4th May sees the release of Royal Mail’s stunning new Songbird stamps. As soon as we heard about the release of the stamps, we discussed who we could work with to create the ultimate presentation for collectors.
It didn’t take long for us to unanimously agree that Chris Packham was our man!
Chris is one of today’s most highly respected television naturalists presenting BBC’s Springwatch, Autumnwatch & Winterwatch. And adding further to his CV, he proudly serves as Vice President of the RSPB.
Shortly after contacting him, we were delighted to hear Chris had agreed to sign 500 framed Songbirds stamp sets for us. Here he is at home signing the first of the collector cards.
Once these arrive back with us, they’ll be sent off to Royal Mail to have the stamps specially postmarked with the first day of issue postmark and then returned to us once again to have them professionally framed.
The full set of stamps features the Nightingale, Wren, Blackcap, Cuckoo, Yellowhammer, Great Tit, Goldcrest, Willow Warbler, Song Thrush and Skylark.
We’re now taking pre-orders for the special Chris Packham Signed Edition. Just 500 will be made featuring all the Songbirds stamps on a Framed Collector Card, postmarked with their first day of issue…
So if you want one, click here for details before they sell out.
…And our day with Grand National Winning Jockey Bob Champion MBE
We were visited recently by 1981 Grand National Winning Jockey Bob Champion MBE.
Bob’s remarkable story is well documented. Given just 8 months to live after being diagnosed with cancer in 1979, he rode to victory two years later astride 11-year-old Aldaniti at the Grand National – Britain’s most cherished jump race.
Bob would subsequently win the 1981 BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year award alongside Aldaniti, before being awarded his MBE in 1982.
And so when Bob agreed to come down to our offices to sign the 500 framed Royal Mail Racehorse Legends stamps, we were absolutely delighted.
The stamps, revealed below, feature horses which have all in the their own unique way created a piece of British horse racing history. They are scheduled for release on 6 April 2017 – the first day of the Aintree meeting ahead of this years’ Grand National.
So it felt fitting that Bob should be the man to sign these framed presentations – exclusively for Westminster Collection customers – given his quite remarkable and irrefutable status in the Grand National Hall of Fame.
Here are some details about the eight new stamps…
Voted no. 3 favourite horse by Racing Post readers. Greatest race: 1977 Grand National (ridden by Tommy Stack). The only three time winner of the Grand National.
Won 27 of his 35 starts. Voted no. 1 favourite horse by readers of Racing Post. Greatest race: 1964 Cheltenham Gold Cup (ridden by Pat Taaffe). His first Cheltenham Gold Cup was a dramatic win as he dethroned Mill House and showed his greatness for the first time. Described by John Randall and Tony Morris in their book A Century of Champions as “…a freak, an unrepeatably lucky shake of the genetic cocktail, the nearest thing the sport has ever seen to the perfect machine”.
“Dessie” – voted no. 2 favourite horse by Racing Post readers. Greatest race: 1989 Cheltenham Gold Cup (ridden by Simon Sherwood). Added drama of a narrow win in this famous victory.
Greatest race: 2009 King George VI Chase (ridden by Ruby Walsh). His huge 36-length victory enabled him to replace Desert Orchid as the top-rated steeplechaser.
Unbeaten in his 14-race career, Frankel is the top-rated horse in the world since the World Best Racehorse Rankings were initiated in 1977. Greatest race: The 2000 Guineas in 2011. Frankel is named after the Hall of Fame trainer, Robert Frankel and was trained by Sir Henry Cecil. Ridden by: Tom Queally.
Won 17 of his 18 races and named British Horse of the Year 1972. Voted no. 5 favourite horse by Racing Post readers. Greatest race: 1971 2000 Guineas (ridden by Joe Mercer). His defining moment, beating Mill Reef his great contemporary.
European Horse of the Year 1978. Guardian Classic Trial, Chester Vase, Derby, Irish Derby, King George VI and QEII Stakes (1981). Greatest race: Epsom Derby 1981 – longest winning margin in that race’s history.
£1.52 – Estimate:
To the delight of Her Majety the Queen, Estimate won the 2013 Gold Cup at Ascot, the first horse owned by a reigning monarch to do so. It is very rare that a horse becomes a legend from just one race but this is one of those exceptions.
A Regal Tribute to the ‘Sport of Kings’
The stamps, reproductions of beautiful original artwork by internationally renowned equestrian artist Michael P. Heslop, are sure to be highly sought after by anyone with an interest in the sport and stamp collectors alike.
You can reserve all of the new Racehorse Legends stamps now on a limited edition Framed Collector Card – hand-signed by 1981 Grand National Winning Jockey Bob Champion.
It is often touted as the best album of all time, and has become so ingrained as part of popular culture that it’s hard to believe that the concept for Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon cover was actually born out of a simple textbook illustration.
We were lucky enough to have the album’s original illustrator, George Hardie, visit us at our offices where we chatted about the album.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the iconic design has its routes in a chance 1968 meeting in a photographic darkroom at the Royal College of Art in London. It was then that George first met Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell – the creative minds behind now legendary design studio, Hipgnosis.
Over the year, Hipgnosis produced artwork for some of the most influential bands of the era including Led Zeppelin, Genesis and Black Sabbath, but it was the bold graphic design for The Dark Side of the Moon which thrust the studio’s work into the public eye when it hit record stores in March 1973.
Until this point, much of Hipgnosis’ work had been photographic. But under the direction of Pink Floyd’s keyboardist Richard Wright to produce something “simple, clinical and precise” their ideas took on a new dimension. The breakthrough moment was provided by Storm Thorgerson who remembered an illustration from a photography book showing the process of light refraction through a glass prism; “An inspirational image in itself” as George recalls. The concept seemed particularly fitting for Pink Floyd who were famous for their use of light shows.
“Slightly re-arranging the illustration, I drew a line artwork and indicated colours using percentages of magenta, cyan, yellow and black from a printer’s chart – the simplest way of making this kind of line artwork where the lines act as the edges of each colour and the printer fills in the colours.” explains Hardie. The prism was airbrushed, black on white, and reversed out of a mechanical printer’s black background to produce the final effect.
After its release, The Dark Side of the Moon went to number one on the US Billboard chart for one week, but it ended up staying in the charts for a consecutive 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988 – longer than any other album in history.
The band were suddenly propelled from the underground into the mainstream. With an estimated 45 million copies sold, it became Pink Floyd’s most commercially successful album and is frequently ranked as one of the greatest rock albums of all time. The white beam of light passing through a prism to form the bright colours of the spectrum against a stunning black background invited listeners to discover the music inside, and it still does today.
Own the Dark Side of the Moon Framed Edition
Now you can own this definitive piece of Pink Floyd memorabilia – a remastered copy of The Dark Side of the Moon vinyl professionally framed and signed by the original album artist, George Hardie himself.