Tag Archives: World Cup 1966

World Cup stamp designs from 1970 uncovered by archivists

World Cup 1970 stamp design recently uncovered by BPMA

World Cup 1970 stamp design recently uncovered by BPMA

Just days before the 2010 World Cup kicks off, unused postage stamp designs from the 1970 World Cup have been uncovered by archivists at the BPMA. The designs, by one of the UK’s most prolific stamp designers, David Gentleman, were commissioned in the event that England should have a successive World Cup victory following its win in 1966. 

1966 England Winners stamp

1966 England Winners stamp

It’s thought that David Gentleman was briefed to prepare the 1970 designs after the more hasty production of the celebratory stamp for the World Cup four years previously. Although the Royal Mail had produced a hugely popular set of stamps to mark England’s hosting of the World Cup in 1966, when the national team won there was only time to modify the existing stamp with the words ‘ENGLAND WINNERS’ to celebrate the triumph.

Royal Mail was obviously determined to be more prepared in 1970, which is why it commissioned designer David Gentleman, although sadly England didn’t experience the same victory in 1970 and that the stamp designs were filed away and forgotten.

The BPMA holds all the original artwork for both the 1966 stamps and the unseen 1970 stamp designs. Those who would like to see the stamps and the designs may visit The British Postal Museum & Archive, but please see our website for details on viewing philatelic material beforehand.

Famous Philatelists

An unusual item in the collection of the BPMA is the stamp album of the late, great Freddie Mercury. The talented Queen star collected stamps as a boy and his album is one of the few of his personal belongings that still exists in the public domain. 

A page from Freddie Mercurys childhood stamp album

A page from Freddie Mercury's childhood stamp album

Freddie Mercury’s collection includes stamps from a wide range of countries across the world. Many are from the British Empire and those of particular philatelic interest are from Zanzibar, Mercury’s birthplace. The album also incorporates a wide selection of stamps from Eastern Europe and Commonwealth countries. As pop memorabilia and for cultural reference, Freddie Mercury’s collection is priceless.

A stamp from Zanzibar which appears in Freddie Mercurys album

A stamp from Zanzibar which appears in Freddie Mercury's album

Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara on 5 September 1946 in Zanzibar. Bomi – his father – originally inspired his stamp collecting and it’s believed that Freddie built up his own collection between the ages of nine and twelve.

Following Freddie Mercury’s death on 24 November 1991, the majority of his belongings were burnt in line with his family’s Zoroastrian religious beliefs but Bomi decided to keep the stamp album.

Bomi eventually decided to auction his, and Mercury’s stamp collections and the BPMA, then the National Postal Museum, purchased the album on 17 December 1993. The amount paid was donated to the Mercury Phoenix Trust which is the AIDS charity that was set-up by Queen band members John Deacon, Brian May and Roger Taylor, along with Mercury’s friend Mary Austin.

In 1999 Freddie Mercury appeared on the 19p stamp in the Millennium Series: The Entertainers’ Tale commemoratives, alongside 1966 England World Cup captain Bobby Moore, a dalek from Doctor Who and silent film star Charlie Chaplain.

Freddie Mercury isn’t the only famous pop star to have collected stamps. John Lennon’s stamp album (from circa 1950), which features over 550 stamps from several countries including New Zealand, India and the United States, is currently held by the National Postal Museum (part of the Smithsonian Museum) in Washington D.C.

A stamp from the UK-Australia Joint Issue of 1988, featuring John Lennon

A stamp from the UK-Australia Joint Issue of 1988, featuring John Lennon

John Lennon has appeared on postage stamps in many countries including the UK-Australia Joint Issue of 1988 celebrating the Bicentenary of Australian Settlement (where Lennon is pictured with William Shakespeare, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge) and The Beatles stamps of 2007. Fans in the United States have set up an online petition to get the US Postal Service to release a stamp commemorating John Lennon’s 70th birthday in 2010.