Royal Mail is celebrating the opening ceremony of the London Olympics on July 27 by issuing a miniature sheet of four stamps.

Entitled ‘Welcome to the London 2012 Olympic Games’, it features a quartet of Olympic sports merging into a quartet of London landmarks.

The stamps were designed by Hat-Trick, from photographs of unidentified athletes by Andy Hooper and of landmarks by Paul Grundy. The miniature sheet was printed in lithography by Cartor.

London’s third Olympics will feature 10,500 athletes from more than 200 nations lining up to contest 302 gold medals across 26 very diverse sports.

A second Welcome miniature sheet in a similar style will be issued to coincide with the opening of the Paralympic Games, which commence on August 29.

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH 
We might feel more inclined to celebrate the big day if we hadn’t already been bombarded with Olympic product

QUALITY OF DESIGN 
Merging athletes with architecture is a neat idea, cleverly executed and surprisingly subtle

WOW FACTOR 
The sheet fails to do full justice to the excitement of the world’s greatest sporting festival

£1.28 Diving & Tate Modern
A diver plunging arrow-like from the high board mirrors the 325ft chimney thrusting upwards from the Art Deco former power station on the South Bank of the Thames, which now houses modern art.

1st class Fencing & Tower Bridge
A fencer’s lunge is mirrored by the upper walkway of London’s iconic bascule bridge, which was a marvel of Victorian engineering when it was opened in 1894.

1st class Athletics & Olympic Stadium
Runners powering around the bend of an athletics track find themselves running right into the purpose-built main venue in Stratford, east London.

£1.28 Cycling & London Eye
The rotating observation wheel built in 1999, the tallest of its kind in Europe at 443ft high, becomes the front wheel of a racing bicycle.

OTHER PRODUCTS
In the presentation pack, designed by Hat-Trick and printed by Walsall, Jim Davies previews what London can expect during the Olympic Games.

As ever, stamp cards and a first day cover are available, along with two coin covers, including a silver proof one priced at £99.50.

A prestige stamp book entitled ‘Keeping the Flame Alive’ will cover British Olympic achievements.

PRICES

Miniature sheet £3.76
Presentation pack £4.30
Stamp cards £2.25
Prestige stamp book £10.71
First day envelope £0.30
First day cover £4.99
Coin cover  £17.50
Silver proof coin cover £99.50
TOTAL £143.41