Tuesday 1 March 2022

Football: 150th Anniversary of the Football Association Challenge Cup - 8 March 2022

What is likely to be one of the most popular of this year's stamp issues is next off the blocks from Royal Mail is issued on 8 March to mark the 150th Anniversary of the FA Cup, properly known as the Football Association Challenge Cup.

Royal Mail's briefing note includes the following:

Royal Mail is marking the 150th anniversary of the first FA Cup with a new set of special stamps celebrating the heritage and tradition of the oldest and most famous domestic football competition in the world.

For 150 years, few other sporting events can have produced as much joy and heartbreak or as many moments of raw emotion. It is a competition in which part-timers can play in the finest stadia in the land and the world’s best players run out in grounds holding only a few thousand people. Just 12 teams took part in the inaugural 1871–72 season, and while they might not have had much else in common with the 729 taking part in 2021–22, they shared the same dream: glory. Like the game itself, aspects of the competition have changed over the course of those years.

To give just one example, the Semi-Finals of the competition, as well as the Final itself, are now played at Wembley Stadium. But one thing hasn’t changed: the FA Cup’s capacity to produce the unexpected, somewhere, and almost every year. From the ‘Matthews’ Final in 1953 – when Blackpool came back from 3–1 down to beat Bolton 4–3, largely thanks to 38-year-old winger Stanley Matthews – to Second Division Sunderland’s defeat of mighty Leeds in 1973 or Keith Houchen’s legendary diving header for Coventry City in the 1987 Final. Think of the FA Cup and, young or old, you think of names, places, matches, moments. The FA Cup has always been a unique competition. For many fans it is about memories, about moments on a football pitch they associate with a time in their lives. Memories matter, they give our lives context. And one thing’s for sure: the FA Cup will keep creating memories for generations to come.

Six new special stamps celebrate some of the themes which make the FA Cup such a prestigious
competition, steeped in heritage and tradition. A mixture of colour and black and white photographs relive some of the moments in the 150 year history of the world’s oldest national football championship.

Set of six stamps to mark the 150th Anniversary of the FA Cup, issued on 8 March 2022.

Stamp designs

1st Class - Lifting the Cup: 90th FA Cup Final, 8 May 1971
1st Class – Wembley Stadium: 48th FA Cup Final, 28 April 1923
£1.70 – A Big Day Out: 87th FA Cup Final, 18 May 1968
£1.70 – Classic Finals: 106th FA Cup Final, 16 May 1987
£2.55 – FA Cup Upsets: FA Cup Fifth Round, 18 February 2017
£2.55 – Royal Patronage: 62nd FA Cup Final, 1 May 1937

I am showing these on a yellow background because of the unusual perforation. A black or white background would not show this well.  As you can see (especially if you click and enlarge the image) the perforation is off-centre; the lower part of each stamp design runs into the perforation.  But this is not just on one value, it is on all three.  And it is not just on the mint stamps, the stamps affixed to the Royal Mail first day cover are exactly the same! [And the picture on the stamp cards is also the same.]

The Miniature Sheet contains an additional four stamps which feature a selection of FA Cup artefacts from the National Football Museum, photographed specially for the stamp issue.

The background to the Miniature Sheet lists all the FA Cup finalists and winning teams since the first competition in 1872 right up to the most recent season in 2021.

Miniature sheet of 4 stamps to mark the 150th Anniversary of the FA Cup, issued on 8 March 2022


1st Class Supporters Memorabilia
1st Class Winners Medal and the original Trophy
£1.70 Official Match Day Shirt and Ball
£1.70 Supporter Souvenirs
Background Supporters at the 1948 Cup Final, photograph.

Technical detail and acknowledgements (as provided by Royal Mail)

The six stamps designed by The Chase, are printed in litho by ISP in 'Olympic landscape' size, 60 x 30 mm, in three sets of se-tenant pairs.  The stamps are perforated 14½.

The FA Cup is an official trade mark of The Football Association Limited. Official FA Cup product. Images: Lifting the Cup – photograph Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images; Wembley Stadium – illustration from Wonderful London, edited by Arthur St John Adcock, Volume I, published by Amalgamated Press (London, 1926–27). Photograph The Print Collector/Getty Images; A big day out –
photograph Gerry Armes/Birmingham Mail/Popperfoto/Getty Images; Classic Finals – photograph   David Cannon/Allsport/Getty Images; FA Cup upsets – photograph Chris Vaughan/CameraSport via Getty Images; Royal patronage – photograph Trinity Mirror/Mirrorpix/Alamy Stock Photo. 

Special thanks to the players, families, clubs, organisations and many others who have supported this
stamp issue.

The 192 x 74 mm miniature sheet, also designed by The Chase, contains four stamps of 41 x 30 mm printed in litho by ISP. Perforations are 14½ x 14.  

The FA Cup is an official trade mark of The Football Association Limited. Official FA Cup product. Background image – supporters at the 1948 Cup Final, photograph Fox Photos/Getty Images; all stamp images National Football Museum, except Leeds pennant – photograph Royal Mail Group Ltd 2022.

Other products

First day covers, presentation pack, stamp cards, press sheet of 12 miniature sheets in an edition of just 150 (PZ060, price £67.30).  Coin cover (choice of £5 UNC, £5 Silver Proof, £5 Gold Proof), mounted and framed set and miniature sheet.


  1. I guess the unusual perforation is to make each stamp look as if it's framed by a goalpost?

    1. I like that interpretation!

    2. Yes, I think Michael has hit the back of the net with that!

    3. This is confirmed in the latest 'first'.

  2. Not a direct comment on this issue, but I see from my March RMPB that the following two issues are relatively modest: 8x1st for the Heroes of the Covid Pandemic and 10x1st for Migratory Birds (no Miniature Sheet for either issue). Is RM finally getting the message that "less is more"?

  3. Does anyone know if there has been a delay in the release of the stamp cards for this issue.
    All parts of my standing order were delivered on time with the exception of these.

  4. I was actually able to buy these at the Main Post office in my town and was told that they were glad to get rid of them ....what a shame to view special issue stamps in this way


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