Tag Archives: First Day Cover

Buckingham stamps released

A new stamp issue was released today celebrates 300 years of Buckingham Palace.

Six individual stamps explore the different appearance of this iconic
building over the centuries while a Miniature Sheet celebrates the opulence of its interior.

Miniature Sheet, 1st class.

Miniature Sheet, 1st class.

The Throne Room, 1st class.

The Throne Room, 1st class.

The Green Drawing Room, 1st class.

The Green Drawing Room, 1st class.

The Grand Staircase, 1st class.

The Grand Staircase, 1st class.

The Blue Drawing Room, 1st class.

The Blue Drawing Room, 1st class.

The history of Buckingham Palace can be traced back to the early 17th century, when a mulberry garden was established on the site to breed silk worms. George III purchased the building and site from the Duke of Buckingham and George IV converted it into a palace, his chief residence.

Buckingham Palace 1862.

Buckingham Palace 1862.

Buckingham Palace 2014.

Buckingham Palace 2014.

Buckingham Palace 1846.

Buckingham Palace 1846.

Buckingham Palace 1819.

Buckingham Palace 1819.

Buckingham Palace 1714.

Buckingham Palace 1714.

Buckingham Palace 1700.

Buckingham Palace 1700.

Buckingham Palace has appeared before on stamps and is one of the most iconic buildings in the UK. Below is photograph that was taken for use on the Coronation issue for Edward VII, but it was never used.

KEVIII projected Coronation issue: Photograph of a view of Buckingham Palace  Photograph taken by GPO film unit for pictorial essays (not used). (POST 150/KEVIII/4/004)

KEVIII projected Coronation issue: Photograph of a view of Buckingham Palace Photograph taken by GPO film unit for pictorial essays. (POST 150/KEVIII/4/004)

The Buckingham Palace stamps are available from 15 April online at royalmail.com/buckinghampalaceby phone on 08457 641 641 and and in 10,000 Post Offices throughout the UK.

Remarkable Lives issued today

A new set of stamps issued today another selection of remarkable individuals from the realms of sport, design, economics, heroism and the arts. The set commemorates individuals born 100 years ago this year. Notable figures include a footballer, actors and molecular biologists, to boast a few.

Remarkable Lives First Day Cover

Remarkable Lives First Day Cover

Dr David Lawrence, writer, researcher, architectural historian and lecturer at Kingston University and designed by Purpose, the Filler Card provides a brief look at the ten remarkable individuals featured on the stamps.

Kenneth More, 1st class.

Kenneth More, 1st class.

Joe Mercer, 1st class.

Joe Mercer, 1st class.

Joan Littlewood,1st class.

Joan Littlewood,1st class.

Dylan Thomas, 1st class.

Dylan Thomas, 1st class.

Barbara Ward, 1st class.

Barbara Ward, 1st class.

Alec Guinness, 1st class.

Alec Guinness, 1st class.

Abram Games, 1st class.

Abram Games, 1st class.

Roy Plomley, 1st class.

Roy Plomley, 1st class.

Noorunissa Inayat Khan, 1st class.

Noorunissa Inayat Khan, 1st class.

Max Perutz, 1st class.

Max Perutz, 1st class.

The Special Stamps are available from 25 March online at www.royalmail.com/remarkablelives, by phone on 08457 641 641 and in 10,000 Post Offices throughout the UK.

Centenary of the introduction of Postage Dues

2014 marks the centenary of postage due stamps first being introduced by the Post Office. Uncollected revenue has always been a concern of the Post Office. If an item was posted without sufficient prepayment it was surcharged and the excess collected by the postman on delivery. However the system in place originally was complicated and open to abuse. In March 1912 a conference looked at possible reforms.

1911 Sketch design for the coupon for the Post Office Savings Bank with a Downey Head example

The conference proposed the introduction of “Postage Due” labels – to be affixed to all mail that had not been fully paid for. Postage Due labels would be accounted for in the same way as postage stamps and therefore a direct check could be maintained on each item of mail.

George W. Eve, the bookplate designer, was invited to create a design along the lines of existing postage due labels of other countries, without the monarch’s head.

1911 Sketch design for the coupon for the Post Office Savings Bank with a Downey Head example (above). Both designed by George Eve.

1911 Sketch design for the coupon for the Post Office Savings Bank with a Downey Head example (above). Both designed by George Eve.

