Stamp Magazine – April 2023
English | 40 pages | pdf | 11.32 MB
Welcome at Stamp Magazine April 2023 issue
The death of a monarch is a seismic moment for a nation, yet very few of us know the head of state in person. The change becomes tangible only with the
inevitable aftershocks: the arrival of new coins in your pocket and, of course, new definitive stamps on your mail.
For the reign of King Charles III, we now know, these will look very similar, as the coinage effigy has been adapted for the stamp portrait (see page 24).
The revelation of a new definitive series carries all the more impact when it’s the first for 56 years, and therefore the first many of us can remember. But am I the only one to feel slightly underwhelmed?
I’m not sure why. The image is metamorphosing from that of a middle-aged woman to that of an ageing man (the oldest ever portrait on a British definitive, in fact). That sounds transformative.
On the other hand, it’s still a head facing left, against a plain background colour, and Royal Mail hasn’t exactly gone out of its way to distance itself from the Machin. With the format and style of the data matrix stamp still bedding in, clearly there was little appetite to reinvent the wheel.
You might have seen some chatter in the national media about the fact that Charles is shown without a crown, but in truth none of the previous six monarchs in the stamp era was depicted wearing one. The two queens wore diadems, while the four kings were bare-headed, albeit with a crown incorporated elsewhere in the design.
I’m just relieved that the King is not presented like most subjects of GB stamps these days: wearing a superhero costume and striking a pugnacious pose.