Royal Mail Stamps Guide: Shakespeare 5 April 2016

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08 April 2016
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World-renowned playwright William Shakespeare is celebrated by Royal Mail this month, with stamps featuring well-known quotes from his works, to mark the 400th anniversary of his death.

World-renowned playwright William Shakespeare is celebrated by Royal Mail this month, with stamps featuring well-known quotes from his works, to mark the 400th anniversary of his death

The writer from Stratford Upon Avon who became one of the most famous playwrights in the world will be celebrated around the globe with theatrical performances, books, articles and TV programmes, all commemorating the 400th anniversary of his death on 23 April, 1616.

Considering Shakespeare’s record-breaking status as a writer, it seems only fitting that the Bard was also responsible for a historic ‘first’ in Royal Mail’s history, when he became the first commoner to appear on a British stamp, back in 1964, on the 400th anniversary of his birth. Since then, there have been three other Shakespeare-related issues from Royal Mail – Globe Theatre (1996), National Portrait Gallery (2006) and Royal Shakespeare Company (2011).

For this fifth Shakespeare issue, Royal Mail has decided to eschew the portrait stamps that some might have expected (and which several other countries have produced) in favour of designs which give prominence to the Bard’s words. The ten Special First Class stamps have the following Shakespeare quotes, from his sonnets and plays, reproduced on the stamps in a variety of fonts and sizes. 

SHAKESPEARE QUOTES

The ten chosen quotations are taken from eight of Shakespeare’s plays, one from the poem Venus and Adonis and one from Sonnet 30. Four of the featured plays (Hamlet, Julius Caesar, The Tempest, Macbeth and King Richard II) are based on Shakespeare’s dramatisation of history; whilst the other four tell stories from the Bard’s imagination, often bringing in influences from other plays and writings which Shakespeare had read. 

Stamp details

Issue date: 5 April 2016

Design: The Chase

Stamp size: 35mm x 35mm

Printer: International Security Printers

Print process: Lithography

Perforations: 14.5 x 14.5

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Phosphor: Bars as appropriate

Gum: PVA

1st – Hamlet

1st –  Julius Caesar

1st – Romeo & Juliet

1st – As You Like It

1st – Much Ado About Nothing

1st – Sonnet 30

1st – Venus and Adonis

1st – The Tempest

1st – Macbeth

1st – King Richard II