Denominations

There were to be four denominations of Postage Due labels (½d, 1d, 2d, and 5d) initially, all in the same design and in landscape format. Eve was offered, and accepted, a fee of 30 guineas (£31 10s) to undertake this work. He produced a design in the style of a bookplate, using leaves and national symbols, and the words POSTAGE DUE.

Further denominations were added later, with higher values being used to collect customs dues. For these the wording was therefore changed to TO PAY.

14 April 1914 Post Office notice for the introduction of Postage Due labels

14 April 1914 Post Office notice for the introduction of Postage Due labels

Different watermarked paper and different colours were used over the years. Despite changes in the colours and increases in the denominations, it is significant that George Eve’s design of Postage Due labels remained the same for over 50 years, until 1970.

2014 marks the centenary of the introduction of Postage Due labels.  Their use ceased in 2000.

The BPMA will be introducing a new commemorative stamp issue to its Post & Go machine at Freeling House on Wednesday 19 February 2014 to mark the centenary of the introduction of Postage Due labels. These will be available until Saturday 5 April 2014.

1902 Design for the Lord Mayor’s invitation

Earlier examples of illustrations by George Eve. 1902 Design for the Lord Mayor’s invitation.

Both the existing Machin and the Union Flag designs will bear the underprint “The B.P.M.A./ Postage Due 1914”.  A limited number of BPMA specific first day covers will be available for purchase both at Freeling House and through the online shop.

The new commemorative stamp issue will also be marked through a small two panel display in the BPMA’s Search Room Foyer, from Wednesday 19 February until Saturday 5 April.

Union Flag design soon available from our Post & Go machine

From tomorrow a new design will be available from the Post & Go machine situated in the foyer of the Royal Mail Archive: the Union Flag.

Union Flag Post & Go stamp from our machine.

Union Flag Post & Go stamp from our machine.

The Union Flag design replaces the Christmas Robin design which has been available since the machine was launched on 3 December 2012. The gold Machin design is still available from the machine, which produces self-adhesive stamps on demand with a special overprint reading “The B.P.M.A.”.

Union flag stamps from our Post & Go machine.

Union flag stamps from our Post & Go machine.

Two different stamp designs are available from our Post & Go machine at any one time, and the designs are changed 3-4 times a year. The machine takes payment by credit and debit cards, and is only available to visitors to the Royal Mail Archive in Clerkenwell.

A limited number of an official first day cover featuring the Union Flag will be available from the BPMA online shop – Philatelic from 25 February 2013.

Visit our Post & Go webpage for more information.

New Comics stamps

Today Royal Mail is paying homage to the great British comics by issuing ten new 1st class stamps. The Comics issue also marks the 75th birthday of The Dandy, Britain’s longest running comic. The stamps feature classic covers and iconic characters from comics such as The Topper, Tiger, Bunty, Buster, The Beano and 2000AD.

Comics stamps

British comics emerged from weekly ‘story papers’ such as Boy’s Own and The Magnet (featuring Billy Bunter), but in December 1937 DC Thomson launched The Dandy, featuring rollicking comic strip adventures with individual speech balloons rather than blocks of text.

The Beano followed just over six months later and from that point publishers knew they were on to a winner, with an explosion of titles after the Second World War including The Beezer, Eagle, Mandy and Twinkle.

At that time there was a comic to suit every child, but as the decades rolled by weeklies folded or merged as readers lost that weekly habit. The Dandy, The Beano and 2000 AD are still successful and remain in circulation, and their much loved characters, including Desperate Dan, Dennis the Menace and zero-tolerance super-cop Judge Dredd live on in the nation’s heart.

Comics first day of issue handstamps

Comics first day of issue handstamps

Comics – Stamp by Stamp

1st Class – The Dandy and Desperate Dan

The Dandy was first published in the United Kingdom by D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd in December 1937 and is the world’s longest continuously published comic. Wild-west hero Desperate Dan first appeared in December 1937. The world’s strongest man, he shaves with a blow torch ands eats cow pies complete with the tails and horns.

1st Class – The Beano and Dennis the Menace

The Beano first appeared on 30 July 1938. The Dennis the Menace strip (now known as Dennis and Gnasher) first appeared in 1951 and is the longest running strip in the comic. Other iconic strips include the Bash Street Kids, Roger the Dodger and Minnie the Minx.

