Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks

Royal Mail 500 - stamp issue 17-18 February 2016

In 2016, Royal Mail celebrates 500 years of operating a regular, organised postal service. They have marked this historic landmark for the business by telling the story of how a formal postal network was established and expanded to ensure efficient movement of communications.

The practice of taking messages over distance has a long history. News of battles and official announcements from rulers were an important aspect of how society operated for many centuries. The English Tudor King Henry VIII wanted to have more power over how news was distributed and what was said during his reign. He appointed one of his courtiers, Brian Tuke, to the role of Master of the Posts, to take control of the royal messengers. The first official postal service was established to serve only one customer: the king. From this point, communications to and from the monarch were conveyed from post to post by a king’s messenger on a horse, with official payments made from the royal purse. In 1516, the importance of this service and the office of the Master of the Posts were recognised when Brian Tuke was knighted.

During his troubled reign, King Charles I was constantly battling with Parliament over his expenses, a struggle which culminated in the English Civil War. Charles was in real need of funds, but Parliament took increasing control of his income, so the king had to find ways of raising his own revenue. In 1635, he decided to open up his private ‘royal mail’ for use by the public; the proceeds could go directly to him without Parliamentary involvement. A Royal Proclamation was issued to formally open the ‘royal mail’ to the public thereby creating the public postal service commemorated in the 1985 stamp issue on 350 years of a public postal service.

2016 also marks the 175th anniversary of the issue of the Penny Red, the replacement for the Penny Black.

17 February 2016 - set of 6 and miniature sheet

Royal Mail 500 - 3 x 1st class stamps.

Royal Mail 500 3 x 152p stamps.
Monitor page
for changes

it's private
powered by

3 x 1st class:
Sir Brian Tuke, Master of the Posts (1516) (letter from Brian Tuke to Cromwell);

'Mail Packet off Eastbourne' by Capt Victor Howes RN ;

Penfold Pillar Box (letter written by Anthony Trollope proposing pillar boxes).

3 x £1.52:
River Post Woman;

Mail Coach (letter from John Palmer re introduction of Mail Coaches);

The new Medway Mail Centre, a £70m facility which replaced four Kent sites.

Royal Mail 500 - miniature sheet - advertising posters.

In 1933, Stephen Tallents was appointed the Public Relations Officer for the General Post Office (GPO) and set out to change the way the company communicated with the public.

Prior to the early 1930s, the GPO had relied on the work of internal staff but from his experience with the Empire Marketing Board, Tallents
commissioned many of the period’s most exciting graphic designers in a move which saw the GPO become a leader in poster design.

Poster advertising was the first form of conscious publicity for the GPO, and was used to promote service and product innovations, and public notices to help improve efficiency and delivery times. The commercial poster reached cultural maturity during the era from the 1930s to the 1960s, with major corporations such as the GPO, London Transport, Shell and the railway companies all commissioning innovative designs.

The GPO posters featured work by those associated with both fine art and graphic design, demonstrating the merging of high art and popular culture. Abram Games, Tom Eckersley and Frank Newbould were among those whose work defined the era.
Miniature sheet - Posters

1st class:  Quickest Way by Air Mail;  Address your letters Plainly.
£1.33:  Pack your parcels carefully; Stamps in Books Save Time

ADDITIONAL PRODUCT:  Not having learned the lesson from Europhilex, and in response to a suggestion from the Philatelic Traders Society (organisers of Spring Stampex) Royal Mail will offer a limited edition of the miniature sheet with Spring Stampex overprint/inscription, to be sold only at the event in London's Business Design Centre.  The official statement reads:
To support attendance at Stamp shows a numbered limited edition pack featuring the Classic GPO Posters Minisheet with
Stampex Overprint will be on sale at Spring Stampex. A small number may be available to collectors from Tallents House.

18 February 2016 - Retail booklet, Generic Sheet, and Prestige Stamp Book

Penny Red Retail booklet.

175th anniversary of the Penny Red.

