Royal Mail’s first special issue of 2012 is dedicated to the author Roald Dahl on January 10.

A set of six sheet stamps celebrates some of his best-known children’s stories, with the aid of the instantly familiar illustrations of Quentin Blake.

In addition, a miniature sheet of four stamps marks the 30th anniversary of The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), one of his most popular characters.

Born to Norwegian parents in Cardiff in 1916, Dahl was a World War II flying ace and intelligence agent who turned to writing stories for children. He died in 1990.

Over 100 million copies of his books have been sold globally, and 10% of the royalties from all Dahl merchandise still go to his Marvellous Children’s Charity, which raises money for seriously ill youngsters, and the Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, which promotes literacy.

All the stamps were designed by Magpie Studio and printed in lithography by Cartor.

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   

Dahl is one of Britain’s great children’s authors, but the issue does not mark an authentic anniversary

 QUALITY OF DESIGN   

Blake’s eye-catching illustrations were surely the best approach to this issue

WOW FACTOR   

The issue brings a sense of fun to the stamp programme, and should attract young collectors

 

1st class Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

Young Charlie Bucket brandishes the precious golden ticket that will give him the adventure of a lifetime visiting the eccentric Willy Wonka’s sweets factory.

66p Fantastic Mr Fox

To feed his family, Mr Fox steals chickens, ducks and turkeys from three wealthy but mean farmers. But the farmers, Boggis, Bunce and Bean, get fed up with this and try to kill him. 

68p James & The Giant Peach

An enchanted giant peach full of anthropomorphic insects provides the perfect escape for James from his awful, abusive aunts.

76p Matilda

Ignored by her parents and abused by her teacher, Matilda Wormwood discovers that she has psychokinetic powers.

£1 The Twits

Mr and Mrs Twit are unpleasant people who enjoy being nasty to animals and children, until the Roly-Poly Bird, Muggle-Wump the monkey and other animals take revenge.

£1.10 The Witches

When an orphan visits a hotel with his grandmother, little does he imagine that England’s witches will be getting together at the same venue.

 

MINIATURE SHEET

1st class The BFG & Sophie

The Big Friendly Giant takes Sophie to Giant Land so she can’t tell anyone that she has seen him.

68p Waking the Giants

The BFG wakes up the other giants, who panic and start fighting each other.

76p On the Queen’s Window Sill

Sophie and the BFG visit the Queen (the border has a quotation from this chapter).

£1 At the Writing Desk

The BFG and Sophie at his writing desk, as he becomes a famous author.

OTHER PRODUCTS

In the presentation pack, a specially-commissioned illustration by Quentin Blake shows aspects of Dahl’s life and some of his characters in the shed he used as a writing studio. Blake is interviewed by Donald Sturrock about Dahl’s life and stories.

The first cover envelope illustrates the pelican from The Giraffe, The Pelly & Me. Besides the usual stamp cards, there is a prestige stamp book (see page 25).

PRICES

 

Set of 6 stamps £4.66

Miniature sheet £2.90

Stamp cards £4.95

Presentation pack £8.10 

Prestige stamp book £11.47

First day envelope £0.30

First day cover (stamps) £6.07

First day cover (sheet) £3.96

First day cover (PSB pane) £4.03

TOTAL £46.44