World Stamps

Britain celebrates Discworld book series with Aug. 10 set

Aug 16, 2023, 8 AM

By David Hartwig

A set of eight stamps issued Aug. 10 by Great Britain’s Royal Mail celebrates Terry Pratchett’s fantasy Discworld book series.

Royal Mail calls Pratchett (1948-2015) one of the United Kingdom’s greatest fantasy writers. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on Feb. 18, 2009, for services to literature.

The stamp issue marks 40 years since the publication of The Colour of Magic, the first of 41 novels in the Discworld series. The novels have since been translated into over 40 languages, with more than 100 million copies sold worldwide.

“These striking stamps will be loved by generations both young and old,” David Gold, Royal Mail’s director of external affairs and policy, said. “Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels remain as popular as ever and it is fitting that in the 40th anniversary year of The Colour of Magic, we celebrate with a set of stamps that honour the work of an iconic and globally admired writer.”

Royal Mail presents the stamps in four se-tenant (side-by-side) pairs. The stamps in one pair are valued at the first-class rate (currently £1.10), another pair is valued at £1, another at £2 (the international economy rate for letters weighing up to 100 grams), and the final pair is denominated £2.20 (the international standard rate for letters weighing up to 100 grams).

The stamps show popular characters from the series in designs illustrated by Paul Kidby, who began working with Pratchett in 1993 and became Pratchett’s illustrator of choice.

“It has been a huge honour to illustrate this set of stamps to commemorate 40 years of Discworld,” Kidby said. “I am delighted to finally be able to tell people about it as it has been a big secret to keep! It’s a wonderful celebration of Terry’s ongoing legacy and continued popularity.”

One of the first-class stamps shows Rincewind, a failed wizard who works as the egregious professor of cruel and unusual geography at the Unseen University, a school of wizardry.

Royal Mail previously depicted Rincewind on a stamp issued in 2011 (Scott 2875) as part of a Fictional Wizards and Magicians set of eight. Nanny Ogg, a personable witch from the Discworld series, also appears on a stamp (2876) from the 2011 set.

The other first-class stamp in the Aug. 10 set of eight features Moist von Lipwig, a postmaster general who was given a golden postman’s hat after transforming the postal service.

The Librarian, a former wizard who turned into an orangutan after a magical accident, is pictured on a £1 stamp. The other £1 stamp shows Granny Weatherwax, who is the most powerful witch in Discworld but only uses magic as a last resort.

A £2 stamp shows Sam Vimes, commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. The black-robed skeleton Death appears holding a cat on the other £2 stamp, while his gangly young apprentice Mort holds a scythe.

The 9-year-old witch and cheese maker Tiffany Aching wields a frying pan on a £2.20 stamp. The other £2.20 stamp shows the Great A’Tuin, a vast star turtle who carries the four giant elephants who, in turn, shoulder the flat planet of Discworld.

The final novel in the Discworld series, The Shepherd’s Crown, was published five months after Pratchett’s death in 2015.

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