Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks
Pictorial Faststamps: Hibernating Animals 14 November 2016
Following the success of the
Christmas-period stamps, especially in post office branches' self-service
kiosks, Royal Mail is again issuing just four designs, two for 1st class
and two for 2nd class stamps.
Hibernation is an extended period of deep sleep that allows animals to
survive winter extremes. Reducing metabolic rate and lowering body
temperature enables survival through cold periods when food is scarce or
has little energy value. Hibernating species usually work hard to build up
large fat reserves before they bed down, and subsist on this during their
sleep. They might wake up at intervals to defecate or top up on food.
Few British mammals hibernate during the winter – only the dormouse,
hedgehog and the bat species. British snakes also hibernate through the
winter months. The grass snake is the UK’s largest snake, growing
to 150cm in length and identifiable by its yellow or cream band behind the
head and its delicate body markings. They live in a wide range of wetland
habitats but also venture into gardens. Grass Snakes eat as
much as possible before they go into hibernation to store up enough fat in
their bodies to live off during their long winter sleep
Pictorial Post & Go stamps appear in machines in UK Post Offices for
defined periods of time in the year and this series is intended to provide
attractive stamps that are appropriate for the season in which they are
Post & Go terminals allow customers to weigh their letters and packets,
pay for and print postage labels and stamps without the need to visit the
counter. The first Post & Go machine was trialled in The Galleries Post
Office® in Bristol in 2008. The labels will be used in Post & Go
machines at Post Offices around the country and can be obtained with 6
different service indicators: 1st class up to 100g & 1st class Large up
to 100g, a dual-value Europe up to 20g/World up to 10g, Europe 100g,
Worldwide 20g, and Worldwide 100g *. The stamps are dispensed singly
or in strips of up to 5 or 6 (depending on the machine) of the same value or
various values. On NCR machines 2nd class and 2nd class Large
denominations can be dispensed on the appropriate (blue background)
reel. NCR Self-Service machines also dispense stamps with these
designs for many different weights and services including Small Parcels,
Special Delivery, and International Tracked and Signed.
* Once again a Collectors Strip of 6 (non-2nd class) Faststamps will
be printed on dormouse/bat alternately. A complete set of all
available Faststamp values on all designs will therefore be only 16
The new background text - see below right - ought to ensure that the correct
rolls are placed in the appropriate part of the machines. This is designed
to avoid last year's situation where 2nd
class stamps appeared with 1st class values.
1st class reel: Hedgehog and Grass Snake
2nd class reel: Dormouse and Brown Long-Eared Bat
The Collectors Pack includes the stamps with values as shown.
The stamps in detail
hedgehogs get ready to hibernate, their body temperature drops down to as
low as 2°C, and after that they enter a period of deep sleep. They often
use piles of dead leaves and vegetation in gardens as shelter, which means
that they are particularly vulnerable when garden bonfires are lit.
Grass Snake: Like all
reptiles, grass snakes are cold-blooded and rely on basking in the sun to
remain active. As the days get shorter, there is insufficient sun, so they
crawl under piles of vegetation or into cracks in banks. They emerge in
early summer and can be found basking in the sun once again.
can spend over half the year in hibernation. Indeed, their name might come
from this trait, from the Latin word for sleep, dormire. They bed down in
carefully constructed nests, woven from strands of honeysuckle bark and
dried grass, for instance, well hidden in their woodland habitat.
Brown Long-Eared Bat: -
Bats rely on a constant source of insects to eat. As the supply of these
dwindles in the autumn, they find special hibernation roosts, often
returning to the same location year after year. Bats prefer to hibernate
at very cold temperatures and are often found in caves and old mine
Designed by Osborne Ross and illustrated by Chris Wormell, the four 56mm x
25mm stamps are printed in gravure by International Security Printers.
The stamps in the pack will have the service indicator and other
detail printed in gravure. All images are by kind permission of Royal
Mail, Copyright 2016. This website is copyright Norvic Philatelics 2016.
The labels will be used in Self-Service Kiosks at Post Offices around the
country, at Royal Mail Enquiry Offices, and at the Postal Museum.
Royal Mail again produced a First Day Cover and official First Day Postmarks
A mint set of 4 values is also available from Royal Mail's Tallents House
Bureau in a pack similar to a presentation pack. The stamps in the
pack will be 1st, 1st Large, 2nd and 2nd Large, as shown above, with a
philatelic branch code.
Postmarks available for the day of issue
were shown in Royal Mail's Postmark Bulletins (download
This page created 17 November 2016
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