Post Boxes 2009

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PHQ Cards Miniature Sheet

18.08.2009   Pack Number: 326
Post Boxes Post Boxes
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18th August 2009
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Royal Mail provided background information for this issue
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Reason and inspiration

We’ve been using the pillar box’s little cousin, the post box, for more than 200 years and research has discovered that the earliest known post box was installed at Wakefield Post Office® in 1809. To celebrate this anniversary Royal Mail is releasing a Miniature Sheet of four stamps featuring iconic wall mounted Post Boxes.

Stamp design and background

Working in conjunction with the British Postal Museum and Archive and the Letterbox Study Group, Royal Mail Stamp design with designers Elmwood arrived at a shortlist of different post box designs and locations. Elmwood then worked with photographer Peter Marlow to capture the images of four iconic Post Boxes on film. The images were formatted into stamps and set within a border featuring the earliest known posting slot from the Post Office® at Wakefield.

Pillar, Letter or Post – which box is which?

Around 100,000 Post Boxes of all kinds exist across the UK, but which is which – here’s a quick guide… A post box is the overall title for any kind of posting box whether it’s standing proud on the pavement (pillar box), a smaller freestanding version (pedestal box), on, or in, a wall (wall box), or on a pole (lamp box).

The first Post Boxes, often just slots into the office, appeared over 200 years ago at Post Offices® for the convenience of people posting unpaid letters (the letters were paid for by the recipient).

Wall boxes as we know them today were installed from 1857 as a cheaper alternative to pillar boxes, and have established themselves as a national icon, serving the needs of smaller communities. The first pillar boxes were installed in 1852 in the Channel Islands and 1853 on the mainland.

Stamp by Stamp

1st Class – George V Type B Wall Box

This example with the royal cipher of George V was cast by W T Allen & Co Ltd, London, between 1933-36, and is from Cookham Rise near Maidenhead.

56p – Edward VII Ludlow Box

Introduced in 1887 this type of standardized box derives its name from the foundry where many of them were made. This example is from Bodiam, East Sussex.

81p – Victorian Lamp Box

The lamp box could also be attached to lamp post or other such structure. This example is from Hythe in Kent and was installed in 1896.

90p – Elizabeth II Type A Wall Box

This Elizabeth II Wall box is located in Slaithwaite near Huddersfield and would have been made between 1962 and 1963.

Product Portfolio

Presentation Pack No 430

The fully illustrated Presentation Pack contains the Post Boxes Miniature Sheet. Inside Martin Robinson of the Letter Box Study Group looks at the history of the Post Box. The Pack was designed by Elmwood and printed by Walsall Security Printers.

Stamp Cards

Five Postcards bearing enlarged images of each of the Post Boxes stamps and one of the Miniature Sheet go on sale about a week before the stamp issue date. Printed by Fulmar Colour Printing Company Ltd.

Generic Sheet

The Generic Sheet will contain 20 First Class Post Boxes stamps together with labels featuring archive photography of Post Boxes. The Generic sheet is designed by Elmwood and printed in litho by Cartor. The size is A4 – 297mm(w) x 210mm(h)

Prestige Stamp Book – Treasures of the Archive

Discover some of the amazing artefacts held in trust for the nation by the British Postal Museum and Archive - including a stamp pane featuring all four of the Post Boxes stamps.

The book contains four exclusive stamp panes unavailable anywhere else:

One featuring four 1st and four 20p Definitives, both stamps bearing the double image of Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria from the 150th anniversary of the Penny Black stamps, set around a Penny Post label first issued in 1990;

A pane of four 20p stamps featuring the Royal Mail Coach from the 1989 Lord Mayor's show issue;

A pane featuring all four of the Post Boxes stamps;

A Definitive Pane featuring four 17p Machins, two 22p Machins and two 62p Machins around a GPO label.

The book is written by Douglas Muir, Curator of the British Postal Museum and Archive, designed by Silk Pearce and printed in lithography by Cartor Security Printing.

This Elizabeth II Wall box is located in Slaithwaite near Huddersfield and would have been made between 1962 and 1963.

Miniature Sheet – Technical Details:

Feature Type/Detail
Size of Sheet 146mm x 74mm
Number of stamps Four
Design Elmwood
Photography Peter Marlow
Stamp format Portrait
Stamp size 27mm x 37mm
Printer Cartor Security Printing
Print process Lithography
Perforations 14 x 14.
Phosphor Background screen
Text © reproduced with the permission of Royal Mail Group Ltd. All rights reserved.

The images on this website (excluding postmark images) are also included on the latest edition of Stamp Organiser, a user friendly computer program for you to record details of your collection of British stamps, first day covers, stamp books, presentation packs and PHQ cards - Stamp Organiser.