therefore costing only £9.70.

Royal Mail have delayed all publicity for this issue and said that "the delay with Dennis & Gnasher 'First' magazine was down to the rush to get the Duke of Edinburgh mini sheet out, and to respect the event."  

Well, with all respect to the late Prince Philip, that ship sailed and the fact that the miniature sheet was issued last week has passed by the general media.  They duly reported the forthcoming issue around 23 May when it was announced by Royal Mail, but there has been barely a whisper since.  Use Google (other search engines exist) to limit a news search to the last week, and the only entries are from Sky, Royal Mail and the Westminster Collection - and the stamps get a nod while the £5 coin is being reported.

So this blog post will launch at 00.30 UK time tomorrow, by which time it is to be hoped that Royal Mail may also have flicked the switch to reveal them on their e-commerce website so that people can actually buy them should they want to. 

UPDATE 7 July.  BP has sent a picture of one of his booklets which sports two separate doctor blade flaws, one on each special stamp.  Not valuable, and transient, but it's nice to have something different!


  1. "Well, 2021 is the 70th anniversary of the comic strip, and 70 seems to be the magic number beyond which there is likely to be a drop-off in the number of people who remember the character from the start, and who might just buy some of the stamps. I suppose that is why waiting until the centenary would be too risky for Royal Mail."

    There's method in their madness. I'm a child of the 80s and of course read the Beano, as have millions of others over the years. For most it's a passing phase, perhaps reprised when their children pick it up, but everyone will remember Dennis (and latterly Gnasher). There's potentially a large audience for these stamps - if only they'd been advertised!

    I'm probably their target audience, not that there will be many like me! Young enough to still have my childhood Beanos (I never did get rid of them), old enough to have the money to fill the gaps in my collection and - unusually in today's world - a mild interest in stamps, as my late dad was a keen collector. Needless to say I've splurged a bit this morning!

  2. Both the counter sheet stamps and those on the miniature sheet have 2 x 9mm vignetted bars and not all-over phosphor.

  3. Good to see a 'proper' miniature sheet - where the stamp images form part of a larger tableau, rather than being merely 'ordinary' stamps with a largely unrelated border/surround.

  4. At last sensibility is restored to the philatelic community after the stupid RM embargo on Dennis & Gnasher, thnx Ian

  5. Since my local main Post Office and local sub post offices don't seem to offer commemorative stamps, and now that Royal Mail are only offering special postmarks when items are mailed with stamps on the day of the cancellation to their Special Handstamp centres, it means that I can't take advantage of matching new issues with special cancellations - especially sending postcards or letters to friends etc .....Why does Royal Mail seem to make collecting their stamps so difficult, especially like this issue when there is no details in advance. Therefore I can only buy the Official Royal Mail FDC in future since I can't buy special stamps by simply walking into a post office which I was able to do for years
    I wonder how DC Thomson in Dundee felt about this issue being basically hidden ?

  6. embarrassing. absolutely embarrassing issue

  7. Today I finally received the last part of my online order for this issue - only 11 days after issue date (and order date for that matter). Hmm...


  8. Does anyone collect PHQ FDCs? Dennis and Gnasher is a joke. Have you seen the size of the miniature sheet vs the size of the PHQ? It is imossible to put the stamps on without doing a collage of the artwork. Absolutely aweful. The colours of the PHQ are not good either. I have put in my complaint to Royal Mail. Does no one realise that size does matter?
    After the next issue i am getting ready to send in my final complaint and stop my stamp collecting.

    1. I don't know about the colours but the MS/PHQ problem is not new. I am surprised (I shouldn't be) that people still complain about something that has been so wrong for so long. This is what I wrote to the Trade Manager at Royal Mail, pre-Stampex dealer briefing, in early 2006:

      "If PHQs are not designed to have stamps added to the front, their purpose must be to provide collectors with an enlarged image of the stamp. What, then, is the purpose of the MS PHQs, which either show the sheets the same size as, or smaller than the original stamps? By selling these only in complete sets you are forcing us to either buy something from you which our customers don't want, or forcing us to buy what we do want from post offices, who sell single cards."

      Needless to say the discussion produced a lot of waffle and nothing else.


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