Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks

British dinosaurs - 10 October 2013

Over the past 200 years the fossilised remains of the skeletons of the dinosaurs featured in this issue
have been found in the UK, mostly in southern Britain – hence they are ‘British’ dinosaurs.

John Sibbick was selected from a number of expert artists as he is one of the foremost illustrators of dinosaurs and has decades of experience. It was felt that Sibbick’s painterly approach gave a more detailed realisation of the animals than tests with computer generated imagery at stamp size.

Dr Angela Milner of the Natural History Museum, London, was the consultant for this issue, and advised on the species and the accuracy of the final images to be reproduced on stamps.

There is very strong regional connection with Dorset (due mainly to discoveries by pioneering fossil hunter Mary Anning).

The 1999 BBC TV series Walking with Dinosaurs was a ratings hit and subsequent TV series have been equally successful indicating the public interest in these creatures (it is estimated more than 700 million people have seen the TV series). The live show of Walking With Dinosaurs featuring animatronic creatures has been seen by more than 8 million people.

The 3D movie version of Walking With Dinosaurs will be released in cinemas in December 2013. This is a BBC co-production, distributed by 20th Century Fox. The film takes the form of a narrative story following a group of dinosaurs rather than being a natural history type production. 

Macmillan Children’s Book is publishing a tie-in book. Dinosaurs is also part of the National Curriculum for schools at Key Stage 2.

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The Ten Stamps

Dinosaur stamps- polacanthus and dimorphodon. Dinosaur stamps - icthyosaurus and hypsilophodon. Dinosaur stamps - iguanadon and cetiosaurus. Dinosaur stamps ornithoceirus and megalosaurus. Dinoasaur stamps - Baryonyxand and plesiosaurus.

The stamps are printed in two separate sheets of 25 enabling the purchase of a vertical column of 5 of any one design

Sheet 1: Polacanthus, Icthyosaurus, Iguanadon, Ornithocheirus, Baryonyx 
Sheet 2: Dimorophodon, Hypsilophodon, Cetiosaurus, Megalosaurus, Plesiosaurus

The stamps in detail

Polacanthus (Pol-a-kan-thus) - Many Spines
Known from only two partial skeletons lacking skulls, the heavily armoured Polacanthus was protected against predators by spikes and studs along the body and a heavy hip shield composed of flat, interlocking, bony plates.

Ichthyosaurus (Ick-thee-owe-sore-us) - Fish Lizard
Adapted to life in the seas, Ichthyosaurus breathed air and gave birth to live young in the water. Its lifestyle paralleled that of the modern dolphin, except that its tail flukes were vertical rather than horizontal.

Iguanodon (Ig-wha-noh-don) - Iguana Tooth
Once portrayed in a kangaroo-like pose, Iguanodon had forelimbs much shorter than its hind limbs. Recent research shows it could stand or walk on all fours, but ran bipedally.

Ornithocheirus (Or-nith-oh-kee-rus) - Bird Hand
The lightweight Ornithocheirus flew mostly by soaring and gliding on its long, narrow wings. It fed by skimming the sea surface and catching fish with its long, slender jaws fringed with sharp, outwardly pointing, interlocking teeth.

Baryonyx (Bar-ee-on-icks) - Heavy Claw
The thumb claw of Baryonyx measured 32cm round the outside curve. In life the claw was covered by a horny sheath, making it more than 40cm long – equivalent to the length of a UK size-15 shoe.

Dimorphodon (Die-mor-foh-don) - Two-form Tooth
The two different sizes of teeth in the jaws of Dimorphodon suggest that it was piscivorous (a fish-eater). It had a large, puffin-shaped skull, with big side openings supported by thin, bony struts to save weight.

Hypsilophodon (Hip-sil-oh-foh-don) - High-ridge Tooth
With a short thigh and long shin, hind-limb proportions of Hypsilophodon indicate that it was agile and fast, its only defence from predators.

Cetiosaurus (Set-ee-owe-sore-us) - Whale Lizard
The large, dense bones of Cetiosaurus were originally thought to belong to a whale, hence the name which means ‘whale lizard’. Its thigh bone was about 2m long. Cetiosaurus’ maximum weight was equivalent to 20 small cars.

Megalosaurus (Meg-ah-low-sore-us) - Big Lizard
An exceptional Megalosaurus trackway discovered in Ardley Quarry, Oxfordshire, in 1997 records an individual crossing an ancient mudflat at an increasing pace, leaving prints measuring 80cm long and 60cm wide.

Plesiosaurus (Plee-zee-owe-sore-us) - Near Lizard
Plesiosaurus had a very small head on the end of a long and flexible neck, and a rigid barrel-shaped body to brace the paddles. It swam like sea turtles and penguins, the paddles moving in an underwater figure-of-eight flying motion. At an estimated 8kph it would have been fast enough to leave an Olympic freestyle swimmer in its wake.

Technical details:

The stamps were designed by Why Not Associates using illustrations by John Sibbick and are printed by Walsall Security Printers in gravure.  The self-adhesive stamps are 37 x 27mm (excluding the 'break-outs') perforated 13.5 x 14 in sheets of 25/50 with all over phosphor. 

Products issued, available from Royal Mail (we will not be stocking these): 

Set of 10 stamps (2 strips of 5) -- Strip of 5 from sheet 1 or sheet 2, or vertical strip of 5 of any single stamp
First day cover -- Presentation pack -- Stamp cards (set of 10) - medal cover (in conjunction with the Royal Mint)

Special Postmarks

Postmarks available for the day of issue are shown here.  These postmarks cannot be obtained after the date of issue.  The images shown here may not be to scale.

Tallents House official FD postmark for dinosaurs stamps. Lyme Regis official FD postmark for Butterflies stamps. Lyme Regis non-pictorial FD postmark. Postmark showing dinosaur. Postmark showing dinosaur.

Ref FD1321TH Philatelic Bureau Official Postmark

Ref FD1321PL Lyme Regis, Dorset Official Postmark

Ref FD1321NP
Lyme Regis, Dorset Official non-pictorial Postmark

Ref L12967 Axminster, Devon

Ref L12968 Cromwell Road, London

Postmark showing dinosaur.
Postmark showing dinosaur. Postmark showing dinosaur skull.

Ref L12966 Maidstone Kent

Ref M12973 Fossil Road, Rednal

Ref L12965 1822 Iguanadon Discovery Tilgate, Crawley, West Sussex

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This page created 4 October 2013

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