Self-adhesive booklet containing
6 x 1st class Queen Victoria 1d red  commemorative definitives and features a quote from
Rowland Hill, whose proposal paved the way for the 1840 Act which introduced the Uniform Penny Post.
175th Anniversary of the Penny Red generic smilers stamp sheet.

Generic Smilers Sheet
175th Anniversary of
the Penny Red

20 x 1st class Penny Red stamps with various labels.

On the anniversary of the Penny Red the 2015 commemorative stamp joins the Penny Black and Two Penny Red
versions issued in 2015 in the Smilers and Business Customised stamps service. The background image of the Generic Sheet features details of the ‘Rainbow Trials’ from which the Penny Red evolved and cancellations were changed from red to black.

 Royal Mail 500 PSB Pane 1. Royal Mail 500 PSB pane 2.
Royal Mail 500 PSB pane 3. Royal Mail 500 PSB pane 4.
Royal Mail 500 PSB cover..

Prestige Book - Royal Mail 500

Pane 1:
1st class Sir Brian Tuke, Master of the Posts (1516);
£1.52 River Post;
1st class Penfold Pillar Box.

Pane 2:  8 x 1st class:
1d black, 1d red, 2d blue
2d blue, label, 1d red
1d red, 1d black, 2d blue

Pane 3:
Stamps as the miniature sheet but in different layout.

Pane 4: 1st class Packet Ship;
  £1.52 Mail Coach;
£1.52 Medway Mail Centre.

Front cover of PSB:

Penny Red on 'cover' with 308 numeral postmark of Stirling

Technical details and acknowledgements:

The set of 6 stamps are designed by Atelier Works and printed in lithography by International Security Printers, size 35 x 37 mm perforated 14.5 x 14 in sheets of 25/50 with PVA gum. 

Portrait of Sir Brian Tuke by Hans Holbein the Younger © National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA/ Bridgeman Images; photograph of a river post woman by Horace Nicholls © Imperial War Museum Q 30842; photograph of Medway Mail Centre © Peter MacDiarmid/Staff/Getty Images.  Other images, including letters by Sir Brian Tuke, Anthony Trollope (December 1851) and John Palmer featured in the backgrounds ©Royal Mail Group Ltd 2016, courtesy of The British Postal Museum and Archive.

The miniature sheet is designed by Purpose using images from the British Postal Museum and Archive. Printed in lithography by International Security Printers, stamp size 27 x 37 mm perforated 14 x 14 in a sheet 115 x 89 mm.  Design acknowledgements: Quickest Way by Air Mail by Edward McKnight Kauffer, 1935; Address Your Letters Plainly by Hans Schleger, 1942; Stamps in Books Save Time by Harry Stevens, 1960; Pack Your Parcels Carefully by Hans Unger, 1950; GPO logo is a registered trade mark of Royal Mail Group Ltd.

This website © Norvic Philatelics 2016

Product range

Set of 6 stamps    Miniature Sheet    2 First Day Covers    Presentation Pack    Set of 11 Stamp Cards
Prestige Stamp Book    Definitive Pane FDC    Retail Booklet 6 x 1st    Generic Smilers Sheet 20 x 1st

Special Postmarks available on the days of this issue are shown here. 

Unusual arrangements have been introduced for the official FD postmarks for these stamp issues. Note that no direction has been given regarding FD postmarks to be used on the retail booklet or Generic Smilers Sheet.

FD1602 postmarks can only be used on the set of 6 stamps and miniature sheet issued on 17 February.

FD1604 postmarks can only be used on the definitive stamp pane in the Prestige Stamp Book issued on 18 February.

FD1605 postmarks - marked 'First Day of Availability' - can only be used on the special stamps panes in the Prestige Stamp Book issued on 18 February.

However, other special handstamps dated 17th February can be used on the Royal Mail 500 stamps and MS, and Post and Go stamps on the same day.   Similarly postmarks not captioned First Day of Issue or First Day of Availability may be used on the PSB panes, retail booklet and Generic Smilers Sheet stamps.

These postmarks cannot be obtained after the date of issue.  These images are not be to scale.   (More may be published later.)

