…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.
Royal Mail have revealed 10 new David Bowie stamps, which will mark a tribute to one of the most influential music and cultural figures of all time.
The stamps are Royal Mail’s second dedicated music artist stamp issue, following on from the popular Pink Floyd release in the summer of last year.
Scheduled for release on 14th March 2017, the stamps will feature iconic album covers and live performances from 1971 right up to his final studio album Blackstar.
Here’s your first look at the new stamps alongside a bit of info about each one…
1st Class – Hunky Dory:
His fourth album and released in December 1971. Time magazine chose it as part of their “100 best albums of all time” list in January 2010.
1st Class – Aladdin Sane:
His sixth album and released in April 1973. The album was among six Bowie entries in Rolling Stone magazine’s 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
1st Class – “Heroes”:
His twelfth studio album and released in October 1977. This was the second instalment of his “Berlin Trilogy” recorded with Brian Eno and Tony Visconti. The title track remains one of Bowie’s best known and acclaimed songs.
£1.52 – Let’s Dance:
His fifteenth studio album and released in April 1983. Co-produced by Nile Rodgers, and featured three of the most successful singles “Let’s Dance”, “Modern Love” and “China Girl”. Let’s Dance is Bowie’s bestselling album.
£1.52 – Earthling:
His twentieth studio album and released in February 1997, this was the first album Bowie had self-produced since Diamond Dogs.
£1.52 – Blackstar:
Bowie’s final studio album, released on 8th January 2016 to coincide with his 69th birthday. Bowie died two days after its release.
The Miniature Sheet
1st Class – The Ziggy Stardust Tour, 1972: The tour promoted The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars studio album and took in the UK, North America, and Japan.
1st Class – The Serious Moonlight Tour, 1983: The tour was designed to support the Let’s Dance album and was Bowie’s longest, largest and most successful concert tour.
£1.52 – The Stage Tour, 1978: Also known as Isolar II – The 1978 World Tour and The Low/Heroes World Tour because it was staged to promote the Low and Heroes albums.
£1.52 – A Reality Tour, 2004: Staged to promote the Reality album this tour was to be Bowie’s last tour.
Background Image – The Glass Spider Tour, 1987: launched to promote the album Never Let Me Down.
A First Class Tribute to a Music Legend
These stamps are sure to be sought after by anyone looking for a really collectable piece of Bowie memorabilia. And there are even due to be limited edition ‘fan sheets’ issued for the those who want to keep something truly special.
I wasn’t sure Royal Mail could top last year’s Pink Floyd issue, but these stamps are so well executed and poignant in my opinion they will go down as some of the most important musical stamps ever to grace our postage.
You can reserve all of the new David Bowie stamps right now on a limited edition Collector Card – professionally framed and ready to hang. Click here for details.
Did you know that since Royal Mail issued their first Christmas stamp in 1966, over 17 billion Christmas stamps have been printed in Britain? In most years since, Christmas stamps have gone on to become the most popular issue of the year. The 3rd November 2015 saw the 50th Great Britain Christmas issue to be released.
In honour of this milestone I would like to take the opportunity to look at some my favourites from these 50 issues.
Despite many requests over the years that the Post Office issue Christmas stamps, these had always been refused until Tony Benn became Postmaster General. He had originally wanted them in 1965 and even suggested a charity surcharge. Time was against him which meant 1966 was the soonest possible.
Benn, through the Post Office, organised a competition among schoolchildren aged under 15. The competition was launched on Blue Peter, which at the time received viewing figures of around 8 million twice a week. Response to the competition was huge. Over 5,000 designs were submitted which were assessed by a team of eight professional stamp designers. These first British Christmas stamps featured a design by Tasveer Shemza (of King Wencleslas) and James Berry (Snowman).
In 1977 the Twelve Days of Christmas were immortalised on the Christmas issue. David Gentleman’s clever design managed to include all 78 gifts mentioned in the song without the stamps looking cluttered and untidy.
The Christmas issue of 1981 really stands out for me as they were the first Christmas stamps that I remember. Again a nationwide competition was launched on Blue Peter and really caught the attention of children up and down the country. Unfortunately my entry did not make it on to the issued stamps! The five designs that were chosen were from children aged between 5 and 16.
I think 2004 is my favourite of all the 50 Christmas issues. These six stamps feature Raymond Briggs’ beloved Father Christmas as he goes about his duties on his busiest night of the year.
Starting with the 2nd class stamp we see him begin to deliver presents in a calm moonlit night, before battling through the elements(40p, 57p, 68p and £1.12) but by sunrise on Christmas Day all is calm again and his work is done (1st class).
From 2005 Royal Mail decided to alternate each year between secular and non secular Christmas issues. For the 50th issue the Christmas issue is non secular. The eight Christmas 2015 stamps feature six traditional scenes from the Nativity story: The Journey to Bethlehem, The Nativity, The Animals of the Nativity, The Shepherds, The Three Wise Men and The Annunciation.
If you’re interested…
Send festive wishes with this beautifully designed limited edition Christmas card issued to mark the 50th Great Britain Christmas issue