Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks

350th Anniversary of the Royal Society - 25 February 2010

Founded in 1660, The Royal Society celebrates its 350th Anniversary in 2010 and as the National Academy of Science of the UK and the Commonwealth. It maintains its position at the forefront of enquiry and discovery, and at the cutting edge of scientific progress.

The backbone of the society, which is a charitable body, is its fellowship of the most eminent scientists of the day, and there are currently more than 60 Nobel Laureates amongst the society's Fellows and Foreign Members, of which there are more than 1,400. To this day, Fellowship of The Royal Society is one the greatest honours that can be conferred on any scientist.

The origins of the society lie in an ‘invisible college’ of natural philosophers who first met in the mid 1640s and were united by a common desire to better understand the world and the universe through observation and experimentation. This spirit of empirical observation is encapsulated in the society’s Latin motto, 
nullius in verba’, which can be roughly translated as ‘take nobody’s word for it.’

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The Ten Stamps

Set of 10 stamps featuring scientists, members of the Royal Society.

The stamps - all 1st class

Robert Boyle, Chemistry
Boyle (1627 – 1691) was a natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, inventor, and gentleman scientist, also noted for his writings in theology. He is best known for the formulation of Boyle’s Law. Although his research and personal philosophy clearly has its roots in the alchemical tradition, he is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, and therefore one of the founders of modern chemistry. Among his works, The Sceptical Chymist is seen as a cornerstone book in the field of chemistry.

Sir Isaac Newton, Optics
Newton (1643 –1727) was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian who is perceived and considered by many as one of the most influential men in history. His Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, is by itself considered to be among the most influential books in the history of science, laying the groundwork for most of classical mechanics. In this work, Newton described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the next three centuries. Newton was also president of The Royal Society.  The 300th anniversary of Principia Mathematica was marked by a set of four stamps in 1987.

Benjamin Franklin, Electricity
Franklin (1706 –1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America.  A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author and printer, satirist, political theorist, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, soldier, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. He was important in the development of scientific experimentation and invented the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and the glass 'armonica'.  Franklin appeared on the 11p US Bicentenary stamp issued in 1976.

Edward Jenner, Vaccination
Jenner (17 May 1749 – 26 January 1823) is widely credited as the pioneer of smallpox vaccine, and is sometimes referred to as the ‘Father of Immunology’. Jenner observed that milkmaids rarely got smallpox and concluded that exposure to the bovine disease cowpox conferred immunity a theory he tested and proved by injecting a child with pus from cowpox blisters.   Jenner's development of the smallpox vaccine was marked by a 20p stamp in the 'Patients Tale' Millenium set in March 1999.

Charles Babbage, Computing
Babbage, (1791 – 1871) was an English mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer who originated the concept of a programmable computer.  Babbage was pictured on a 22p Scientific Achievements stamp in 1991.

Alfred Russel Wallace, Evolution
Wallace (1823 – 1913) was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist and biologist. He is best known for independently proposing a theory of natural selection which prompted the joint reading of his and Charles Darwin’s papers on evolution in 1858, and spurred Darwin to publish his own theory the following year.

Joseph Lister, Antiseptic Surgery
Lister, 1st Baron Lister, (1827 – 1912) was an English surgeon who promoted the idea of sterile surgery while working at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. He successfully introduced carbolic acid (phenol) to sterilize surgical instruments and to clean wounds, which led to reduced post-operative infections and made surgery safer for patients.  The centenary of Lister's discovery of Antispectic Surgery was marked by two stamps issued in 1965.

Ernest Rutherford, Atomic Structure
Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson, (1871 – 1937) was a New Zealand born chemist and physicist who became known as the father of nuclear physics. He discovered that atoms have a small charged nucleus, and thereby pioneered the Rutherford model (or planetary model, which later evolved into the Bohr model or orbital model) of the atom, through his discovery of Rutherford scattering with his gold foil experiment. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908. He is widely credited as splitting the atom in 1917 and leading the first experiment to ‘split the nucleus’ in a controlled manner by two students under his direction, John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton in 1932. He was also president of The Royal Society.

Dorothy Hodgkin, Crystallography
The stamp marks the centenary of the birth of Dorothy Mary Hodgkin, (1910 –1994). She was a British chemist, credited with the development of Protein crystallography. She advanced the technique of X-ray crystallography, a method used to determine the three dimensional structures of biomolecules. Hodgkin was also the first female Briton to win a Nobel Prize.  Hodgkin was also featured on a 20p 'Famous Women' stamp in 1998.

Sir Nicholas Shackleton, Earth Sciences
Shackleton (1937 – 2006) was a British geologist and climatologist who specialised in the Quaternary Period. Much of Shackleton's later work helped to clarify the rates and mechanisms of aspects of climate change - a fitting subject to bring the stamp set right up to date.

Prestige Stamp Book

The four panes of the PSB are shown here.  Note that these are pre-issue mock-ups; the 54p Machin will have the same font as on the Classic Album Covers PSB.

