To celebrate the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games and to welcome the world to London, Royal Mail is issuing a set of four stamps featuring iconic London venues, merged with four Olympic disciplines.
The stamps, available from July 27, 2012, the day of the opening ceremony, bear images that blend a sport with a London landmark. The stamp issue also celebrates the achievement of London becoming the first ever city to host the Olympic Games three times.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London said, “Even fleet-footed Hermes himself would hang up his winged sandals and send his letters through Royal Mail if he saw the quality of these beautiful Olympic-themed stamps. It’s fantastic that some of London's most iconic landmarks are now set to grace the doormats of millions of homes and businesses, helping to seal our city's status as a world-class destination.”
Within the set, there will be two first class stamps. One features a fencer’s lunge meeting the walkway of Tower Bridge. The second shows runners powering around the bend of a track and onto the home straight of the track at the Olympic Stadium.
Athletics is the largest single category in the Games with 47 gold medal opportunities. Around 2,000 elite athletes will be running, walking, jumping and throwing for glory.
The set also includes two £1.28 stamps which allow worldwide airmail postage, perfect for tourists visiting London for the Games to write home with their memories of the action.
The first stamp features the Ferris wheel of the London Eye becoming the front wheel of an Olympic cyclist’s racing bike whilst the second stamp shows a diver mirroring the Tate Modern’s 325 foot chimney with an arrow-like vertical descent.
Enlargements of the stamps were displayed on the South Bank for passersby to sign their good luck messages to TeamGB. The enlargements will be delivered to TeamGB house this week ahead of the Opening Ceremony on Friday.
Royal Mail has been a part of the London 2012 celebrations since the countdown to the Games began on July 6, 2005. On August 5, 2005, a six stamp set was issued to celebrate the successful winning bid and this was followed up on August 22, 2008 at the conclusion of the Beijing Games with four stamps marking the handover to London. These stamps featured the National Stadium and Corner Tower of the Forbidden City in Beijing alongside the London Eye and the Tower of London.
In October 2009, Royal Mail embarked upon a three-part series of 30 stamps reflecting all the Olympic sports, culminating on July 27, 2011, exactly one year to go to the start of the Games. These stamps marked the diversity of the events at the modern Olympic Games and showcased the most popular sports through to those that are not as well known.
In January of this year, London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games definitive stamps went on sale, marking the Olympic year and featuring the Olympic and Paralympic logos.