Tag Archives: Christmas stamps

2013 Christmas stamp design competition : Winners announced

The winners of the 2013 Christmas stamp design competition have been announced today.

Christmas stamp 2013

‘Santa’, designed by Molly Robson aged 7 from West Sussex is to be featured on the first class Christmas stamps from 5th November 2013.

‘Santa’, designed by Molly Robson aged 7, from West Sussex, will be the 1st Class Christmas Stamp, and ‘Singing Angels’, by Rosie Hargreaves aged 10, from Devon, is to feature on the 2nd Class Christmas stamp. The winners will attend a prize-giving at Clarence House with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and Royal Mail Chief Executive Officer, Moya Greene. The winning designs were chosen from over 240,000 entries received from children aged between four and eleven across the UK in response to the question ‘What does the Christmas season mean to you?’

This is only the third time in Royal Mail’s near 500-year history that children have designed the Christmas Stamps. The Prince of Wales led the judging panel that chose the winning designs. A new website has been launched for children, parents and teachers to view the entries submitted to the competition: www.royalmailstampcompetition.com.

Christmas stamp 2013

‘Singing Angels’, by Rosie Hargreaves aged 10 from Devon, is to feature on the second class Christmas stamp from 5th November 2013.

You can also find out more about the first ever Christmas stamps (which were also designed by children) at our website.

Christmas stamps 2012

The illustrator behind the world famous children’s classic The Gruffalo brings his unique style to this year’s Royal Mail Christmas stamp issue. The seven stamps, issued today, are inspired by classic Christmas images, brought to life through the instantly recognisable illustrations of Axel Scheffler.

Christmas 2012 Presentation Pack.

Christmas 2012 Presentation Pack.

His gentle and disarming approach can be seen straight away on both the 1st and 2nd class stamps; a Christmas robin perches on Santa’s hand on the 1st Class stamp, while a reindeer’s antlers take on the role of a Christmas tree for the 2nd Class image.

Christmas 2012 - 1st and 2nd class stamps.

Christmas 2012 – 1st and 2nd class stamps.

The other Christmas stamps feature a snowman meeting a penguin (87p), a Christmas robin bearing a star decoration in his beak (£1.28), and on the £1.90 stamps, the cat and mouse set aside their normal differences to decorate the Christmas tree together.

Christmas 2012 - 87p, £1.28 and £1.90 stamps.

Christmas 2012 – 87p, £1.28 and £1.90 stamps.

Designers Webb & Webb were commissioned by Royal Mail to devise the Christmas stamps and suggested Axel Scheffler, who they worked with to create images suitable for the small format of a stamp.

Two different pictorial ‘first day of issue postmarks’ are available, and as always with Christmas stamp issues one of these is from the village of Bethlehem in Wales.

Christmas 2012 - First Day of Issue handstamps.

Christmas 2012 – First Day of Issue handstamps.

Royal Mail’s policy for Christmas stamps is to alternate non-secular and secular themes; the 2011 stamps marked the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, and this year a secular theme has been chosen. To provide choice for customers, the popular 1st and 2nd Class Madonna and Child stamps, first issued in 2007, will also be available.

Stamps and stamp products are available at most Post Office branches, online at www.royalmail.com/christmas2012 and from Royal Mail Tallents House (tel. 08457 641 641), 21 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB.

Christmas stamps 2011

Each Christmas Royal Mail processes 2 billion items of post; many sent this year will feature the new Christmas stamps issued today.

Christmas 2011 minisheet

Christmas 2011 minisheet

Royal Mail’s policy for Christmas stamps is to alternate non-secular and secular themes. The 2010 stamps featured children’s characters Wallace and Gromit, and this year the Nativity is the theme. The seven new stamps are inspired by verses from the Gospels of Mathew and Luke, and recognise that 2011 is the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

2nd Class – Joseph visited by the Angel
Inspired by Matthew 1:21 where the angel tells the sleeping Joseph: ‘And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins’

1st Class – Madonna and Child
Inspired by Matthew 1:23, ‘Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us’

2nd Class Large – Joseph visited by the Angel
Inspired by Matthew 1:21 where the angel tells the sleeping Joseph: ‘And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins’

1st Class Large – Madonna and Child
Inspired by Matthew 1:23, ‘Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us’
The wider format of the Large stamp reveals the stable in the background.

68p – Baby Jesus in the Manger
Inspired by Luke 2:7, ‘And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn’.

£1.10 – Shepherds visited by the Angel
Inspired by Luke 2:10, ‘And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people’.

£1.65 Wise Men and Star
Inspired by Matthew 2:10: ‘When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy’.

Two first day of issue postmarks, also inspired by the King James Bible, are available.

Christmas 2011 postmarks

Christmas 2011 postmarks

Stamps and stamp products are available at all Post Office branches, online at www.royalmail.com/stamps and the Royal Mail eBay shop, and from Royal Mail Tallents House (tel. 08457 641 641), 21 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB.

