Royal Mail’s third special stamp issue of 2020, on sale from March 17, celebrates the hugely successful James Bond films, based on the fictional British spy originally created by the novellist Ian Fleming.

Comprising six counter-sheet stamps and a four-stamp miniature sheet, it is being released two weeks before the latest Bond movie, No Time To Die, arrives in UK cinemas on April 2.

This film franchise is claimed to be the longest-running of all time, spanning almost 60 years since Dr No was made in 1962. The latest release is the 25th from British production company Eon Productions, during which time Bond, famously codenamed 007 and licensed to kill, has been played by six different actors: three English, one Scottish, one Australian and one Irish-American.

The individual stamps feature one film starring each of these six, with designs inspired by opening title sequences. They come in se-tenant strips of three.

The miniature sheet celebrates some of the best-known gadgets supplied to Bond by Q Branch, the fictional research and development branch of the secret service, with the border illustrating a silver Aston Martin DB5. Each of these four stamps has a special ‘007’ perforation in one corner.

Designed by Interabang, the issue was printed in litho International Security Printers.

1st class Casino Royale

Released in 2006 and starring Daniel Craig, this film (based on Fleming’s first novel) features Bond attempting to bankrupt Le Chiffre, a ruthless financier of terrorism, by defeating him at poker.

1st class GoldenEye

Released in 1995 and starring Pierce Brosnan, this film sees 007 tackle a rogue former secret agent, 006, who threatens London with a terrifying space weapon named GoldenEye.

1st class The Living Daylights

Released in 1987 and starring Timothy Dalton, this fast-paced Cold War adventure has Bond outwitting a Soviet double agent, General Georgi Koskov, and a rogue US arms dealer, Brad Whitaker.

£1.60 Live And Let Die

Released in 1973 and starring Roger Moore, this story sees 007 investigating a mysterious drug lord, Kananga, the dictator of a Caribbean island seeking an international monopoly.

£1.60 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Released in 1969 and starring George Lazenby, this film pitches 007 against Ernst Blofeld and his Angels of Death as they tried to blackmail the world powers using biological warfare.

£1.60 Goldfinger

Released in 1964 and starring Sean Connery, this early movie sees Bond tracking gold smuggler Auric Goldfinger, foiling his bid to contaminate the US bullion depository at Fort Knox.

 

MINIATURE SHEET

£1.55 Lotus Esprit Submarine

As seen in The Spy Who Loved Me, released in 1977, this is a car which can convert into a submarine, complete with torpedoes and surface-to-air missiles.

£1.55 Little Nellie

As seen in You Only Live Twice, released in 1967, this is an autogyro equipped with machine guns, rockets and flamethrowers.

1st class Bell-Textron Jet Pack

As seen in Thunderball, released in 1965, this strap-on personal flying machine could propel Bond to an altitude of 18m (60ft) for a short burst of controlled flight.

1st class Aston Martin DB5

As seen in Skyfall, released in 2012, and other films, this elegant sportscar was fitted with machine-guns, a bullet-proof shield and an ejector seat.

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

The presentation pack provides an overview of all 25 Bond films to date, and explores 007’s relationships with key allies and villains.

A press sheet of eight uncut miniature sheets is available, as well as the usual first day covers and stamp cards, and myriad additional souvenirs.

 

 

PRICES

Set of 6 stamps   £6.90

Miniature sheet   £4.50

Presentation pack   £12.20

Stamp cards   £4.95

Press sheet   £39.99

First day cover (stamps)   £8.90

First day cover (mini sheet)   £6.00

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   4/5

James Bond is a British icon, and Bond films are a great British export

QUALITY OF DESIGN   2/5

Although based largely on film stills, the designs do scant justice to the action-packed nature of the movies

WOW FACTOR   2/5

To the limited extent that they are used on mail, these stamps will not set many pulses racing