Songbirds Fly Onto British Mail

Spring and early summer songbirds — some familiar and some lesser known — appear on 10 new stamps issued Thursday, May 4, by Great Britain’s Royal Mail.

The first-class stamps are in two se-tenant strips of five on separate panes of stamps.

Birds shown are (top row, from left) Great Tit, Wren, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Skylark; (bottom row, from left) Blackcap, Song Thrush, Nightingale, Cuckoo, Yellowhammer.

The stamps were designed by Osborne Ross using illustrations by Italian artist Federico Gemma.

The stamps also comes in a Presentation Pack that includes a detailed color-illustrated sheet that presents each bird with detailed text by bird author Simon Barnes, photo and identifying silhouette.

Royal Mail also is producing a 10-stamp official first-day cover and similar stamp souvenir (with two different special birding cancellations), each with an information card about the birds; and 10 postcards with enlarged images of the stamps.

Royal Mail Issues Ancient Britain Stamps

Royal Mail issued eight new stamps January 17 titled “Ancient Britain.” The postal administration described the stamp subject inspiration as follows:

“How people lived in prehistoric times fascinates the public and this stamp issue explores this subject. The stamps show famous iconic sites as well as some of the most exceptional artifacts, and overlays illustrations to show how people lived and worked at these sites and used the objects. Overall, the stamps give a timeline across thousands of years of history, from a glimpse of Stone Age ritual of 11,000 years ago, to the Iron Age of some 300 BC.”

The two 1st class stamps show a Battersea Shield and Skara Brae village, the £1.05 stamps show a Star Carr headdress and the Maiden Castle Hillfort, the £1.33 stamps have the Averbury Stone Circles and Drumbest Horns, and the £1.52 stamps show the Grimes Graves and a Mold cape.

 

Christmas Stamps by Children in Great Britain

Children, of course, are synonymous with Christmas. Great Britain has embraced the holiday joy of youth by sponsoring stamp-design contests resulting in three seasons of Christmas stamps — which are considered “special” stamps by Royal Mail — designed by young people.

4-great-britain-4794-great-britain-478The first contest was held in 1966 resulted in two stamps created by artwork from two 6-year-olds. Eight professional designers judged the 5,000 entries and awarded the honors to Tasveer Shemza and James Berry. Shemza’s design features King Wenceslas, while Berry’s shows a snowman. Nine-year-old Ann Belshaw’s design of Santa Claus on a rooftop by a chimney was used on an official cachet.

4-great-britain-960In 1981, Royal Mail sponsored a second contest, which resulted in five stamps, four of a religious nature and one showing a picture of Santa Claus. A stamp designed by Samantha Brown, 5, shows Santa with a rather charming smile. The contest was sponsored by the BBC and drew 74,000 entries. Artwork for the other stamps was created by Tracy Jenkins, Lucinda Blackmore, Stephen Moore, and Sophie Sharp.

4-molly-2013The third children’s stamp-design competition led to two Christmas stamps in 2013. This time, 239,374 schoolchildren between the ages of 4 and 11 responded visually to the question “What does Christmas mean to you?” The two national winners, whose designs are on first- and second-class stamps, were selected by a panel led by Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, and that included Shemza, one of the winners of the 1966 contest.

The 2013 winners were Father Christmas, designed by Molly Robson, 7, and Singing Angels, by Rosie Hargreaves, 10.

At the time of the contest, news reports quoted Prince Charles as stating: “I am delighted to be helping judge this wonderful competition which gives children from across the United Kingdom the amazing opportunity to share their creativity and have their designs on this year’s Christmas stamps.

The children’s names appear on all the stamps, though the 1966 stamps include just their last names and first initial. The winning designs for all the contests needed the approval the prince’s mum, the queen.

Great Britain Hibernating Animals Post & Go Stamps

Great Britain’s Royal Mail issued four new pictorial Post & Go: Hibernating Animals stamps, overprinted with First Class, First Large, Second Class and Second Large values, today, November 14.

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Royal Mail provided the following description of the four stamps:

Hedgehogs like to hibernate in piles of dead leaves and vegetation, though this can make them vulnerable to garden bonfires.

Grass snakes are cold-blooded and rely on sunlight for warmth. When the days grow too short, they crawl into vegetation or cracks in banks to hibernate.

Dormouse are proverbially sleepy, dormice can spend more than half the year in hibernation, within carefully woven woodland nests.

The Brown long-eared bat needs a steady supply of insects, so when this food source disappears, they hibernate.

National Postal Museum Opens “From Royal Mail to Public Post” Exhibition

[NPM October 21 Press Release]

National Postal Museum Opens
“From Royal Mail to Public Post” Exhibition

Observing the 500th Anniversary of the United Kingdom’s Royal Mail

“From Royal Mail to Public Post” opened today, Oct. 21, at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum. The exhibition, open through Jan. 16, 2017, chronicles postal reform in the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom’s postal service, Royal Mail, observes its 500th anniversary in 2016. To mark the occasion, the National Postal Museum is presenting a temporary display of original documents from 1635 and 1840, pivotal years in the expansion and evolution of the country’s postal network. The exhibition includes the earliest known example of the world’s first stamp, the Penny Black, dated April 10, 1840, from the archives of leading British postal reformer Robert Wallace. These important documents chronicling postal reform in the United Kingdom are on loan from the private collection of British businessman and philatelist Alan Holyoake.

First Proof of Penny Postage Stamp Cover. Presented to Mr. [Robert] Wallace by the Right Honourable the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Francis Thornhill Baring, April 10, 1840. Loan from Alan Holyoake. Photo courtesy National Postal Museum.
First Proof of Penny Postage Stamp Cover. Presented to Mr. [Robert] Wallace by the Right Honourable the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Francis Thornhill Baring, April 10, 1840. Loan from Alan Holyoake. Photo courtesy National Postal Museum.
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