Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks

British butterflies - 11 July 2013

Royal Mail features at least one set of stamps on wildlife each year, as these are among the most popular subjects for stamps. In recent years Royal Mail has chosen to often highlight the plight of threatened species and to promote them on the post. The last time Royal Mail issued a set of stamps devoted to butterflies was 1981; hence it was high time that subject was returned to. To create a brand new special issue, Royal Mail turned to renowned artist Richard Lewington.

Many butterflies are in decline in the UK. Three quarters of UK species have decreased in either distribution or numbers over the last 10 years. However, intensive conservation efforts have increased a number of threatened species, such as the Marsh Fritillary, featured in the set. (Source: Butterfly Conservation)
The 10 UK species of butterflies chosen are a mix of endangered and the more common and familiar. The delicate illustrations depict these beautiful creatures to stunning effect.

The yearly nationwide survey, the Big Butterfly Count, takes place from 20 July – 1 August, 2013.

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The Ten Stamps

Strip of 5 butterfly stamps.
Second strip of 5 butterfly stamps.

Row 1: Comma, Orange Tip, Small Copper, Chalkhill Blue, Swallowtail
Row 2: Purple Emperor, Marsh Fritillary, Brimstone, Red Admiral, Marbled White.

The stamps in detail

This is taken from the FDC insert.  If Royal Mail provide further background of the usual depth it will be added later.

Comma: Has distinctive ragged-shaped wings and white comma marks on the underside.   Once a rarity but now widely seen.  Habitat: Woodlands, gardens and hedgerows.

Orange-Tip: Harbinger of spring, males have bright orange wing tips and wander through the countryside looking for a mate.  Habitat: Woodland rides, lanes and gardens.

Small Copper: Males are feisty, chasing other insects from their territory; females search for sorrel or dock plants on which to lay eggs.  Habitat: Open spaces, especially rough grasslands.

Chalkhill Blue: Appearing in high-summer when groups of milky-blue males can be seen feeding from deep purple flowers.  Habitat: Chalk and limestone hillsides.

Swallowtail: The largest species in the UK, it can be found skimming reedbeds and open water.  Females lay the eggs on milk parsley.  Habitat: Open Fenlands.

Purple Emperor: Elusive and highly prized, males have an electric purple sheen, which the females lack.  Eggs are laid in sallow bushes.  Habitat: Broadleaved forests.

Marsh Fritillary: Attractively chequered, this is one of the UK's fastest-declining butterflies.  Habitat: Damp meadows and flowery downland.

Brimstone: One of the first buterflies to appear in the spring.  Males are sulphur yellow.  Females lay eggs on buckthorns.  Habitat: throughout the countryside.

Red Admiral: Immigrant from Southern Europe and North Africa.  Dramatically coloured and attracted to garden flowers such as buddleia.  Habitat: All habitats.

Marbled White: Distinctively chequered, this sedentary butterfly can be seen in high summer flapping lazily in the sun.  Habitat: Flowery grassland, woodland rides, and verges.

Retail Booklet

The Chalkhill blue and Comma will also be issued in a self-adhesive booklet of 6 stamps with 4 x 1st class red Machin definitives at £3.60.
Butterfly retail booklet.

The first day cover & insert

Butterfly FDC.

The insert shows the relative sizes of the different butterflies shown on the stamps.
Butterfly FDC insert.

Technical details:

The stamps were designed by MARC&ANNA using Illustrations by Richard Lewington and are printed by Cartor Security Printing in lithography.  The 37 x 35mm stamps are perf 14.5 in sheets of 25/50 with all over phosphor.  
The stamps will be issued in two sheets of 25/50 with five se-tenant designs per sheet, enabling customers to buy a vertical strip of five of any individual stamp.

The self-adhesive booklet is printed by Walsall Security Print and the definitives have the codes M13L MCIL

Products issued, available from Royal Mail: 

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) - retail booklet

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 butterflies stamps. Lulworth Camp official FD postmark for Butterflies stamps. Wareham non-pictorial FD postmark. Postmark showing Swallowtail butterfly. Postmark showing Marbled White butterfly.

Ref FD1317TH Philatelic Bureau Official Postmark

Ref FD1317PL Lulworth Camp, Wareham, Doreset Official Postmark

Ref FD1317NP
Wareham Dorset Official non-pictorial Postmark

Ref L1892 London SW7

Ref L12893
Wareham, Dorset

Postmark showing a caterpillar.
Postmark showing caterpillar. Postmark showing butterfly (Chalkhill blue?) Postmark showing a
Postmark showing a Comma butterfly.

Ref L12894
Chalk, Gravesend, Kent

Ref L12895 Welwyn Garden City

Ref S12898
Crossgar, Downpatrick

Ref: M12903
British Butterflies, Meadow View, Birmingham

Ref: M12904
Butterflies Retail book, Cornfield Croft, Birmingham

Late announcements >>>>

Covers/cards should be sent to the Scotland & NI or North of England Handstamp Centre as relevant within 10 days of receipt of bulletin, ie by about 25 July.
Postmark advertising Belfast Naturalists Field Club.
Ref S12908 Belfast Naturalists' Field Club (150th anniversary), Belfast
Postmark showing logo of National Wildflower Centre.
Ref N12906
National Wildflower Centre, Liverpool

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This page upated 12 July 2013

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