1st Class – Eagle and Dan Dare

The first issue of Eagle was released in April 1950. Revolutionary in its presentation and content, it was enormously successful; the first issue sold about 900,000 copies. Featured in colour on the front cover was Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future, created by Frank Hampson. Other popular stories included Riders of the Range and P.C. 49. Eagle also contained news and sport sections, and educational cutaway diagrams of sophisticated machinery.

1st Class – The Topper and Beryl the Peril

The Topper was published by DC Thomson Ltd and ran from 1953 to 1990, when it merged with The Beezer. Mickey the Monkey was the original cover star. Beryl the Peril was created by David Law as a female Dennis the Menace (also created by Law). The strip ran from the first issue, taking over the cover in 1986.

1st Class – Tiger and Roy of the Rovers

Tiger was published from 1954 to 1985, and featured predominantly sporting strips. Its most popular strip was Roy of the Rovers, recounting the life of Roy Race and the team he played for, Melchester Rovers. This strip proved so successful it was spun out of Tiger and into its own comic.

1st Class – Bunty and the Four Marys

Bunty was published by DC Thomson from 1958 to 2001. It consisted of a collection of many small strips, typically the stories themselves being three to five pages long. The Four Marys was the longest story. The comic ran from its creation in 1958 to its end in 2001. It centered around four young teenagers who lived in a girls-only boarding school in Elmbury.

1st Class – Buster and Buster

Buster ran from 1960 to 2000 and carried a mixture of humour and adventure strips. The title character, whose strip usually appeared on the front cover, was Buster. He was originally billed as Buster: Son of Andy Capp, the lead character of the Daily Mirror newspaper strip, and wore a similar flat cap to reinforce the connection.

1st Class – Valiant and the Steel Claw

Valiant was a British boys’ adventure comic which ran from 1962 to 1976. It was published by IPC Magazines and was one of their major adventure titles throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. Aside from World War II characters like Captain Hurricane, Valiant ran innovative science fiction strips like the Steel Claw, a scientist rendered invisible by his artificial hand.

1st Class – Twinkle and Nurse Nancy

Twinkle, ‘the picture paper especially for little girls’, was published by D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd from 1968 to 1999. It was aimed at young girls and came out weekly, Nurse Nancy, who ran a toy hospital with her grandfather, was one of the most popular characters.

1st Class – 2000 AD and Judge Dredd

2000 AD is a weekly British science fiction-oriented comic, first published in 1977. It is most noted for its Judge Dredd stories, and has been contributed to by a number of artists and writers who became renowned in the field internationally, such as Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison. Judge Dredd is a law enforcement officer in a city of the future where uniformed Judges combine the powers of police, judge and jury.

The Comics stamps are now available from Royal Mail Stamps online. Visit the British Stamps pages on our website to find out more about commemorative stamps from 1924 to 1951, and definitive stamps from 1840 to 1970.

Classic Locomotives of Scotland

Classic Locomotives of Scotland, issued today, is the second of four miniature sheets highlighting some of the workhorses of the tracks, who criss-crossed the United Kingdom to satisfy its increasing industrial demands.

Classic Locomotives of Scotland

Classic Locomotives of Scotland

The earliest railways in Scotland were built for commercial and industrial purposes to convey coal to local waterways, but this quickly expanded to forge essential links with burgeoning industrial locations including factories, quarries and docks.

Many of the locomotives had working lives of several decades before diesel and electric technology completely took over in the 1960s.

A good example is the Andrew Barclay No. 807, Bon Accord, which features on the £1 stamp. Bon Accord was built in 1897 and belonged to the Aberdeen Gas Works and is shown working along the city’s Miller Street in June 1962.

Royal Mail worked closely with railway expert Professor Colin Divall of the National Railway Museum in York, and Scottish railway expert Dugald Cameron, to select the four locomotives featured on the miniature sheet – chosen from thousands of period photographs.

The Classic Locomotives series of stamps began with Classic Locomotives of England in February 2011, and moves on to highlight other locomotives that operated in Northern Ireland and Wales in future issues.

The Classic Locomotives stamps are now available from Royal Mail Stamps online. Visit our website to material from our collection related to Mail by Rail.

