Continuing its decade-long fascination with film and television franchises, Royal Mail will release a special issue devoted to the Harry Potter films on October 16.

Ten sheet stamps illustrate some of the best known young characters and modes of transport from the films, while a five-stamp miniature sheet depicts professors from Hogwarts School, set against a background of the magical Marauder’s Map.

All the images are based on film or publicity stills, and Royal Mail says the stamps have hidden details visible only under ultra-violet light.

Based on the books by J K Rowling (already commemorated in a special issue in 2007), the fantasy series of eight films released between 2001 and 2011, are among the most popular of the 21st century. Although distributed by American company Warner Bros, they have a predominantly British cast and were shot largely at studios in Hertfordshire.

The gummed sheet stamps, which come in se-tenant strips of five from sheets of 50, were designed by True North, with digital image enhancement by Smoke & Mirrors. The self-adhesive miniature sheet was designed by The Chase, and the whole issue was printed in litho by International Security Printers.

 

1st class Hermione Granger

Played by Emma Watson, Hermione uses her quick wit and logical thinking to help Harry in his many adventures.

1st class Hogwarts Express

The steam train used by students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry leaves from Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station, which is found by walking through a brick wall.

1st class Harry Potter

Played by Daniel Radcliffe, Harry is the promising Hogwarts School pupil whose task it becomes to face up to the dark forces led by the evil Lord Voldemort.

1st class Flying Ford Anglia

In Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets, the Weasley brothers borrow their father’s enchanted car to rescue Harry through his bedroom window.

1st class Ron Weasley

Played by Rupert Grint, Ron supports Harry on all of his adventures, making up with loyalty and bravery for what he lacks in magical powers.

1st class Hagrid’s Motorbike

While being pursued by Voldemort in Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, Harry endures a hazardous journey on a flying motorcycle and sidecar driven by Hagrid, the Hogwarts gamekeeper.

1st class Ginny Weasley

Played by Bonnie Wright, Ginny spends much of her first year at Hogwarts writing in Tom Riddle’s diary and unknowingly doing the Dark Lord’s bidding, but becomes Harry’s equal and girlfriend.

1st class Triwizard Cup

The trophy awarded to the winner of the Triwizard Tournament is transformed into a portkey to transport the winner to the graveyard where Lord Voldemort is waiting.

1st class Neville Longbottom

Played by Matthew Lewis, Neville is a good-natured but accident-prone wizard who ultimately plays an integral role in the destruction of Lord Voldemort.

1st class Knight Bus

Described by its conductor as ‘Emergency transport for the stranded witch or wizard’, the triple-decker Knight Bus picks up Harry and his suitcase from the roadside in Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban.

 

MINIATURE SHEET

1st class Pomona Sprout 

Professor of herbology and an expert in dangerous plants, Sprout is also head of Hufflepuff house.

1st class Horace Slughorn

Potions Master during Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts, Slughorn possesses a crucial memory which Harry must access in order to defeat Lord Voldemort.

1st class Sybill Trelawney

Professor of divination at Hogwarts, Trelawney is suspected of being a fraud but has prophesied accurately at least twice.

1st class Remus Lupin

Professor of Defence Against The Dark Arts during Harry’s third year at Hogwarts, Lupin is a childhood friend of Harry’s father, and a werewolf.

1st class Severus Snape

Potions Master for Harry’s first five years at Hogwarts, Snape is the head of Slytherin house and appears to have questionable loyalty to the headmaster, Albus Dumbledore.

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

A press sheet of 12 uncut miniature sheets is available in a limited edition of 300, alongside the usual presentation pack and stamp cards.

 

PRICES

Set of 10 stamps   £6.70

Miniature sheet   £3.35

Presentation pack   £10.75

Stamp cards   £7.20

Press sheet   £44.49

First day cover (stamps)   £8.60

First day cover (mini sheet)   £4.60

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   1/5

This is a commercially motivated issue, with no obvious commemorative timing

QUALITY OF DESIGN   1/5

The images are standard fare for stamps celebrating film franchises, the sheet stamps resembling publicity posters

WOW FACTOR   2/5

Of course, the idea is to make fans of the books and films sit up and take notice