Virtual Advent Calendar – 24th December

In the lead-up to Christmas we are showcasing some of the festive items in our collection across our social networks. Behind the door of our virtual advent calendar today is…

Triple Arch from West Front (1989)

Triple Arch from West Front (1989)

One of five stamps issued by Royal Mail in 1989 to commemorate both Christmas and the 800th Anniversary of Ely Cathedral.

This stamp is a “semi-postal”, meaning that a charity surcharge (of 1p) was added to the price of the stamp.

Designer: David Gentleman

See larger images of all the items in our Virtual Advent Calendar on Flickr.

Virtual Advent Calendar – 19th December

In the lead-up to Christmas we are showcasing some of the festive items in our collection across our social networks. Behind the door of our virtual advent calendar today is…

Rejected stamp artwork by Arnold Machin (1968)

Rejected stamp artwork by Arnold Machin (1968)

One of several designs submitted to the GPO by Arnold Machin for Britain’s 1968 Christmas stamps. Machin is best known as the designer of the Queen’s Head definitive stamps (known as Machins) still in use today.

See larger images of all the items in our Virtual Advent Calendar on Flickr.

Wallace and Gromit Christmas stamps

Today Royal Mail has issued its 2010 Christmas stamps, featuring the well-loved characters Wallace and Gromit.

This year's Christmas stamps featuring Wallace and Gromit

This year's Christmas stamps featuring Wallace and Gromit

Wallace and Gromit were created by animator Nick Park in the 1980s. Since then the pair have starred in a number of films, advertisements and television programmes made by Aardman Animations. Royal Mail’s design team worked closely with Nick Park and Aardman Animations to devise brand new scenes featuring the pair.

The approach to the stamps was similar to how Aardman create a film, with Nick Park drawing scenes and visual jokes involving the characters, before refining the designs so that they would work in a definitive stamp format. Each stamp was then constructed with models, props and background sets – all created especially for the issue.

Wallace and Gromit generic sheet

Wallace and Gromit generic sheet

As with previous Christmas issues, the stamps are available in standard definitive size, except for the 1st and 2nd Large stamps, where the 1st and 2nd images are repeated but with more detail revealed on the wider format stamps.

Wallace and Gromit miniature sheet

A miniature sheet and generic sheet have also been produced, and two special First Day of Issue postmarks are available. As has become traditional with Christmas stamp issues, one of the postmarks is from Bethlehem, Llandeilo, Wales.

Special Wallace and Gromit first day of issue postmarks

Special Wallace and Gromit first day of issue postmarks

All Wallace and Gromit Christmas stamps products are available from the Royal Mail website.

2009 Christmas Stamps

Royal Mail has today released this year’s Christmas stamps, a set of seven adhesive stamps designed by Andrew Ross, featuring stained-glass windows produced in the 19th Century. It has generally been the tradition for British Christmas stamps to alternate between religious and more secular themes, and these stamps come on the back of last year’s Christmas pantomime stamps.

2009 Christmas stamps

2009 Christmas stamps

Perhaps surprisingly, stained-glass windows have only appeared on Christmas stamps twice before, in 1971 and 1992. The 1971 stamps were designed by Collis Clements who had submitted his original designs to the Stamp Advisory Committee for the 1970 Christmas stamps.

Collis Clement's 1970 Christmas stamp designs

Collis Clement's 1970 Christmas stamp designs

While designs by Sally Stiff were chosen in 1970, Clement’s were held over for 1971 and were judged to be better than those submitted by other designers in that year.

Collis Clement's 1971 Christmas stamps

Collis Clement's 1971 Christmas stamps

As Clement’s stamps depicted scenes from a 12th century stained glass window in Canterbury Cathedral the Post Office decided to provide a special pictorial postmark at Canterbury. It was circular, 15/16 inches in diameter, with the Cathedral as a central motif.

2009 Christmas postmark from Bethlehem

2009 Christmas postmark from Bethlehem

First day of issue (FDI) postmarks for ‘Bethlehem, Llandeilo, Carms’ had become popular with collectors since the first British Christmas stamps were issued in 1966 and for the Christmas 1970 stamps the Post Office provided a pictorial FDI postmark at this location. The pictorial postmark had been considered a success by the Post Office and was repeated in 1971 with a different design, this time showing a star-shaped snowflake motif to the left of a circular datestamp, 2¾ inches by 15/16 inches. The tradition of a FDI postmark for Bethlehem continues to this day, with a stained-glass window-style “praying hands” design available this year.

The 1992 stained glass Christmas stamps were designed by Carroll, Dempsey and Thirkell who have worked on a number of projects for Royal Mail including the Millennium series (1999-2000), Machin stamp books, the Microcosmos Prestige Stamp Book (2003) and Sounds of Britain (2006). Like this year’s Christmas stamps, the 1992 issue featured stained-glass windows from a variety of churches around Britain.

1992 Christmas stamps by Carroll, Dempsey and Thirkell

1992 Christmas stamps by Carroll, Dempsey and Thirkell

The 2009 Christmas stamps are now available from http://www.royalmail.com/stamps