Treasures of the Archive

Recently our Assistant Curator Vyki Sparkes gave a talk about our current Search Room exhibition Treasures of the Archive. A recording of this talk is now available on our podcast.

Moses James Nobbs: Last of the mail coach guards

Moses James Nobbs: Last of the mail coach guards

In her talk Vyki highlighted three of her favourite objects in the exhibition – a watercolour of Moses James Nobbs: the last of the mailcoach guards, Frederick G. Gurr’s World War 2 scrapbook and an evidence bag from the Great Train Robbery – all of which have fascinating stories attached.

The Treasures of the Archive exhibition features many other unique and interesting items from our collection, including the first ‘First Day Cover’ in the world, showing a Penny Black used on 6 May 1840, the first day of validity; original artwork for Greetings Telegrams and stamps; and the United Kingdom’s first pillar box. Find out more on our website.

Download the Vyki Sparkes podcast for free at www.postalheritage.org.uk/podcast

Illustrating Britain and Stamp Design

Designer and illustrator Ronald Maddox has worked extensively for the Post Office and Royal Mail, designing stamps, stamp book covers, first day covers, presentation packs, posters and charts. On 27th May Ronald Maddox will speak at the BPMA about the design process, and many of the designs and artworks he has completed over the years.

After studying at London College of Printing and Graphic Art, and Regents Street Polytechnic School of Art, Ronald Maddox joined the RAF for National Service as a Designer/Artist in the Air Ministry Design Unit. Since then he has been working as a freelance artist, designer, consultant and illustrator. Maddox is President of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours and a specialist in this medium, and has exhibited regularly in London and provincial exhibitions, including at the Royal Academy and the Mall Galleries, and has had several one-man shows.

Ronald Maddox’s stamps and posters typically feature British architecture, rural life and countryside. A 1964 Post Office recruitment poster designed by Maddox shows Post Office vans driving through a rural village and a modern city centre.

A 1964 Post Office recruitment poster

A 1964 Post Office recruitment poster designed by Ronald Maddox

Two years later Maddox illustrated a poster on the importance of correct addressing with a painting of Capel Curig, in rural North Wales.

Poster advising on correct addressing designed by Ronald Maddox

Poster advising on correct addressing designed by Ronald Maddox

In 1971 both Maddox and Nicholas Jenkins were asked to submit designs for a stamp issue on Modern University Buildings. While Jenkins was the successful designer for these stamps, the Post Office was impressed with the quality of Maddox’s drawings and his meticulous research, and he was invited to design the 1972 stamp issue Village Churches, as well as the poster and first day cover for Modern University Buildings.

A poster advertising the Modern University Buildings stamp issue

A poster designed by Ronald Maddox advertising the Modern University Buildings stamp issue

For the Village Churches issue, Maddox originally presented more than 20 designs of rural churches, ensuring a wide range of architectural styles were represented. Eventually, five churches were selected for the set. Stuart Rose, Post Office Design Advisor at the time noted that “to condense six or seven hundred years of ecclesiastical architecture into five little stamps is no mean feat and Ronald Maddox has good reason to be proud of his achievement”. The Village Churches stamps became the first ever prints to receive a Design Council Award.

Village Churches stamp issue, 1972

Village Churches stamp issue, 1972

Other stamp issues designed by Ronald Maddox include British Architecture (1978), Urban Renewal (1984) and Industrial Archaeology (1989).

Further information and booking details for Illustrating Britain and Stamp Design can be found on our website.

The King’s Stamps

On Tuesday 11th May, right in the middle of the main London 2010: Festival of Stamps activities, we will welcome Paul Eimers of stamp printers Joh Enschedé to the BPMA. Joh Enschedé have printed many British stamps over the years, but their latest work for Royal Mail is The King’s Stamps miniature sheet, to be released on 8th May to mark the start of the International Stamp Exhibition.

The King’s Stamps miniature sheet features two reproductions of the 1924 British Empire Exhibition stamps designed by Harold Nelson set within a contemporary border with the present value (1st) and the Queen’s head profile. In addition two reproductions of the “Seahorses” design by Bertram Mackennal are also featured; both high value definitives, first issued in 1913, are set within a contemporary border with the value (£1) and Queen’s head. The top of the Miniature Sheet’s plain border contains the text: London 2010 Festival of Stamps with a crown.

