The first Toy Fair in Britain was held in 1953. 50 years later this stamp issue, in the 'Transport' series of stamps, shows British toys from the 1930s to the 1960s.
|1st class ( 28p) Meccano Constructor Biplane (1931)||'E' rate ( 38p) Wells-Brimtoy Clockwork Double-decker Omnibus (1938)||42p Hornby M1 Locomotive & Tender (1940)|| 47p Dinky Toy Ford Zephyr (1956)
|| 68p Mettoy Friction Drive Space Ship Eagle (1960)
Toys have always been popular with children, whether a simple bat and ball, hoop, spinning top or dolls. But when railway expansion was it its peak wooden, then metal toys were made, the latter often working models powered by steam generated by a spirit boiler. Toy aeroplanes appeared soon after the Wright Brothers flights in 1903.
Leading the pack of British toy manufacturers was Frank Hornby who, as early as 1901, patented the 'Mechanics Made Easy' construction kits consisting of perforated metal strips and angles, nuts, bolts and wheels. These kits enabled different models to be made, taken apart, and made into other models. Later the name was changed to Meccano.
In 1920 he started producing the model railways to which he gave his name, and Hornby Railways were an instant and long-lasting success with more recent models including the Eurostar trains which operate in the Channel Tunnel. In the 1930s he developed die-cast metal 'Modelled Miniatures' which, started as model railway accessories known as Meccano Dinky Toys. These were made in factories in Liverpool and at Bobigny in France. When the Liverpool factory closed in 1979 over 1000 different models had been produced.
Wells-Brimtoy started in 1914 as The British Metal and Toy Manufacturers when the public demanded home-produced toys rather than German goods. Based in a North London foundry, they produced toys at night from scarp metal and survived German bombing of two factories during World War 2.
Mettoy, on the other hand, was the creation in 1933 of two German refugees, who produced many clockwork tin lorries and aircraft, much of their output being for the pretigious chain retail Marks & Spencer. Later moving to die-cast metal, Mettoy was the first to add moulded plastic features and to use a friction motor instead of clockwork.
This is the third series of 'transport' stamps, the previous issues being 2002 - Jet airliners and . The series continues in with two issues in 2004 - classic steam trains (January), & merchant shipping (April).
The stamps are designed by Trickett & Webb. They used photographs by Martin Langfield. The Meccano biplane and Wells-Brimtoy bus are shown courtesy of Pollocks Toy Museum, the remaineder of the subjects are in private collections.
The miniature sheet contains the full set of stamps, contained withtin a border which appears to be based on a toy catalogue of the 1950s.
On the same day Royal Mail will issue a book of 6 self-adhesive stamps - 4 definitives plus two 'Meccano bi-plane' stamps.
Technical details: The stamps are 41x30mm and are printed by Joh Enschede Stamps of Holland, in sheets of 50. The miniature sheet is also printedby Enschede and the booklet by De La Rue.
All images are taken from Royal Mail's Philatelic Bulletin and Postmark Bulletin, and are Copyright 2003 by Royal Mail.
'Meccano' is a trademark of Nicco Toys. All other copyrights and Trade Marks acknowledged.
As usual we have produced exclusive limited edition FDCs for this issue as follows:
Norvic FDC with set of 5 stamps with a choice of two postmarks (N8712 or E8723) at a price of £7.00 each.
Norvic FDC with Self-adhesive booklet (postmark E8720)- price £5.75
Miniature sheet - a few covers have been prepared with postmark L8744 for £7.00.
Mint set of 5 or MS - £3.25; booklet £2.50
All prices exclude postage & packing. For enquiries including prices in foreign currencies - please email us.
Special postmarks available for use on the issue date are shown below. Explanations of some of the postmarks are at the foot of the table.
| Ref FD319
Philatelic Bureau FD Postmark
| Ref FD320
Toye, Downpatrick, FD Postmark
| Ref L8704
First Day of Issue, London Stampex Autumn Exhibition Transports of Delight
| Ref L8697
Hornby - Britain's National Stamp Exhibition, Stampex, Islington, London
| Ref L8705
The 50th Anniversary Autumn Stampex
| Ref E8720
[Biplane] Duxford, Cambridge
| Ref E8721
Omnibus, Epping [Essex]
| Ref E8722
[Toy train] Bletchley Park PO, Milton Keynes
| Ref L8695
Barry Potter Toy Collectors Fairs and Auctions, Sandown Park, Esher
| Ref E8725
Making Models Real, Margate, Kent [Hornby train - class A4 locomotive]
| Ref E8724
Beaulieu, Brockenhurst [Hampshire]
| Ref E8723
[Toy Southern locomotive 513] Margate
| Ref L8696
Pollock's Toy Museum, London W1T
| Ref L8702
www.scificollector.co.uk, The Strand, London WC2
| Ref L8703
Hornby Close, London NW3
| Ref L8701
Transport Revisited, Transport Avenue, Brentford, Middlesex
| Ref M8709
Northampton [toy plane]
| Ref N8710
York [toy train]
| Ref N8711
Liverpool [toy biplane]
| Ref N8712
Liverpool [toy racing car]
| Ref N8713
Hornby, Lancaster [cartoon car]
| Ref N8717
Self Adhesives, Hornby, Lancaster
| Ref N8716
Hornby, Lancaster [railway locomotive]
| Ref N8718
Hornby, Lancaster [railway locomotive]
| Ref N8714
Eagle, Lincoln [Mettoy spaceship]
| Ref L8700
Stars of Jazz & Transport, Duke Ellington - "Take the A Train", Ellington Road, London N10
| Ref N8715
Dinky Trams and Buses of the 1930's, Liverpool
| Ref M8673
Transports of Delight, Birmingham
| Ref L8732
The Orient Express, Orient Way, London E5
| Ref M8736
Transports of Delight, Corgi, Leicester
Duxford (E8720) - site of wartime airfield and Air Museum of the Imperial War Museum
Epping (E8721) - site of original Wells (Wells-Brimtoy) factory.
Beaulieu (E8724) - Historic motor museum
York (N8710) - National Railway Museum
Liverpool (several) - location of original Frank Hornby (Meccano, Hornby, Dinky) factory.
Transports of Delight, Memory Lane, Leicester
British Toy & Hobby Association London SE5
Ford Centenary 1903-2003 Dagenham
This page updated 6 October 2003 [7.2.05]
|14 January Birds of Prey||21 January Flowers Greetings Stamps Smilers Sheet||4 February Occasions/Greetings stamps and Smilers sheet||25 February Medical Science - DNA & Genome||4 March Hello SA booklet & Wales 1st reprint|
|25 March Fun Fruit & Vegetables||27 March New definitives, SA airmail booklets of 40gr stamps||29 April Extreme Endeavours||6 May 34p definitives||20 May Wilding II miniature sheet|
|28 May Wales 2nd class, 1st class gold reprints||2 June - 50th Anniversary of the Coronation||17 June Prince William of Wales||1 July High Value Definitive reprints||15 July British Journey - Scotland|
|29 July Cartoons Smilers Sheet||12 August Pub Signs - Europa||18 September - Transports of Delight - toys||30 September Christmas Robin Smilers Sheet||7 October 250th Anniv. of British Museum|
|13 October Reprints of Country Stamps||4 November Christmas: Ice Sculptures||18 December England World Cup - Rugby Winners|