Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks

Christmas:  5 November 2013

The Christmas stamps this year have been designed by Robert Maude and Sarah Davies using art from previous centuries - except for the £1.88.

Royal Mail have explored the Madonna and Child imagery across the widest breadth of timescales and artistic interpretations, not restricted to representations from only British sources.  They have also decided that one of  the designs would be reflective of ethnic diversity in the UK*.  As such, they commissioned a new Madonna and Child image for the £1.88 stamp by Fadi Mikhail.

As usual the stamps will be in standard and large letter definitive size and self adhesive.
  This year the stamps are in a similar format but larger in both dimensions - 24 x 28mm and 34 x 28mm.

There will also be a conventionally-gummed miniature sheet containing all stamps, booklets of 12 x 1st and 12 x 2nd stamps - which will be larger than the conventional definitive booklets - which may bring some problems for non-post office retailers like supermarkets.

The Smilers Generic sheet with 8 (few people spotted that typo!) each of the 2nd and 1st class, 2 x 88p, and one each of the £1.28 and £1.88. This means that there will be only one set of Cartor litho-printed stamps in each sheet.

The two 2007 Madonna stamps will not be reissued this year, and will be replaced by the 2013 to provide the religious alternative for the next few years.

* The last time this approach was used was with the 2005 Christmas issue, which used the Black Madonna painted by an unknown Haitian artist.  Most criticism, however, came from the Hindu community leaders regarding the 68p which was illustrated with a Mughal painting from India dating from 1620. However, despite assertions in some parts of the press, on the web, and especially by eBay sellers, the stamps were never withdrawn and are no more valuable than their contempories.

Christmas 2013 2nd class stamp.Christmas 2013 1st class stamp.Christmas 2013 88p stampChristmas 2013 £1-28 stamp.
2013 Christmas 2nd class Large stamp.Christmas 2013 1st class Large stamp.Christmas 2013 £1-88 stamp.
Christmas 2013 stamp miniature sheet.
(Images not to scale!)

Christmas 2013 Generic Smilers Sheet.

1st class stamp showing Father Christmas. 2nd class stamp showing singing angels.

The stamp designs, sources and acknowledgements:Presentation pack and folded stamp sheets for children's design christmas stamps.

2nd class - Madonna and Child (detail) - by Antoniazzo Romano © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London
1st class - Virgin and Child with the young St John the Baptist (detail) - by Francesco Granacci © The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Art Resource/Scala, Florence
88p - St Roch Praying to the Virgin for an End to the Plague (detail) - by Jacques-Louis David © Giraudon/The Bridgeman Art Library
£1.28 - La Vierge au Lys - by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (detail) – image courtesy of the Art Renewal Center ®
£1.88 - Theotokos, Mother of God - by Fadi Mikhail © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2012

Competition Winners - designed by Royal Mail group using illustrations by
2nd class - Rosie Hargreaves
1st class - Molly Robson

Technical details:

The Madonna stamps were designed by Robert Maude and Sarah Davies and are printed by De La Rue Security Print, Gateshead in gravure.  The self-adhesive stamps are 34 x 28mm, perf 14.5 x 14 in sheets of 50 with phosphor bands as appropriate.   The gummed miniature sheet is printed by De La Rue in gravure.  The booklets are printed by International Security Printers in gravure, overall size 89 x 65mm.  The generic sheet is printed by International Security Printers in litho.

The 47 x 30mm competition stamps are self-adhesive printed by International Security Printers in gravure.  The phosphor bands are on the white area at the right (2nd class) and left and right (1st class), meaning that a shift of only 1.5mm downwards/to the left would leave the 1st class as a single-banded stamp!

They are in separate sheets of 25, in concertina-folded style similar to pre-2006 Christmas booklets and current business sheets (see right).  The stamps will be sold singly on request, not only in sheets.

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

Set of 6 stamps, miniature sheet, generic Smilers sheet, booklet of 12 x 1st, booklet of 12 x 2nd
First day covers (set or MS) -- Presentation pack -- Stamp cards (set of 7)

Personalised Smilers sheets (except 2nd class) will be available in A5 format with 10 stamps/labels as standard. The £1.88 will not be available for personalisation despite being included in the generic sheet. The 2nd class sheet format is 20 stamps/labels in a horizontal format A4 sheet.

Competition stamps:  Set of 2 stamps, presentation pack, first day cover.  None of these will be provided against Tallents House standing orders, so they must be bought separately from there or from Post Office branches.

Special Postmarks

Special postmarks available for the day of issue will be shown here (not to scale), others may be added later.

From Tallents House only These two from any Special Handstamp Centre (SHC) From Midland SHC NOT North of England as listed in the Bulletin From North of England SHC
Official first day  postmark illustrated with Madonna and Jesus..
Official first day  postmark showing Hands..
Official non pictorial Bethlehem first day postmark.
Christmas Postmark from Stableford.
Christmas postmark from Crook.
From London SHC below
From Midland SHC below
Christmas postmarks from Salibsury, Christmas Common and Sheperdswell.
Christmas postmarks from Birmingham and Snow Mill.
From Wales & West SHC below
From Midland SHC below

Christmas postmarks from Wiseman's Bridge, amd Bethlehem (2). Postmark showing paint-brushes in mug.


This page updated 1 November 2013

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