Royal Mail is celebrating some of the world’s most beautiful artefacts in a spectacular collection of eight stamps featuring the Crown Jewels, the regalia of the British monarchy.

Issued on August 23, the stamps feature some of the most important and iconic pieces from the priceless collection.

This year marks the 350th anniversary of the making of many of the items shown, for the coronation of King Charles II in 1661 shortly after the Restoration of the monarchy. Their predecessors had been melted down, and their jewels sold off, during the Commonwealth period under the direction of Oliver Cromwell.

Over the years the Crown Jewels have been augmented and remodelled for various monarchs and royal occasions, but they remain housed in the Tower of London, as they were when the initial collection was established in 1303.

Stephen Agar of Royal Mail said: ‘The Crown Jewels contain some of the world’s most famous and dazzling diamonds. We wanted to produce stamps which showcase just how stunning this collection is.’

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   
National treasure, but not an anniversary that would appear on many radars

QUALITY OF DESIGN    
Does the chosen format show off the amazing regalia at its absolute best?

WOW FACTOR   
The amount of bling on display will  surely catch most people's eye

1st class Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross
Originally fashioned in 1661, this was redesigned in 1905 to incorporate the Great Star of Africa, the second-largest cut diamond in the world. During the coronation, the monarch carries this sceptre in the right hand.

1st class St Edward’s Crown
This crown, originally made in 1661, is used to crown monarchs when they ascend to the throne. It has 444 precious stones, and is reputed to have been made using gold recovered from the throne of King Alfred the Great.

68p Rod & Sceptre with Doves
During the coronation, the monarch holds this sceptre in the left hand, while the smaller rod is carried by the consort. Both were crafted in 1661, with the doves symbolising the Holy Ghost.

68p Queen Mary’s Crown
This was the crown of Mary of Teck, the Queen Consort of King George V. It was manufactured for their coronation in 1911, and has remained unworn since Queen Mary’s death in 1953.

76p Sovereign’s Orb
This hollow gold sphere weighing 42oz was another artefect created expressly for the coronation of King Charles II in 1661. The orb is a religious symbol which represents the monarch’s role as Defender of the Faith and as Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

76p Jewelled Sword of Offering
Made for the Coronation of King George IV in 1821, this is the only sword actually presented to the sovereign during the coronation, by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It signifies that royal power is at the service of the Church of England.

£1.10 Imperial State Crown
This crown was made in 1937 for King George VI. It has several famous  gemstones, including the Black Prince’s Ruby and the Cullinan II diamond, also known as the Lesser Star of Africa. The crown is worn after the coronation ceremony, when the monarch leaves Westminster Abbey, and at the annual State Opening of Parliament.

£1.10 Coronation Spoon
Dating from the 12th century, this was the only part of the medieval regalia to escape destruction in the Cromwellian period. At the coronation ceremony it is used to anoint the sovereign with holy oil.

Other products
The presentation pack, written by heritage expert Dr Anna Keay, takes a look at the history of the Crown Jewels and their use in the coronation ceremony.

As with every commemorative issue, a first day cover and stamp cards are available. A special coin cover commemorating the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 is also offered.

TOTAL

Set of 8 stamps    £6.00
Presentation pack    £6.50
Stamp cards    £3.60
First day envelope    £0.30
First day cover    £7.68
Coin cover     £15.95
TOTAL    £40.03