Friday 28 April 2023

A New Reign - miniature sheet 6 May 2023 (absolutely not a Coronation set?)

The Coronation of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort will take place at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, 6 May 2023 and Royal Mail will issue a miniature sheet of 4 stamps to commemorate this historical event.

Since ancient times, different civilisations all over the world have honoured new leaders or rulers with a strikingly similar ritual, incorporating a religious dimension, some sort of throne and a crown. That has certainly been the model for every English, Scottish and, latterly, British coronation.

The monarchy can be regarded as the nation’s ultimate symbol of continuity and stability. As is traditional, the service for King Charles III’s coronation will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry.  It will also cement the King's role as Head of the Church of England, somewhat ironic when recent census results show fewer people regard themselves as Christian.

Controversially, the design approach considers the day itself only briefly with the Coronation event depicted on the first stamp of the set. The other three stamps are intended to look beyond the day to “A New Reign” and the New Carolean era, with a look at three aspects personal to King Charles III. 


The four stamp designs and miniature sheet background feature newly commissioned wood engravings by British artist Andrew Davidson. The Miniature Sheet background depicts intermingling foliage, symbolic of the four countries of the UK: the rose, thistle, daffodil, and shamrock. 

Miniature Sheet of 4 stamps marking the New Reign of His Majesty King Charles III issued 6 May 2023.


1st class - THE CORONATION - Represents the Monarchy, continuity, longevity, heritage, and tradition

The stamp design features a silhouette of The King at the moment of crowning, with St Edward’s Crown being lowered onto his Majesty’s head by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The King holds the Sovereign’s sceptres in his hands (the Sceptre with Dove and the Sceptre with Cross) and sits in the Coronation Chair. The scene is set in front of Westminster Abbey and in the background a gun salute is being fired by a member of the King’s Troop. Celebratory crowds and fireworks also appear.

1st Class: DIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY - Reflects a multi-faith community, cohesion, and the people of modern Britain.

The stamp design features figures representing the Jewish, Islamic, Christian, Sikh, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths in the foreground. It is representative of all faiths and none. The setting features aspects of both rural and urban Britain in the background, and includes religious buildings representing these six faiths from different regions of the UK.

£2.20: THE COMMONWEALTH - Depicts an outward looking Britain, global trade, co- operation, democracy, and peace

The stamp design features an imagined Commonwealth meeting, a representation of the Commonwealth Games, some of the flags of the Commonwealth nations, a scene depicting trade and commerce, and a Commonwealth War Graves cemetery.

£2.20 SUSTAINABILITY AND BIODIVERSITY - Highlights the importance of conservation, biodiversity and a society that works with nature.

The stamp design depicts a juxtaposition of natural landscapes and sustainable farming methods and features renewable sources of energy such as hydro-electric power, solar panels, and electric trains. Wildlife conservation is referenced with the inclusion of diverse forests, wildflower meadows, insects, and pollination. Traditional crafts such as hedge-laying and beekeeping are also depicted.


Technical details

These designs would obviously be best reproduced in gravure/recess but the work is in lithography by Cartor Security Printers, design by Atelier Works.  The sheet is 115 mm x 89 mm with stamps 35 mm square.  The sheet is printed on conventionally gummed paper.

None of the stamps is being issued as a single in a counter sheet, although reproducing the Coronation stamp by itself in this way would be an ideal way for the ordinary social user to use the stamps on inland mail, and two of them would make the 100 g Airmail rate worldwide.  An opportunity missed.

Other products

Presentation Pack, First Day Cover, Postcards, Collector Sheet, Press Sheet of 16 miniature sheets (price £105.60), Framed sheet (£29.99), coin covers, the cheapest being £19.99 - these will not be available until 15 May.

Collector Sheet - the sheet contains two sets of stamps with four different labels.  It is self-adhesive, making the stamps different to those in the miniature sheet.  The price is £14.40 (ie 9% more than the face value of the stamps).

King Charles III - A New Reign - self-adhesive collectors sheet

UPDATE 9 May - I'm told that this sheet will not be at Tallents House until 12 May. Customers will probably see them next week.

First Day Covers sent to Handstamp Centres after the Coronation weekend will be postmarked as usual with the requested 6 May handstamp. The May Postmark Bulletin has been produced in email form, and should be published next week.

In the past there have been problems obtaining blank first day covers from Post Office branches after the day of issue - they are normally on sale for a week before the day of issue, but should in this case be available afterwards.

The May Postmark Bulletin is now online here.

Sunday 16 April 2023

April 2023 Postmark Slogans and other interesting postal markings.

All slogan postmarks used in April will be shown here; please check for latest updates before spending your time scanning, but if you have something new or another format, then please do send it in for publication. 

