Published on February 26th, 2015 | by Sarah Jubb
Special Stamps In The 1980s
In the next article in our special stamps series, we move forwards from the 1970s to the 1980s. This was the decade that saw the fall of the Berlin Wall along with the first proposal by Tim Berners-Lee to launch the World Wide Web as well as the release of the Academy Award winning film, Chariots of Fire.
On the subject of film, Royal Mail chose to celebrate some of the British icons of Hollywood with their British Film Year series in 1985. This series featured classical shots of the various actors, actresses and directors, each with the subject’s signature in gold along the corner. Included in this set was Vivien Leigh, Alfred Hitchcock and Charlie Chaplin, some of the most famous names in film.
Technological innovations have always remained a focal point of the special stamps sets. Britain has a long and proud history with trains, the first working steam locomotive was developed in the United Kingdom in 1804. This proud heritage with steam trains was honoured in a stamp set in 1985.
In this set, famous engines such as the Flying Scotsman and the Cornish Riviera were showcased, showing Britain’s distinguished history in making steam trains. This history of trains has been celebrated further in recent years with Royal Mail releasing various stamp sets that focus on some of the famous trains to have been made in each country in the United Kingdom.
The Special Stamps also give focus to British animals and in the 1980s Royal Mail released a series on Butterflies, showcasing some of Britain’s beautiful insects with stunning paintings that created bright and vivid stamps. Once more in 2013, this theme was repeated with a set of 10 stamps featuring even more of Britain’s native butterfly species in a simple illustrated format.
In our last article we mentioned the importance of royalty in these special stamps, and this was epitomised by the wedding between Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981. It was an occasion celebrated throughout the world that was unmatched in prestige until the wedding of their son, Prince William to Kate Middleton in 2011.
While the more common focus for these stamp series is anniversaries, sports, technical achievements and so forth, sometimes there are sets released that focus on the more mythical aspects of British culture. This was shown in the 1980s when a series of special stamps was released featuring illustrations of the famous Arthurian Legends including characters from these tales that have captured imaginations for centuries including King Arthur himself and Merlin.