Royal Mail released a miniature sheet on January 26 in celebration of the Britain’s greatest strengths and accomplishments.

Under the title United Kingdom: A Celebration, it ‘explores just some of the ways in which Britain leads the way...from sporting achievement to technological innovation, and from creative excellence to our strong sense of community spirit’.

The sheet comprises four stamps in a design which alludes to the lines, if not the colours, of the Union flag. Each stamp has four different photograpic images shoehorned into the shapes defined by these lines.

The issue looks very much like a statement of national resilience after the tough year that was 2020, although it isn’t flagged up as such.

Designed by Hat-Trick Design, the issue was printed in litho by International Security Printers.

 

1st class GREAT SPORT

A wheelchair athlete at speed, a cricket ball on the grass, footballers’ legs competing for the ball, and a single-seater racing car.

1st class GREAT CREATIVITY

A microphone stand on a stage, the pages of a book, equipment in a television studio, and the metal and glass façade of an office building.

£1.70 GREAT COMMUNITY

Hands making the shape of a heart, thousands of runners starting the London Marathon, the hands of a nurse reassuring a patient, and a painted illustration of a rainbow.

£1.70 GREAT INDUSTRY & INNOVATION

The London skyline with high-rise buildings, carbon-fibre material, an illustration of the DNA helix, and a three-dimensional imagining of binary code in wave form.

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

The presentation pack explores some of the ways in which Britain excels. A first day cover and stamp cards are available.

 

PRICES

Miniature sheet   £5.10

Presentation pack   £6.00

First day cover   £6.80

Stamp cards   £2.25

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   1/5

This looks like a filler added to the stamp programme at short notice, and with no clearly defined purpose

QUALITY OF DESIGN   2/5

A clever allusion to the British flag, or a clashing mish-mash of awkward-shaped images?

WOW FACTOR   1/5

You have to look hard to work out what some illustrations are, before considering what they suggest