Last Saturday the London 2010: International Stamp Exhibition opened at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London.
Eagerly awaited by enthusiasts, and taking place just once every ten years, this 8-day stamp spectacular is one of the highlights of the London 2010 Festival of Stamps.
Royal Mail's stand at the London 2010: International Stamp Exhibition
There is much to see (and buy!) at the show, with over 200 stand holders, including many foreign postal administrations, plus numerous societies represented.
The centre piece is the impressive Royal Mail stand, surmounted by two arches of giant stamps. Around the exterior of the stand is a display put together by the British Postal Museum & Archive with unique items from both our collections and the security printers Enschedé.
Half the display deals with the low value stamps of King George V’s reign, including the Downey head stamps – the first stamps of George V’s reign – and declared a ‘disaster’! The display includes dies, rollers and printing plates, including some for unissued stamps.
The intaglio printing plate used to print The King's Stamps, alongside some examples
The other half of the display brings the story up to date with describing how the printers Enschedé produced the new 2010 stamps, based on the 1913 Seahorse and 1924 Wembley stamps. This includes the actual intaglio printing plate.
Other things to look out for include the competitive displays. Over the 8 day show there will be 2400 frames of competitive exhibits on show. Each frame holds 16 stamp album sheets, so that’s a lot of stamps in total! There are many different entries on every conceivable subject, from the British Occupation stamp issues of Iraq (1917-1923) to ‘A Glimpse into the World of Beer’! The full list of entries can be seen here.
The world’s largest envelope
Hanging from the ceiling you might notice a large grey envelope. In fact it is officially the world’s largest envelope – sent by Stanley Gibbons to Brian Trotter, organiser of the show.
One of the rarest and most valuable stamps in the world is also on display; the only known example of a Swedish 3 skilling stamp inadvertently printed in yellow instead of green. It will be put up for auction after the exhibition.
The show lasts until Saturday 15 May.