set of six stamps depicting Mythical Creatures will be issued by Royal
Mail this summer.
Fantasy and myth are popular subjects for both films and books. Here fantasy artist Dave McKean (who worked on the Harry Potter movies) takes a look at some of the most popular and unusual creatures from legend. The UK has a rich and diverse folklore around mythical creatures: some famous nationally and others regionally. This set features: unicorn, mermaid - legends very common around UK coast inc northern isles of Scotland), Giant (inspired by Finn McCool associated with the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland), Fairy queen (in a chariot pulled by birds), Pixie (which feature in Cornish folklore), and Dragon (emblem of Wales).
Set of 6 stamps:
62p - Giants and Pixies
90p - Mermaids and Fairies
Face values have been
From the land of the giants, to the prank-loving world of the pixies, the UK has a rich history of folklore and legend dating back to the oral tales handed down the generations by Celtic bards - and brought right up to date through Harry Potter and the hugely successful Dragonology books.
But is this really what they look like? Who can tell, but one thing’s for sure, it’s the hold these creatures have upon the imagination that has ensured their images have been incorporated into everything from heraldry to architecture. Perhaps that’s also why the popularity of these creatures remains undiminished to this day thanks to the success of the works of authors such as JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Michael Moorcock, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, together with the vast array of CGI animated films and computer games.
1st Class –
Traditionally represented as a horse with a single horn, a billy goat’s beard, cloven hooves and a lion’s tail, perhaps the unicorn made sense of travellers’ descriptions of the rhinoceros? Two unicorns support the Coat of Arms of Scotland, while one together with a lion the Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom.
1st Class –
Common to the mythologies of many countries the dragon has a reptilian body, traditionally breathes fire or spits poison and often has a pair of bat like wings. Often the guardian of treasure hordes, and frequently the terror of fair maids. Apart from the famous associations with St George and the red dragon of Wales, dragons also appear in the Mabinogion, a series of 12 medieval Welsh stories.
Legend has it that the Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway is the remains of a pathway between Scotland and Northern Ireland created when the Scottish giant Fingal hurled the first clod into the Irish Sea and the Irish giant Finn McCool hurled more back.
62p – Pixies
Or Piskies as they are known in their native West Country look like old men with wrinkled faces. They are small in stature with red hair and dress in the colours of the earth especially green, usually cheerful and helpful, but they also like playing pranks.
90p – Mermaids
Part woman and part fish the Mermaid would often entrance sailors with their song causing them to run ships aground or jump overboard, then carry them off to their undersea home forgetting that they breathe air.
90p – Fairies
Sometimes good and sometimes bad, the fairy folk come in many forms; here Queen Mab takes to the air in her hazelnut chariot. Queen Mab is described in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as a tiny fairy who drives her chariot across the faces of sleeping people.
Designed by Morgan Radcliffe using illustrations by Dave McKean, the stamps are printed in gravure by De La Rue Security Print. The stamps are 35mm square, perf 14½ in individual sheets of 25/50; they are not issued in se-tenant pairs. All images are by kind permission of Royal Mail, Copyright 2009. This website is copyright Norvic Philatelics 2009.
Mint set, mint gutter pairs and strips
Presentation Pack (see above)
Set of 6 Stamp Cards unused
The eyes have it! - the sheet margins in this issue include
images 'of the creatures eyes' - although the eyes in the margins do
not actually match those in the stamp images.
Best collected as gutter pairs or strips - please ask if interested.
Postmarks available for the day of issue will be shown here, others may be added later. these may not be to scale. These postmarks cannot be obtained after the date of issue.
| Ref FD915
Philatelic Bureau Official Postmark
| Ref FD916
Dragonby, Scunthorpe, official postmark
| Ref FD916NP
Dragonby, Scunthorpe, Official non-pictorial Postmark
| Ref M11387
Unicorn Hill, Redditch
| Ref L11384
Mythical Creatures, London
| Ref L11383
Unicorn Walk, Greenhithe, Kent
| Ref N11389
| Ref W11393
50th Anniversary of Ivor the Engine, Bala, Merioneth, Wales
| Ref W11396
| Ref W11395
Fairy Cross, Bideford
| Ref N11388
GBFDC Association, Cottingley, Bingley
| Ref N11390
| Ref W11394
Wookey Hole Caves, Wells, Somerset
| Ref L11382
Elvedon, Thetford (Norfolk)
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This page updated 3 June 2009
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