Thursday, February 14, 2008

St. Valentine's Day - Special Messages

This St. Valentine's Day, Royal Mail (United Kingdom) offers a special booklet of stamps. Inside the booklet are 4 definitive 1st class stamps, 2 Love 1st class stamps, and 2 message stickers. Typically, the message stickers would be used with the Love stamps to make an additional statement to the intended.

The 4 definitive stamps are the stamps with the image of Queen Elizabeth II, commonly referred to as Machin stamps. Arnold Machin created the effigy of the queen that has been used on United Kingdom definitives since 1966. There are hundreds of Machin stamp issues and probably thousands of unique varieties if one includes the type of paper used, method of creating the stamp, perforations, etc. While most are very common, a few of the Machin stamps are considerably rare and costly.

The 2 Love stamps are festive creations useful for adorning St. Valentine's Day cards and letters. Adjacent to the stamps are two labels that can be used on the letter (but are not valid as postage). One is the easily understood "Be My Valentine" phrase; the other is the cryptic "S.W.A.L.K." abbreviation. The abbreviation stands for "Sealed With A Loving Kiss".

The booklet went on sale at the Royal Mail website on 15 January 2008.

This entry concludes the Stamp of Distinction focus on St. Valentine's Day.

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