Great Britain’s Royal Mail issued eight new Smilers stamps Jan. 20.
Smilers is the name of Royal Mail’s range of stamps that can be personalized by adding your own photograph to labels that are printed se-tenant (side-by-side) with the stamps.
Royal Mail introduced Smilers stamps at the international stamp exhibition held in London in May 2000.
In announcing the new Smilers stamps, Royal Mail said, “The range of stamps that customers can choose is refreshed from time to time to give them greater choice and to allow them to celebrate a wider variety of life events.”
The press release from Royal Mail also noted that the last time the Smiler designs were updated was in 2010 (Scott 2744-2745).
All of the new Smilers stamps are nondenominated with “1st,” indicating that they pay the first-class domestic rate, currently 62 pence.
Three of the new designs celebrate events, another three are intended for specific family members, and the other two represent a job well done and love, respectively.
The three events are a new baby, a birthday and a wedding. The designs depict a baby with an envelope for a diaper, three candles with faces in the flames, and a wedding cake topped by hearts.
Mothers, fathers and grandparents each receive their own stamp. Royal Mail said that these stamps can be used for multiple occasions, including birthdays and thank-you notes. The Mum and Dad stamps also are for use on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards, respectively.
The Mum stamp, as Royal Mail calls it, includes the word “Mum” at the top, “Mummy” in the middle and “Mother” at the bottom. Eight symbolic flowers also are shown on the design.
The stamp with the word “DAD” spelled out in large, capital letters is self-explanatory.
The stamp for grandparents depicts a small hand on top of a larger hand.
The Love stamp shows paper-cutting art, with two love birds inside a heart. Royal Mail suggests this stamp for use on mail for Valentine’s Day, anniversaries and weddings.
On the stamp that Royal Mail has named “Well Done,” the design features a large “1st,” which also doubles as the service indicator.
Royal Mail said that the “1st” on this design represents success and a broad variety of achievements.
Jenny Bowers of the design collective Peepshow designed the stamps. Royal Mail reports that she starts her artwork with a paint brush and a tube of black gouache paint.
The stamps are sold in panes of 10 and 20 with labels that can be personalized. For more information, visit the website www.royalmail.com/smilers.
The eight different stamps are also available se-tenant (side-by-side) in a souvenir sheet without any labels.
The stamps are definitive size, measuring 20 millimeters by 24mm, and perforated gauge 15.4. International Security Printers printed them by offset. The sheet measures 124mm by 71mm.
In addition, a pane of 20 stamps (three each of the New Baby, Happy Birthday, Love and Wedding stamps, and two each of the Dad, Mum, Grandparent and Well Done stamps) includes se-tenant labels with a related message, such as “New Baby” and “Wedding.” These labels cannot be personalized. Royal Mail calls this a “generic sheet.”
A booklet of 12 contains gravure-printed versions of the stamps (two each of the New Baby, Wedding, Love and Happy Birthday stamps and one of the other stamps).
Additional products offered in conjunction with the Smilers stamps include first-day covers, nine postcards reproducing the designs of the stamps and the souvenir sheet, and a presentation pack combining art by Bowers with a poem by Roger McGough.
Royal Mail’s shop on the Internet is located at http://shop.royalmail.com. Ordering information also is available from Royal Mail, Tallents House, 21 S. Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB, Scotland.
Royal Mail’s two agencies in the United States are Interpost, Box 420, Hewlett, NY 11557; and the British Stamp Service in North America, 1 Unicover Center, Cheyenne, WY 82008.