30 September 2019
Royal Mail have revealed the designs for a set of six stamps and a four-stamp miniature sheet to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of The Gruffalo, the 1999 children’s picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, which has sold around 14.5 million copies and has been turned into a film and television series.
In recent years Royal Mail have kept the October stamp issue a secret until days before the issue date, leaving collectors to speculate what the subject might be. After The Royal Mint released an uncirculated 50p coin to celebrate the book earlier this year, perhaps it’s no surprise that stamps would follow, indeed the new stamps are available on two coin covers, also featuring the 50p.
The six landscape stamps are laid out in two rows of three se-tenant designs, three with a 1st class value and three at £1.60 and, according to Royal Mail, work as a chronological storyboard, following the Mouse’s progress and introducing the other characters one by one.
For the mini-sheet Royal Mail commissioned illustrator Axel Scheffler to draw a unique illustration of The Gruffalo. The brand-new, full colour work shows off the Gruffalo and other well-known characters (Owl, Snake, Fox and Mouse) in a composite artwork.
The stamps and sheet were printed by International Security Printers. Unsurprisingly there is a range of souvenirs for the issue, including a presentation pack featuring a snakes and ladder game; first day covers; postcards; a Generic Sheet which includes ten stamps, all from the miniature sheet; a Press Sheet containing sixteen miniature sheets, ‘printed just as they come, hot off the press’; two coin covers featuring normal and coloured versions of the 50p coins, respectively; and a number of framed products.
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