Pane 3 (below): Newton, Rutheford (2) & Franklin.
Background shows aerial view of CERN in Switzerland
and location of Large Hadron Collider.
Royal Society prestige stamp book pane 1.
Pane 2 (below): 22p & 54p Machin definitives
Centre label shows Coat of Arms of Royal Society,
Background: Galaxy pair NGC 3334, image from NASA (Hubble)
Royal Society prestige stamp book pane 2.

Pane 1 (below): Wallace, Boyle, Babbage & Shackleton.
Background shows The Royal Society's website, and it's HTML code
  Royal Society prestige stamp book pane 3.

Pane 4 (below): Hodgkin, Jenner (2) & Lister
Background: Harvesting casava plants, to assist the fight against disease.
Royal Society prestige stamp book pane 4.

Technical details:

The stamps were designed by Hat-trick Design (see photo credits below), and are printed by Cartor Security Printing, the sheet stamps in gravure and the PSB litho.  The 35mm square stamps are perf 14.5 in sheets of 30/60 with all over phosphor. 

Image credits: Robert Boyle drawing and portrait, crystallography pattern © The Royal Society; colour spectrum, smallpox vaccination, Edward Jenner portrait, Ernest Rutherford portrait © Science Photo Library; Isaac Newton diagram and portrait, Charles Babbage diagram and portrait, Dorothy Hodgkin portrait © Science Museum/SSPL; lightning and Benjamin Franklin portrait © Getty Images; Alfred Russel Wallace portrait © National Portrait Gallery, London; oak tree photographed by Paul Grundy; Joseph Lister portrait © Wellcome Library, London; spray photographed by John Ross; atom © iStockphoto; micro-fossil image © SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology, photographed by Dr Stanley A King; Nicholas Shackleton portrait courtesy of Ingrid Pearson

Products available: 

Block of 10 stamps
First day cover -
Prestige stamp book
Presentation pack - 
Stamp cards - 

Special Postmarks
Postmarks available for the day of issue are shown here - others (if any) will be added when they are published.
These postmarks cannot be obtained after the date of issue.  Not to scale.

postmark with Coat of Arms of The Royal Society.

postmark with 'thought bubbles'.

non-pictorial London postmark.

postmark illustrated coat of Arms of The Royal Society.

postmark with text as below.

Ref FD1007
Philatelic Bureau Official Postmark (RS Coat of Arms)

Ref FD1008
London SW1, Bacup, Official Postmark 

Ref FD1008NP
London SW1 Official non-pictorial Postmark

Ref L11619 Spring Stampex The Royal Society First Day of Issue, London N1

Ref L11629 Celebrating 350 Years of Excellence in Science The Royal Society, London SW1

postmark showing Royal Society motto, Nullius in verba.

postmark showing Newton's telescope.

postmark showing key and electrical 'spark'.

postmark illustrated with cow and test-tubes.

postmark illustrated with molecule.

Ref L11630 - Carlton House Terrace, London SW1

Ref L11631 - Cambridge

Ref L11632  Gresham Street, London EC2

Ref L11633 - Hyde Park Corner, London SW1

Ref L11634 - London SW1

postmark showing chemistry equipment.

postmark showing portait of Sir Isaac Newton.

postmark illustrated with portrait of Sir Isaac Newton.

postmark illustrated with an apple surrounding an Isaac Newton quotation.

postmark illustrated with spiral.

Ref L11635 Chemistry, Whitchurch

Ref L11636 - Cambridge

Ref M11644 Newton Road, Birmingham

Ref L11640 London SW1 - "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants" - Isaac Newton.

Ref L11639 - Evolution Wallace Road London W1

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This page updated 19 October 2010

2010 stamp issues
Visit our online shop!
7 Classic Album Covers
7 Olympic Games retail book 1
26 Business & Customised Smilers MS
2 Girl Guide Centenary
25 350th ann of the Royal Society
25 Olympic Games retail book 2
1 Castles of Wales
11 Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
23 House of Stewart
30 Machin & Country Definitives
30 Festival of Stamps retail advertising book
13 Endangered Mammals
6 Accession of George V*
8 The King's Stamps* &
London 2010 Souvenirs *
Britain Alone (1940)*
* London 2010 Festival of Stamps issues
18 Halley's Comet Commemorative Sheet
15 House of Stuart
15 Endangered Mammals Retail Booklet
8 British Grand Prix Commemorative Sheet
Olympics & Paralympics II
& Olympic Games retail book 3

10 London Eye Commemorative Sheet
19 Great British Railways I
19 Retail booklets: 12x2nd, 6x1st
15 Battle of Britain - Spitfire Generic Sheet & Retail booklet
16 Medical Breakthroughs
17 Faststamps: Bird pictorials
12 Children's Books
12 Olympic Games retail book 4
26 Special Delivery Machins
28 Remembrance: the National Arboretum
2 Christmas - Wallace & Gromit


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