Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks

Pictorial Faststamps: British Flora - Symbolic Flowers 17 September 2014

The second set of British Flora Post and Go Faststamps depict Symbolic Flowers, those with connections linked to folklore or history.

According to legend, the thistle was adopted as the national symbol of Scotland after an attempted ambush by Norse invaders on a group of sleeping Scots warriors: when one of the barefoot Norsemen trod on a thistle, his cries woke the Scots, who duly thwarted the attack. The rose became England’s national flower after Henry VII introduced the Tudor rose, a combination of the red and white roses of the Houses of Lancaster and York, to symbolise unity after the Wars of the Roses. Flax, the floral symbol of Northern Ireland, honours the historical importance of the nation’s linen industry. The poppy and the forget-me-not have both long signified remembrance, with the latter particularly associated with love. Wearing a sprig of heather is still said to bring good luck.

Pictorial Post & Go stamps appear in machines in UK Post Offices for defined periods of time in the year and this series is intended to provide attractive stamps that are appropriate for the season in which they are issued.

There will be three sets of stamps this year.  The first set in February showed Spring Blooms, and the third issue will show Winter Greenery.   Post & Go terminals allow customers to weigh their letters and packets, pay for and print postage labels and stamps without the need to visit the counter. The first Post & Go machine was trialled in The Galleries Post Office® in Bristol in 2008.  The labels will be used in Post & Go machines at Post Offices around the country, and from new Royal Mail Series II machines at Spring Stampex.  The labels can be obtained with 6 different service indicators: 1st class up to 100g & 1st class Large up to 100g, a dual-value Europe up to 20g/World up to 10g, Europe 60g, Worldwide 20g, and Worldwide 60g.  The stamps are dispensed singly or in strips of up to 5 or 6 (depending on the machine) of the same value or various values.  On the new NCR Self-Service machines these stamps are also dispensed for many different weights and services including Small Parcels, Special Delivery, and International Tracked and Signed.

Post and Go stamp showing Forget-me-not. Faststamp showing Common Poppy. Faststamp illustrated with a Dog Rose. Post and Go stamp with Spear Thistle. Faststamp picturing Heather. Post and Go stamp showing Cultivated Flax.
From top left: Forget-me-not, Common Poppy, Dog Rose, Spear Thistle, Heather and Cultivated Flax.
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The stamps in detail

Forget-me-nots comprise a large family of plants, from the large, striking water variety to the tiniest specialists of bare ground. All the flowers have a visible white ‘eye’ in the middle, with the outer petals ranging in colour from the palest to the richest blues.

This iconic plant with large red petals and a dark centre only grows in disturbed ground, such as field margins and wasteland. The occasional sighting of poppies blooming en masse is perhaps one of the most stunning scenes in the British countryside.  Since 1921 the Poppy has also been the symbol of Remembrance for those who died not only in World War 1 but other conflicts since.

This wildflower, the most widespread of the UK’s native roses, adorns hedgerows, field banks and woodland edges with pink or white flowers in mid-summer. Although often occurring as a small shrub, it can climb up through the canopy reaching heights of over 15 metres. Associated particularly as a symbol of England.

One of the larger types of thistle found in the UK, with a purple flower atop a swollen, spiny green base and spear-like tips on the leaves, it typically occurs in damper ground. Its flowers provide a feast of nectar and pollen for insects in late summer.  Associated particularly with Scotland.

Heather adorns heathlands and moors, and is one of the last plants of the year to flower, providing abundant late summer forage to wild bees. Each plant is covered in minute purple flowers, and when millions of these open at once, entire landscapes are transformed.  Although widespread throughout the United Kingdom it is particularly associated with Scotland.
Symbolic flowers presentation pack.
Grown for centuries and used in the making of cloth and oil, this type of flax is often seen on banks where it has escaped from arable fields. A delicate plant with five pale-blue petals and narrow pointed leaves, it flowers from May to September.  It can now be seen below many garden bird feeders, and is a symbol of Northern Ireland.

The daffodil, symbolic of Wales, was included in the Spring Blooms set.

* Stamps in the Poppy design will be reintroduced in a single-design roll on 21 October 2014 ahead of Remembrance Day, 11 November.

Technical details:

Designed by Kate Stephens and illustrated by Julia Trickey the six 56mm x 25mm stamps are printed in gravure by Walsall Security Printers, with two phosphor bars.  The stamps in the pack will have the service indicator and other detail printed in gravure.   All images are by kind permission of Royal Mail, Copyright 2014. This website is copyright Norvic Philatelics 2014.

Products issued

The labels will be used in Post & Go machines at Post Offices around the country, and from the Royal Mail machines at Spring Stampex.
A mint set of 6 x 1st will also be available from Royal Mail's Tallents House Bureau in a pack similar to a presentation pack. All values in the pack are 1st Class with a philatelic branch code.

Royal Mail will again produce a First Day Cover and official First Day Postmarks for these.

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

Official first day postmark for symbolic flowers stamps.
Official Rose Truro postmark for symbolic flowers stamps.
Poppy and Rose postmarks.

Heraldic rose on postmark,
Ref FD1417TH
Philatelic Bureau Official Postmark illustrated with a map of the British Isles
Ref FD1417PL
Rose, Truro
Ref M13184 Poppy Lane, Birmingham                              Ref M13185 Rosefields Birmingham Ref L13179
Kensington Gardens, London
Official non-pictorial Postmark for Rose, truro. showing dog violet.
Postmark showing thistle flower.
London Postmark showing heatehr and Stampex postmarks for Symbolic Flowers stamps.

Ref FD1417NP
Rose, Truro

Ref S13215 Symbolic Flowers Edinburgh
L 13196 Generic Autumn Stampex                        L 13197 Autumn Stampex Symbolic Flowers
postmark                                                                 first day postmark London N1
Ref L13198 Symbolic Flowers London

This page created 24 August 2014

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