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 parcels.

The Packet Antelope pictured on Post and Go Stamp 2018. SS Great Western pictured on Post and Go Stamp 2018.
SS Britannia pictured on Post and Go Stamp 2018. RMS Olympic pictured on Post and Go Stamp 2018.
RMS Queen Mary pictured on Post and Go Stamp 2018. RMS St Helena pictured on Post and Go Stamp 2018.
From top left:
Packet Antelope 1780, SS Great Western 1838, SS Brittania 1887
RMS Olympic 1911, RMS Queen Mary 1936, RMS St Helena 1990.
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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 detailMail by sea Post and  Go presentation pack.

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.

Technical details: 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.

Products issued

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.
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.

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

Special postmarks available for the day of issue  were shown in Royal Mail's Postmark Bulletins (download here)

This page created 1 March 2018

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