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Monday, July 30, 2012

Brit postal deptt to release stamps of Olympic gold winners

The Royal Mail, the British postal department, is going all out to help those seeking to preserve a slice of history with their inch-sized offerings.

A day before the big games bring big numbers to London, Andrew Hammond, managing director of Royal Mail, exclusively speaks to TOI about the initiatives they've launched, including stamps that will be released the day after a British Olympian wins gold, and how they'd be open to discussing the idea of Bollywood stamps if approached with an interesting proposal.

Stamping the winners

Under the Next Day Gold Medal Stamps initiative, the department will print stamps featuring every Great Britain team member who wins a gold medal. And regardless of what time the medal is won, the stamps will be put on sale the very next day by lunchtime. Says Hammond, "Just like the 2000 Sydney Olympics, 2004 Greece Olympics and 2008 Beijing Olympics, we're going to put our winners on these next day stamps. We'll use their action shots on the stamps."

Citing logistical issues, Hammond says that they cannot print pictures of all gold medal winners and that's why they are concentrating on English winners. He says, "Our market for this is largely in the UK. We literally would be doing this overnight and the number of medals won at the games run in hundreds. That's why we are focusing on GB team members."

However, he is confident that they would be able to pull it off, saying, "We've been preparing for this for two years, and have had a dedicated team in place for this. We have tested the procedure, and we have printers across the country who will help us put these out by lunchtime the next day."

Hammond also spoke about the four stamps that the department will be unveiling today at the opening ceremony. The stamps, he says, celebrate their country as the venue, and show four London landmarks in the background. In September, adds Hammond, the department will release a new set of Olympic stamps, featuring iconic moments from the games.

While refusing to comment on the revenue the department expects to generate from the sale of stamps — both online and otherwise — he does say that they hope to win as many gold medals as they can.

As far as Bollywood and an Indian connection to the stamps goes, Hammond says they have nothing in the pipeline, but they are always open to multi-cultural themes for their offerings. He says, "We focus on key anniversaries, but we are open to discussions with other postal departments. However, we do tend to work a couple of years in advance."

Some interesting facts

- Because postage stamps were invented in the UK, it is the only country in the world that does not have to put its name on them - just the monarch's head.
- Her Majesty, the Queen, approves all stamp designs before they are printed.
- On special stamps, the Queen's head must always face inwards on the stamp, and be in the top left or top right. 
Source : The Times of India, July 27, 2012

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