Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks
Pictorial Faststamps: Heraldic Beasts - 13 May 2015
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.
In 2015 the subject matter and pictorial designs for Post & Go will vary
as wildlife and natural history subjects are replaced. Two of the sets
are linked as they will feature boats and ships. Heraldic Beasts will
be issued for the London 2015 exhibition in May. Following a request
from Post Office Ltd in 2013 for a Christmas set, a final set of four new
designs of Post & Go will be issued for Christmas on winter animals.
Beasts of all persuasions and permutations have appeared on coats of arms
and heraldic badges for nearly 900 years. Each has its own particular
meaning and significance, but often they include traits demonstrated in
battle, such as courage, strength and resilience. One reason for this is
that heraldry originally emerged from the need to distinguish participants
in combat when their faces were hidden by armour. From these practical
beginnings, however, heraldry developed into a complex and sophisticated
visual language. The beasts, with the exception of the falcon,
are shown ‘passant’ – that is, walking towards the viewer’s left, with the
right foreleg raised and the others on the ground. Each painstakingly
hand-crafted image occupies a brightly coloured background chosen from a
heraldically appropriate palette to add to the vibrancy.
Post & Go terminals allow customers to weigh their letters and packets,
pay for and print postage stamps and stationery supplies, often without the
need to visit the counter. The first Post & Go machine was trialled in
The Galleries Post Office® in Bristol in 2008. The stamps will be used
in Self-Service Kiosks at Post Offices around the country, and from Royal
Mail Post and Go machines at London 2015 Europhilex. The stamps 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 100g, Worldwide 20g, and Worldwide 100g. The stamps are
dispensed singly or in strips of up to 6 of the same value or various
From top left: Lion, Unicorn,
Yale, Dragon, Falcon and Griffin.
The stamps in detail
The lion is one of the most familiar ancient heraldic figures, or charges,
often representing courage and valour in battle. The king of beasts can also
signify Christ or royalty and comes in a bewildering array of poses and
variations, from double-headed to crowned, wielding a sword or with a
The unicorn has the body of a horse, the tail of a lion and the legs of a
deer – as well as an impressive spiral horn protruding from its face. Known
for its virtue, courage and strength, the unicorn was a relative latecomer
to the heraldic bestiary, first gaining popularity during the 15th century.
The yale is another mythological hybrid, about the size of a hippopotamus,
usually with a goat-like body and the tusks of a boar, although descriptions
vary wildly. Most agree on its crowning glory: a pair of large, swivelling
horns, perfect for fighting – the reason it came to symbolise ‘proud
The dragon is a mainstay of heraldry, usually portrayed as a large,
ferocious reptilian beast with bat-like wings, a forked tongue and a pointed
tail. These fire-spewing creatures are known for their keen sight,
power and wisdom - and as zealous of treasure. A two-footed dragon is
called a Wyvern.
The falcon is one of many birds, actual and imagined, to feature in
heraldry. It symbolises majesty and power – as well as someone utterly
determined, who does not rest until his or her goal is achieved. Anne
Boleyn’s badge bore a crowned falcon with a sceptre, later adopted by her
daughter, Queen Elizabeth I.
The griffin has the head, wings and talons of an eagle, fused with the back
parts of a lion. It is often depicted with large, leonine ears, which
reflect its acute sense of hearing, to go along with other extraordinary
powers. As a symbol in heraldry, the griffin stands for strength and
Designed by Osborne Ross using illustrations and sketches by award-winning
illustrator and print-maker Chris Wormell. Chris was commissioned to create
images of the six beasts chosen for this stamp issue, working closely with
Royal Mail and a heraldic expert. The six 56mm x 25mm stamps are
self-adhesive, and printed in gravure by International Security Printers
(Walsall), 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 2015. This website is
copyright Norvic Philatelics 2015.
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. There are no Stamp Cards for Post and Go
Royal Mail will again produce a First Day Cover and official First Day
Postmarks for these stamps.
Postmarks available for the day of issue will be shown here These are
not to scale. These postmarks cannot be obtained after the date
| Ref FD1515TH Philatelic Bureau
Official Postmark illustrated with a map of the British Isles
| Ref FD1515PL Dragonby, Scunthorpe
first day postmark showing the heraldic symbol for ermine.
|Ref FD1515NP Dragonby, Scunthorpe
non-pictorial first day postmark
|Ref L13399 - Kew Surrey
|Ref L13400 - The White
Lion Society, A Society of
Friends of Her Majesty's
College of Arms, London.
| Ref M13406 -
* Wyvern Grove, Birmingham
Post & Go Heraldic Beasts Europhilex FD of Issue
Europhilex Stamp Exhibition London N1
|Ref L13419 Hampton Court, East
|Ref L13420 London SW1
|* Before anybody writes to tell me,
I know that by the definition in the Stamp Details above, this is
a Dragon, not a Wyvern.
|Space available for
any further postmarks
to be published.
This page updated 17 April 2015
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