Postmarks for use on Stamps and Miniature Sheet - 17 February 2016
  (All except FD may be used on Post and Go stamps) Remember these are not to scale! 

Postmark showing Post Roads map of the UK.
First Day Postmark with text as below.
The Postmarks marking 500th anniversary of Royal Mail.
Ref FD1602TH
Official Bureau postmark showing map of early Post Roads in the UK
Ref FD1602PL London WC1.  The King's pleasure is, that posts be appointed and laid in all places most expedient - Brian Tuke Ref L13730
Royal Mail 500, London
Ref Ref L13731
1516-2016 Royal Mail 500 
Ref L13732
Royal Mail 500 London WC1X 
Postmarks showing Papre Aeroplane and Mailcoach.
Postmarks showing a Postbox and a paper aeroplane.
Postmark showing a mailcoach.
Ref L13733
Classic GPO Posters,
Airmail Windsor
Ref L13743 Golden Age of Coaching, Royal Mail Heritage, London
Ref L13728
Postal History
London WC1X
Ref L13729
Postal History
Airmail, Windsor
Ref L13707
500 Years of Royal Mail
London EC2
Postmark showing Royal Mail 500 logo and postbox.
Postmark showing hand writing a letter.
Postmark showing mailcoach.
Postmark showing a postbox.
Postmark showing a mailcoach.
Ref L13736 St Martins Le Grand
Celebrating 500 Years of Royal Mail London EC1A 1HQ
Ref L13713
500 Years of Royal Mail London EC2R
Ref M13719
500 Years of Royal Mail
Royal Mail Street Birmingham
Ref L13712
500 Years of Royal
Mail London EC
Ref W13725
Royal Mail 500
Northgate St, Bath

Ref L13740
Spring Stampex Royal Mail 500
First Day of Issue
Stampex Postmark showing Postbox.
`Stampex Postmarks.
Ref L13741
Spring Stampex, Post and Go Royal Mail Heritage: Transport
First Day of Issue

Ref L13742 Spring Stampex

Postmarks for use on 18 February 2016
- see note above as to restrictions.  Remember these are not to scale!

First Day Postmark for Penny Red PSB.
Rainbow Trials first day postmark.
First Day postmark illustrated with early horseback mailman.
Postmark showing GPO advertising character..
FD1604NP and FD1605NP
Ref FD1604TH  Official Bureau postmark:
The Colour of the Future Penny Label ... Red would be Unobjectionable: Rowland Hill
FD1604PL Official London WC1 postmark in the design of that used for the 'Rainbow Trials'. FD1605TH Official First Day of Availability postmark for use on special stamp panes from PSB. FD1605PL Official London WC1 postmark illustrated with character from GPO advertising. Non-pictorial London WC1 postmarks for FDoI and FDoA
Three postmarks, showing PEnny Black stamp and Penny Post Paid mark.
Two postmarks, one showing Queen Victoria and one showing Rowland Hill.
Ref L13714
Royal Mail 500
London N1
Ref L13715
Royal Mail 500
London EC4Y
Ref L13716
500 Years of Postal History
London EC3
Ref M13720
175th Anniversary of the Penny Red
Victoria Square, Birmingham
Ref M13721
Penny Red 175th Anniversary Sir Rowland Hill, Kidderminster
Postmark showing a Maltese Cross postmark.
Postmark including 4 Maltese Cross postmarks.   
Postmark showing a postbox.
Stampex Postmarks.

Ref W13726 
17th Anniversary of the Penny Red
Bath Somerset
Ref L13743
1841 Perkins Bacon & Petch
Fleet Street London
Ref L13735
17th Anniversary of the Penny Red
London WC1
Ref L13744
Spring Stampex 175th Anniversary of the Penny Red First Day of Issue
Ref L13745
Autumn Stampex
(I hope they will change this to 'Spring'!)

This page updated 15 February 2016

Keep up to date on our blog
Home Page
Visit our online shop!

Norvic Philatelics, PO Box 119, Dereham, NR20 3YN, GB.
UK Phone: 08450 090939 -- Skype:ian.billings-norvic

Instant Printing Prices from Webmart