The King's Stamps miniature sheet, released 8th May 2010

The King's Stamps miniature sheet, to be released 8th May 2010

This sheet is printed in both intaglio and lithography. The red, brown, grey and blue ‘stamps’ are printed intaglio, to be as faithful as possible to the original stamps, while the Queen’s head, stamp values and Sheet surround is printed in litho. The technical and design challenges of producing this miniature sheet will be one focus of Paul Eimers’ talk.

First day of issue postmarks to accompany the King’s Stamps have been produced. The London postmark replicates the lion on the British Empire Exhibition stamps, while the Tallents House postmark features part of the “Seahorses” design.

The King's Stamps first day of issue postmarks

The King's Stamps first day of issue postmarks

The King’s Stamps miniature sheet and related products, including a Prestige Stamp Book written by our Curator of Philately Douglas Muir, will be released on 8th May and can be purchased from Royal Mail.

Tickets to Paul Eimer’s talk on The King’s Stamps are free. For booking details and further information please see the BPMA website.

100 years of the Girl Guides

At a Boy Scout rally at Crystal Palace in 1909 a group of girls turned up and demanded something for them; luckily Scouting founder Lord Baden Powell was thinking along the same lines, and the Girl Guide movement was formed. A century on, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts has 10 million members in more than 140 countries, and in the UK the Guides are the largest youth organisation in the country, with 550,000 members. Today Royal Mail has released a colourful miniature sheet commemorating 100 years of the Girlguiding UK, a nice follow on to 2007’s issue celebrating 100 years of the Scouts.

Girlguiding miniature sheet, 2010

Girlguiding miniature sheet, 2010

As you might expect, this is not the first time that the Girl Guides have appeared on stamps. In 1982 Royal Mail celebrated Youth Organisations. The stamps designed by Brian Sanders featured the Boy’s Brigade and the Girl’s Brigade, along with the Scouts and Guides.

Youth Organisations Commemoratives, 1982

Youth Organisations Commemoratives, 1982

The Boy Scouts, however, have made one other appearance on British stamps. In 1957 three stamps were released to commemorate the World Scout Jubilee Jamboree, a 50th anniversary celebration of the movement held at Sutton Coldfield in August of that year.

World Scout Jubilee Jamboree commemoratives, 1957

World Scout Jubilee Jamboree commemoratives, 1957

The commemorative stamps were designed by three artists, Mary Adshead (2½d value), Pat Keely (4d value) and William Henry Brown (1s 3d value) and printed by Harrisons onto sheets and rolls. The rolls of stamps were used with experimental automatic stamp-fixing equipment designed to produce first day covers, which was and built and housed in a portion of the Birmingham Postal Customs Depot adjoining Sutton Coldfield Sorting Office. Twelve different types of cover were produced by the Mayflower Stamp Co. and they cost 6s 6d each (which included a set of all three stamps). The covers were cancelled with the special postmark slogan “Jubilee Jamboree – Sutton Coldfield” and posted from the Jamboree Camp Post Office.

Also notable about the World Scout Jubilee Jamboree stamps was that the Boy Scout Association had to lobby hard to get them. In 1955 the Association contacted the Post Office Advisory Council to suggest the release of stamps to celebrate the centenary of Lord Baden Powell’s birth on 22 February 1957. This was rejected as it was the policy of the Post Office to restrict the issue of special stamps to events of greatest importance to the nation or major postal significance.

Later in 1955 the Boy Scout Association requested an issue to commemorate the Jubilee Jamboree. This was considered and rejected on the same grounds, but following a campaign organised through Stamp Collector magazine, which urged its readers to write to their MPs, a parliamentary question was put by J V Woollam (Conservative MP for Liverpool West Derby and a philatelist) with the support of several other Members of Parliament.

Pressure continued for special issues to celebrate both the Jubilee Jamboree and the British Empire Games (to be held in Cardiff in 1958). Finally in early March 1956 a memo was circulated which reconsidered the case for special issues commemorating both events and concluded by suggesting regular special issues at intervals of every two years or so. The memo advised that special issues should feature “current events of outstanding national or international importance”. With this change of policy the Post Office Advisory Council reversed its earlier rejection and it was announced in the House of Commons on 13 June 1956 that the Post Office would be issuing a set to commemorate the Jubilee Jamboree.

The Girlguiding miniature sheet is available from the Royal Mail Shop.