The British Heart Foundation slogan has continued this month as expected.  Thanks to RW and JG for these two examples, in the alternative layouts from IMP and iLSM, from Croydon Mail Centre 04-04-2023 and North & West Yorkshire 11/04/2023

British Heart Foundation slogan, Croydon Mail Centre 04-04-2023

British Heart Foundation slogan, North & West Yorkshire 11/04/2023

And then there's this one, from JH, who's note sure whether to attribute the appearance a fault of RM or the slightly bulky letter.   Anyway, Birmingham Mail Centre produced a spectacular slogan!

British Heart Foundation slogan, Birmingham Mail Centre 11/04/2023

I forgot to include this one in the original post.  Also on 11 April, Nottingham Mail Centre was using the 'use your old stamps by 31 January' slogan!

Use up your non-barcoded stamps by 31 January 2023 - used Nottingham Mail Centre 11/04/2023

UPDATE 28 April

A new postmark will be in use from today until May 10 marking the King's Coronation.  There have been reports in various media, and this image on Twitter.

Mock-up of Coronation slogan postmark.

This will be available to use on First Day Covers - if you dare!   Unless you can get to one of the Mail Centres it is likely to be either diverted to a Handstamp Centre, or (at least the stamps not hit by the slogan) will be pen-cancelled.

UPDATE 29 April. My thanks to AB, JS & JE for sending three examples yesterday. I was working on a display project so didn't have time to update this report then.  All from the first day of use, 27 April (for delivery on 28th) these are Medway Mail Centre, Peteborough Mail Centre and, in the other 5-line format, Preston Mail Centre (Lancashire and South Lakes).

Coronation of Their Majesties
King Charles III
and Queen Camilla

6 May 2023

Coronation slogan postmark Medway Mail Centre 27-04-2023

Coronation slogan postmark Peterborough Mail Centre 27-04-2023

Coronation slogan postmark Lancashire and South Lakes (Preston Mail Centre) 27/04/2023

If you have any other interesting postal markings, please send them to one of the email addresses in the top right of this blog.  Thank you.

Remember, all postmarks appearing in April will be added to this post, so check here before you spend time scanning and emailing.  I'll add new ones as quickly as possible.

Wednesday 12 April 2023

King Charles III retail booklets.

The five booklets were delivered in three batches from Royal Mail, and none of mine had cylinder numbers. 

Thanks are due, then, to Robert for sending this picture of the 1st class Large with a cylinder number.

1st class Large King Charles III booklet with cylinder number.

These are the first booklets to have 'C' cylinder numbers for Cartor Security Printers, which is the new name for the group, although they are almost certainly still being printed at Walsall's Wolverhampton plant.

The cylinder number is printed in the same colour as the body of the stamp, but the KC is printed by the same unit that prints the barcode, and is in digital, raised, 4-colour process.

UPDATE - it was a mistake for me not to include this in the original KC3 post, so all future comments there please.

Thursday 6 April 2023

The Legend of Robin Hood - 13 April 2023 set of 10

On 13 April Royal Mail celebrates the story of the legendary and popular English folk outlaw, Robin Hood, with a set of ten exclusively illustrated first class stamps. 

The ten new Special Stamps bring the legend of Robin Hood and his companions to life with illustrations exclusive to these Royal Mail stamps. 

Each stamp depicts an element of the famous Robin Hood legend; from being outlawed, then meeting and leading his merry men, his marriage to Maid Marian and his death. The set also features other popular characters from the Robin Hood story including Friar Tuck, the Sheriff and King Richard. 

The Presentation Pack contains the ten Robin Hood stamps and a deeper look into the history behind the legend: from the earliest dated stories in the 15th century through to contemporary references and re- creations in today’s media. The pack is written by Dr Lesley Coote, a Lecturer in Medieval Studies and Medievalism at the University of Hull and an established author in relation to Robin Hood.

The Stamps

Exclusively illustrated for Royal Mail by artist Jon McCoy, the ten 1st class stamps feature The Legend of Robin Hood told through powerful images in chronological order; from Robin being outlawed through him shooting his last arrow.

Designs: Robin Hood is declared an outlaw, Robin Hood meets Little John, Friar Tuck carries Robin Hood, Robin Hood robs the rich, Robin Hood wins the archery contest, Robin Hood captures the sheriff, Robin Hood helps Maid Marian, Robin Hood and Maid Marian marry, King Richard* III removes his disguise, Robin Hood shoots his last arrow.

Technical details

The 35 mm square stamps are printed by Cartor Security Printers in lithography in two sheets of 50, in se-tenant strips of 5.  The Stamps are designed by Godfrey Design Illustrations and are copyright Royal Mail Group Ltd 2023.


Set of 10 stamps, presentation pack, stamp cards, first day cover, framed set.

  * Royal Mail mistakenly use 'King Richard III' in their narrative to us, when in fact it was Richard the Lionheart (Richard I) who would be chronologically accurate in the story.