Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks
Pictorial Faststamps: Mail by Sea - 14 February 2018
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.
Post & Go stamps are sold from Post
Office Self-Service Kiosks (SSK), which 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 labels will be used in Post & Go machines at Post
Offices around the country, and from Royal Mail machines at Enquiry
Offices, Museums. For the first time the stamps were not available from
machines at 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 100g, Worldwide 20g,
and Worldwide 100g. From SSKs other stamps can be printed with
monetary values for a variety of services including Special Delivery and
From top left: Packet Antelope 1780, SS Great
Western 1838, SS Brittania 1887
RMS Olympic 1911, RMS Queen Mary 1936, RMS St Helena 1990.
In Feb 2016 Royal Mail issued the Royal Mail Heritage:
Transport set as part of the Royal Mail 500 celebrations. Post
& Go issues in 2017 will build on the theme, creating a series of
issues in which the transportation of mail is explored in greater
detail. The second in the series is Mail by Air.
Many years before mail was delivered over great distances by rail and air,
it was transported by sea. In the 17th century, mail was being dispatched to
mainland Europe by vessels called packets. As Britain’s
trade and empire grew over the following century, communication by sea
became vital to her position as the world’s pre-eminent imperial power.
The introduction of steamships in the early 19th century enabled a more
reliable mail service. Ships could now run to timetables, and the threat of
piracy on the high seas was diminished. In 1840, Royal Mail Ships were
introduced. Only ships officially contracted to carry the mail were allowed
the prefix ‘RMS’, a designation of prestige and reliability. Carriers
included White Star and Cunard Lines.
As the 20th century progressed, international airmail increasingly
encroached on the traditional service by sea, making RMS St Helena one of
the last Royal Mail ships to regularly deliver post.
The stamps in detail
Packet Antelope, 1780
His Majesty’s Packet Antelope had an eventful life. Captured by the French
in 1781 and 1782, she successfully fought off the privateer Atalanta the
following year. Her crew were duly rewarded for the “successful protection
of the mail”.
SS Great Western, 1838
The first purpose-built steamship for crossing the Atlantic, engineer
Isambard Brunel’s Great Western marked a huge leap forward in sea travel. In
1847, she was sold to the recently formed Royal Mail Steam Packet Company.
SS Britannia, 1887
P&O’s latest ship, launched in the year of Queen Victoria’s and the
company’s golden jubilee, set a Brindisi–Adelaide mail record of 23 days 10
hours. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 considerably cut the journey
time to the East.
RMS Olympic, 1911
Sister ship to the ill-fated Titanic, White Star Line’s Olympic had a
dedicated post office and mail room. She was the largest British-built
passenger ship in regular service until the introduction of Queen Mary.
RMS Queen Mary, 1936
Cunard Line’s flagship RMS Queen Mary soon won the Blue Riband for the
fastest ship on the North Atlantic route. For the first time, Royal Mail
could have the post transported to New York in less than four days.
RMS St Helena, 1990
This unique vessel was designed and built to carry mail, cargo and
passengers to and from the South Atlantic island after which she was named.
She currently plies between St Helena, Ascension Island and Cape Town.
Designed by Osborne Ross with illustrations by Andrew Davidson. RMS Queen
Mary © The Russell Butcher Collection/Mary Evans Picture Library;
Printed in gravure by International Security Printers, 56 x 25 mm, with two
phosphor bands, self-adhesive.
These will be on sale from machines in Post Office branches and at Royal
Mail Enquiry Offices.
The labels will be used in Post & Go machines at Post Offices and
Royal Mail Enquiry Offices around the country, and from the Royal Mail
machines at Autumn Stampex.
Royal Mail will again produce a First Day Cover and official First Day
Postmarks for these stamps.
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 and the details are printed in gravure.
Special postmarks available for the day of issue
were shown in Royal Mail's Postmark Bulletins (download
This page created 1 March 2018
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