Royal Mail reveals the image of the new King Charles Definitive
Royal Mail today revealed the image of new definitive stamp featuring the image of King Charles III. A definitive stamp is a stamp that consists solely of the monarchs’ head and value of the stamp on a plain coloured background. The image of HM The King is an adapted version of the portrait created by Martin Jennings for The Royal Mint for the obverse of the new UK coinage and shows the new monarch facing to the left.
The new coin effigy was carefully adjusted and digitally re-lit to make it suitable for use on definitive stamps, with the aim of creating a worthy successor to Arnold Machin’s classic image of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
The King’s effigy appears alongside a barcode printed in matching colour alongside the main body of the stamp, separated by a simulated perforation line. The colours for all four values are retained from the Machin stamps;
– 1st Class – Plum Purple
– 2nd Class – Holly Green
– 1st Class Large – Marine Turquoise
– 2nd Class Large – Dark Pine GreenTo minimise the environmental and financial impact of the change of monarch, existing stocks of definitive stamps that feature Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth will be distributed and issued as planned and will remain valid for use in line with our recent transition to barcodes on definitive stamps. Retailers will continue to sell their existing stocks of definitive stamps featuring Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth and be supplied with the new stamps when existing stocks at Royal Mail have been exhausted.
The use of the coin image is continuation of a long tradition stretching back to the creation of the Penny Black in 1840.Since the release of the world’s first adhesive postage stamp, the Penny Black, in 1840, there has been a close association between British coins and Definitive stamps. The portrait of Queen Victoria on the Penny Black was based on that designed by William Wyon, chief engraver at The Royal Mint, for the ‘City’ medal of 1838, which commemorated Queen Victoria’s first visit to the City of London the year before. During successive reigns, many artists worked on both coins and stamps or had their designs for the former adapted for use on the latter. In the 1960s, Arnold Machin created an effigy of The Queen for decimal coinage and then designed new definitive stamps, which became an iconic symbol of the United Kingdom around the world, reproduced billions of times. King Charles III becomes the seventh monarch to appear on a Definitive stamp. The first was Queen Victoria who appeared on the Penny Black in 1840, followed by Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI, Queen Elizabeth II and now King Charles III.
Simon Thompson, CEO, Royal Mail said: “Ever since the Penny Black was issued in the reign of Queen Victoria, British stamps have carried the image of the reigning monarch. The Definitive stamp has become a recognisable symbol of each reign. Uniquely, British stamps do not have the country of origin printed on them as the image of the monarch is sufficient. So today is a hugely important milestone for Royal Mail and the country as we reveal the image of the new King Charles Definitive.”
Customers can register their interest from today (8 February) at www.royalmail.com/hmkingcharlesregister
The stamps will go on general sale from 4 April 2023.